In virtual hand-holding, it is an important tip to remember that people visit the site in order to look for some information. Internet surfers are an unforgiving lot. They only visit sites that are useful to them. With thousands of websites out there that offer the same features as your own site, how do you stand out? This is where sitemaps come in.
What is a sitemap, you ask? Just as the name implies, this is an aid that makes navigating a website easier. The premise is basically the same as in an ordinary map. A sitemap contains the structure of the website as well as links to the site’s major parts and subsections. Now, if your site offers sufficient information as well as easy navigation then you have hit the jackpot. Your site will probably generate more traffic than your competitors’.
Another advantage to having a site map is that search engines love it, mainly because of two things — text and keywords. Therefore, it might also prove beneficial to combine relevant keywords with hypertext links. For instance, if your sitemap has a link to website promotion, then your hyperlink should contain the words ‘website promotion’ and then linked directly to that page in your site.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, a site map need not be fancy. It’s good for it to be catchy, though what’s important is for it to be clear and easy to navigate. In order to have a good site map, one must remember four things.
First, a prominent link to your sitemap should be placed on every page. It should be labelled as SITE MAP so that surfers can easily spot it.
The next thing you need to remember in order to have a good sitemap is that your sitemap should show all your web pages through different levels as basic text links.
The third thing to remember is to use standard colours for links and for the visited links as well.
Lastly, your sitemap should show a quick and easy-to-follow overview of the site without the need to scroll around in the web browser.
Google and Yahoo had begun allowing people to submit site maps to their account as a way of informing them about your web pages as well as the updates to your site. Although it does not help your page ranking any, it’s still worth taking the time to set up properly.
As more people came to the conclusion that sitemaps are indispensable, more and more sites have began offering free software for generating site maps. A quick search on Google for advice on creating a site map initially cropped up many links to software you could buy or download for free to create a site map. One such site is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com, which offers a free online sitemap generator.
When you are done with your sitemap, do not forget to tell Google about it so they can nose about and hopefully index all the pages of your site.