What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a flow-chart displaying a comprehensive list of all the pages on your website that are accessible to users and crawlers (like Google). It tells search engines what type of content is on your site and how often updates occur. Consider your website as a home for all public information about your company and products. Just like the blueprint for your home, site mapping creates a plan for the structure, navigational flow and content of your website.
What you’ll need to build your sitemap
Before making your sitemap, you’ll need to do a few things to prepare.
Research: Who are your customers? What kind of information do they need? Are there any tedious tasks in your business could be automated through the site? How long do users typically spend on this type of website?
Objectives: What are the goals of your website? What would you like to gain from each user?
Content: What type of content do you need/want to have? Is it on brand? Are there pages on your current site that aren’t being read? Why is this the case?
Having these things prepared will be extremely beneficial when building your sitemap and eliminating insufficient content.
Why should you build a sitemap?
To clarify content
You only have seconds to capture your audience’s attention when they land on your site. That means they need to instantly understand your key values and how to navigate your site – it has to be effortless. When you first start building your website, the sheer volume of information that needs to be incorporated can be intimidating. A sitemap can help clarify the type of content that should be on your site and where it will be placed.
To optimize your SEO (ranking in Google)
The website mapping stage is where we structure your website for the best google ranking possible. It is a key time to consider which keywords will be used, establish the hierarchy of your site and your metadata.
It is also a time to ensure that your site isn’t “repeating itself” meaning that you have a plan to avoid duplicate content which can harm your SEO (and annoy the user). If you have duplicate content on your site, a crawler, such as google, may choose only one of two similar pages to index. This hurts the chances of the second page showing up in a search engine, especially if the two pages are designed for two different reasons.
To help reach your goal
The most important part of creating a sitemap is that it will help you define the goals of your website and streamline the user experience to help you reach them. For example, the main goal of an e-commerce site should be to sell your product and incentivize returning customers. Your sitemap will help you create a plan of attack to achieve this goal before it’s designed so that you’re left with a website that operates smoothly and purposefully.
Having troubles mapping your site and overall goals? Let’s grab a coffee! We’d love to help!