Have you decided to create a website for your company, for the online store where you sell your products or for the blog in which you provide useful information? Or have you had a website for several years now, but you’d like to redesign it or update it? Don’t rush it or do it haphazardly! You must carefully plan each phase of your web project and carry it out methodically. Most importantly, the content of your website must be well organized. The creation of a sitemap or site plan is crucial, as it will function as the skeleton of your website. It will designate the structure of the various pieces of content, all of the webpages and the navigation between these disparate elements. It will also demonstrate how all of this content is grouped, linked and presented to internet users.
But how exactly do you go about creating an effective sitemap for your website? Here’s some advice from our experts.
Table of content
- Why create a sitemap for your website?
- How to build an effective structure
The creation of a site plan is indispensable because it serves as the foundation of your website! In fact, a good structure will not only ensure an optimal user experience but will also improve the website’s SEO. Furthermore, creating a sitemap during the design phase of your web project will provide a better overview of your website, thus facilitating collaboration.
By designing the user journey to be simple, efficient, fluid, intuitive and ergonomic so that your users can find the desired information as quickly as possible, you’ll make their experience easier and more pleasant. You’ll prevent them from wasting time unnecessarily. As a result, you’ll reduce your website’s bounce rate.
The more you understand the habits and characteristics of your target audience, the better prepared you will be to create a sitemap that’s effective and relevant.
In ranking search results, search engines—particularly Google—give great importance to the user experience, bounce rates and the way a website’s content is organized. Therefore, the more logical and fluid your site plan is, the better your SEO will be, as Google will explore and analyze all of the content of your pages and the interactions between them. To learn more about the latest Google update, see our article on the topic.
This phase of your web project will enable you to take a step back and refine your vision, organize your ideas and prioritize certain elements. It will also make it easier to explain your point of view to your collaborators.
In order to establish a sitemap that’s efficient, fluid and relevant, you must do the following:
To appear at the top of the search results, it’s important for every page, category and subcategory to correspond to an inquiry. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right keywords, which should be relevant and adapted to the content of each section and each page.
If you are redesigning your website, make a list of all the existing content. If you are updating your website, make a list of any content you have that you’d like to add. Next, sort everything (images, videos, text, etc.) by category or theme
Now that you’ve defined your content, you must organize it by level. Be careful not to create a structure that’s too complex or you’ll risk losing your visitors. The best strategy is to follow the three-click rule: it should take internet users a maximum of three clicks to find the information they’re looking for.
The top level should always correspond to your home page (which includes the most important information), followed by the second and third levels (which represent the various categories and subcategories).
Analyzing the websites of your competitors will guide you in the creation of your sitemap. It will not only allow you to see how your competitors’ websites are structured, but will also help you determine if you’ve omitted any important information or categories.
Once your content is organized, you’ll need to map it. There are numerous free and paid software programs that can help you create the structure of your website if it contains multiple pages.
The following are the most popular programs for creating sitemaps:
- GlooMaps: a free online tool that allows you to create and visually preview a simple, efficient sitemap in just a few clicks
- MindMeister: this easy-to-use tool provides a comprehensive approach and helps you organize all of your ideas
- Cacoo: this is a simple, ergonomic online tool for creating site plans
- DYNO Mapper: this excellent tool enables you to create interactive sitemaps
- Slickplan: an intuitive online program that will help you create a sitemap quickly and easily
- FlowMapp: this is an online sitemap-creation tool that will also allow you to optimize the user experience on your website
- MindNode: this brainstorming tool will facilitate the construction of your site plan and help you organize your ideas
Of course, you can also use Microsoft PowerPoint or even outline your sitemap on paper.
This is the final step in the creation of your sitemap! It will allow you to make any final adjustments that may be necessary to optimize the structure of your website. You will need to perform different tests with various scenarios so you can make sure that internet users will be able to find the desired information quickly and effectively in every case. Pay particular attention to the hierarchy, coherence and links between the pages, categories and subcategories.
Do you want to create a sitemap for your website? Would you like to find out how much it would cost to create your website? Ask for an estimate!