Web sites, a virtual place where I exist online. By me, I mean this website will be my physical presence. It can be my blog or my online business store.
Now, I am sure you already know that to exist online, I have to be presentable, and my business web page needs to be attractive, simple, elegant, informative, and clear.
But, just like in a physical world where I can sell anything to anyone simply by making an inspiring, comfortable shop, I can do the same in the virtual world.
If I want you to stick a little longer and read my blog completely on my website, I have to present the blog in the simplest ways to discuss something complex in the easiest ways.
It has to be catchy to generate more organic views.
How will I make you stick to my website for longer than usual time? This is a million-dollar question these days.
Everyone is trying to generate more and more traffic. How are they planning on having more traffic than ever?
This is what we will be discussing in today’s article.
Websites and designing a website that generates more and more views around the clock are not easy. So, without taking any more of your time, let’s dig in and see what site maps are and how information architects use them to make websites.
Engineer your website
Planning and designing a website is always very overwhelming for me.
I have so many ideas and thoughts, based on which I want to make a design website. And most of the time, I see myself getting lost with all the information I have, and I have no idea how to connect one thing to the other.
Why am I talking about the layout of my webpage, and why not the website’s content? Here is why,
- The website has to be viewed by a client, customer, or reader.
- Without a clear, simple, unique layout, I am sure the client, customer, or the reader will not be staying on my webpage for more time.
- It has to be my idea, my place, but my place is nothing if it is not well planned or confusing the client, customer, or reader.
- I have to ensure that my client doesn’t feel lost and my website feels like home to him.
- To make the customer stick around and roam more on my website, I will be using a sitemap.
A site map helps to plan, organize, design, and build the website in the simplest ways. This makes a site map an overall layout of what needs to be where and how everything will be interconnected to give the website a mesmerizing look.
It will not be wrong to explain the site map as a flow chart. It starts from a page, which is divided into sections, and every section has multiple subpages.
Site maps are usually divided into two parts, an HTML or a visual one and an XML file system.
Looking for an example
Let me explain site maps with an example. What if I have to take you to a strange place? A place that is unknown to you and leaves you all alone there.
What will be your first thought? You will be out of your comfort zone, in a new place where you have no idea of why you have been left there alone.
To be familiar with the place, you need to explore and memorize its surroundings. Only then will you be able to move around from one place to another place without hesitation.
For example, you will get to know which street connects your house to the public bus stop. Where do the buses go from that stop? How many sections that place has? How are they interlinked, and how are they connected?
Let’s replace patterns with flow charts and flow charts with maps. Yes, you read it right.
Physical maps, if I would have given you the map in the beginning. Would that not be a convenient thing to do? Yes, that was, as it clearly shows how the place is interconnected and how things work there. So now you can ask me why I need to have a sitemap and what its benefits are.
So now I have my sitemaps with me. What now?
This site map will be handed over to the information architect, who will design and define the website’s layout. They will categorize information into sections and pages while ensuring the relevant information is reachable. Site maps help you to see how the website looks to the customer.
To explain to you the need for a site map, I will share some stats.
Now, this may sound crazy but let’s be honest and face the facts. Living virtually on the internet is the new motto, and everyone is trying to go live.
In the USA, 90% of adults are always online. This means more the 140,000 new websites are registered daily. Yes, that’s insane, but don’t worry. Not all of them survive. During a study, it was found out that 60% of the people are not interested in referring a website to someone only because it’s not well built.
Are these stats compelling enough to convince you that every website needs to have a clearly defined agenda?
Because without an agenda, to plan the website is similar to overload it with information in a form that doesn’t make any sense? This phenomenon of being lost in a site without a site map is a classic example of failure.
One source of information
You have to remember that building a website from scratch is not an easy task or even one man’s job. It has to be a team of highly skilled people who are collaborating towards the same goal.
This means that everyone can have his or her thoughts towards your site map or information architecture. This is why you need to clearly define and convey the site map and what kind of information architecture is required.
Your site map will be the pathway that will be followed by everyone from your team working on the development of your website. It becomes the Bible for your team to follow.
And in case if they come up or feel like adding a new section, page, or subsection, they will know what to look up to and how to be the perfect architects of that addition.
One more thing, this site map will allow your team to identify, highlight and remove unnecessary information from the website.
Unnecessary information is the information added to the website, but now with a finalized site map, that doesn’t make any sense and will only confuse the customer.
Any unnecessary information which doesn’t fall in line with the site map should be immediately removed. Similar is the case with duplicate information. It should be removed immediately.
Simply said, a site map makes you aware of what exactly you are doing, how it is connected, how the customer sees this, and how I can make the customer stick to my website more. This well-structured use of a site map is only beneficial if everyone on the team knows what is happening and in which direction the website will be built.
The site map has to be updated if anything is being updated or deleted. However, it should never be outdated as an outdated site map will cause severe problems, and the customers will be annoyed, resulting in decreased traffic.
In the end, if you know why you need a website and what you will be using it for, then please remember to finalize your site map to overcome the overwhelming feeling of being lost and occupied.