I’m always surprised by sites that either do not have a sitemap (or is it site map? I never know) or hide it away. It’s like they’re ashamed of it. They shouldn’t be, because it’s an important part of any web site. Some visitors actually look for the site map immediately on arriving. For others it’s the first place they think of if they don’t see what they’re looking for on the home page. So why do so many site owners make it so difficult to find. Answer: Beats me. But they shouldn’t.
Your web site should have a prominent link to your site map somewhere toward the top of your home page. And every other page, if at all possible. It goes back to the #1 rule of site building & layout – give the visitor what they want. It’s difficult to satisfy every conceivable want and need, though. Especially if you offer a range of products or services. So you do the next best thing as a backup – you give the visitor an easy way to find what they’re looking for. You do that by making it simple to get to the site map page, where they’ll see everything you offer. And, if you’re smart, that page is laid out in an easy to read & understand structure.
Now – your humanoid aren’t your only market. You also have to think of your other visitors, who are just as important. They are the search engine bots. Those guys from Google, Yahoo, MSN and everybody else in the search game today. You want to do the same thing for these visitors – make it easy to find everything, and everywhere, on your site.
That starts by putting a text link – NOT a graphic link – to your sitemap on the home page. Serve it up to them on a platter so they can go there and locate every area of your site. It’s easy to do, yet so many sites miss this. They use a graphic link, which search engine bots can’t follow or they don’t have a link to it at all on the homepage.
Do yourself and your visitors a favor. Put that sitemap text link on your home page and make it stand out. It’s that easy.
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