Sitemap

sitemap

Once the website content has been written and compiled, I ask my clients to map their website and create a site outline. In other words, I ask them to make a list of all the pages on which we will distribute the content they have created.

If the work involves redeveloping a website without any dramatic changes to the content, an outline like that can easily be created based on the structure of the website. But if the work consists of creating a brand new website or if redevelopment amounts to creating a website with entirely or almost entirely new organization of the content, then having a site outline is a great tool.

Some people refer to such a list of pages as a “sitemap,” in fact I do that myself on occasion, but it may be safer to call it an outline because the term site map is often used in a slightly different, albeit related context.

Why is it helpful to create an outline of all anticipated web pages for your future website? When listing all pages, you may realize that the organization of the content could be further improved. You may, for example, notice that some pages are redundant or that some pages are missing.

For me as a web designer, a complete outline of web pages is a source of information that helps me make decisions and suggestions about the layout and navigation. Not to mention that seeing the number of pages and the extent of the website helps me arrive at an estimate of the final cost of the project.

Since I have mentioned site maps, and since it is a related topic, let me briefly discuss that as well. You can look at On Page SEO Tips here

A site map is a list of all pages on your website displayed in a manner reflecting their hierarchical order. It is created at the end of the web development process, once all the pages have been created and their respective urls are known, and is placed on an additional page on the website. Each list entry on the site map is also a link to its respective page. This type of a site map is a helpful tool for the website visitors and may help them find their way around, especially if the website’s content is extensive and complex. Here is SEO article and organic ranking article

Another context in which a site map is spoken of is an XML Sitemap file, a special type of file that lists all urls on your website. Sitemap.xml is not visible to the website visitors but it is visible to the web crawlers that browse the World Wide Web in an unceasing effort to index its entire content. It will not hurt to have a Sitemap.xml file on your web hosting server but it can be especially helpful if, for example, some of the pages are so buried in the multilevel structure of the website that it may take a while for them to get discovered by search engine crawlers. A Sitemap.xml can also help a brand new website to be discovered, and therefore indexed, faster. Finally Sitemap.xml files are very helpful for websites with dynamic content.