1. Technology

Create a Site Map Before You Build Your Site

Plan the Structure of Your Site

By

WriteMaps.com

Screenshot of the online site map program WriteMaps

Screen shot by J Kyrnin

When people think of site maps, they often think of XML sitemaps that contain a link to every page on your website. But for the purposes of planning a site, a visual site map can be very helpful. By drawing even a simple sketch of your site and the sections you would like to have on it, you can be sure that you capture everything about your website that you need to be sucessful.

How to Draw a Site Map

When using a site map to plan your site you can be as simple or as copmlex as you need to be. In fact, some of the most useful site maps are those that are done quickly and without a lot of conscious thought.

  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
  2. Draw a box near the top and label it "home page".
  3. Under the home page box create a box for every major section of your site, such as: about us, products, FAQ, search, and contact, or whatever you want.
  4. Draw lines between them and the home page to indicate that they should be linked from the home page.
  5. Then under each section, add boxes for additional pages you would like in that section and draw lines from those boxes to the section box.
  6. Continue creating boxes to represent Web pages and drawing lines to connect them to the other pages until you have every page you want on your website listed.

Tools You Can Use to Draw a Site Map

As I said above, you can use just pencil and paper to create a site map. But if you want your map to be digital you can use software to build it. Things like:

  • Photoshop, Paint or another graphics program
  • Mindmapping software like Freemind
  • Flowchart software like Flowchart.com
  • Site map software like WriteMaps.com

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