What is a website sitemap?
A website sitemap is a file that lists all the pages of a website and provides information on their organisation and structure. It is essentially an outline of the content of a website, with each page listed in a logical order and linked to other related pages.
Sitemaps can be created manually or automatically using specialized software, and they can be submitted to search engines to ensure that all pages on a website are properly indexed and searchable.
Why do I need a website sitemap?
- Improved website navigation: A sitemap provides a clear and organised structure of a website’s content, which helps visitors find the information they are looking for more easily. It also makes it easier for website owners to ensure that all website pages are easily accessible and can be reached with the fewest number of clicks, to ensure a good user experience.
- Better search engine optimization (SEO): Search engines like Google and Bing use sitemaps to crawl and index websites more efficiently. By providing a sitemap, you can ensure that all of your pages are properly indexed, which can lead to the search engines providing better search results and improved search engine rankings for your website.
- Easier content updates: When a website’s content changes, it can be difficult to keep track of all the pages that need to be updated. With a sitemap, you can quickly see all the pages on your site and make updates as necessary.
- Increased accessibility: A sitemap can help make a website more accessible to people with disabilities, such as those who use screen readers to navigate the web. By providing a clear structure of a website’s content, it makes it easier for people with disabilities to find the information they need.
How do you create a website sitemap?
- Create a list of all the pages on your website. This can be done manually by visiting each page and taking note of its URL and title, or automatically using a site crawler tool.
- Organise your list of pages into a logical hierarchy or structure. Group related pages together under main categories or sections and ensure that each page is linked to other related pages.
- Customise your sitemap file to include any additional information you want to provide to search engines, such as the last modification date of each page, the priority level of each page, and any alternate language versions of your pages.
- Submit your sitemap file to search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, through their respective webmaster tools.
It is also important to note that creating a sitemap is an ongoing process, and it should be updated regularly as your website changes and new pages are added.
If this all seems a bit daunting (or just rather tedious), professions web designers like Kehorne can do this for you and provide this as part of any website we design and will keep your sitemap up-to-date. Contact us to find out how we can help you with your web design.