Sitemap design: how to design a sitemap for a website easily
Do you need to create the perfect sitemap? You're in the right place. Below is our straightforward roadmap to help you get started.
Why designing a sitemap correctly is important
Sitemap design and planning your site's hierarchy have far reaching effects on everything from search engines to making sure your visitors have a buttery smooth user experience.
Save precious time
A detailed sitemap establishes a clear site structure for developers to follow, a big time saver. Site updates can also be done quicker when you can pinpoint pages on your website to edit.
With your entire site visualized, you can easily identify missing or redundant content. On top of that, navigation errors are much easier to spot and eliminate.
Lower project costs
By providing developers with a clear roadmap, they're able to work more efficiently and, ultimately, a great user experience reduces the need for costly redesigns.
Why online website sitemap design is best
App-based visual sitemap planning has clear advantages over paper or whiteboards
Refine your UX with superior sitemaps
How to build a sitemap in 6 steps
The only way to create a site that makes sense for a visitor and delivers a friction-free user experience is to plan the website's structure and navigation first. That means you have to know how to design a sitemap and create a solid foundation before you code anything.
Popular sitemap examples & free sitemap templates
Not sure where to start with your UX design sitemap? No problem, we have a full sitemap template library to help you get started.
The difficulties you may face building a sitemap
Building a sitemap isn't rocket science but there are hurdles that can trip you up. Whether you're starting from scratch or updating an existing website, here's what to look out for.
The bigger the website project, the more chances there are to overlook one page or even an entire section.
How to avoid: Thoroughly check your work as you go and run it past team members or other stakeholders before going into production.
Incorrect page order creates confusion, and worse yet, a page in the wrong silo can have visitors missing critical content.
How to avoid: Customize your pages to make them easier to follow, i.e., use different colors or cell sizes for different sections.
Ignoring user behavior
A site should strive to reduce strain and guide users naturally to their destination, doing a poor job can lead to a bounce.
How to avoid: Get user feedback to understand what's most important to them and make those pages the most easily accessible.
People like easy but as your sitemap grows, it's not uncommon for navigation to get muddy.
How to avoid: Keep your sitemap simple and stick to a clear, logical hierarchy. Users and search engines will appreciate it.
Having the same content or same page in multiple places around your site is both redundant and potentially detrimental to your SEO.
How to avoid: Your visual site map is really a flowchart of your website, review it consistently to ensure you catch any redundancies.
There's a tendency to cram as much as possible into a site map, even unnecessary web pages, which can overwhelm visitors and affect search engine rank.
How to avoid: Share site maps with stakeholders, focus on website goals and create mind maps for each silo to eliminate irrelevant pages.
Free demo – See how Slickplan works
Let us show you how easy planning websites can be!
Who benefits from using a sitemap?
Whether you're on the sales side, the creative side or bringing the site to life as a developer, website sitemaps allow everyone to work collaboratively from a clear roadmap.
- Gather, organize & create content – plan SEO and identify content gaps
- Import site structures and develop information architecture ideas
- Integrate with your favorite tools and assign tasks to your team
- Visualize design solutions and streamline the development process
- Enhance site or app usability and improve information architecture
- Create user flow diagrams, present mockups and see overall UX strategy
- Diagram customer journey maps to optimize pathways to conversion
- Use separate workspaces to organize and collaborate on projects
- Invite stakeholders, improve marketing plans and track progress
- Present client proposals with detailed, visual solutions
- Oversee content production, project progress and your whole team
- Showcase site structure options & user journeys that decrease bounce
What’s the difference between visual sitemaps, HTML sitemaps, and Google sitemaps? See why they are important in modern web design practices.
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We have some very large clients and I was asked to help make an information architecture plan for one of them, Slickplan was much better than a mind map or any other suggested app for this purpose.
David Bennett, Digital Marketing at Surefire Social