Navigation Pages

Second Page Type

The second page type a site can have is the Navigation page. In addition to the navigation elements present on all of your pages, your site may include these dedicated Navigation pages. They are pages containing mainly links to Content and Sales pages to aid the visitor in finding what they are looking for.

Make sure to keep your Navigation pages uncluttered and easy to overview. Do not just display a list of links on them – include descriptions as well. If the page lists products, make sure to display images of those products.

Front Page

Your most important Navigation page is the front page. This page should make it obvious to the visitor what your site has to offer. It commonly includes summaries and links to the latest and most popular content/products on your site, so that visitors can quickly find what they are looking for.

Search Result Page

Display the search results in a list similar to Google’s – that is, a list sorted by relevance made up of the page title followed by the part of the content where the searched term occurs. Be sure to highlight the terms matching the user’s search query. This of course is what Google Custom Search will give you, as was mentioned in the last chapter.

Category Pages

A site with many Content or Sales pages will benefit from grouping these pages according to categories or even sub-categories. When the user navigates to a certain category they are shown a summary of the pages belonging to that category. These can include Content pages and Sales pages, as well as other Navigation pages.

Tag Pages

Many CMS sites provide a fast way to generate Navigation pages through the use of tags. Tags are a list of labels you associate with a page. They are similar to categories, but they are not organized into any hierarchy. A page may be listed in multiple tag groups.

When editing a page in your CMS, you can add a number of tags that describe the content of that page. These tags are commonly displayed when viewing the page, usually as a list near the bottom. When the visitor clicks on one of the tags, it brings up a Navigation page listing all pages that are tagged with that label.

Simple Tags – This WP plug-in adds advanced tag management capabilities to your site – including tag suggestion, mass edit of tags and auto linking of tags in content.

Sitemap

Providing a sitemap can help search engines and users traverse your site. Every page on your site should be linked to from the sitemap, and every page should link to the sitemap. This will allow visitors and search engine crawlers to find any page in just two clicks. If your site is more than 100 pages, a better choice is to have the sitemap link only to the category pages instead.

There are two types of sitemaps – XML and HTML sitemaps. An XML sitemap lists URLs with optional metadata – such as last modified date, priority and change frequency. You can submit these to search engines if you are having trouble getting your pages indexed, but improving your site navigation and reputation should solve this.

Google XML Sitemaps – This WP plug-in will automatically generate an XML sitemap for you. Additionally, it notifies all major search engines every time you add new content.

An HTML sitemap provides an additional way for visitors to navigate your site, and gives you another source of quality links with potential descriptive text for your internal pages.

HTML Page Sitemap – This WP plug-in allows you to add a customizable HTML sitemap to your site.
Recommended additional reading:
Steve Krug - Don't Make Me Think