Website navigation menus don't sound very interesting or compelling. But many galleries lose out on SEO, potential clients and sales because of outdated, ineffective website menus.
Why are navigation menus important?
Navigation menus are arguably one of the most important elements of your website. A good menu makes it easy for website visitors to navigate your site and find what they're looking for - they can really make or break the experience people have on your gallery website.
Because navigation menus have such an impact on user experience, they are one of the factors that impacts your website's SEO (search engine optimization) and how well your site ranks in search results.
Good navigation menus are especially important on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. With Google's recent shift to mobile-first indexing, ensuring your menu is optimized for mobile devices is absolutely critical in order for your gallery to rank well in search results.
Most importantly, if people can't find your gallery website or use it with ease, they're almost certainly not going to buy a piece of artwork or join your mailing list. It's much more likely they'll leave your site and never come back.
What makes a good navigation menu?
A maximum of 7 menu items
Your menu shouldn't have more than 5-7 items. Oftentimes galleries want to give clients as many choices as possible, creating menus with many, many items.
But the reality is that this creates a poor experience for your website visitors. It's overwhelming to see so many options, especially on mobile devices.
Flattened menu on mobile
When looking at your website on a mobile phone, your navigation menu shouldn't be visible. Instead, website visitors should see an icon indicating where the menu is.
The reason for this is that clicking on the icon opens the menu separately and is easier to read, so your website visitors don't have to zoom in to see it.
Most important items at the beginning
Many galleries start their menus off with an About page and bury the pages containing artist and artwork information somewhere in the middle. Instead, you'll want to put those pages at the beginning of the menu and leave your About and Contact pages for the end.
Whether people are viewing your website on a computer or a smartphone, their eyes will be drawn to the beginning of the list, and that's exactly where you want to put the most important items on your menu.