Creating a Website Sitemap (free template download)

Creating a sitemap for your B2B website doesn't have to be as complicated as you think. Find out about types of sitemap here, and download a free template!

Picture of Lauren Nuttall Lauren Nuttall

Published: 04 Feb 2021

5 minutes read

Creating a Website Sitemap (free template download)

A sitemap is essential for your B2B website.

However, many are unsure what a sitemap actually is, and what it really has to offer your website. What’s more, a lot of businesses don’t know where to start.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about sitemaps, and how to get the most out of them.

There’s also a free template to help you get started, and save time in developing your own sitemap! 





What is a Sitemap?

Essentially, a sitemap is a roadmap of your website, providing a breakdown of all the pages it contains.

In practice, you need to create two types of sitemaps: one for your users and another for search engines. We'll explain these in more detail below.


Type #1: Visual Sitemap - For Your Users

A visual sitemap is the first thing you should consider for any website redesign or development project.

It acts as a blueprint, outlining the website's main pages and their connections with each other. This allows visitors to navigate the site efficiently, saving them time and frustration in their search for specific information.

You should use a visual sitemap as a planning tool and refer to it consistently throughout your website project to ensure you're working in the right way.

Get a headstart with your visual sitemap by downloading our free template.


Type #2: XML Sitemap - For Search Engines

An XML sitemap carries out a slightly different function.

Rather than working as a planning tool for your website design process, your XML sitemap should be something that is planned into your project.

The XML sitemap consists of a spreadsheet containing all the core details about your website’s page, including the URL and its hierarchy.

When uploaded onto Google’s search console, it helps the search engine to index and understand your website’s content and structure - which is vital in improving your ranking in search results.

You can quickly see your own website’s XML by typing ‘/sitemap.xml’ after any URL. Check on your own website - if you don’t see anything, you need to create one.


How to create a visual sitemap: A 5-Step Guide

Developing a clear and concise sitemap is crucial for any website, regardless of its size or complexity. Here's a step-by-step approach to create an effective sitemap:


1. Content Brainstorming

To create your visual sitemap, you first need to decide which pages your website will actually include.

Start by compiling a comprehensive list of all content you intend to include on the website. This includes product and service pages, case studies, company information, and any other relevant pages.

Most B2B websites include an ‘About Us’ page, but many businesses fail to overlook the significance of this webpage. Your About Us page acts as an introduction to your brand, fostering trust and connection with your audience. Briefly outline the company's history, mission, values, and team to establish brand credibility.


2. Categorisation and Organisation

Once you've compiled your list of pages to include on your site, group them into categories based on their relevance.

For example, if you run a professional services company, you could categorise your content by:

  • Industry served: healthcare, finance, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • Service type: accounting, consultancy, etc.
  • Product type: clothing, electronics, etc.

Remember, how you categorise and organise your site will determine the size of your site. If you’re planning to use a Growth-Driven Design approach, then you might want to consider conducting a MoSCoW analysis to prioritise which content should featured on your website.


3. Establishing Structure and Hierarchy

Establish the hierarchy of your website's content by outlining the primary sections and their corresponding subcategories. This creates a logical flow of information, ensuring users can easily navigate from broader topics to more specific details.

For this, you might want to use a tool like Miro to help you map out and visualise your site structure and overall user journey.


4. Content Planning

Draft a rough outline of the intended content for each page within your sitemap. This’ll help you get more clarity on what the specific purpose of each page is, and how it’ll contribute to the overall user experience.

You can also add in conceptual wireframes for each page if you’d like.

Remember, your visual sitemap is a plan. When your site is developed, there’ll be some difference between what you’ve planned, and the final product.


5. Refine and Share

Share your draft sitemap with colleagues or external stakeholders to gather feedback. Their insights can identify any areas for improvement, such as missing information, unclear labelling, or inconsistencies in the overall structure.

Your sitemap is a working document. As your website evolves, continuously revise and update your sitemap to reflect these changes and maintain a clear and user-friendly navigation system.

Start creating your sitemap today and download our free sitemap template.


How to Create an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap plays a crucial role in ensuring your website is crawled by search engines. Without one, it can be difficult to attract organic visitors to your site.

There are several ways to create an XML sitemap, but here are the most common methods.


1. Manually Create It

This method involves manually listing each website URL in an XML file using a text editor, following the proper XML syntax.

While suitable for small websites with a few dozen pages, this can become tedious and error-prone for larger sites.


2. Use Online Sitemap Generators

Several online tools like Slickplan and the XML Sitemap Generator offer free sitemap generation.

All you need to do is enter your website URL, and the platform will crawl your site, generating an XML sitemap based on the discovered pages.

However, there are some limitations to keep in mind as these tools may not capture all pages.


3. Generate it Through Your CMS

If you’re planning to develop a website on a CMS like HubSpot, then it’ll automatically generate and update the XML sitemap whenever you add or remove a webpage.

To access and view the XML sitemap from the platform, simply download it so you can upload it straight to the search engine console.

The best thing about this method is that it produces a sitemap quickly and accurately.


H3: 4. Get a Developer to Make It

Should you require greater control and customisation of your XML sitemap, then this may be your best option. However, this approach requires technical expertise.

Seek assistance from an experienced developer who can input a piece of coding to programmatically generate your XML site using their prefer programming language.


Your Sitemap is Only The First Step

Creating a sitemap might seem daunting, but there are plenty of tips and tricks to make it easier. Whether you're building a brand new website or redesigning your current one, consider the sitemap throughout the entire process, from the planning stages right up until launch.

It can help you identify the most important pages and provide long-lasting SEO benefits even after your website goes live. Download our free sitemap template to get started.

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