To increase engagement and website conversion, you have to have a website navigation layout that makes sense. In this blog post, I explain one of the do’s and don’ts of web design and how less is more.
Updated: October 7, 2020
Let me ask you a quick question. Do you think someone is more likely to make a purchase when they have 10 offers to choose from or when they have 1 or 2 to choose from? Most people instinctively think think the answer to that question is 10 offers. More offers must mean more customization or differences between the individual offers. And since different people prefer different things, there’s a person out there willing to buy each offer, right?
But what actually happens when someone is presented with a lot of offers?
The paradox of choice
Let’s talk about the paradox of choice. What it is, what it means, and how you can apply it to the navigation / menu you build for each of your client’s websites.
There’s a famous jam study where 754 shoppers were split into two groups and were observed purchasing jam from a grocery store. Group one was given 24 varieties to choose from and group two was given 6 varieties to choose from.
Group one, while showing more interest in the product, rarely made a purchase. Group two, the group that was given 6 varieties, converted at almost 900% more than group one. Why? Because group one was overwhelmed with choices. There were too many jams to choose from so instead of picking one, many shoppers walked away empty handed.
what is the Paradox of Choice
This is an example of the Paradox of Choice.
When you’re presented with too many choices, your brain can’t easily make a decision. And instead of stressing out or getting overwhelmed, your brain protects you by not making a decision at all. You most likely don’t realize it all. You may even think that you didn’t make a choice because you didn’t like any of the options. But if there were less options, statistics show you would be more likely to make a decision.
So while a lot of people believe the more choices the better (because one size doesn’t really fit all), that’s not actually true.
What’s the one thing everyone is guaranteed to see when they land on a website?
The website navigation.
No matter what page someone lands on, the homepage, the about page, a blog post… the navigation is there. (The only case this wouldn’t be true is if it’s a sales page where the website navigation is intentionally hidden. Which is a good thing to do!)
And since 10 out of 10 times website visitors will see the website navigation, it’s critical you’re designing website menus that engage visitors rather than confuse them.
A website navigation that engages is one that is simple, to the point, and easy to understand. The top navigation should be reserved for links that drive people deeper into your client’s sales funnel. This means that every single page your client wants created for their website should not go into the navigation.
Instead, the navigation should be strategic and should have a limited number of links. What’s a good rule of thumb? Try not to include anymore than 6 navigation links in your client’s main navigation. 5 is ideal though!
When in Doubt, Add it to the Footer
So what do you do with those other pages?
Link to them from other pages where it makes sense and always include them in the footer navigation. If someone chooses to scroll all the way down a page and still hasn’t clicked a button, make it really easy for them to select another page by having a footer navigation that includes all of your client’s website pages.
MORE PSYCHOLOGY LESSONS FOR HAVING A HIGH-CONVERTING WEBSITE
Inside of my signature course Web Design Business Bootcamp, I walk you through tons of psychological principles like this one. Each one can be applied to either the websites you build, your own website, or your web design business setup in general. Click here to learn more about Web Design Business Bootcamp and how you can launch a profitable web design business building high-converting websites every time.