Strategy

Sitemaps: An Overview

Sitemap: aka website hierarchy, site architecture, or site structure

When creating a new website, especially one with a lot of content, developing a sitemap is an important step. It creates an organizational structure of the site and helps to set the project up for success by identifying exactly which pages live where.

However, sitemaps, as important as they are, don’t get as much attention as they deserve, and we often find they get confused with other website elements. To shed some light on the topic, we’ve created a basic guide outlining sitemap basics and best practices to help you get a head start on your next website project.

Sitemap Basics

A website is made up of a group of individual pages. A sitemap, in its simplest form, is a list of these pages. Sitemaps can be shown in a document or in an app/program and are typically found on a page of your website.

The City of Colwood: Streamlining Internal Processes

Last year, the City of Colwood, a long-time Upanup client, asked us to develop a tool that would allow businesses to renew their business licenses online. The City was planning to eliminate business license fees and they wanted to create an efficient renewal process to coincide with the change and replace the antiquated systems of the past.  

After 10 months in operation, the City has found much success with their new process. Below is a small case study outlining the challenge, solution and impact of integrating the new business renewal tool onto Colwood.ca.

The Challenge

The City was using a paper system for their business license renewals and had no database for local businesses.

When Does a Microsite Make Sense?

But first, what is a microsite?

A microsite is a branded website that lives outside of a company’s main site and is used to offer focused communication on a specific product or service. Often used as a marketing tool, microsites help to diversify a company’s web presence and generate leads, while providing a flexible, efficient solution that can be tailored to specific markets.  

When does a microsite make sense?

  • When you want to build awareness around a separate sub-brand
  • When you have an abundance of information on one specific product, service, or event
  • When you have a product or service that targets different audiences
  • When you want to improve how a specific product or service ranks on a search engine results page
  • When you want to test a marketing approach for a specific product or service

Viking Air Aerial Firefighter Microsite DevelopmentUpanup’s long-time client, Viking Air, is a perfect example of when it makes sense to develop a microsite.

Enhancing User Experience with IBIC

B.C.’s Indigenous Business and Investment Council (IBIC) came to Upanup with high aspirations. They wanted to create the number one website in Canada for Indigenous Peoples’/First Nation’s economic development—and they wanted us to help them do it.

Since we, too, like to set our sights high, we happily accepted the task. And now, after conducting various stakeholder engagement sessions and developing a strategic foundation based on user experience, we are delighted to celebrate the launch of the new IBIC website.

Indigenous Business and Investment Council

IBIC is a community partner of the B.C. government, whose main objective is to promote economic development opportunities for Indigenous communities, and to advance Indigenous peoples’ participation in B.C.’s economy.

Improving Google Rankings, The First Step: Organic Search, Channel Report

At Upanup we work with companies to help with search engine optimization, which in layman's terms means improving Google rankings. This is an ongoing task that requires consistent efforts to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition. The very first step of search engine optimization is setting up a tool to track the visitor statistics on a site, and getting regular reports that determine strategy and monitor progress.

Google Analytics is the most accessible and popular of several free and paid tools available for tracking your website's traffic. To assist those that are new to the world of search engine optimization, we have outlined below the steps to obtain a basic Organic Search Channel report once you have Google Analytics up and running.

Getting a Basic Organic Search Channel Report Automatically Emailed

1. Make sure you're on the Reporting tab on the top menu.

Google Analytics reporting tab

Best Practices for Online Annual Reports

Not so long ago, nearly all publicly-traded companies produced a printed annual report and usually posted a PDF of that document on their website. Nowadays, fewer and fewer companies are producing an annual report, but more and more are embracing the opportunities provided by web-based communication to post an online version of an annual report, corporate profile or corporate sustainability report.

The Art of the Splash Page

When you aren't ready to build a full website, but your company or organization needs to start to have an internet presence,  it can make a lot of sense to post a single page website that can go up quickly and without hassle. There is no sitemap, no navigation, and very little content required. The benefit is that you have somewhere to point people, and you start to get on the radar of search engines before building your full site.

Other people in the industry may refer to this as a splash site, a one-pager or a micro-site, although to us a micro-site will have up to ten pages of navigable content.

When creating a splash page, we think it is important to still take a professional and thoughtful approach, so that the effort does not degrade your company or organization in the eyes of visitors. This counts out the animated gif with the shoveling construction worker and "website coming soon." Please don't go there.

Website Timeline: A Plan for Success

The two most common questions that we are asked when it comes to producing a new website revolve around price and time. “How much does a new website cost?” “How long does it take to build a new website?” The answers to these questions vary dramatically depending on the size and scope of the project. Our team has designed, developed and launched websites within a month when absolutely required, while others can take a phased approach for more than a year.

Regardless of this variance, we have found that it always make sense to follow a well-defined process for designing and developing a new website. We establish phases and milestones for every web project and ensure that we hit the goals at each stage as we move into the next. This phased approach easily turns into a plan and a clear website timeline. Having designed and built hundreds of enterprise-level website, we know that this process works and builds a platform for success.

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