Productivity tools are an essential part of completing a successful website redesign. Some individuals might think that the task of redesigning their website means simply giving it a facelift—this is not the case. Doing this will cause an array of problems. It is essential for the webmaster to know the content that makes up the website and how it performs, as well as how to proceed with new content going forward. Visual sitemaps, content inventories, content audits, Google Analytics, and content planning tools are made to assist with discovering the meat of a website, and translating what you should do with it.
Site Mapping is the process of visually outlining a website's structure, higher level functionality, and navigation scheme. In the end, it can look like a sketch, and image, a PDF, or even presented as a tool like a sitemap generator. The sitemap for a website should be defined relatively early on in the planning or redesign process, as there are only a few activities that should come before this step, like user research and the like. Developing a sitemap is one of the most critical phases of a website redesign because it is representative of a critical deliverable of information architecture, which is another foundation for website redesign.
Prepare for the sitemap by looking into three areas: time, people, and research. Determine how much time you will need to invest in order to create a successful sitemap. Your key stakeholders will need to contribute to the sitemap—who are these people and are they the right ones? You will then need to research what your redesigned website's objectives will be, who these users are, what information they will need, and what do your analytics say?
After all of this has been considered, think about the types of content that you would like to offer. Are you marketing any goods or services? Are there testimonials? How much information about the company will be presented? Do you provide any helpful resources? One thing to remember, is that many advise on 80% valuable content with only 20% promotion.
Now you will need to define your primary navigation. This is the top level navigation and is usually found at the top of a website, horizontally. This top level navigation should be concise, use understandable language, communicate a top-down hierarchy, and allow your website to grow. There is no perfect number of elements to include, but if your site looks like it will have 10 or more elements, you should consider consolidating.
Then, flesh out your second and third level content and structure. For website with less than 50 pages, the second level of structure is mostly efficient. Very large websites will use a third level to maintain a sturdy hierarchy. Secondary levels are unlimited, for the most part but should still remain easy to scan and find.
Don't overlook your utility pages, like legal information, disclaimers, and privacy policies. Be careful not to overlook these, as they will need a home on the sitemap. Now, to discover the difference between a URL (HTML) and XML format.
An HTML sitemap is simply an overview of a website—only the pages and information that a user should be aware of. It is geared toward the user but it can aid in search engine ranking because the website then becomes user friendly and is catering to the visitor. In short, it promotes user orientation. It is what the public interacts with your website, and is as simple as a page with links on it. Privately on the back end, it communicates with search engines to help rank the website content. Basic authentication should be used for HTTP headers that are static. Website authentication should be used when you would opt to include a private front end page within the sitemap from a CMS system. Some sitemap generators allow you to integrate your preferred CMS into the sitemap.
XML sitemaps are created specifically for search engines and will never be seen by the end user. They essentially track the URLs of a website and boost the search through the location of information on a single page. An XML sitemap will also track how frequently a website is updated. Interestingly enough, these sitemaps are not a tool for SEO and has no effect on the website's ranking, though it does aid search engines in ranking websites accurately. XML protocol is the answer that web developers needed—there is no need to create various sitemaps for each search engine, as this one is recognized by all. It can be worked on and redesigned with very little hassle.
A content inventory is a complete list of all content on a website. The inventory will include images, text, documents, and applications. Each piece of content on your website will need to be assessed—this will help you to understand what exactly is on the site, where it is located, and if it is up to date. Before doing the content inventory, you should outline what your goals are as well as what your scope is. Once this is determined, you will be able to determine what information to include. Typically, each piece of content will have its own unique content ID, title, URL, Author, file format, meta description, keywords, categories, and dates of creation, revision, and access. This information will go into a spreadsheet so that it can be sorted through and edited easily.
A content inventory needs to be performed in order to have a successful website redesign. Just in case the reasoning isn't obvious, a content inventory is an outline of all content contained on your site and the information about it.
Similar to a content inventory, a content audit gives information about each piece of content. With a content audit, you will discover the analytics of each piece of content—the quality of it. You will need to figure out what the content is all about: what is the subject and topics, is it balanced with addressing products, services, about us, and customer service.
Google Analytics provides a simple way to collect and manage data through a, accurate view of the customer, and may be customized to your brand's needs and then shared throughout the organization.
To get started with Google Analytics, you will need to create an account if you do not currently have one. Sign in and then follow the instructions on screen. Set up a property within the account, and then follow the instructions for setting up web tracking. You can then configure the account, property, and view. With this, you can:
Google Analytics is a vast resource that is almost invaluable when undertaking the task of redesigning a website, and is necessary when aiming to complete it successfully.
There is a wide variety of content planning tools currently available, and they all serve different purposes within the realm of planning content. You will find tools that will help to create content, some help with the distribution of content, and others will help to measure the effectiveness that your marketing has on your content.
Content planning tools help brands to achieve their content objectives while staying organized and on track. The type of tool a brand should use depends greatly on the nature of their content as well as the channels in which they release it. So, when completing a website redesign, content planning tools will ensure that content gets published in a streamlined fashion and all audiences are receiving the same or slight variations of all content.
Create, edit, customize, and share visual sitemaps integrated with Google Analytics for easy discovery, planning, and collaboration.