A sitemap is better than a treasure map. Ok, whoa… that’s not entirely true, allow me to rephrase. To your website, a sitemap is better than a treasure map. When you put a sitemap into a web designer’s hands it is akin to putting a lost pirate’s map into a treasure hunter’s hands – only a good web designer will strike gold more often than the treasure hunter.
It is incredibly common for people to create a website kind of like they would a business card. They just want the website out there with a little information about who they are, what they do and then how to contact them. As time goes on they realize that they want a page for this, a page for that and the next thing you know their website is a 60 page monster and a nightmare to navigate. All of this could have easily been avoided simply by making a sitemap before getting a web designer started designing your website.
Developing a sitemap can…
Get Everyone On the Same Wavelength
From your sales and marketing team to your website designer, a sitemap is the most effective way to make sure everyone is on the same webpage. When you build your sitemap as a team then you know that your co-workers needs are going to be met on the website. Sure, your web designer can decide on the sitemap for you, they are professionals, but no one knows your business like you and your team do. Don’t think that your designer is going to be offended by being given your sitemap, they will think it’s great – at talonX we sure appreciate them, it helps us get on your wavelength too!
Bring Clarity to Your Goals
If you don’t have a solid goal for your website it will inevitably become unfocused and lacking on the UX side of things. A sitemap can really help you bring clarity to the web design project. When you sit down with your team to design the map you get to really hash out exactly what the primary, secondary and tertiary goals for the website are, and that is what helps inform the creation of the sitemap and ultimately the overall website layout and design. It will also help you ‘trim the fat’ off of your web presence, if a part of the site isn’t directly tied into the overall goal, it’s obviously unnecessary and it’s gone.
Stop You From Seeing Double
When a website is repeatedly added to and balloons into that monster site we were talking about way up there in the second paragraph, you tend to find duplicate and in some cases triplicate information. Repeated information is not only annoying for the audience and a waste of time and energy, it also throws off search engine’s search bot’s. When a search engine sees two pages with almost identical information it will choose one to show up and ditch the other. The search bots may allow a page that was designed with your goals in mind to get tossed aside, while an older out of date page is what gets presented to your audience. Ew, no. You don’t want that happening. A sitemap should stop duplicate web content from happening.
Help the Flow of Information
Finally, a sitemap in the hands of an excellent web design agency like talonX, will help ensure proper information architecture, in plain English it will help make sense of organizing and labelling websites, which ensures a much better UX and usually a higher conversion rate (if that is the goal of your website.)
Don’t worry, making a sitemap is not complicated and doesn’t need to look fancy – at all. Really, you just need a solid understanding of your audience and the needs of your various teams. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically pleasing, we regularly get them in a Word doc. So don’t be shy, go forth and create a site map so you can call us up to create an epic website for you.