Before we dive into details, let’s first define sitemaps. A Sitemap is a hierarchical diagram showing the structure of a website or an app. Sitemaps are used by web designers and information developers to define the taxonomy through a grouping of related content. This helps the website user to quickly the information they are looking for without fumbling or struggling. The structure of your website should be simple and have a certain flow that is easy to understand.

Sitemaps are also useful in providing the reference point for wireframes, content maps, and functional specifications. There are certain ways to place pointers on your website that will direct the user on how to access information easily. To understand its usefulness, read the rest of this post.

Benefits of using Sitemaps

There are several ways to use sitemaps:
• You can use them to show how the navigation should be
structured
• To help identify the content’s placement and what should
be produced
• They help show the relationship between different pages
• They provide a structure upon which to begin estimates for
development
• They are the first tangible deliverable showing what you will be creating

When to create sitemaps

You can build Sitemap online and is best created when you are finished with your persona, discovery period, and journey work. This will help you understand how users navigate through your website. You can use clearer sitemap online to visualize what sort of content and language they need to support them and identify different items. Additionally, a sitemap should consider the business objectives and what suitable content it requires to achieve its overall strategy.

How to create a sitemap

You can easily create a WP Google sitemap using card sorts. By now you already have an idea of what sort of content you want to be on the site or application. The sort cards method can be also be used to get the users themselves to generate content ideas. A sitemap is simply a basic diagram. Websites with a large amount of content need to further split their sitemaps into several pages. Each page should show one
category with a top-level overview at the beginning.
The homepage should start with reference number 1.0 and categories beneath it should increase numerically (e.g. the first category would be 2.0, the second 3.0 and so on). Content should follow this same pattern, with content beneath category 2.0 going in the format 2.1, 2.2 and so on.
A website Sitemap should have the following attributes:
• A homepage/home screen item at the top
• Each item should have a reference number for creating functional specifications or wireframes
• A label for each item in the sitemap

See More: Types of Content to Boost Traffic and Engagement

A card sorting workshop

According to Jakob Neilson, you will require a certain number of participants to achieve a reasonable reliable result. You need to test fifteen users to reach a correlation of 0.90, which is a more comfortable place to stop.

Open Card Sort

This method provides participants with a bunch of cards or post-its, each with one item of content or functionality written upon it which you have identified from your discovery phase. Every card should have a reference number on it to make things easier further down the line. The participants are then invited to organize or sort the content into groups, and come up with a name for the groups. This technique is typically used to generate ideas for taxonomies.

Closed Card Sort

In the closed card sort, you are generally further down the line with creating your website Sitemap and have come up with some initial top-level category ideas. Participants are given cards with content written on them as in the open card sort but are asked to sort them into the categories you have provided. If participants are putting cards in places you wouldn’t expect them to then there is a good chance you need to revisit your site structure. This technique is typically used to evaluate a taxonomy you have come up with.

Use the output

To perform statistical analysis on your open card sort results you need a more advanced scope to come up with projects. For smaller scale results, put the results of the card sort into a spreadsheet with the category headings and content reference underneath. The mind map allows you to quickly organize the results of a card sort session. You can afterwards observe the way participants name items. For closed card sort, check if they put any items of content in places you wouldn’t expect. After developing an approach, bring out your personas and user journeys again at this stage. You should identify a few things a user wants to achieve by taking a certain action using a user journey. When creating a WP Google sitemap, you need to ask yourself the following questions: • Is the user journey supported by your proposed taxonomy? • Is the created content labeling understood by different personas? • Are there any categories with only one item on your sitemap? (Creating categories for single item content is not available) • Does the sitemap have more than 7 categories you can merge together to have fewer categories? (Anything more than 7 is generally excessive and indicative of a poorly grouped taxonomy) A sitemap can be created by any number of programs including, Mindmapple, Axure, Visio, and even PowerPoint using SmartArt (Although this becomes a poor choice for larger sites).

Checkout quick video review on Sitemap

Credit: MrJayBusch

Final remarks

The good thing is that you can buildSitemap online. A sitemap reveals the initial definition of what you are going to offer on your website. This gives you an opportunity to make a good impression especially to new visitors who don’t have an idea how to navigate on your website. Simple structures work well but avoid the danger of making it too basic to be misunderstood. You can reference it in sitemaps, content strategies and functional specifications and it’s also a great way to show to the client what you are planning to build them.

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