Have you been thinking about ways to improve your user experience and help users navigate your website more easily?
Well, an HTML sitemap might just be what the doctor ordered.
Keep reading to learn more.
What are HTML Sitemaps?
An HTML sitemap is a formatted version of your website designed to help visitors find content on your site. It typically contains links to all of the pages on your website and may also include additional information about each page, such as when it was last updated.
HTML sitemaps are different from XML sitemaps, explicitly designed for search engines, and don’t need to be easily readable by humans. However, both types of sitemaps can also help visitors find their way around your website more easily.
The Benefits of Having an HTML Sitemap
There are several key benefits of having an HTML sitemap on your website:
1. Seamless Navigation
If you have a large or complex website, an HTML sitemap can help you organize it, direct your website visitors to the content they’re looking for and effortlessly get there. It can reflect a visitor’s journey and seamlessly guide them from research to conversion.
2. Identifying Broken Links
By having a list of all the links on your website, you can quickly scan for any that are toxic, broken, or redirected, further improving your website’s navigation and link profile.
3. Analyzing Your Website’s Structure
By seeing all of the links in one place, it’s easier to identify any issues with how your pages are linked together and structured. After mapping everything out, you can use the sitemap to find and remove any duplicate data, to provide a seamless user experience and aid Google bots in crawling. It’s a win-win!
4. Faster Crawling and Increased Website Visibility
The HTML sitemap helps you focus search engine crawlers’ attention on the most important pages on your website, helping them index your site more quickly and effectively, which can, in turn, lead to increased visibility for your site in search results, naturally boosting your SEO.
5. Planning New Content
Seeing all of the pages on your site helps you see the big picture and identify any topics that are currently not covered. This can help you plan new content that will help improve your site’s visibility and usability even further.
Creating an HTML Sitemap
If you have a small website with a few pages, you may be able to create an HTML sitemap manually. However, if you have a large website with hundreds or thousands of pages, you may want to use a sitemap generator tool to create your sitemap automatically.
Here’s how to manually create an HTML sitemap:
1. Create a new text file and name it “sitemap.html”
2. Add the following code to the sitemap file:
3. Save the sitemap file and upload it to your website’s root directory.
4. Add a link to the sitemap in your website’s footer so visitors can easily find it. Listing your HTML sitemap in the footer is a good way to make it accessible for users.
What to Keep in Mind When Creating an HTML Sitemap
When creating your HTML sitemap, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Organize Your Links Logicall
Your HTML sitemap should be organized in a way that makes sense for your website’s structure and hierarchy. For example, if you have a website with different sections for each topic, you may want to create a separate sitemap for each section.
Ensure Your Links are Accurate and Up-to-date
Make sure that your sitemap is accurate and up-to-date by regularly checking for broken links and new pages.
Use Descriptive Anchor Text in Your Links
The anchor text is the text that appears between the <a> and </a> tags in your HTML code. This text should be descriptive of the page you’re linking to, so that visitors will know what to expect when they click on the link.
Your Sitemap Should Be Easy to Navigate…
This means using clear and descriptive anchor text for links, as well as organizing your sitemap in a logical way.
… and Accessible to All Users
This means that your sitemap should work on all devices, including mobiles and tablets, as well as being accessible to users with disabilities.