However, to build a good or improve your existing website, you need to start with its foundation: its architecture. Fortunately, there are many useful tools out there that can help you focus and improve upon it. Below are some of them.
1. Visual Sitemap Generator
A visual sitemap generator can help you have a bird’s-eye view of your site’s architecture in a few clicks. Before, most developers need to draw or illustrate by hand—or using a graphics program—their visual representation of their site’s architecture. With a visual sitemap generator, all you need is to feed the app or service with your site’s address and give it a few seconds to a few minutes to generate a visual sitemap for you.
Thankfully, there are free visual sitemap generator tools available on the web. However, know that some of them have restrictions. For example, some generators can only include a set number of pages to be displayed. If you have a huge website, then the free ones wouldn’t be enough to display everything.
Fortunately, there are premium sitemap tools that have functionalities that can make your life easier and don’t have that kind of restriction. Some of them also go beyond mapping. They can help you test and analyze your web pages when your site is ready. It scans through the website to capture metadata and thumbnails to develop a more detailed site map.
A few of these premium generators can also allow you to view your sitemap in different modes such as hierarchical or isometric views. Then some may offer additional features such as broken link finder, browser compatibility checker, SEO analyzer, and many more.
Thankfully, you don’t need to buy or subscribe to these apps or services right away. Most premium sitemap generators offer free trial periods to allow you to test the waters first.
2. Website Accessibility Tools
Another key tool you need to improve your website architecture is a website accessibility tool. As the name implies, this type of tool allows you to test your site if it’s accessible to everyone. With one, you can easily audit and troubleshoot your site with ease. For example, if you want to make sure that both computer and smartphone users can access your site properly, you can use a website accessibility tool to confirm it.
Normally, it often comes with a sitemap generator while some offer a suite of services to their clients. A few of them integrates search engine tools and offers easy collaboration and robust web design accessibility testing features to ensure that the site is compliant with accessibility guidelines and standards. For example, you might want to follow web accessibility laws and policies to ensure that people with disabilities can navigate your website without difficulties.
3. Vector And Diagramming Programs
Before developers used and discovered sitemap generators, most of them made sitemaps using vector and diagramming programs. However, despite the convenience of sitemap generators, it isn’t enough to eliminate the use of diagramming programs.
Aside from drawing or sketching sitemaps, diagramming programs can also help developers design layouts and make flowcharts, which are convenient for visualizing algorithms and scripts that you may integrate into your website.
4. Search Engine Tools
Most search engines provide free tools to web developers and webmasters to allow them to check the performance of their websites in search algorithms. Primarily, these tools help with search engine optimization, but they offer other features that can also help you with auditing and designing your site’s architecture.
Aside from those, search engine tools can help you with accessibility. Normally, you can submit your sitemaps on these tools and determine if the search engine that owns the tool can crawl and index your site. In addition, they also information on how your visitors behave when they navigate your site once it’s published on the web.