The Wine Road – Navigating Through Site Maps
The site map paves and guides the way to where a visitor on your website goes, what they see, what they experience, and what they learn. Although, the site map first appears in the form of an outline, its main function is revealed in the navigation and subnavigation bars. Both navigation bars should be clear, concise and effectively convey where your visitor is going.
Here are a few tips to think about when creating (or recreating) a site map.
- Follow the ‘natural path’. Most people read from left to right and top to bottom. When laying out your site map, start with “home” then prioritize the following subpages beginning with what areas of your website are most important to you or what areas of your site you would like to guide your client to first. For example, 1) Home 2) About Us 3) Wine Store 4) Wine Club 5) News & Events 6) Contact Us. Recently, I saw a website that ended with “home”. It was the first time I’d ever seen a site put the homepage at the end of the navigation bar, and it seemed out of place for me.
- Use active or descriptive words that convey where it is your visitor is going. Try not to use vague or ambiguous words that will leave a visitor wondering whether or not what they are looking for is going to be on that page.
- Don’t clutter the main navigation bar. Each page of your website does not need to appear on the main navigation bar. By organizing your site map efficiently, you can group several pages/topics under one category. For example, About Us can include the subpages: Our Winery, Our Vineyards, Our Winemaker, Visit Us.
- Know when to use footers. Footers work as effectively as navigation bars. Most people know to look for and seek them out. Footers are a great place to index pages such as: Contact Us, Site Map, Policies, and information that you don’t necessarily want on the navigation bar, such as Trade or Press information.
Categorize your wine store. When setting up your wine store, break down your wines into categories, if possible. Categories can include: wine varietals or differentiating them by red, white, sparkling, dessert, etc.; Current Releases; Library Releases; Reserves; Specials, etc.