When you’re trying to find something on a poorly designed or overly cluttered website, it can feel like you’re in one of those computer games where you’re trapped in a dark hallway and don’t know which room to choose. Will clicking on a given tab help get you where you want to go, or will you end up in a website “black hole”? Will navigation refinements help you locate the item you need – or will you remain adrift in a sea of products?

When done right, navigation can have a huge impact on your online conversion rate and brand reputation. Likewise, poor navigation can destroy your brand’s credibility and make it hard to attract loyal customers.

While navigation is more an art than a science, there are guidelines you can follow that will create a positive shopping experience for your customers. Based upon our years of providing expert advice and tips in this area, we were able to compile a bunch of best practices. Our initial “Big Book” on site search tips, the “Big Book of Site Search Tips” was so well received that we decided to create a new downloadable “Big Book” around the topic of site navigation called the “Big Book of Navigation Tips” –to help ensure that your visitors don’t get lost trying to navigate through your site. The 50-plus tips – on everything from navigation design to integrating reviews to mobile navigation – can help you shorten the time it takes for visitors to enter your site, find just what they’re looking for and make a purchase.

Many of the tips in the new “Big Book” are easy to put into place and won’t require wholesale changes to your site navigation. For instance, you can eliminate refinement options that visitors don’t use very often, which will help streamline the user experience. You can figure out which options are not proving popular by checking your navigation reports.

Another great tip: Make sure your navigation pages help your SEO efforts by using short URLs that include useful keywords. Also if your navigation links are produced by JavaScript then you should have a non-script version so the search engines can find and follow them.

There’s also a whole section on mobile navigation, which is extremely useful given the rapid growth rate mobile shopping has seen in recent months and will likely continue to see in the months to come. If you have any uncertainty about how to construct the navigation of your mobile site, this book can offer the guidance you need.

The more you do to improve site navigation, the less likely it is that visitors will abandon your site – in fact, with streamlined, easy-to-follow navigation, they’ll stick around longer and likely spend more money. Download the “Big Book of Navigation Tips” today, and let us know what you think – you can send feedback to newsletter@sli-systems.com.