August 14, 2018
Welcome to the first post in a new series I’m calling the Designer Lingo Series!
I’ll break down some common branding and web design jargon. The first term on the list is sitemaps.
Simply defined, a sitemap is a list or map of all the pages contained in a website.
Sitemaps can range in size, depending on the website, from very simple to exceedingly complex. They typically have 3 levels:
Now that we’ve covered what exactly a sitemap is, let’s discuss why you need to have one.
Mapping your website is one of the first things to do in the web development process. It allows you to plan the ideal path website users will take when they first visit your site.
Sitemaps also help to organize a website to ensure content is easily accessible to the end user, content is intuitive to find, and similar content is presented together.
As a bonus, sitemaps also help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) by making sure all your web pages can be found and indexed by search engines like Google!
First, think about the key pieces of content you’d like on your website, such as your contact information, your services and a brief bio or information about your business.
These key content pieces will become your main navigation pages.
Designer Tip! The fewer the navigation options the better. Clear and simple choices are the way to go when it comes to picking the main pages of your website.
Once you choose your main pages, decide on a goal for each one. Every page on your website should have one desired outcome and these should be mapped out in your sitemap.
When you’ve determined the goal or purpose of each page, you can start planning what content you’d like featured. Will you need photographs, contact forms, social media highlights or key pieces of text? If the content becomes too much, perhaps a subpage is in order.
Designer Tip! Information should be accessible to your users in the least amount of steps possible, 0-2 is ideal.
If you find that content is hidden within a subpage and too difficult for users to find, re-arrange your sitemap so information is organized in the most effective way possible.
I’m Vanessa, a west coast Canadian girl obsessed with all things design who left her corporate gig to build websites for like-minded creative entrepreneurs. I’d love to help you too!
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