The Sitemap is simply a hierarchical outline view of your site. Remember doing outline reports back in grade school? A report on your state might start with Roman numeral I, Geography, Roman numeral II, Economy, etc. Capital letters were indented, decimal numbers and lower case letters were each further indented. That’s the form your site map should take, as shown on the Sitemap of this website.
Your sitemap allows you to show the contents of your entire site, in an outline view, with links to all of the pages on your site. Every item in the sitemap is a text link to the corresponding page of your site. Giving users an immediate overview of the contents of your site means users get an immediate overview of the breadth and depth of the information on your site.
Because your sitemap contains only text links, viewers can get a quick overview of your content without having to figure out your GUI – graphical user interface. Because every item on your sitemap is linked by text, anyone navigating your site via the sitemap will know where he or she has already been because the link will change colors to show pages already visited (do not force link colors to stay the same after visiting a page in the html you use for your sitemap, or for any of the rest of your site, for that matter).
Site Maps and Search Engine Registration
The sitemap makes an excellent page for search engine registration as well. Sitemaps tend to be keyword-rich because they link to all of your content. Further, most search engines go at least one link deep from the page they are indexing. Your sitemap is, by definition, linked to every page of your site. Therefore, registering your sitemap will help you have every page of your site indexed by search engines.
Additional content covered in the print edition of WebForging includes a paragraph to a page or more on each of the following:
- Site Maps and Navigation
- Site Map Utilities
- “Sitemaps within Sitemaps”
- Where to Find More Help
- Press Room
- Tutorials, technical specifications, selection charts, drawings, downloadable CAD files and more
- details on copyright information, privacy, linking policies, related sites
- site-specific search engine
- dynamically generated to match dynamic content on the site