Site Map. You’ve surely heard this term before, whether when browsing a website and seeing it as part of the footer’s navigation, or if you’re a website owner and asked to create one.
A site map is a list of pages that are available on a website for visitors (and search engine robots) to access. Their purpose tends to vary, depending on who the audience is.
For a real live visitor, a site map consists of a page that lists all of the accessible sites in case they can’t find what they need through the top level navigation. Depending on the amount of pages, sometimes the sitemap can be located at the bottom of the website.
For a search engine spider, usually in XML format, this notifies them all of the pages they are allowed to crawl and notate for inclusion to the search engine results. Nowaday, there are many websites that will automatically generate a XML sitemap for you just by entering in your website’s URL – for example XML-Sitemaps.com.
For website designers, this list is usually made before the design process is started, to find out how many pages are necessary, and the work flow of these pages. Often, they are in the format of an outline or flow chart which defines top level and secondary pages.
These site maps serve as the blueprint, or the framing of a website – without it, there is no structure for the website regarding the path and categorization of content on it!
Overall, no matter the method used to show them, the site map gives an idea of the layout and flow of the content! This will save time for everyone – whether bot, visitor, or designer!