ARCHIVE / What is a site map?

A site map is a page on a web site that is used to provide direct access to most, if not all, publicly available pages on that site.  As web sites became larger and more complex, the use of site maps increased.  However, the reliance on a site map is generally not advisable, for two reasons.  The first reason is that the means of navigating through a site should be clear and usable enough that visitors to a web site should not need to refer to a site map to find the pages they are looking for.  The second reason is that maintaining the correct layout and page links on a site map in addition to adding, changing or removing other web pages creates opportunities for invalid links as well as missing or misleading information.  While the latter concerns can be mitigated with a dynamically generated site map based on the pages defined in a content management system, such web sites ought to be sufficiently well designed so as not to require a site map in the first place.

last updated 2007.10.19

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