Understanding What a Sitemap is: A Beginner’s Guide

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If you are a small business owner, one of the things you have encountered while developing a web design, would probably be the word “Sitemap” or “XML Sitemap.” What are those?

In developing a plan, everyone needs an organized chart, or perhaps a blueprint before we proceed to coding. When you are developing a website or a project for your website, you will need a sitemap that can be understood by humans and computers. These Sitemaps are usually submitted to Google, so that they can clearly index a page’s content. This concept has been known for years now but it became widely used in 2012. In the past, when a new page needs to be added, it requires a full redesign. But with the help of Sitemaps, it’s finally easier to generate new pages.

VISUAL SITEMAP

While in the brainstorming period, you and your team will need to find a way to understand each other’s ideas and directions. Before, it will take a lot of clicking and returns before the point is understood by the other person. With visual sitemaps, we give the full picture through an organized chart. This is frequently mentioned if you’re working with an SEO firm. As you ask for their services, most of them will require a well-created sitemap to understand where the client is going with his/her plan.

XML SITEMAP

This time, you would be communicating with Google. By using the XML markup, your blueprint will be readable to machines and your audience. When you submit an updated XML sitemap to search engines, it would be easier for them to crawl your site even if it’s new and has a few backlinks, or if it isn’t properly linked internally yet. Same goes with XML Media Sitemap, search engines will be able to index non-HTML contents too.

What Tools Should I Use?

  1. WRITEMAPS: Aside from their easy-to-use planning tool, Writemaps lets you share your finished sitemap to people without the need of creating accounts. All you have to do is visit their site and get started.
  2. SLICKPLAN: Slickplan offers a free trial for first-time users. They have a growing number of tools making it efficient for web designers to use. If you’re already a professional in generating sitemaps, then this tool will be your favorite.
  3. MINDNODE: Although this tool does not focus on creating an XML sitemap, you can still creatively generate a project plan or a Visual Sitemap with Mindnode. You can download Mindnode on the App Store too.
  4. DYNOMAPPER: This tool is considered to be one of the best sitemap tools out there. With its advanced functionality, users can easily collaborate and comment on a sitemap. They can also use their content audit tool which allows users to monitor a website’s health.
  5. SCREAMING FROG XML SITEMAP GENERATOR: If you have already reached out to an SEO company, its likely that they want you to discover this tool. If your site is ready, Screaming Frog will crawl the pages and provide an option of creating a ready-to-send sitemap too. 

 

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