I spent the last couple of days trying to find an easy way to add a visual site map to my sites. I realized I needed to incorporate this into my site building because I kept being reminded of it over and over again as I visited sites I respect and I just couldn't ignore anymore. Do you ever have things like that work in your life? It seems there comes a time when the signs are just so obvious you just can't ignore them anymore.
I started out by doing a search in the plug-in section of my dashboard thinking there was certainly going to be a lot of visual site map options. I knew there were a plethora of XML options so I just assumed there would be a plethora of visual site map options as well. My assumptions were wrong.
The differences between an XML site map and a visual site map are simple. XML sitemaps are created for the search engines to help them navigate through your site and rank pages. They don't produce a visual page for your visitors. I wanted a visual sitemap for my visitors and maybe you do to.
Here are a couple of the reasons why you would want to incorporate a visual site map to your site.
- Sitemaps provide an interactive table of contents for a website. Often the sitemap reveals both the structure and detailed contents of a site. The sitemap provides ‘clickable’ links to that information. When a sitemap link is built into the navigation bar of a website, it provides a ‘home base’ for site investigation. Users know that they can always click on the sitemap link to reorient.
- Designers can use a map for site planning and development. Maps can also help the website owner do routine maintenance. For users, sitemaps provide a convenient graphic overview of a website’s contents. When a sitemap link is added to the navigational system of a website, it provides more global orientation for users and can improve efficient retrieval of information.
Now there are a number of different kinds of visual sitemaps. Some will provide a mind map looking visual and still others have become increasingly more sophisticated with a universe graphic type of picture with all the links of the pages within the 3 dimensional graphic. All I wanted was a simple list and this seems to be the most consistent, at least in the blogging world.
The best way to set your wordpress site up for Site Map and Search Engines is to have 3 plugins. One for the visitor, the visual site map. One for the search engines, the XML sitemap and one for the search engine robots to help them find pages and posts quicker.
Here are the three plugins I am now incorporating into all of my site building.
The third one is important to help guide the search engine robots around your site. It sets up the robots.txt file automatically. This saves you from the ftp uploading and all the things we don't want to fool with because it takes time. I want these things to be done automatically these days and these plug-ins automate these very important parts of site building and keep you focused on what you need to be doing, adding good content.
Simplify and Maximize.
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