How to Create An Effective Sitemap For a Website
Article by Cyd Cruz
Graphics Design by Vargheese Martin
Sitemaps are your blueprint for sorting out your planned pages, making it an important feature for your website. It also makes your users’ journey easier and is used to communicate with web crawlers used by search engines. These web crawlers use sitemaps to update indexes, thereby making websites easier to find, search and use.
What is a Sitemap and How to improve Website Visibility?
To put it simply, a sitemap is the list of pages that make up a website. There are three kinds of sitemaps:
- Website-planning sitemaps
- Hierarchical human-visible listings
- Structured listings for web crawlers
To sum it all up in one sentence, a sitemap is important for web development. It’s also essential for improving user experience and getting to the top of the search engine rankings. This article aims to provide you with a few different methods on how to create a website sitemap.
5 Easy Steps to Creating a Sitemap For a Website
1. Plan out your primary pages
Just like how trees work, your primary pages will serve as your website’s main branches. Your primary pages, also called top-level pages, are the ones that will show up in your site’s main navigation menu. These are pages that you have to plan out before you create a website sitemap. Some common top-level pages are the Home, About Us, Our Products, Contact Us pages.
Your top-level pages should fulfill your website’s primary objectives. These pages are important because they give your users an idea of what your business is all about. It also provides them with details on how they can benefit from it.
Moreover, top-level pages are what your users will usually use to gauge the quality of your entire website. A study has shown it takes a user less than a second to determine whether your business is worth trying out or not. Your top-level pages are the pages that your users will end up visiting the most. Ensure that they provide enough information to provide answers to their problems.
2. Sort out your secondary pages
Once the primary branches on your trustworthy website have been created, your next step would be to work out which pages can be categorized into which top-level page. When sorting out your secondary pages, keep in mind that they should fit the primary pages where they’ll fall under. A product you’re selling shouldn’t go under the “Services” primary page, for example.
Secondary pages should provide extra information on what the top-level page is all about. It should also provide users with additional details that can help them in navigating through your website.
Another thing to note is that depending on your industry’s nature, you may end up with multiple secondary pages. This can lead to loads of options for your user on the navigation menu. Make sure to remember that keeping dropdowns convenient is an absolute must.
One such example of a user-unfriendly dropdown menu is a multi-levelled one that couldn’t fit within a user’s screen. This setup requires them to scroll down to see the rest of the options. If you do insist on keeping numerous dropdown choices, consider using an expandable menu. This allows choices to be displayed in a two-dimensional drop-down to keep your choices wrapped within the screen.
3. Keep it simple when creating a website sitemap
A proper sitemap is a good basis for an effective navigation page. When creating a website sitemap, you may want to keep it simple. Complicated sitemaps may lead to complicated navigation menus which, in turn, may prove distracting, bothersome and cluttered for your users.
If your products aren’t too numerous and can be condensed in a single page, consider doing so. You can also incorporate a rotating slider to keep the page short. Remember, the more scrolling that a user has to do on your page, the more overwhelming it is for them. The lack of stopping points may also prove to be exhausting and might even feel like a chore!
4. Establish a URL structure
A uniform resource locator, more commonly known as a URL, is essentially what serves as an online page’s address (example: www.verzdesign.com). Now that you know what a URL is, you might ask: why is its structure important?
During website development, keeping a consistent URL structure throughout your entire website may seem like a trivial task to many that wouldn’t do much good in the long run. This couldn’t be further from the truth. First and foremost, consistent URL structures will help Google deliver consistent relevant results to your target market by providing it with an insight on what your specific page is all about. This also helps the web crawler make relevant connections between the many pages on your website. When planning out the URLs for the pages on your sitemap and optimise your naming conventions. Stick to the hierarchy that you have created. Here’s an example of how a user-friendly URL can provide convenience for the users:
- https://www.verzdesign.com/ is the URL that leads to our homepage. Our users can also access other top-level pages here via our navigation menu.
- Clicking on the “Our Services” page will lead them to https://www.verzdesign.com/our-services. On this page, they can find the different kinds of services that we offer.
- Choosing the “Blogging” service under our “Web Copywriting” category will lead them to https://www.verzdesign.com/our-services/copywriting/blogging. They can view the many different offers that we have included in our blogging service here.
Additionally, URL consistency may be greatly appreciated by several users that visit your website. However, some tech-savvy users know that pages with similar structures only need their URLs to be edited a little bit to navigate to another page that they want to check out. If you’re still having trouble grasping the concept of this, imagine this scenario:
- Your user who is currently viewing a specific product will be on the https://www.verzdesign.com/our-services/copywriting/blogging. This user would want to go back and check the other services we offer.
With a consistently structured URL, users who wish to go back to the services page can simply remove the /copywriting/blogging from the URL and find themselves back to the “Products” page.
5. Leave room for content expansion
Normally, All online businesses start with small websites. As your presence, influence and budget grow, you’ll want to expand and improve your website. To properly do this, you’ll have to add new content, features and possibly pages to your already-existing website.
This will prove to be challenging if your sitemap lacks room to add relevant pages in the future. You may also want to ensure that your current sitemap will still be feasible for future expansions. Individual pages for each product and service, to give an example, may be viable to your present business model. But doing this might lead to your website being too cluttered once you start pushing out newer products and services.
Verz Design is here to help you create your website sitemap
Being able to easily navigate your website is an integral part of improving a user’s journey. When trying to check out the things that you have to offer, your visitors should be able to find the things they want and need with as little effort as possible. With over 3,000 active clients and as an established web design and web development company in Singapore, we have enough experience under our wing to provide you with an optimised sitemap for your website. Here at Verz Design, your business is our top priority.
Looking to start-up or expand your online business? Give us a ring at 6841 1680 or link up with us at [email protected] for a free consultation!