A website’s sitemap can be compared to the table of contents of a book. The sitemap is important because it guides visitors to the parts of the website in which they are interested. The sitemap allows surfers to reach their destination without wasting time.
Sitemaps are also important from the point of view of search engines. If the search engine finds a sitemap it is much more likely that your page will be fully visited (spidered) and indexed; allowing web surfers to find your pages in their searches.
Creating a sitemap is now easier than it used to be as software and online sitemap generation has become more common. It is worthwhile though to know how the process works and so this article will describe how to build your own sitemap using Notepad, a webpage creator and a little patience.
1) Create the site’s listing on using Notepad.
It is not necesary to use Notepad, any wordprocessing software will work, but all Windows PCs have the program. Firstly, type in all pages and all links you have on the site. Create it as though you were listing the contents of a book. Make a draft version first and then go through the site again; in this way you are less likely to miss anything out.
2) Make a new web page for the sitemap.
You can insert the sitemap in your website on an existing page or create an entirely new page. Take the listing of pages and links that you made previously and copy/paste them into your website creator program and lay out the pages and links. If you made the site you are working on by yourself this part will be easy!
3) Insert a link to the sitemap.
You won’t be able to aee the sitemap if you don’t have a link for it. Create a link on the front page of the site so that visitors can see it as soon as they land on your index/home page and be directed appropriately.
4) Check your the sitemap!
It is important to check that the map works. Test every link on the page, if you get any errors, fix it accurately (and immediately so you do not forget!). Run through every page to make sure that all are accounted for – no missing pages.
5) Upload the sitemap.
Place the sitemap and modified home/index page on your webhost and double check it. It should work as smoothly as it did the final dry run. Errors should be absent at this stage since you already checked it locally (but do check!).
The steps provided above are the manual way to create a sitemap. If you search on the web, you will find online programs that can do all this work for you. All you need do is type in the URL of your website and the sitemap will be created with the click of a button.
The problem with on-line sitemap makers is that the results are generic. All who create their sitemap that way will have a result that that is very similar, unless you customise the appearance yourself. Worse still is the possibility that something else will be inserted in there too; advertising, or links back to the software maker’s site. Then again though, the process is less hard work and much simpler.
If you want a more personal result and appearance and you are OK with computers, better make one of your own. Since you made your own site anyway, creating a sitemap is just the same as creating any other page on your site. Other advantages are that you will know for sure that the links are accurate and you can organize the the layout of the links the way you prefer. You can emphasize major parts of the site compared to less significant parts, you have a hand in controlling how the user users your website. This element of control is paticularly important if you are selling products or services online.
A sitemap is a vital part of a website. People search the web looking for something. If your website has what the searcher is looking for, and your sitemap tells the searcher, then you may well have a new customer looking at your items. Not only that, they might just see some other items that they might be interested in as well.
A sitemap, whether it is generated by a program or made by yourself, has the same purpose – to lead your visitors to where they want to go, and for you to be seen on the internet through search engines. So make sure your website has a sitemap and be seen!
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