Just subscribed to Grist Magazine‘s free online newsletter, and lo and behold, when it came to the mandatory “Country” pull-down menu, Canada was second.
Why is that noteworthy? Because I’ve been to U.S. site after U.S. site that puts the Land of the Free and the Home and the Brave first and foremost in that pulldown — as it should be, in nearly every case, because that’s where the vast majority of their visitors live — and then lists the rest of the United freaking Nations alphabetically.
Which means I and the rest of this here home and native land have to scroll through Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbados, and roughly 20 more countries before we hit Canada… which for many of these sites is probably the second- or third-most-likely source of would-be subscribers.
If the Third Law of Web Design is “Don’t make your visitors work harder than necessary to give you information” (and I believe it is, after “Enough with the splash pages!” and “Dark grey text on a black background is just so kewl, dude”), then why not think about who’s likely to be visiting your site, and structure your longest menus accordingly? Put the top three or four most likely answers at the top, and order the rest alphabetically, numerically or whatever makes sense.