So just like having a bunch of signs pointing all different directions can be a horrible experience for a pedestrian or a driver, a bad navigation menu on your website will get the same reaction. Confusion. And eventually if they cannot get what they came for, they will leave the site.
You must make sure that your navigation bar is clear and concise. make sure that your pages and content are easy to get to.
The first and most important rule is that you should always place your most important contact at the top of your navigation bar. Usually this would include your home page, about page, services or products page, a contact page, and some of your other most sought out content pages. This is your TOP LEVEL MENU.
The next level is your SUB MENU, also referred to as your “drop Down” menu items. Here is where you would break down your categories. For example, if you have 5-10 different products and want to create a page for each, those products would open up when you over over Products. Same with Services. A good example of something that could come under the ABOUT US would be: Testimonials, Our location, Awards, Our Team, etc.
Make sure that you keep your wording of your menu items short, no more than 2-3 words. If your navigation menu allows, a great idea for products could be to show a thumbnail in side of it (see below example).
Try and use nice contrasting colors so that when a user hovers over your menu nav bar, they know for sure thats the page they are coming to.
Make sure that you also use a font that is easy to read, and not too small.
Adding arrows and icons to show direction could also be a great way to highlight your navigation menu.
Having a well laid out navigation menu can save you a loss of users by getting them quickly to where they need to be on your website.