Why Use a Visual Sitemap Generator

Why Use a Visual Sitemap Generator

Last Edited October 16, 2018 by Garenne Bigby in Sitemaps

A visual sitemap acts as a planner for your website. It can be used in the same way as a set of directions if you are traveling to a location that you have never been to before. It can also be thought of as a set of instructions, seeing as how you have sat down well beforehand and made this sitemap so that it will help you successfully create your own website. It is a flowchart. We all grew up using flow charts for different classes whether we were in elementary school or college. So it only makes sense that we continue to plan out what we need to do in such a way as we are able to make things easier on ourselves.

You should definitely use these visual sitemap generators as a tool to help you brainstorm for your website so that you have all of the information that you need laid out in front of you. Then you can begin to make decisions about some of the more important pages that you will be using for the website. Your job will become much easier as you are able to remain organized regardless of the size of the sitemap or website. In the event that you choose to rebuild your website, you will already have something of a blueprint since you can use the generator software to create a PDF that you can save virtually anywhere.

You can also save copies of the sitemap so that you can always go back in and rearrange your entire sitemap without having to start completely from scratch. You can communicate with your company or with your team so that everyone agrees. Such software as a visual sitemap generator helps you keep your job simple when it could be as difficult as you could possibly imagine.

Brainstorm

You need to use a visual sitemap so that you can brainstorm and actually see all of your ideas, goals, or thoughts in one location. By brainstorming, you can get all of your ideas out of your head and on paper. Since you are now able to see all of your ideas, you can begin to group them together with other ideas. This is how a flow chart, or a sitemap, can begin to take shape. Along with all of your ideas, you can jot down other thoughts that you may have about your website. You need to decide how many different pages that you want on your website. This can also aid in your decision as to how many different ideas that you need to write down, how many ideas you need to group together, and how big your sitemap is going to actually end up being.

You can even use these sitemaps so that you can tag different pages. You can decide what types of pages you will be using and where you will be using them. You can understand that there will be subpages under sub-pages with various pages connected to them. You can also place pictures where they need to be while you use these visual sitemap generators.

Main Navigation

Now that you have brainstormed about your website, you can move on to bigger and better things. You have all of your thoughts and information in front of you. You have an idea as to how many different pages that you want to include on your website. Now you need to decide, out of all of these different pages, which ones are the most important. These that you determine are the most important are the ones that will end up on your main navigation page. Basically, these are the links that are across your computer screen when you visit a website. They remain at the top of the screen regardless of what page you are on, as long as you remain on that site.

Or, if you visit a website via a mobile device, these pages are the ones that are usually found under the three lines that typically stay at the upper right or left corner of your smart device screen. This is also often referred to as a “hamburger stack”. Everyone is different, and every website is different. You need to decide which pages are the most important to you. You will definitely want a Home Page. You will also want an “About” page. There’s a chance that you will also want to have a “Contact Us” page located somewhere on your website as well. These are the three main ones. After that, your website will be whatever you need it to be.

Organization

Without a doubt, one of the main reasons that you want to use a visual sitemap generator is simply because it will help you out with the overall organization of your website. Again, a sitemap is basically a flowchart. You can use such charts to be certain that your website does not have any duplicate pages. You can be sure that your pages will flow along with one another. There will be the opportunity to decide upon those main navigation pages. There is a very good chance that you need to assign each page of your website to a block on your flowchart. This organization is for you, and as long as it makes sense to you, that is really all that matters.

At the top of the page, I would put the main goal of my website, following this, I would start my flowchart, or my sitemap, with my main navigation pages. Following this, you can begin to work down and add any other pages that would branch off from your main pages. Depending on the services that you offer, you may not have very many URLs or pages. Or, you may end up with hundreds of them. You may only want a website so that people can find you and contact you. That is completely fine. Just use a visual sitemap generator so that you are very well organized and your sitemap gives visitors a great experience so that they are more likely to continue to do business with you.

If you are only beginning, I would keep my website as simple as I possibly could. You can always expand your sitemap and your website. You can always add new sections to it as you decide to expand the online portion of your business. So keep it simple and begin small. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed as you begin the online aspect of your business that you have already developed successfully.

As you create this flowchart, and as you create this sitemap, keep in mind your goal for the website. Each page that you create should have its own goal. Each page that you create should ultimately reach a given goal. Be sure that each goal you set, or each goal you attain will get you closer to that goal that you have already established as the primary goal for your website.

Blueprints: Rebuild and Recreate

Once you create a visual sitemap, you need to be sure that you keep a copy somewhere that you can’t lose it. This is why the use of a visual sitemap generator comes in handy. Often, once you create a visual sitemap, you can export it via PDF. You can then take this PDF and save it in basically any location that you choose online so that you can’t lose it.

There’s a good chance that you may want to completely rebuild your sitemap after a while. You may just want to go with a fresh look, or you may finish your initial build and decide that it does not look anything like you thought that it should look. Whatever the case may be, by having a visual sitemap, you will have all of your information written down, and you can begin to move things around and reorganize in such a way that you feel makes more sense or may look better. Be sure that as you rebuild or recreate your sitemap, you understand what type of user or visitor that you wish to attract to use your company or services.

