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Planning Your Website Navigation

Even the most beautiful website in the world won't work if people can't find what they're looking for. That's where your website navigation comes in. As a website designer, you use your navigation menu to decide which pages go where. Ideally your pages flow in a way that makes sense to your visitors, too. 

Creating a site plan

We recommend starting out by developing a site plan. It's tempting to skip over this step, but trust us, this will save you time in the long run. Your site plan can be as simple as an outline (and yes, pen and paper are perfect for this activity!) 


Think about each page you'll need to create, and figure out where in your site structure these pages belong. There's no need to create too many pages—some of the most successful websites are surprisingly simple. 


You don't need to create lots of sublevels either. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that visitors can find anything they want without having to click more than three links. That's why with Jimdo you can create up to 3 levels of navigation. 


Once you have your outline, the main headings become your main navigation pages. Anything underneath those will be a subpage. Notice in the example below how a simple site plan can become your website's navigation menu:


Jimdo website navigation

Choosing your navigation menu

Once you have an idea of how your site will be organized and how many pages you need, it will be much easier to pick the right template with the right navigation menu. 


Let's go over the different options for navigation menus. 

Horizontal menu

A horizontal navigation menu stretches across the top of your website. These are typically the easiest for people to read and navigate. Keep your horizontal menu short (about 7 items or fewer) so that it doesn't break onto two lines. 

Jimdo horizontal navigation
An example of a horizontal navigation using the Prague template

Vertical menu

A vertical navigation goes down the side of your page. This can be a good option if you have a lot of menu items. But it's slightly harder for people to read quickly. 


Jimdo vertical navigation
Vertical navigation using the Milano template

Dropdown menu

Some navigation menus have a dropdown option. This means that if a visitor hovers their mouse over a menu item, they will see any subpages appear below it. A dropdown menu is a great tool to help people navigate to different pages directly from the homepage without having to use many clicks. 


Jimdo dropdown menu
Dropdown menu with Helsinki template

Breadcrumb menu

This type of menu is called a "breadcrumb" because, just like Hansel and Gretel, it shows a trail for your users to follow. That way they can keep track of their location as they move from page to page.

If you use a template with a breadcrumb, it will appear when you're on a subpage of your website. This kind of menu is particularly useful for online stores or websites that use all three levels of navigation. 

Jimdo breadcrumb menu
A breadcrumb menu (in gray) on the Rome template.

Slide-in menu

With a slide-in menu, your navigation is hidden behind a little icon of three stacked horizontal lines in the top left corner of your website. When a visitor clicks on that icon, the full navigation menu pops out. 


A slide-in menu is  a great choice for minimalist websites—it ensures that nothing blocks or distracts from your content. On the other hand, it makes navigating your site take a bit longer, because people need to click on the icon before they'll see your menu. They might not know to do this right away. 

Jimdo slide-in menu
Click on the icon with three white lines...
Jimdo slide-in menu
...and your navigation menu pops out.

Now that you know the different types of navigation menus, you can use Jimdo's Template Filter to browse templates based on the kind of menu they have. 

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