Your site map as a business tool

Bust out your site map for a moment. You know, that org-chart-like thing that you look at from time to time and wonder what to link your shiny new page to?

Got it? Okay, now take a look at each page. What is the purpose of that page? Every page in your website should have a purpose. And, to your great advantage, there aren’t many purposes that each page can have:

  1. To compel a client to contact you
  2. To sell a product or service
  3. As an informational stopping-point along the way to one of the above two purposes

And that’s it.

So, your Contact Me page is very likely is #1. Your ecommerce section/shopping cart/products-page is probably going to be a #2. Your blog, resources, downloadable stuff, and your home page will all likely be #3.

It’s easy. So take out your site map and figure out the primary purpose of each page. Maybe do some color coding with your kids’ markers.

NOW HERE’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART
Once you know what the purpose of each page is, you need to look at the content on that page and make sure it is doing the job it is supposed to be doing. Is it fulfilling the role you’ve assigned to it?

For example, if your About Me page serves as a stopping point (purpose #3) along the path of having someone telephone you (purpose #1), then your About Me page needs to contain clear, prominent links to your Contact Me page.

And you may find, after doing this exercise, that there are some pages that don’t do anything. Either give them a role from one of the three purposes… or delete them.

Now here are my answers to a couple of objections that some of my readers will have:

  • Don’t my pages serve other purposes?” Yes, there are other purposes that your pages serve (SEO is one example or maybe another example might be that your comments section is a big, happy community of adoring fans). But ultimately, even those are related to at least one of the 3 purposes I’ve listed above.
  • I don’t want to prominently link a next step in my blog! That’s my community and they resist hard-selling.” I would also agree that, in some cases, you aren’t going to blatantly push people in one direction if it is unprofessional. You probably shouldn’t flog your products every time you post a blog; regardless, your blog should still subtly remind people that you are a genius and they would be crazy not to pick up the phone and dial your number right now. So don’t finish every post with “Contact me today”, but maybe, in the footer of your post, have a section that links to the page you want them to go to.

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