Mindmaps: An Effective Tool To Create Your Website’s Structure

Mindmaps: An Effective Tool To Create Your Website’s Structure

By Alf Pedersen (www.databasedesign-resource.com)…

To better illustrate SBI!’srecommended 3-tier website structure, I have written this article to illustrate how mindmaps can help you see the “big picture” of site content before you begin to build. I will use my own experience as an example.

Important Note: This does not, by any means, reduce/eliminate the need for following the Action Guide. It’s only meant as a supplement to visualize your site before you go on with it, and to find out if you have enough ideas to “stuff up” your content.

In the early stage, I do not bother too much about keywords and profitability. But later, my Master Keyword List (MKL) is my guide for choosing subjects, file names, etc., for all of my pages. I then adjust my mindmap to the actual findings. If you do not follow the SBI! process, your chances are slim at creating a successful website.

Below you will find a mindmap drawn by me and my friend for our next site. Before we did anything, we spent an hour discussing the theory of SBI!, the importance of keyword picking, how to be found in the search engines, and so on. By the way, my friend is not into website design; he’s a novice, a complete newbie.

Then we fired up my Mindmanager SW and started sketching. The first-cut structure of our new site was done in approximately 20 minutes. You can clearly see the site (theme = sports fishing), with all our T2 pages, as well as a few T3 pages already identified.

The fine point here is that we were now able to look at the upcoming website from above, so to speak. We could play around with it, removing/adding/changing T2/T3 pages to our liking. When we were done, we knew that we could use our MKL to find profitable keywords for each T2/T3 page, and from there, start writing the text.

This site will be multilingual to attract visitors from most European countries, but we’ll deal with that later. For now, we are building it in one language. Later, we will hire professionals to translate. We’re not good at German/Spanish/Italian. 🙂

Anyway, here was our first draft:

First Draft

There are many alternate ways to present a mindmap. I have found this format to be nice so I also use it on my Database design site: Sitemap. There are tools available to make notes, sketches, etc., as well.

Erwin Steneker of www.customerservicepoint.com recommended this free mindmapping tool: FreeMind. It looks useful, so you may want to consider it.

Another thing to notice when you review the mindmap is the possible business opportunities that emerge.

“Equipment types”: I am sure we can sell a lot of fishing gear before our customers arrive. We know what they will need, and they probably don’t have it. We use a rough measurement for lines, rods, reels, etc. We can even use the site as an affiliate sales page for people who will never visit our location, but nevertheless are interested in the gear we represent.

Clothing is also important. This place is far North, so they will need warm clothes. And so on. Ahhh… did you notice that it popped up a set of T3 pages under “Equipment types”?… Clothing, boots, reels, rods, lines, gloves, hooks, etc. Each one is a potential T3 page with affiliate links inside. This could probably be a significant income in itself.

The point here is that within one minute (literally), I was able to enter those ideas into my mindmap, and watch how the site expanded. And all this happened before I even begin to transform those ideas into SEO-friendly text and images.

“Transport”: How about affiliate links to airlines?

“Cooking”: Is there room for a fish recipe ebook selling from our site, uniquely written by us? Would we be trustworthy, given all the big fish pictures we will be putting up? 🙂

“Pictures”: Can we make prints of our best pictures and sell them?

Keep in mind that all of this is the result of a one hour discussion, followed by 20-30 minutes of visualizing with a mindmap tool. Also remember that I was just using this tool to get an overview of my site. And I have one more thing to mention… a mindmap makes it easy to communicate what the site is about to others. You already have an idea what my/our new site will be about, right? 🙂

Are you wondering why we wanted to start this site?

Well, we have some (extended) experience in sports fishing. We both have suitable boats for sports fishing. My friend owns a cottage with beds, sauna, spa, etc., by the seaside where we are fishing. Since he has had requests in the past, we thought we’d establish a small fishing camp, inviting select paying customers to a 5-day, all-inclusive fishing adventure. This would let us fish all day, and get paid for it!

So this is an offline business coming up, which will be promoted online using SBI!. And I know we can outsmart 99.99% of the competition using SBI! as our secret weapon. You wouldn’t believe how poorly laid out most such sites are. 🙂

Following the completion of the first sketch, I spent ninety minutes rethinking the detailed content of our site, partly based on ideas derived in the above paragraphs. After adding ideas for a substantial number of T3 pages, as well as reviewing the T2 pages, a new map emerged:

New Map

As you can see, the number of T3 pages increased significantly. I now have a main page (T1), 13 T2 pages, and 74 T3 pages (so far), totalling almost 90 pages. And that’s in one language. Eventually, this site will be “speaking” Norwegian, German, English, Italian, Spanish, and French. This site has the potential of having 500-600 keyword-optimized pages in different languages!

If you have a hard time trying to understand the concept of T1/T2/T3 tier structure that SBI! advocates, you might find the mindmapping tools very helpful.

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