Most small business websites are small enough that visitors can find what they are looking for very quickly. For example, the CS Kitchen and Bath Studio site only has four pages. You can get to any of them with one click using the navigation menu at the top of each page. For a site like this, the key is to have a prominent, visually distinct navigation area to help visitors get where they’re going.
But what if your site is larger or more complex? While you may be able to quickly find the page you’re looking for (after all, it is your site), it may be tough for a first-time visitor to find the content they’re after. While the value of an intuitive and well thought out site structure can’t be overstated, you can do your website visitors a tremendous favor by providing a sitemap.
Let’s consider the Keating, O’Gara, Nedved & Peter website. Their site has nearly 50 static pages and an ever-increasing number of blog posts. While all of this information is valuable and serves a purpose, it is useless if visitors can’t get to it. That’s where their sitemap page comes in.
First, the page lists every page from the site in one place. If I came to their site because I need to contact Jeff Downing, I can quickly jump to his page. If I’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, I know exactly where to go.
Second, the sitemap gives me a visual understanding of how the site is organized. I can quickly ascertain that the site has been organized into 7 parent pages, many of which have child (and even grand-child) pages beneath them. This level of detail can help a visitor know where to start, even if they don’t see a page that is exactly what they are looking for. You can “go the extra mile” by providing your visitors with a search form. Between the sitemap and the search functionality, your visitors should be able to find exactly what they are looking for.