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What Sitemaps Can Do For Your Website

Mar 26, 2008
While your homepage will give visitors the basics and general idea of your website, what if visitors want to know exactly what information is present, and where it can be found? A sitemap is the solution to this conundrum. Like a table of contents, a sitemap may be quickly scanned to see what information the site contains.

Undoubtedly, your next question is: What's a sitemap? Simply put, a sitemap shows the structure of your site; e.g. how the pages of your site link together. If there are a very large number of pages on your site, it may end up being a challenge to create, and confusing to visitors. This can be helped somewhat by listing links the way the site maintainer would see them, as a sort of "tree" - this is called a hierarchical view.

Sitemaps are not just for humans anymore, however. Search engines bots, aka spiders, search through sitemaps compiling links in their search for certain keywords. Having a well organized sitemap in place can help you show up in more searches.

Benefits of a Sitemap

You may be thinking that this business of creating a sitemap sounds like a lot of work. While it can be so, there are a lot of benefits to having a sitemap, for instance:

1. A sitemap can be used as a tool for planning web design.

Even if your site is very small, having only a few pages, it's a good idea to have the structure of your website plotted out this way. This will be a big help when adding pages in the future, as you will already be able to see where they will go. Your site will not become a tangled mess pages without their relation to one another difficult to decipher.

2. No page will be left unvisited.

The search engine spiders will visit each page of your website if you have the foresight to create a sitemap. Your pages will be included in search engines databases, increasing your page rankings, meaning more visitors for your site in the long run.

3. Visitors will have an easier time to navigate your site.

One factor why visitors stay on a site is ease of navigation. A sitemap gives your visitors an idea of what the contents of your site are. They can also easily find those pages they'd like to see within your site. Without a sitemap, your visitors may not stay on your pages, returning to search engines to search for information that may right there on your site.

4. A sitemap can encourage more traffic.

As your website grows, you must update your sitemap to keep pace with that expansion. This way, visitors can see that content is being added, which encourages them to become repeat visitors. This is doubly important if your site sells products or offers a service. Potential customers will know right away about your newest products or services by examining your sitemap.

5. There is potential advertising value when using a sitemap.

With a sitemap, potential advertisers have an easier time evaluating targeted ad placement on your site. This, of course means extra income for you.

The benefits of sitemaps are well worth the time and effort of creating them. Not only do they aid you in designing your website, they make navigation more easy for visitors, help your website get higher search engine rankings, increase traffic, and help you get more income from advertisements.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News , a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.
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