A professional guide to site mapping

A sitemap is a well-structured plan with information about a website’s pages and content. It serves as a planning tool to help programmers and developers organize and lay out the website quickly.

Designing a grade-A sitemap is critical if you are to create a user-friendly website today. Scroll down to understand what the entire process entails.

sitemap website

Preparation

Before getting down to business, you want to compose yourself and put together the following three crucial things:

Research

The first step is to clearly understand the website’s objectives, target audience, the information your visitors are looking for, and the current trends. This helps to set the foundation for the entire web design or redesign process.

Key stakeholders

These include all the people needed to make your website design a success. Some of the key candidates here include designers, writers and developers.

Time

Like web design, quality site mapping takes time. Ensure that everyone involved doesn’t rush things as this is a recipe for disaster.

Brainstorming the content

At this stage, you need to flash light into the type of content you want to publish on the website. Ideally, you should base your theme on the product/service on offer, testimonials (if any), the amount of company information you intend to provide, and any resources your visitors may find helpful.

Don’t worry about where you will take the content yet; just think freely and openly for optimal idea flow. 

Define primary navigation

Variously known as 1st tier, global, top level, and main navigation, primary navigation appears horizontally at the top of a website. For a high-quality sitemap, it should be concise (1-5 words), use simple language, be flexible (create room for growth), and display top-down hierarchy (to make it easy to find information). 

Dig deeper into second/third level navigation structures 

Most websites (under 50 pages) use the second level of structure to support a strong hierarchy. Larger websites may need a third level of structure to achieve optimal results.

Unlike the primary navigation where everything needs to be concise, there’s no limit on the content level here. 

Map out utility pages

Use the footer or any other relevant spot to map out all the crucial pages that need inclusion in your website. Some of them include legal information, disclaimers, terms and conditions, and privacy policy among other utility pages. 

Designate a design template

You are probably wondering, is it possible to create a design template when the content isn’t even available? Sure! The idea here is to determine the type of content you want to publish in your website. This simplifies the curation process and paves the way for UI design later on. 

Final remarks

When created professionally, a visual sitemap can facilitate your brand’s growth by streamline the design process. The secret to success is to prepare adequately, brainstorm the right type of content, engage all relevant stakeholders, and remaining open to iteration.

Did we leave out any crucial step in creating a solid visual sitemap? Feel free to share with us your process in the comments below.

We are one of the leading web marketing & design companies in the greater Northwest region specializing in Internet Marketing Services. Our team has been serving the community for over 7 years.

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