In Part 2 of our series we look at Sitemap & Content. Missed Part 1? It was all about the groundwork, branding, and design.
You’ve now spent some time thinking and planning a design for your new site, now we get into the actual pages and words within the site. Design is critical, yes, but here is how you share your story.
Sitemap & Content
A sitemap is most simply a list of the primary pages on your website. There is usually a hierarchy with top-level and sub-pages. Your top menu will end up being a slimmed-down or best-of version of the sitemap. A sample sitemap looks like:
- About Us
- Company History
- Our Services
- Custom Furniture Design
- Woodworking School
How many pages do you need on your site? As a general rule, we’d say as few as possible. If you are trying to cram too many ideas or too much info on a page, then it might be best as its own page. But in general, keep your sitemap lean, understandable, and something as easy to get a sense of as possible.
Once you have your starting Sitemap identified, you need content for each of these pages. These words on a page will live within a certain design layout and might make use of photos, videos, and graphics.
The text is a key part of telling the story. It is also a key part of ranking in Google (more on that below)
Having great photos dramatically helps a site feel well done. Ideally have a professional photographer take pictures but carefully chosen stock photography may also be used. We use BigStockPhoto for stock images.
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER / LAYOUT
Once you have the text, photos, graphics, videos, etc. it is all about putting them together into a consistent layout.
Writing good copy is hard. Probably just as difficult is then transposing it into a page layout that your audience can follow.
Remember, people scan on the web! Make your content easy to follow by carefully using these tools within your web layout toolkit:
- Headings and sub headings (h1, h2, h3, etc/)
- Bulleted and ordered lists
- Bold and italics
- Buttons or hyperlinking to other content
- Columns or rows
- Use of backgrounds, textures, and colors
- Photos, graphics, icons, and videos
…and MOST KEY, once they have made their way through the page, is there a next step? Don’t forget what you want them to do! Is there more content to go deeper, a call to be scheduled, an e-book to download or a contact form to fill out?