Navigation is the second key element of a good blog design. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of the visitors come from search engines and RSS readers, so they need to be guided to the content we want to be popular. Generally, the navigation system has three parts:
- The header navigation (header menu, RSS icon, search, etc.)
- The sidebar navigation (categories, tag cloud, archives, etc.)
- The footer navigation (most popular posts, tag cloud, etc.)
The most important menus and other navigational elements have to take place in the header. For example, the header can contain a link to the front page, the main categories and the RSS link and so on. Important to notice, that we must be careful not to pack to many items into the header area. Simplicity is the king!
The sidebar can contain the most of the links as it is generally big enough to house these navigational elements. Here you can put widgets for displaying the latest articles, the latest comments, the archives, the tag cloud, etc. You also can place advertisements if you want to.
The footer can contain a menu that has the same functionality as of the header menu. This, of course, is a redundancy, but speeds up the navigation as the user doesn’t need to scroll back top to navigate to another part of the blog. You can also expand the functionality of your footer if you put the menu items from your header as menu headings and add some submenu items to them. For example, if you have a link to the category CMS in your header, in your footer you can create a block starting with CMS, beneath what you can list a couple of content management systems, such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress.
Although we went through the structure of a blog and discussed how the navigation system may be portioned we must speak about one more important thing: RSS links/graphics. The feed links and/or graphics can be placed anywhere in your blog. The key thing you must consider is to place the syndicate feed link somewhere it is very visible and eye-catching!