Why Create a Store Map
Store Map vs. SitemapThe Generate Store Map feature allows you to generate a static page that can include a list of categories, their subcategories, and the products that they contain, organized in a “site map” type of layout. This should not be confused with an XML sitemap, which is a file that tells a search engine which URLs to spider on your Web site.
The “Store Map” is first of all a navigation feature: it helps your customers navigate your store in a “Table of Contents” format. It can indirectly help with search engine optimization as it increases the internal popularity of the pages that it links to.
To Generate a Store Map in ProductCart v5 or higher, login to your ProductCart Control Panel and navigate to:
Settings > Images & Navigation > Generate Store Map
Number of Links
For the page to be usable, make sure that it does not include too many links. If you have a large store, consider using the “Category Only” option so that the Store Map does not include product links. See this interesting article on the maximum number of links a page should have.
Store Map Settings
ProductCart allows you to generate the store map using the following options.
- Category Only (no product links)
Choose this option to create a Store Map that only includes category links (no product links). This option should be checked when working with a large store, otherwise the Store Map will contain too many links.
- Include short category description
This determines whether the short Category description should be included, below the Category name.
- Include short product description
This determines whether the short Product description should be included, below the Product name.
- Category Exclusion
To improve performance (i.e. the time it takes ProductCart to generate the store map) or control the size of the page (i.e. the length of the store map), you can limit the amount of categories included in the store map. Please select the categories that you would like to exclude from the map generation process. If you don’t want to exclude any category, do not select any category in the selection field. Otherwise, select one or more categories to be left out of the store map. Use the CTRL button to select multiple categories.
- Display Options
These options will help you partially customize the look of the page that ProductCart will generate.
- Include Header & Footer: This option does not exist in the latest version of the Store Map generator - the 'theme' is always included.
- Use hardcoded font tags? You can create a file that uses hardcoded font tags, or one that doesn’t (and therefore will follow the general style for the store, typically set by a cascading style sheet). If you decide to use hardcoded font tags, you can enter your preferences using the corresponding fields.
- Use H tags (H1, H2, etc): ProductCart will use the heading HTML tags in the store map. This can help make the page more relevant to a search engine spider. Generally speaking, H tags increase the relevancy of the text that they contain, when used properly.
You can recreate the store map unlimited times. You can also create different store maps using different categories and subcategories. However, remember that ProductCart will always overwrite the last store map it generated. Therefore, it is a good idea to save the file to your local system before generating a new store map, unless you are certain that you will not need the last store map that ProductCart created.
Here is an example of a very basic store map, generated from a ProductCart Demo Store. In this example, the store map was generated using 'Categories Only', including the Short Category Description:
Where the Store Map file is located
- In ProductCart v5, the actual Store Map is saved to the following location and file:
... but if you want to link to your store map from within your site navigation, you will reference the following file:
- Technical notes:
- It uses that folder because it is a folder that has the correct permissions set on most stores (it's the folder where images are saved).
- The file "/pc/storemap.asp" includes inc_storemap.asp
- There is a container DIV around the Store Map. The ID of that container is “pcStoreMap”. This helps you style the Store Map using Cascading Style Sheets.
- Unlike with the old version of the feature, font styles are added to the Store Map code using in-line CSS, rather than <FONT> tags.
- Make sure that the catalog folder has “write” permissions before using this feature or you may receive an error.