Organizing the Chaos
You fired up your favorite web-based website building platform (SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress, etc.) and spent every evening for 2 weeks laboring over building your ideal website.
It’s gorgeous, it perfectly communicates everything about your brand, and proves that you are a worthy business to the community. You launch the site, run some ads, and then it hits you… Why isn’t it working? Your website is beautiful, way better than your competitors’, and the traffic is there. Your SEO is solid, you’re funneling a ton of traffic. Why won’t it convert?
Chances are, your website isn’t converting because the marketing funnel isn’t what it could be. Having a beautiful website with great content is only half the battle, and unfortunately, the other half is overlooked very often. Before you even touch those fonts or images, you should create a sitemap.
So, what is a sitemap?
Building a website without a sitemap, is like building a house without a blueprint. You’ll end up with a building regardless… but it may not be well-laid-out, and your houseguests may get lost trying to find the kitchen.
A sitemap can come in many shapes, sizes, and presentations… but typically, they look like a hierarchal list, denoting the pages, necessary content, and even navigation of a website. And on larger builds (or your first few builds), it helps a lot to create an actual, visual wireframe before you begin the design process.
Sitemaps can be as detailed or as broad as you like. Personally, I like to be incredibly thorough, and oftentimes even begin copywriting while I create my sitemap. It’s not uncommon for me to spend more time on a sitemap than I do on the actual design of the site. By quickly jotting down headlines, calls-to-action, mission statements, outlining the information needed in the contact forms, and more, I can guarantee that the website I build is cohesive and user-friendly. I know, by literally “connecting the dots,” that no matter where a user lands on my website, they are likely to end up converting, which means effectively giving me or my client their money.
When creating a sitemap, it’s important to flip it around, re-orient it, and consider where users are coming into the site and where users are wanting to go. The fewer clicks between landing on the site and the user being able to convert, the better, and oftentimes, I find that the more bloated a website gets with information, the more opportunity you give a prospective customer to either decide against your brand, get distracted, or get lost. Remember: your homepage is not necessarily where your clients will spend most of their time. Sometimes a simple, 4-5 page website is ideal for creating a website that functions as what it should be: a marketing tool.
Interested in learning more about sitemaps? Shoot us a message on social media @bahlrmedia or give us a call, and we would be happy to help.
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