If you’re building your first website or in the process of redesigning your current one, you can’t forget about creating a sitemap. According to Google, Googlebot and other search engine web crawlers use sitemaps to intelligently crawl websites.
Now, if you’re not exactly sure what a sitemap is and how you can go about designing one, don’t worry. We’ll briefly define what it is and give you tips for designing a sitemap.
Sitemaps at a Glance
A sitemap is simply a list of web pages. Sitemaps can be as simple as a text list of pages, which may or may not be in order. Or they could be structured in a way that contributes positively to the overall planning of the site, as well as creates a better experience for site visitors.
Once you have a sitemap, all stakeholders will be clear on what pages should be created. You can think of a sitemap as the bare bones of a web project, regardless of its size.
Setting Up Your Sitemap: 5 Tips to Consider
You can create a sitemap manually or you can use a tool such as Slickplan if you want a hassle-free way to do it. Some prefer to have a sitemap that’s an alphabetical listing of their website’s pages, while others divide the pages into categories.
Designing a sitemap will depend on what niche you’re in, the amount of content you plan to add, and how user-friendly you want your site to be. That said, here are 5 other tips to consider when setting up your sitemap.
Link to Your Homepage
For SEO purposes, you want web crawlers to begin crawling from your homepage down to the pages in your sitemap’s listing. You want to do this so the spiders go through every page. If spiders don’t crawl some of your pages, you might be losing out on opportunities to have those pages ranked in search engines.
Don’t Overdo it with the Number of Pages
If you have too many pages, Google and other search engines might think that your site is a link farm. They might penalize your site and banish it to the nether regions of search engine results.
Fix Broken Links
Isn’t it annoying when you’re looking for information online and a particular link serves you a 404 message? Part of designing a sitemap involves checking all the links, making sure nothing is broken and all links go to their corresponding pages.
Mind Your Titles and Link Descriptions
Again, for that added SEO kick, you want to make sure that your titles are keyword-rich and that the links in your sitemap come with short descriptions. Doing these makes it easier for users who are surfing the net for specific information about a product or a service they’re interested in.
Employ a Cohesive Design
Is your sitemap looking like it relates to the other pages on your site? If yes, you’re off to a great start.
Just make sure you use the same HTML template. And always think in terms of unity and consistency for all the design elements of your website.
Need Help Designing a Sitemap?
If you followed the tips above but still need more info on how to properly design a sitemap, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. You can also send us a message and we’ll make sure to get back to you asap.