How to Create a Navigation Map for Your Economic Development Website

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Tags: economic development, website, Website navigation

At Accrisoft, our goal is to share high-value content with you that can assist you in performing your marketing responsibilities with excellence. Our hope is that we continue to accomplish that goal, especially with this new blog series that is focused on providing Economic Development Organizations with tools to freshen up your current website navigation and content. Along the process, you might find yourself motivated to just start from scratch altogether. We will provide you with resources and downloadable documents to help you with these updates.

 

Deciding on the look, feel and design of a website can become all-consuming when beginning a website redesign or launching a brand-new site. While design trends change and site updates can be made regularly, the way in which your Economic Development Organization displays its navigation and the content that makes up your pages has the most value to your members. You want the journey from searching for an answer to solve to be effortless for your site visitor. This success can be measured by the importance of how and where you have your content displayed, also known as information architecture. 

Detailing the different ways that visitors will access and find the information they came to your site searching for will give you and your team a clear direction on how to map out your navigation and content. Always keep the idea of functionality for the user top of mind in this process. You want the user to find what they’re looking for within 3 clicks or less.

Think of the most frequently asked questions you get about your region, your key industries, living in your location and the resources that are available for the workforce. We mention this because building a navigation map based on your customer’s frame of mind and their search process will help you define your navigation and write the high-value content needed for your site. 

Creating a navigation map is one of the most challenging aspects of designing a website, so we created a sitemap tool for Economic Development Organizations to help with the process. (You’ll be able to download this free guide, too.) But first, we’re going to show you examples of navigation best practices.

Utility Navigation

Generally speaking, four categories are sufficient when creating your utility navigation. You will see some screenshots below of the most commonly used categories such as Login, Events and News & Media. Adding ‘Contact Us’ to the utility navigation is a best practice so users don’t have to search far for this information.

Not every EDO is the same. Some might have a member Login section while others have an interactive map search for properties. The screenshots below show a variety of categories (from our EDO Sitemap Tool) that are commonly used terms in an EDOs utility navigation. 

Main Menu Navigation

Doing Business Here

The first item in your Main Navigation is going to be your most important. If a company is doing research on relocating or the best regions to launch their company, this is the section where you want to display all things business. Not every EDO is the same, which is why we surveyed organizations from across the country to come up with the most commonly used navigation categories.

Key Industries

Generally, Key Industries are the next main navigation item showcasing the top employers and industries that lead your region.

Living & Working 

Your next navigation category might be a Data Center or for many, it’s a chance to attract new businesses and employees by showing what your area offers outside of the workday. This is your opportunity to showcase that your region has a little something for everyone.

What are the unique qualities about your town, city or region? 

Do they offer family-friendly amenities, schools, and housing? 

Does it give you a small-town feel in a big city or vice versa?

About Us

The About Us section will give the reader some background on what your mission and objectives are, and how you are there to help. You want to make sure that you familiarize the reader with what your organization does somewhere on your site. If your organization would rather list ’About Us’ someplace other than in your main navigation, other commonly used categories are Resources or Tools and Resources. 

Secondary Navigation

The information in the secondary navigation complements the content from the main navigation. In the secondary menu options below for ‘Doing Business Here,’ you will see that the category options are all related to sharing about your region, area, city, etc. and why it’s the perfect place to do business in. 

 

Building out a sitemap is a crucial and timely step in creating a dynamic website. We want to help give you the tools to be successful in creating a sitemap for your Economic Development Organization. Download our free EDO Sitemap Tool below packed with category options that are most used and recommended by EDOs around the country. When you open the Sitemap Tool document, please go to File > Make a Copy to access the drop-down categories like seen in the screenshots throughout the blog. If you need help in this process, feel free to reach out to our team at Accrisoft at any time.

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