Vertical Navigation vs Horizontal Navigation

When designing a website one thing to consider is navigation. Which is better vertical or horizontal navigation, does it really matter

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Article: Vertical Navigation vs Horizontal Navigation
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Article Published / Updated: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 01:54:08

Before setting out to design a website several elements are discussed with the client. One of the most important questions is navigation, specifically whether we will use horizontal navigation or vertical navigation.

As internet marketing experts we know what really works and why. Below you'll find the pros and cons of each. Then we'll tell you what really works.

Vertical Navigation Pros

Vertical navigation allows you to place links in an organized manner down the left side of the page. But remember that having too many buttons or links maybe some what overwhelming to users. Keep this in mind and be concise in your selection.

Vertical navigation also can display the various sections of your website. This makes it easier to for users to find the different sections and subsections of the website.

Vertical Navigation Cons

Vertical navigation takes up valuable real estate. This space can be used for content and we all know that content is king!

Vertical navigation displays more links. Having more links will increase the load time of the web page. Page speed is very important.

Computer screens have really changed over the last few years. The have become more horizontal or wide screen. Keeping in mind that we want the most important part of our website to display before the fold of the page, if our verticle navigation is too long a lot of links or buttons will be cut off.

Horizontal Navigation Pros

Horizontal navigation takes up much less space thus allowing the users to focus more on the content appearing within the fold of the web page.

Horizontal navigation can and does limit the users' mouse movements.

Horizontal navigation without drop down menus loads really quickly.

Horizontal Navigation Cons

Horizontal navigation limits the number of links you can display. If you use drop down menus to add links, the drop down usually will cover content.

Internet Marketing Navigation Expert Advise

Here is what we know. 87% of the population is right handed thus their mouse is in their right hand. Also more that 90% of left-handers also hold their mouse in their right hand. So it makes sense to put items you want your users to click on, on the right side of the page.

Does that mean that you should put your vertical navigation on the right side? Not necessarily but it does mean that you should put important links, banners or buttons on the right side of the page.

Don't put a slew of links, that is really a waste of space. Hand pick Call To Action banners and put them there.

We urge our clients to use Horizontal Navigation without drop downs on their websites. We spend some time carefully selecting the links we'll display. Then we'll put a limited number of links to other sections or subsections inside the content of each web page. We'll organize it so its all related.

The important sections of the website should be in the Horizontal menu. This creates easy to follow navigation.

The choice is limited because we don't want to confuse or overwhelm our visitors. We want to focus them on the content and we want to sell them. We want to take control of what they see and where they go next. We want them to find exactly what they are looking for in as few as possible clicks, with no confusion.

Too much choice leads to No Sales!


We can't stress this enough, Keep it Simple. Focus the users, give them what they are looking for quickly. Provide hand picked navigation items in a horizontal menu at the top and, if the page is too long, repeat the horizontal navigation at the bottom of the page directly above or on the footer.

Don't use left side vertical navigation. It is confusing.

Use right side Call To Action navigation to draw attention to sections of your website that you want visitors to explore.

If you follow this advise you'll soon see conversion rates sky-rocket.

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Artemis Glikakis is the Managing Director of Position Front Page International Co., Ltd.. His expertise in this field of Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, has lead him to write many articles on the subject and he is always in the forefront when large clients come along.

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