This is a simple guide for setting up a site-map. More elaborate websites will need a more complex site map.
A site map is the backbone for the layout of your website. It defines the pages you have and how they relate to each other. It will be the blueprints for how your website is designed and how people will navigate your site.
The key to making a site map is:
- Know the reason for creating your website (Make sales, product knowldge, etc.)
- Create Goals for your website (X # of new customers, help clients, make X # of sales, etc.)
- List everything that helps you reach that goal.
Depending on your personality I suggest two methods to creating a site map.
Method One: Dump and sort.
Write down “everything” you want to put on your website. For everything you have listed write one to two paragraphs explaining what you’ve listed, focus on the benefits. Each of these writings we will call content.
(Example: A cupcake bakery wants to have their stories of how they found their recipes. Their hope is people will read these stories and relate, making them more amicable in purchasing a cupcake.)
For each piece of content try to identify keyword or phrases that explain the content. Write those words on the same page as your content. We will call those categories.
(Example: With the cupcake bakery, the stories can be labeled “Cupcake Stories,” “About Us,” etc.)
Take all the content with the same categories and bunch them together. Next see if you have categories that have similar words. See if you can work them together into one word or find words that associate with one another.
(Example: “Cupcake Stories” is “About” the business. So the cupcake stories page could go under the “About Us” section.
Once you categorize everything, the categories themselves may be the pages you need. Imagine your website having your business name, your tagline, and the categories you made. Do you think you can find your content under these categories?
Next Step: “Now What?”
Method 2: Set-up a framework
The idea is to start building a frame to help guide you as you build your content.
Write down the pages you want and Start with: Home, Services (product), About, and Contact. Add any other pages you think you need.
Next, for each page listed write content for each page.
Read over everything you have written. Does this content and the pages you list cover the goals of your website?
Next, write down what makes you unique or different. What would someone expect to see when coming to your website? (Restaurants: Menus, Repair Places:Services/Prices, Doctors Office: Insurances taken, etc.) Add this to your Sitemap
After you have written everything you want on your website, try to categorize what is the most important.
For Extra credit: Draw Bubbles with lines, Use lists with bullet points or just draw doodles on a napkin. Whatever you need to express how the information on your site is tied together. (One of the best site-maps I saw was in purple pen and on a thick weight eggshell white paper napkin.)
What about the items that have multiple categories? Easy draw lines from each item to the other page they could go to.
Is all the important information you want available easily found on your sitemap? If not make it so.
Congratulations your site map is done.