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Generate Store Map

Why create a Store Map

Store map vs. Sitemap

The Generate Store Map feature allows you 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.

Feature updates

This feature was substantially updated in January of 2011. The following instructions take into account both versions of the feature (before and after January of 2011). The updated version was posted to the “Just In” section of the ProductCart Support Center and will be included in future ProductCart releases.

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 format 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 link.
  • Include short category description
    Whether the short category description should be included, below the category name.
  • Include short product description
    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.
      Include the store’s header & footer if you want to create a page that looks exactly like the rest of the store. Don’t include them if you want to generate a simpler HTML page (e.g. you plan to use portions of the code within another page on your Web site, or on another Web site)
    • 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 the same store map, generated from a fictitious store that sells printing services. In the first example, the store map was generated without using the store’s header & footer, and using custom font tags. In the second example, header and footer were included, and no hardcoded font tags were used.

A store map can help you achieve better search rankings

Where the Store Map file is located

Updated feature (January 2011)

  • The Store Map is located in the “pc” folder.
  • The file is called “storemap.asp”. Here is an example on a demo store.
  • If your store navigation links to the store map, make sure to change the link to use this new file.
  • Technical notes:
    • ProductCart is actually writing the store map HTML code to a file called inc_storemap.asp located in the pc/catalog folder. 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 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.

Up to ProductCart v4.1

The HTML file that is generated when you use this feature with ProductCart up to version 4.1 (without the update mentioned above) is saved to the following location: /pc/catalog/StoreMap.html.

Make sure that the catalog folder has “write” permissions before using this feature or you may receive an error.

You can copy this file and place it anywhere on your Web site, or use portions of the code that it contains in another page of your Web site.

Troubleshooting (older version)

If you receive an error when generating a store map and you selected the option to include your header and footer, it might be that there is code in your header or footer that is creating a conflict with the code that generates the Store Map. To get around the problem, you have to options:

  • Use the version of this feature that was updated in January of 2011. The new version uses your actual store interface, so there are no issues.
  • Alternatively, you can follow these instructions:
    1. Choose to generate the Store Map without Header and Footer.
    2. Download the file that ProductCart will generate for you.
    3. Open the file with your favorite HTML editor or Windows Notepad.
    4. Copy the entire file content (it's an HTML table).
    5. Take any page on your Web site (e.g. About Us or Contact Us), remove the copy from the main section of the page (e.g. the About Us copy) and save the file with a new name (e.g. StoreMap.html).
    6. Paste the code into this new file.
    7. You are done and you can link to this new file from any other page on your Web site.

An image tag in the form of <img alt=“sometext” src=“your path”> may not be correctly rendered in the site map. If not, try changing the tag to <img src=“your path” alt=“sometext”>.

For an advanced approach to handling the issues above, see: Creating custom Store Map page that uses your store's true (dynamic) header and footer.

Static URLs

The following only applies to ProductCart v3.

If you are using static URLs via the technique described here, one of the files that you will download is a version of the Store Map generator that will automatically use the ”.htm” links. If you are using another technique to do so (e.g. ISAPI filter), use the same, altered version of the Store Map generator and customize it to match the file name convention that you chose for your URLs.

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