Why Create a Site Map?

Just 5 years ago, I’d occasionally stumble upon websites possessing a page called “site map” or “sitemap.” That page presented a long list of the entire contents of the site. I found such lists very useful. I could skim them quickly to locate exactly what I hoped to find. Or to determine that the information I wanted was not present. Often I’d discover hidden gems I hadn’t been seeking, but that I was glad to acquire.

I liked site maps. I wished that every website possessed one.

angled metal tracks on an electronic circuit board

Unfortunately the trend was moving away from my preference. Somehow it was decided that the sole purpose of a site map was to ensure that Google’s crawlers – and those of other search engines – could locate each web page efficiently, so that the page could be listed by the search company in their search results.

Now, I like relevant search. Very much. When I google something, I want the best result to appear on the first page. And perhaps site maps were always geared to ensure that this happens. Perhaps they were never intended to help human visitors. But these days, the site maps are all actively hidden from human browsers, tucked away where only crawler bots can see them. I think that’s a shame.

I’ve tried using the search boxes available on most websites. I’ve tried clicking on the by-the-month archive links. And the category links. But not only do these methods often fail to deliver what I seek, but they have little chance of turning up the hidden gems that I don’t know are present.

It’s a shame. Totally a shame.

However, there’s no reason my own site must participate in this great omission. I’ve had creating a site map on my to-do list for a long time.

It didn’t seem urgent at first, because my site didn’t have much content. In the summer of 2012, I had only 3 books published – each of which possessed its own web page – and I’d written a mere dozen or so blog posts. No doubt most visitors absorbed it all in under 10 minutes and then moved on, unimpressed. “Huh. There wasn’t much to that.”

Today it’s a very different site! This is my 238th post. I have 19 books published – each with its own web page. I’ve created 15 “lore” pages for readers who want to know more about the North-lands and the other worlds in which my stories take place. Plus there are the miscellaneous pages such as my bio, a sign-up for my newsletter, a landing page, and so on.

There’s a lot of content present. And since I don’t tend to write many ephemeral newsy posts, the material retains its interest for quite a long time.

But if no one can find my post on the limits of obtaining vitamin D from sunlight or my explanation of how magic works in my North-lands, then the posts may as well not exist.

I decided this week that it was time to tackle my site map. One intended for humans!

Multitasking, photo by Jenn Vargas

The task took longer than I thought it would. I suspect that is often the case with such projects. There is software to automate the process. But it seemed likely that it would take me just as long to learn the software as it would to create my site map by hand. And I believe the software tends to generate the proverbial wall of text.

Admittedly, all the site maps I’ve ever seen were walls of text. They were useful in that format, and I could have settled for such a basic list.

But I knew that if I grouped the list into related categories, it would be a lot more accessible and thus a lot more useful.

So I’ve done just that. Check it out! 😀

Site Map

I’ll lay you a wager that you’ll find something I wrote back in 2012 or 2013 or 2014 that tickles your fancy. Am I right? Tell me what post or page it was in the comments! 😀

For more about blogging:
Copyright Statement for My Website
Slow Blogging and Other Variations
SPAM Deluge
New Home Page



New Home Page

J.M. Ney-Grimm in 2007I just reviewed my notes from a workshop I attended in 2012.

And there in the section on visibility – making it easy for my readers to find me and my work online – was a poser.

For heaven’s sake, don’t put your blog on the landing page of your website!

Erm. Yes. Precisely.

:: squirms a bit ::

So…my blog is, in fact, the landing page for this website.

:: squirms some more ::

After the squirming, I thought about this particular advice, given by a writer with decades of experience in publishing. A writer who is also in the forefront of the new indie publishing world.

Here’s the thing.

The vast majority of the people who search “J.M. Ney-Grimm” online – or who search Troll-magic online 😀 – have no interest in me, the author.

They just want to know if my newest book has released yet.

Or, maybe, what some of my older titles are, because they discovered my newest work and now want more.

For these folk…landing on my blog is a nuisance, a distraction, even a bore. Yikes!

Thank you, all of you, who like reading my blog. I appreciate every single one of you very much!

But what of the folk who feel that Shakespeare was right. “The Play’s the Thing…”

Luckily, there’s a simple solution: create a new landing page.

That is what I’m going to do.

So why am I telling you all about it? Why not just get the job done and go quietly forward?

Because I am not a tech whizz! And I’m concerned that those of you who have my blog bookmarked or those of you using an RSS feed for reading my blog may have your arrangements disturbed.

My hope is that nothing will be disturbed. Your bookmark will bring you here as usual. Your RSS feed will carry my weekly post as normal.

But if that is not the case…if your bookmark lands you on my new landing page…if your RSS feed suddenly displays only my new landing page…

My blog is still here. You’ll see the word Blog in the navigation bar. Click on it and then update your bookmark (or your RSS feed), and the status quo will return.

I do apologize for any inconvenience. I’m hoping there won’t be any, but…we shall see next week, when I make the change!

Update: I’ve made the switch! The moment I clicked the “publish” button was nerve-wracking. What had I done? Ack!

Once I examined what I had wrought, I felt better. The RSS feed seems not to have been disrupted. My blog appears on my Amazon author page and on my Goodreads author page via my RSS feed. And it’s still there! Yay!

The blog URL has changed. It used to be JMNey-Grimm.com. Now it is JMNey-Grimm.com/blog/. So, those of you with bookmarks…please update them! I appreciate you very much, and hope you’ll continue to visit here frequently!

For more about blogging:
Copyright Statement for My Website
Why Create a Site Map?
Slow Blogging and Other Variations
SPAM Deluge