Whenever you decide to build something, you need a plan. Before the first shovelful of dirt is moved to lay a foundation, you’ve completed a set of blueprints for the finished building. A sitemap works similarly when building a new website.
Sitemaps are Deceptively Simple
Fortunately, creating a sitemap is much easier than drawing up blueprints. If you’ve ever created a flow chart or an outline, you’ll have no problem creating a sitemap. A sitemap displays and organizes the pages and subpages you want to include on your website. To clarify, we’re not just talking about the sitemap file that helps Google index the website, but rather a planned-out map of all the content on your site.
Your website might include the following pages:
- About Us: with subpages for Biographies and History
- Services: with a subpage for each service you offer
- Products: with a subpage for each product or product category
Take a look at the sitemap builder tool we’re including on our new platform and you’ll have a good visual of sitemap construction.
Sitemaps Force You to Clarify Your Goals
It’s critical for websites to have a clean, easy-to-use design. Confused visitors tend to quickly become ex-visitors as they abandon the website. You need to remember that everyone who clicked on your link did so for a reason. They should be able to find what they’re looking for very quickly, regardless of the size of the website.
A sitemap forces you to figure out what you need. If more than one person is working on the website, as is normally the case, the sitemap keeps everyone on the same page and tracks progress. Brainstorm goals, content, user experience and other issues before any work is done.
Sitemaps Save Time and Money
If you’ve ever been involved in a construction project, you know that changes usually increase the cost and push out the finish date. Changes made late in the project cause more havoc to budgets, deadlines and sanity than changes made early on.
Building a website is no different. Keeping changes to a minimum is to your benefit and a well-thought-out sitemap helps you do that.
Sitemaps Help You Prevent Duplicate Content
When pages are added impulsively, duplicating content becomes a distinct possibility. Duplicate content is not only an unnecessary waste of resources and time, but could even unknowingly sabotage conversions. A sitemap can highlight pages that would have duplicate content. If the duplicate content is necessary, it might be better to just link to the content that’s already on another page.
Duplicate content means that if it’s updated on one page, it must be updated on all pages. Otherwise, you end up with conflicting information.
Conversions can be impacted by duplicate content if a search engine has to make an arbitrary decision on which page to index. If Murphy’s Law is in effect (and it probably is), the search engine will index the page that doesn’t convert rather than the page that works for you.
Sitemaps Can Increase Conversions
You want to have as few steps as necessary in your conversion funnel. A sitemap lets you take an objective look at your funnel. You might be able to streamline it by deleting a step or combining two steps, making it easier for your visitor to signup or buy. In fact, setting up conversion funnel software before your website goes live could let you begin testing and tracking results earlier. After all, time is money.
One of our specialties at BXP Creative is custom website design for agencies. We like WordPress because of its flexibility, functionality and cost-effectiveness. And, yes, sitemaps are completed before beginning work on your website.
We offer a full range of services such as SEO, logos, ecommerce, branding and more. Our goal is to make your life easier and more profitable.