Also, keep in mind what the main goal of your website may be. Write these down at the top of your visual sitemap. Assign these to the more important blocks that you have within the framework of your flowchart.

Communication

By employing the use of a visual sitemap generator, you are better able to communicate with your colleagues, employees, or your employers. Such a generator allows you to quickly write down your ideas, plan them out, and test them to be certain that your thoughts flow correctly. You can then share them with your team, your employees, or your employers so that you can work together and fix any errors. By sharing such information, everyone can be on the same page, and everyone can be sure that they are all working towards the same end result. Often, you can even work on the same sitemap collectively. Your group or organization can even edit and build your sitemap together.

Visual Learning

Possibly the most important reason that you should use a visual sitemap generator is because that we, as humans, usually learn best when we are able to look at something. More of us are visual learners than anything else. Even those of use that are auditory learners can still learn exceptionally well when we can see it. Think about it. We rely on our vision for everything that we do. So, often we learn best when we are able to see it. Hierarchical charts are extremely important. We are able to place a label on a box full of information and begin to work down to less important boxes. In doing so, we understand which information will be the most necessary, and what should be included in those main links in our sitemaps.

You will also begin to see how many different URLs you will need to include in your sitemap. Or, you will begin to see how many different sitemaps that you may need, and you may decide that you need to begin to create a sitemap index in the event that your website begins to grow well beyond what you initially planned for.

Time Saver

By using a visual sitemap generator, you are able to save massive amounts of time. Some people like to draw their own maps. That is great until you make a mistake. Then you have to redraw everything and rewrite everything, which can take up a lot of time. Or, you can work with the traditional sitemaps, which are little more than lists of URLs. This too can take up a significant amount of time. Or, you can decide that you want to work smarter and not necessarily harder. You can use a visual sitemap generator. These generators take care of all of the planning and drawing up of the various flow charts. All you have to do is quickly add your data to various parts of the planning process, and the software takes care of the rest.

You are able to add page tags to the various boxes that make up your flow charts. You can add images that you wish to be included once your website is up and running. You can even include the different page types that you wish for each piece of your site to be. This allows all of your information to be in place so that you only need to follow your sitemap plan once you begin to create the website. In doing this, you won’t be missing anything.

Simplicity

You need to find a visual sitemap generator that you like to use so that you can make these larger jobs very simple. Or, make those smaller jobs more simple than they already are. You can take these generators and break up your sitemap jobs into small sections, called sub-sitemaps. That way you are able to focus only on the task at hand rather than the overall finished product. You can concentrate your efforts into one part of the product at a time until your work is finished.

You may have a website that is going to end up being incredibly huge. So you use a visual sitemap generator to help you with all of the work. Once you have all of your information out where you can look at it, you realize just how many different pages you are going to have on your website. You begin to realize how many main links you wish to have on your website. You have decided that you are not going to be able to have only one sitemap. You are going to have to have multiple sitemaps.

Actually, you are going to have to create a sitemap so that your users can reach another sitemap to reach the website that they need to view in order to get the information that they were looking for online. If you are not using a visual sitemap generator, a job like this could take forever. Even with a team of colleagues who are working together to build something of this magnitude. So, use some type of software that can take care of all of the repetitive parts of the job at hand. It can draw the flow charts, and help you organize your sitemap so that your website has to be a success.

Final Words

You definitely need to use a visual sitemap generator for your sitemap and your website. There are so many tools that you would have available to you. They would make your job easier without a doubt. Your job would become very simple once you were able to see it laid out in front of you. These sitemap generators are also major time savers. They keep you from having to create the overall flowchart that you will be using to create your sitemap. Most of them come preloaded with multiple templates for different flow charts if you have something special in mind. Human beings are visual learners, and a flowchart is completely visual. So, if your team is made up of people who are different types of learners, as all of us are, we can agree that we are all visual learners to some degree.

That being said, these visual sitemap generators give you information that you can all understand, agree on, and work together with so that you can create an end product that you can all be proud of. This sitemap that your generator creates should be saved somewhere so that you will not ever have to worry about losing it. By keeping this copy, you will always be able to go back and reorganize your sitemap in many different ways in case you don’t like how your website ends up the first time. Or, you can always move all of your information around once your website begins to grow and you decide that you need to make some major changes. Maybe you have developed a new goal for your website.

Maybe you started out as a company without a website which offered services to nearby areas. Now, maybe your website has been so successful that you have decided to offer online services instead. Whatever the case may be, by creating this blueprint of your website, and by keeping the sitemap information, you can move things around and create an entirely new website without having to start over entirely from scratch.

Garenne Bigby
Author: Garenne BigbyWebsite: http://garennebigby.com
Founder @dynomapper
Garenne Bigby is freelance Chicago developer and founder of DYNO Mapper with over 10 years experience in both agency and freelance roles in design, development, user experience, SEO, and information architecture.

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