We can talk copywriting best practices all day long.
But if your website doesn’t have a clear sitemap strategy — then all of that copywriting will be for not. Because your message is directly intertwined with how your website is designed.
What is a sitemap exactly? Well, a site map lists all the pages your website will need and the information that should go on each.
Didn’t think a copywriter would talk shop about UX design, did you? Well, we’re here and we’re doing it. (By the way, UX is a fancy way of saying user experience. It’s something both designers and copywriters really hone in on before making any strategic decisions with your site.)
Whether with my consulting clients or full-service clients, site map strategy is a crucial part of the process. A solid site map guarantees that your website visitors are effortlessly reading every word on your site, and getting them one step closer to taking action with you.
So how do you build a site map if it’s that important? Great question. Let’s get into it.
Website goals are something we can’t skip, but alas, most people do. If you haven’t had the time to think about your website’s goals, it’s better to do this sooner rather than later.
Take the time to jot down evvvvvvery action you want people to take on your website. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Now that you’ve established some goals, you’ll need to decide which goals are most important based on the season of business you’re in. And which goals will most move the needle for your business? Hint: it’s not the same for everyone.
For instance, if you’re a booked-out 1:1 coach, you’re probably not searching for 1:1 coaching clients because you’ve got a healthy waitlist. Your primary goal could be to move website visitors toward your group coaching or digital products if you have them.
Maybe you’ve realized people who engage with your content for a while are the ones primed to work with you down the road. So a secondary website goal could be funneling website visitors to subscribe to your podcast or YouTube channel.
If you’re an online course creator, your biggest goal is to get people to purchase your courses right? A secondary goal could be getting people to download your resources to funnel to your email list or purchase affiliate links. Your email list is the lifeline of your business by the way — if haven’t got this going yet, you should 🙂
Learning how to build a sitemap requires you to ask yourself: “what are the main goals of my website based on the goals of my business?”
Now that you’ve identified your main goals, this naturally segues into the next part of the site map process, which is to solidify your core offers.
Your core offers are the very thing that drives revenue for your business. As you’re restructuring your site, this is a good time to have a come-to-Jesus meeting.
People in attendance: just you.
Through your website, you only want to showcase the offers directly serving your business and ruthlessly eliminate everything else.
Sometimes that means scrapping offers entirely. That’s okay.
Too bold of a move? Let’s just not bring as much attention to those offers for now. Baby steps are equally valid 🙂
A baby step I would recommend here deciding whether or not you’re ready to rebrand your business.
Take note of what percentage of revenue is coming from each offer, how profitable each offer is, and which offers are still in line with what you want to do in the future.
Because there’s no point in showcasing offers on your site that A.) you no longer want to do B.) people aren’t necessarily purchasing/booking or C.) aren’t moving the needle forward in your business.
Can you tell I feel strongly about this one? Knowing how to create a sitemap makes this decision much easier.
Light bulbs took place. Maybe some tears were shed (I’ve got tissues if you need them). But either way, you’ve nailed down your core offers. Phew! Here’s to you my friend, because you made it past the tough part.
Your next task — if you so choose to take it — is deciding alllllll the pages you need to accomplish your website and business goals. Take a look at the pages a typical service provider will need:
Nice. Simple. Easy.
But the more involved your business is with different offers and different audiences, the more intentional you have to be about which pages to include and which pages to omit.
The goal is to have enough pages to give everyone context as to what you do, but not an overwhelming amount of pages to where it confuses the website visitor and makes them bounce off your page.
Trust me, you probably don’t need a 50-page website for the time being.
All your pages have been decided on. Virtual hand hug for you! Now, the last step is deciphering what goes on each page.
Let’s start by talking about the Homepage. Because if you take away anything from asking, “what is a sitemap”, you’ll realize it’s the most important page on your site.
Across the board, no matter your industry, your Homepage is a starting point for getting people to where they need to go while giving people a glimpse of what your brand is all about.
Sort of like when you walk into an ice cream shop, not sure if you should go for the mint-chocolate chip, so you ask for a sample just to be safe. And immediately, you realize it’s totally worth paying the $5. Just me?
Your Homepage gives people a small taste of who you are so they can decide whether they want the full scoop or a different flavor altogether.
Think of the core veins that make up your business:
These are just some of the elements you’d want to consider including on your Homepage, but they aren’t all necessary to be on the page.
Once you finished the Homepage? Move on to the About Page. Then the Services Page. And so on. Keep asking yourself the same questions with each: what is the goal? what actions do I want people to take? what information do I need them to know in order to take that action?
You’ll also want to think about a customer journey. For example, the offers you listed on your Homepage? They should link to your Services Pages. From there, on your Services Page, you should decide whether to take them to the Contact Form, or somewhere else.
By the end, all your page structures will be complete, but it’s not time to start writing yet (that’s where I come in).
Ultimately when you put in the work to build a sitemap, writing your copy becomes much easier. It allows you to get all the nitty-gritty of your site planning out of the way so you can then focus on getting YOU on the page.
And you guessed it, this is the process I walk through with both my Done With You and full-service copy clients. Take a peak at working together with a website copywriter and brand messaging strategist.
Action-packed methods so your website can spark connections swiftly. Around the same time it takes to finish a leisurely afternoon stroll with a good friend — we should really do those more often.