Should a website have a sitemap?  The usual advice is that if you have enough pages to merit it, then "yes".  I'm not so sure though. Ideally a site should be designed with navigation menus that are clear enough for users to know where things are, and for specific searches, a "search" facility is more important.  The danger of a sitemap is that for any reasonably large site the amount of links on a single page becomes overwhelming, putting off the casual visitor. The further danger is that the site designer uses the sitemap as a lazy alternative to providing properly structured navigation menus.

This site uses MODx, which provides a very nice sitemap out of the box.  Even with this comparitively modestly sized site though, that page is starting to look a little too busy.  If the site grows much more I may consider removing the link, or at least moving it to a less prominent position.

So, in conclusion, sitemaps with many scores of links on them don't necessarily do your site any favours. Although in most cases it is probably better to provide visitors with a choice, you should consider putting more emphasis on better navigation menus and a clear search function rather than just pointing people to a sitemap.

Written by Celerity Design, on February 14, 2008

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