Regardless of how old or new your website is, if you have inherited the site or you are ready to migrate your website from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, a website audit is imperative to the success of your website and business. A site audit will help you learn the ins and outs of your website, what content is on the site, how it’s structured and frankly, if the content you do have is working in your favor (i.e. doing what it’s supposed to; convert!).
Now, while there are many ways to perform a website audit, it is highly recommended that you begin with a sitemap. A sitemap is essentially a list of pages on a website that can take many forms from machine-readable XML, to an HTML listing of page names, to a list of all the page URL’s and so on. For a content audit, both the HTML listing and the test list will provide you with an excellent view into the content as well as the structure of your website.
If you have a blog on your website it is especially important to conduct audits from time to time in order to ensure that the content you are creating is effective, relevant and delivering results. After all, one of the main reasons to incorporate a blog on your website is to help generate traffic, promoting your service, product or institution, so if your content isn’t delivering as it should, it’s also very likely that it’s needing some tweaking.
All of the above factors can feel quite overwhelming, but thankfully, a sitemap generator can make the auditioning process run much smoother than one might imagine. Not only will you be able to take time to create an inventory of your existing website content, you’ll also become aware of content gaps—a usability and accessibility issue that even some of the most reputable companies have.
While it’s possible to manually create a content audit for project management and organizational purposes, it will take quite a bit of time and it will be extremely boring as you will need a spreadsheet and at least four to five hours of uninterrupted time.
Throughout the website audit you will need to take note of the following:
Depending on what kind of website you run, having to track more than the above (even this alone) can be overwhelming and labor-intensive. And frankly, who has the time for all that? As a website owner you should be focusing on what matters most—growing your business!
Luckily there are quite a few online applications and tools that can make the process of auditing and project management much more doable (and less painful), such as a sitemap generator.
A sitemap generator is more than just a tool, it’s a powerful application that can change the way visitors view your site; it can make a world of difference in your conversions and profits, and overall performance. For example, a sitemap generator like DYNO Mapper will allow you to obtain a list of all of the pages on your website and check for broken links.
A sitemap generator will crawl your website and create an automated sitemap of up to 50,000 URL’s and up to 10 megabytes. It will catch any of the pages you might have forgotten about, pull up any old event pages and allow you to simply add the pages it comes up with into a spreadsheet.
The websites of today need both an HTML and XML sitemap in order to clarify the website’s purpose and goal, avoid duplicated data and to minimize the number of steps it takes to travel from one page to another. Additionally, a sitemap will communicate the website’s architecture and hierarchy.
HTML sitemaps are created and available for viewing by website visitors to help them navigate through a website. Usually, they are setup with a linear structure showing the hierarchy of the site from top level pages to lower level ones. They provide the user with a very easy to read outline of content, making their navigation to their desired content easier.
XML sitemaps are a little different from HTML sitemaps, because they are intended for search engines and spiders not website visitors. XML sitemaps can be visible with any web browser, but their main function is to provide the URLs of a website to search engines. They even show data on how often a page has been changed compared to other URLs on the same site. This information is very important for search engines because the more links they are provided with, the more a website will appear in search engine results.
There’s no way around it, without a proper sitemap, some of your priority pages could be missed by search engines. Fundamentally this means that search engines will not be able to find your content, thus making it difficult for your website to be ranked in search engine results. As a website or business, this is the last thing you want to happen as you will not be able to rank higher than your competitors in the search engines. If you want to compete with your competitors in Google, Bing and Yahoo! submit your sitemap—this alone will make a world of difference when it comes to project management and auditing your website.
With a sitemap generator product such as DYNO Mapper it’s easy to create a sitemap. Sure, if you know or are familiar with XML you could easily create a sitemap manually, but this sitemap generator makes it possible for you to edit your sitemap with just a few clicks of the mouth. Moreover, for project management purposes, DYNO Mapper will help create an XML and HTML sitemap for your website.
In addition to website auditing, sitemaps can be used by project managers to provide foundation and organization to any website development project. These sitemaps can be formatted on a hierarchy-like structure and everyone will be able to see the website’s final structure.
Lastly, regarding websites that have a large amount of content, a sitemap will help users navigate through the website and find the desired content. It’s a proven fact that websites that have a large amount of content will take much more time and effort to be searched through by users. A sitemap will utilize the site in such a way that users will easily be able to access the content they want to see.
A sitemap generator like DYNO Mapper is a very useful software that can save both time and energy; it’s something that every website should work hard to establish and publish. Not only will a sitemap provide peace of mind when it comes to project management, it will also help to ensure that your website is user-friendly, providing top-notch accessibility for visitors.
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