By Ravi Gupta
One of the major upsides of having your own websites is that you can communicate with your target audience directly, without anyone interfering with your message. As such, websites are perfect for increasing outreach in any conceivable situation, especially when it comes to attracting customers. Yet, not everything is perfect even when you establish yourself in the niche. The most common problem site owner’s face is having poorly defined goals or strategies for meeting those goals.
Picking a neat but memorable name for your website; finding a good web host; registering a domain name; developing a website; integrating social networks in a proper manner – all of those are major hurdles you have to jump or clamber over. The most crucial step is website optimization for the purposes of having your content rank higher in the search engine results, which makes it much more likely curious visitors will actually click on the link. This process of tweaking your website so it ranks higher in the search results is known as “search engine optimization” or SEO.
How does SEO work? First, you need to use sitemaps. These are like directory listings that tell search engines every page that’s on your website. Having a sitemap is a huge boon to your search engine ranking. Otherwise, the search engine algorithm (also known as “crawler”) might miss pages that then literally become invisible to the audience. The sitemap also helps in cases where the internal links on your website aren’t as detailed as they should be.
The most common sitemap formats are XML and HTML. Each format has a distinct set of advantages over the other, thus it’s very difficult to recommend one as the default format. HTML is simpler and much more suitable for clean and simple websites with very little multimedia. This can be very good, as such sites tend to load very quickly and visitors have a great experience surfing them. XML is the newer of the two and is built with media and plugins in mind, offering a much richer user experience and a far more nuanced set of options for you to tweak. This format also helps you make a sitemap inside a sitemap and stores URL addresses. The ultimate choice is down to your needs, but XML is in many cases a hands-down superior choice.
Tools for sitemap generation
Sitemaps can be created by hand or by using custom tools. If your website has a single layer of links, then it’s very straightforward to make a sitemap by hand, but if it has nested links and several layers of pages, it’s recommended that you use a sitemap generator. This app will crawl the website, just like a search engine crawler would do, and create a sitemap for you, listing all the content and pages on your website. If there are dead links, the sitemap generator will help you track down and fix them. So, eager to boost your website in the search ranking, you scour the web for a sitemap generator and soon find yourself unsure which one to use. Now what?
Each sitemap generator has a different specialty that performs better or worse depending on the website attributes. Also, some are free, others are subscription-only and so on. This makes is fairly difficult to choose the best tool, as most have some usability, but only a few have everything in a single package. Most of the free sitemap generators can store up to 50,000 links, which is in line with Google’s recommendation for sitemaps that also advises a sitemap file under 10 MB.
A sitemap itself can have different designs, depending on your needs and the structure of your website. By far the best design is when your sitemap is interactive and organized into charts and diagrams. These visual aids help immensely when laying out the entire structure of your website in a clear and plain way. Besides that, visualization of the sitemap will help you:
- Raise visitor engagement as the visual aids reduce frustration and clicking on the links in vain;
- Ease navigation and prevent loss of interest that happens when visitors can’t find what they’re looking for;
- Index pages better with search engines;
- Rank your website higher in the search results, driving more traffic;
- Increased usability of the website through exposure of functions, plugins and pages.
Some tools will invariably be better in one category than the other, but theDYNO Mapper excels in all these fields as a well-rounded visual sitemap generator that helps with a variety of websites across all imaginable niches.
Included with the DYNO Mapper is a Google Analytics plugin, project collaboration capability, filters, comments, sharing and visualizing the website’s structure. This last function is particularly important, as it helps you understand and remedy poor performance of a website. For example, if you’re wondering why a certain page has a particularly poor visitor retention rate, DYNO Mapper will lay out the difference between those pages that perform well and those that don’t, helping you troubleshoot the causes yourself.
Once it’s created the initial sitemap, DYNO Mapper will help you keep it updated through constant pinging of the search engines and automatic submission of the new sitemap to all major search engines. With all that in mind, site map generator is a great tool for every aspiring webmaster, as it gives you the control you always wanted to have, but never knew how to get it.
Ravi Kumarr Gupta is a niche writer and active blogger. He loves to write about hot and trending topics and currently writing on business and technology news.