Web 101: Understanding Site Maps


When I first started writing custom content for websites 20+ years ago, I was just doing that...writing. Those of us who weren’t actual webmasters usually weren’t called upon to map out a site’s sections. We were given what we thought of as an outline.


For example, in my main work in supplying health information, let’s say I was being told to explain osteoporosis (the age-related bone loss). My client would send an email with info like, “We need 800 words and you have to include an Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment.”


And that would be it.


I didn’t know that could be defined as the site map. That’s because essentially a site map is really a content outline. Here’s a look at a very basic site map with just a few of the links and sublinks that osteoporosis site would need. The main tabs are in blue, then in yellow there are sample sublinks:

As I say, that’s very basic. It’s not even the full map, but I’m sure you get the idea. If you haven’t seen my story on infographics you should take a look. That’s ‘cause the companies I noted for their great templates--including Canva and Piktochart--offer tons of free site mapping options. I will tell you that (IMHO) a lot of times I can’t find something as basic as the one here and that’s all that many need. But what you’ll see via those other outlets can still be inspiring.


What do my targets need to know?


If the idea of site mapping seems frightening, there’s an easy way to ease your fears. Think of it as what I said earlier: outlining. In basic site mapping that’s really all it is. And when you’re working on the kind of websites that many 1- or 2-person businesses need, it really stays simple.


In fact, here’s a present. These are the tabs I’d figure for any basic business site map:

  • Welcome

  • Who We Are (or About Us)

  • What We Do (or Our Services; Our Products)

  • Contact Us

And that’s it!


Where’s Your News?


Many businesses really should have a News (or News & Insights) tab. It’s a major way to gain recognition.


I’ve written on blogging (which of course is what this is) and I’ve urged folks not to fret if all they can post is one item a month. It’s at least one way to get into the gist of it. I will say here, though, that you really should aim to provide insights weekly, so you should ensure someone is responsible for keeping this section truly up to date.


Other information


Do you offer training? Then Classes & Webinars could be another tab. I know I read in 2020 that online training was already exploding, but since the pandemic lockdown truly went into play, outlets--especially Zoom--have really seen a rise. How much (and how well) are you (or your team) taking advantage of this option to be seen as an expert?


Are you selling products? Then tabs for Product Directory and Order Now should be on your site. The former would probably be the most complicated for any business to keep updated and so requires even more of a true hands-on commitment than even the News.


Bigger businesses could add an Employee (or Members) Only tab. That’s a major internal communications tool. Let employees know about personnel training, awards, local events, promotions, new hires, and other info HR knows staffers need.


If you’re a truly 21st-century businessperson, you should already have a website. Even so, double-check these pointers and see if there’s anything you really need to be adding or updating to ensure your site really attracts—then keeps—people’s attention.


Just remember that posting any insights to your site alone won’t do much. You have to find ways to alert targets that your sharp-wittedness is out there.

###


Wendy Meyeroff has been collaborating on B2B & B2C site maps, blogs, and other web work for those in health, tech, and business for 20+ years—even with tight timelines and budgets. That includes a special niche: award-winning work to attract the ever-exploding senior market. Check out her Upcoming Webinars here, under Teaching.


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