Before developing the website further I looked at that pages the web site would need and create a defined outline of how the pages would link together. I looked at ways of doing this and decided on creating a sitemap to visually show this. By creating a sitemap it creates a structure to the site; although the site is relatively small it allowed me to clearly see the different areas of the site. It also allowed me to focus more when designing the wireframes on the relevant data on each page and therefore avoid duplicate content and time later on rectifying this. These pages and areas were also clarified with my client to ensure they where happy as to what would be included on the website.
Although I imagine this below is a relatively small sitemap for a website it clearly shows how each page is linked. It is clear how important creating a sitemap is especially on larger websites where there would be more pages to all link together.
This sitemap was created using writemaps.com
A sitemap can also help with SEO Search Engine Optimisation. Now I have all the website pages defined when created the links to these pages should be listed in a sitemap XML file or when using WordPress a sitemap plugin. This allows search engines to more easily see all the pages of the website. This website has 4 pages, the more pages that are indexed, the more trust a site gains. It is for internal linking and for search engine spiders, I researched the subject and the found the following:
“Search engines and other crawlers are the only consumers of XML sitemaps. For SEO, an XML sitemap is an invitation to crawl the URLs listed. It’s a way of asking the search engines to crawl and index the pages listed.
There are some important limitations to XML sitemaps.
- XML sitemaps do not guarantee indexation. They merely recommend the URLs you would like the search engines to crawl and index.
- XML sitemaps do not convey authority. The URLs listed do not pass link authority, like an HTML link on your web site would.
XML sitemaps are not a strong asset in improving rankings. If the only place a search engine encounters a URL is the XML sitemap, it’s highly unlikely that that URL will rank. It may get indexed, but it will not have the authority that HTML links pass to a page. In essence, the page will still be orphaned — unlinked — in the site and will not perform well.
XML sitemaps follow very precise markup rules and are typically produced by developers. Ideally, the XML sitemap is generated and pushed live automatically on a weekly basis without any human intervention. This functionality would be enabled at the platform level via a built-in feature, a plugin, or some other piece of third party software. When XML sitemaps require manual effort to generate, update, or post, they tend to become low priorities or forgotten about”. source – SEO: HTML, XML Sitemaps Explained