Back in the early decade when I taught web design and web development one of the key pages to have on your site was the sitemap page. These days a sitemap is just Google or SEO speak for making sure that Google knows all your pages. In the old days it was similar but it was actually a real live viewable page that anybody could go and see all the content on your site. It was a true gem, especially for large sites.
The Sitemap Is Dead
Somewhere, along the way the idea to have a good ‘ole HTML sitemap died away. Maybe it was no longer needed because the xml file that Google needed was auto generated by the CMS (Content Management System like WordPress) in use. Maybe with the launch of blogs and much much larger sites, doing a done by hand sitemap is just too hard. I have been thinking of this concept though recently.
Whatever the reason the habit died away. Recently, I saw something very similar done by a person that I follow, Elizabeth Goddard. She has something called an “Everything Page”. I liked it and set out to do a page myself. Then after creating it, I realized this is a sitemap, a good ‘ole sitemap!!! In the original days of the web, sitemaps did not necessarily include every single page on the site. Even in XML sitemaps, SEO plugins allow for not adding a particular page or post to the sitemap so it is “hidden” from Google.
The Modern Sitemap
This realization was awesome because as with fashion it does seem like the good habits and techniques tend to come back again. Back in the day, a sitemap made it very clear all the pages that were available on the site. The many sites I coded in just HTML & CSS, often there was a home page, contact page, about page, and maybe one or two other pages. It was a way to make sure that there was contact information for all the non-profit sites I created. It was a way to have an accessibility statement and not necessarily link that from the menu but it could be easily found on the site. Whatever the reason it was a good practice and still is. The “Everything” page or I like to call it “All the Things” page or modern sitemap page that I created has all of my offers whether paid or free. I want it to be clear, easy to be found, and transparent on the pricing of the products and services I offer. These values are core to my person and my business and it is important that they are laid out clearly for others to see. I do not believe in limited launches, in hiding the price, or other marketing gizmos and tricks that seem to be all over the place. For that reason, I may not grow as big or as fast as the next person but I will know that my values of being truthful and transparent will be followed and my integrity is a lot more important than how quickly I grow or how much I grow.
Long Live the HTML Sitemap
Thank you Elizabeth for bringing back the sitemap! I think it is an important technique that should be more popular. I am excited to add more to my sitemap page take it beyond just my offers and freebies and also include videos, blog series, and more. Truly have a sitemap to make it easier for others to navigate around my site and automatically know what I offer and a little more about who I am. It makes my academic heart so happy to have a sitemap. It feels like a Works Cited page for my own works. Here’s to bring back the sitemap.
Creating Your Own HTML Sitemap
If you are interested in creating your own sitemap, because why not do something that will help SEO, your customers, clients, viewers, and more? These days there is no need for HTML knowledge, all you need is a regular ‘ole page that you add all the links you want to call attention too. Have a recent blog series or a pillar post that you want to highlight, include it?! Have some lead magnets or freebies, some paid products, these are great things. I am even thinking of adding links to social media, videos, and more. Techie Mamma is run on several domains, courses, blog, web design services, my cart, my landing pages, there are a lot of links between all of these sites as they are very intertwined. This is a great way connect everything. I believe in having WordPress run all your content so that you own your content and don’t happen on an overnight Teachable shut down but sometimes everything can’t be on one WordPress site which means things go to subdomains. If you create an HTML sitemap or “Everything” (Lizzy’s Term) Page, let me know I would love to see it.
Still not convinced about the modern sitemap? Check out some other resources.