Whilst considering the navigation for a particular website I was working on, it became clear to me how important it is to plan the structure of your website before the design work begins. The site needed a simple navigation bar with only a few areas to keep the navigation as simple as possible for visitors. Whilst this is a nice idea it can also be quite limiting in ways especially if you want to add lots of content but here are a few ideas to help structure your site and to provide a clear navigation structure for visitors so that they are not lost and overwhelmed by a mass of navigational links.

Drop Down Navigation

An excellent way to keep things nice and tidy with your websites navigation is to use drop down menus. You can list your main important pages and have sub pages related to the main page listed beneath in a drop down menu so that when a visitor hovers the mouse pointer over the main area page link a list of the sub pages will then display / drop down. This works really well for keeping the initial visual of the navigation bar nice and simple helping to not overwhelm your visitors with a mass of navigational links.

Separate Areas

If you have a lot of pages to include within an area, for example, if you want to add lots of articles to your website using a drop down menu to list the individual articles, this may not be the best option as after a number of years there may well be many which will cause the menu to become too large. One solution to this is to have separate areas, for example, you could have a single navigation link to an articles page and on this page the articles could then be listed.

Content Management Systems

Many different platforms can be used as a content management system including WordPress which offers a simplistic and fantastic solution for managing lots of content. The use of pages, categories and blog posts can be a great way to separate content into different areas. There are many different content management system platforms but WordPress would have to be one of the most user friendly for people who are less familiar with such platforms. WordPress used to be just considered as a blogging platform but with so many creative developments the WordPress platform has become a popular choice for managing lots of content. The use of sidebars and widgets also allows for listing additional areas of the site helping to separate the navigation links in to logical areas without trying to cram all of the navigational links within the main navigation bar within the header section of the website.