Creating a sitemap

When thinking about your sitemap, there are two things you  need to bear in mind. What do your customers need? and then what do search engines need? Answer both questions with your sitemap and you’ve made a good start on a great site.

The structure

At a structural level, the first thing to remember is that  the site shouldn’t be too deep. No more than three levels is ideal. So, this  would be good:

  • Home
    • About Us
      • Our Team
      • Our History
      • Vacancies
      • Press Releases

And this would be not so good:

  • Home
    • About Us
      • About Our Company
        • Our History
        • Press Releases
      • About Our Staff
        • Our Team
        • Vacancies

Why? Because people lose interest (and get lost) the deeper  into a site they go. And search engines feel the same way.

Simple steps to create a sitemap

To get started, brainstorm every  area of your business a visitor might want to know about. Now organise that  information into groups based on types of information those visitors might need  to know. That means information on your company in one area; information on  your products in another and so on.

The next step is to look at each group of information and  ask:

  • which of these pieces of information are  essential to help most customers make the decision to choose my business over  someone else’s?

and

  • which pieces of information might some customers  need to help them make that decision?

Let’s take an example – the About Us section of your site.  Most customers will be looking for something like photos of your team or a  summary of how your process works. That’s the information you put on the main  About Us page. Some customers will also want the reassurance of knowing a bit  about how the company started and how it got to where it is today. So that’s  information you could summarise at the bottom (or side) of the About Us page with a link to  a page that gives full details.

Do this for every section of your site and you’re off to a  good start. The next step is to look at the information that’s on each page and  make sure it answers all the questions your visitors might be asking. That’s  the subject of the next post.


Catherine Every at EveryWord
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Author: Catherine Every


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