Sitemap Design Services - Morphosis Digital Consultancy
Establishing a rock-solid foundation is critical when starting to design a new app, site, or other digital platforms. Without a cohesive, data-based structure on which to build out wireframes and the many other steps that follow, you risk presenting your audience with a frustrating, ineffective, or simply uninteresting experience. The farther upstream you clarify your site’s core structure, user flows, and conversion goals, the less design and development work you will need to revisit later.
Designing a site map is a key part of getting this structure right, or as close to it as possible, the first time around. A diagram showing how the pages of a website are organized (the “site hierarchy”), this accessible, low-tech tool creates a huge impact. Site mapping is particularly vital in the age of search engine optimization (SEO), where pages’ names, descriptions, and links must be strategically planned.
Effective site mapping underpins improvements in conversion rates, searchability, and overall customer satisfaction, making it an important preliminary step in bringing your concept to life. Facilitating better UX/UI design and providing clear guidance for the steps ahead, site mapping lays a durable groundwork for efficient processes and seamless digital experiences.
What Goes Into a Sitemap, and What Do You Get Out of it?
Using the site’s established information hierarchy, which is typically captured in a sitemap, wireframe design begins to flesh out the basic outline into a closer representation of the finished product. Like the frame of a house, it is not yet fully designed but serves as a structural base for the pieces that follow.
A longtime part of web design best practices, a sitemap is an outline, flowchart, or diagram showing the site’s hierarchy and each page’s place within it. Informed by as much user research as possible, it serves as the central framework upon which wireframes, UX/UI design, visual design, and other elements will take root.
Starting the product design process with a sitemap also increases scalability, making it easier to add new pages and content to your site in the future. As your online platform becomes larger and more complex, site mapping will help minimize confusion, unnecessary redesigns, and duplicated content.
Designing a site map ensures that several important questions are answered before you move into the higher-investment phases of product development; questions such as:
Do the links and pathways between pages flow smoothly based on predicted user behaviors?
Does the site hierarchy make it quick and intuitive for the user to find the information they need?
Are the page names and descriptions optimized for search engines?
Having performed this analysis, you can adjust the sitemap as needed. If questions remain, you may decide to conduct additional UX research to address them. For example, a follow-up user survey or journey mapping exercise can validate a particular decision within the site structure.
The ROI of Sitemap Design: 4 Key Benefits for Your Digital Business
Of the many reasons to incorporate sitemap design into the early stages of the product development process, the following four rises to the top. The qualities we’ve just discussed enable digital companies to:
Activate more conversions
Securing conversions is, of course, one of the primary goals of site mapping and UX design as a whole. Your desired conversion(s) depends on the nature of your product and audience. Whether it is a purchase, a demo request, a newsletter sign-up, or any other customer behavior that creates value for your business, the specific action at hand should be reflected in the sitemap’s layout.
There are several ways to use site mapping to evaluate how your site or platform is performing against your conversion goals. One popular method is funnel analysis (tracking progression through the sales journey), which can be conducted using analytics software, a flowchart, or even a spreadsheet.
Solidify site hierarchy
Anything from a confusing page name to a hard-to-find piece of information can spell trouble for your product and brand, which is why it is so important to hone in on the right site hierarchy. As we discussed above, site mapping is a valuable tool for structuring your site’s pages and the content within them.
Even a basic outline created in a few minutes can provide a sense of the site’s structure and how it supports what the customer is looking for. For example, site mapping would help an e-commerce business ensure that visitors are met with clear information about how to make a purchase.
A sitemap directly supports SEO, ensuring the highest possible visibility and traffic once your platform launches. Site mapping helps point to the page names, keywords, internal links, and other factors that will best resonate within your market segment. As a result, users on multiple search engines will be able to find your site quickly and easily.
There are two main requirements to keep in mind when using a site map to help inform your SEO strategy. First, the sitemap must clearly explain the relationships between pages using connection lines (linkages) and vertical sequences (pages). Specialized SEO services typically do this automatically when creating a new page.
Second, to maximize clarity and ease of use, the sitemap should always start with the most important pages (such as About, Services, Products, and FAQ). Only after these core pages are completed should you focus on secondary pages such as Blogs or Product Cards.
Using a visual sitemap also helps improve your internal link structures. A sitemap provides a bird’s-eye view of the site content, allowing you to identify opportunities to include internal links and in turn boost your SEO. Site mapping also aids in keyword targeting, helping you determine which words and phrases are performing best on your side and which should be changed.
Improve project communication
Most effective when approached as a shared resource, a sitemap helps maintain team alignment surrounding the platform’s most central objectives. In addition, to use by UX/UI designers, sitemaps are an easy way to familiarize developers, leadership, clients, investors, SEO and content strategists, and other project stakeholders with what you are building and why.
An agreed-upon benchmark that all stakeholders can understand, a sitemap helps product teams improve communication, resolve disagreements, and keep the solution focused on what works best for the end-user. Like a user journey or web persona, the site map provides a steady touchstone in what can be an unpredictable project environment.