November 22, 2017

How to Create a Site Map: Your Guide to Visual Site Maps

Diagrams for Design Projects
Diagrams for Businesses

Being able to make a site map is a helpful skill while creating a new website or adding new content to an existing website. To learn how to make a site map, read on or jump ahead to one of the following sections:

In this tutorial, we're using Gliffy, an easy-to-use site mapping tool. You can follow along by starting a free trial of Gliffy Online – no credit card required.

What is a Site Map?

A site map is a listing of the pages on your website that search engines use to crawl it. They can be structured differently depending on who is using them or how they're being used, but technical sitemaps are often written in XML or HTML. This makes it easy for search engines or other programs to understand, which is important for SEO.

Other site maps use a different structure to ensure that web designers, writers, and their teammates can easily understand the structure of a website they're working on.

What is a Visual Sitemap?

A visual sitemap is a hierarchical diagram that allows its users to quickly understand a website's structure and navigation — and unlike its technical counterpart, there's no code required. 

When redesigning a website, making a new website, or adding a lot of content to an existing website, it's helpful to make a visual site map to clearly communicate your ideas while collaborating with web developers, project managers, writers, and other teammates.

Making a visual site map can also be a helpful first step while writing the XML listed or technical site map for your website.

Site Map Example

Whether you're planning a new website or documenting what you've built, even a simple site map can come in handy. Take this simple website as an example:

How to Create a Sitemap 2

When you have a heavy, page-filled site, you may also choose to redesign and map your site one category at a time.

The truth is that site maps can and will become unwieldy and overwhelming if your site is too big. Pruning outdated pages and using categorical organization will help you better manipulate your site's data.

Use a Site Map to Build Websites that Work

Site maps help you build websites that work because they're just that — maps. They provide a blueprint you can build off of and directions for everyone involved in the project.

By taking the time to plan and streamline a site map, you're helping your business build a website that will actually work for users and get you closer to your business objectives. Gliffy offers design tools that are perfect for site map visualization, plus a free trial to get you started today.

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