Visual Sitemaps can be a powerful tool in delivering website value.

Sitemaps can be used to ensure that your newly designed digital presence is well organized and functions optimally.

There are many different sitemaps found in web design.

Different types of sitemaps are referenced by Web Design. Each one is designed for a specific audience and has a particular function.

  1. An XML Sitemap can be a powerful tool for improving your search engine visibility. It ensures that search engines index and crawl your website by including a list of URLs in the XML Sitemap.
  2. An HTML sitemap is less common on smaller websites. It provides a digital outline to the visitors of a website’s URL structure. These navigation aids are static and provide a different way to find other pages quickly.
  3. Visual sitemaps are a popular and effective way to plan a website between design companies and their clients. Visual sitemaps, which resemble flow charts, illustrate the structure of a website, giving insights into information architecture, content strategy, and user flow.

The Keys to Maximizing the Value of Your Visual Sitemap

Your visual sitemap is a crucial element of B2B sitemap strategies. It needs to be built upon a solid foundation. A visual sitemap can be a mistake if created too early or without proper preparation. By planning, you can ensure that your sitemap supports your strategy and leads to an intuitive, simple experience for your clients.

Start on the Right Path: Website Objectives & Content Strategy

You should evaluate the B2B needs of your business before you start designing any interface or customer experience.

This understanding can sometimes be reduced to a list of key performance indicators. Content and navigation will be tailored to achieve the goal of a website that generates leads. If website value can be measured by better by-product downloads, demo views, or form completions, you and your team can create content and campaigns to target these areas.

After identifying and articulating your B2B goals, you can start creating content and user experiences that will help you achieve these goals.

Use buyer personas to focus on the primary audience.

You and your team should keep your customers at the forefront when planning a website redesign or refresh. B2B tech firms should evaluate three buyer personas when preparing their digital marketing strategy. This will help the team validate its direction and consider critical customer perspectives. These B2B personas are summarized in the following way:

  • Primary users: These are typically analysts, marketers, and engineers who will end up being the customers of the product.
  • Decision Maker: The executive-level stakeholder decides whether or not the organization purchases a product.
  • Recommenders: These managers are responsible for connecting the two groups. They drive the narratives of the Primary Users and combine them with their expertise and insights to influence the decision-makers.

Content must target each of these roles, and smart overlaps should occur at different points to maximize the value on both sides. If your analysis is limited by time or budget, ensure that your content planning considers the primary user and decision-maker personas. You’ll be at a higher risk of creating an ineffective website for your business and your clients if you don’t include them.

Use a content inventory to connect where you are with where you’re going.

Once you’ve identified your goals and personas, it’s time to dive deep into your content and evaluate how they support your assets. Your content assets should be compared to your personas and objectives. Keep what works, rewrite and refresh what you can, and archive and delete what doesn’t.

The benefits of simplifying your B2B business for customers and employees go beyond simplicity. Content that needs to be updated or addressed can help your SEO rankings and attract the right audience. The focus and determination that comes with a detailed inventory of content — and the triage process that follows — are crucial to the efficiency of the redesign.

You won’t have to migrate product pages that neither you nor your customers want. You won’t have to pay for the ongoing costs of maintaining and serving those pages long after your redesign is complete.

The structure and labeling of your content are critical to reaching out to your prospects.

Connecting content with customers is more than creating and placing it on your B2B site. How your prospects discover and navigate the content you have worked so hard on creating and optimizing requires a lot of thought.

As with the previous content triage, the details are what matter. The more robust and well-organized your information architecture is, along with its content labeling, you can simplify the customer journey.

Avoid generalized, directionless headings like “blogs” and break down your website content into relevant categories and traits. This includes white papers, infographics, and podcasts where appropriate. This content breakdown can provide your audience with timely, relevant content. It also allows you to cater to B2B personas and emerging opportunities.

Designing for Your Content Management System

When creating a visual sitemap, consider your CMS’s capabilities and ability to organize the content you wish to deliver. Modern CMS platforms can provide easily customizable menus, tagging, and a taxonomy that supports the content structure of your newly designed website. There are still potential governance and workflow implications. It’s important to know what your CMS is capable of.

A website redesign usually involves structural changes to how information is displayed and organized, but your CMS could be limited. Your visual sitemap can help you develop a strategy for the content of your B2B business. However, your CMS should support that strategy.

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