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An in Depth Look into MicroSys A1 Sitemap Generator. A1SG. Review.

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Software: A1SG (A1 Sitemap Generator)
Current Version: 3.0.9
Price: Standard – $49.00 Professional – $69.00 (1 year of free updates)

(Also offers a Free Fully Functional 30 day trial)

Modes:

A1SG offers two modes of use “Easy Mode” and what I’ll call “Super Advance Mode”. While easy mode may be ideal for smaller websites with excellent url structures it’s not suitable for larger websites or those with structuring issues. I won’t be covering “Easy Mode” in much detail as none of my websites were a suitable choice for crawling in this mode. With that considered it is certainly possible that there are plenty of well structured websites that could very much benefit from the “Easy Mode”.

Before I come off too negative let me open the door to what I’ll refer to as “Super Advanced Mode”. To say the advance mode gives you amazing control over your sitemap analysis and output would be the understatement of the century. I’ve been working with the software for well over two months now and I’ve likely only evaluated 55% – 65% of the options available in this software. Extensive options come with an elevated learning curve which Thomas told me was a trade off he’s willing to make.

User Interface:

A1SG is very powerful but it is also a bit confusing. The large number of features take it’s toll on ease of use which includes attempting to figure out what all of the different filters do and what the appropriate syntax is to make them spring to life. To counter the confusion A1SG offers numerous mouse over tips and a very extensive online help section for all of the different features to help explain the use and sytnax which is a neccessity for people like me who refuse to dive into manuals.

To give an example of how extensive the option sets are I’ll list the tabs for scanning a website; Paths, Scan Progress, Crawler Options, Crawler Engine, Crawler Identification, Webmaster Filters, Analysis Filters, Output Filters, and Data Collection. Each one of these tabs has numerous options for the end user to choose from which while very usefull features this does make it a little more challenging to operate but then again it is “Advanced Mode”.
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A Comparitive and Detailed Review of CoffeeCup’s Sitemapper and InSpyders Sitemap Creator

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

CoffeeCup SiteMapper vs. InSpyder Sitemap Creator 

Side By Side: InSpyder Sitemap Creator - CoffeeCup SiteMapper


It’s a bit difficult to say just how crucial sitemaps are in search engine algorithms and how much of an increase of indexed pages and crawl rate, if any, you’ll receive by uploading and pinging an xml sitemap to the major players. (Google, Yahoo, Bing) What is definite is that it can’t hurt your site unless it’s done completely wrong (formatting), you delist too many url’s, or you leave too many urls on the list.

Before jumping into the comparative review of SiteMapper and Sitemap Creator I want to give a layman’s term definition to what a sitemap is and what it may or may not do for your website or blog. It is indeed a map but it’s more than that; a good way to explain it would be to say it’s a hybrid map, more like a GPS (Unit that gives directions) set to the shortest and most efficient distance. Let’s say you have a ton of irrelevant or duplicate content urls on your site, to add to the analogy above, these urls could be considered freeway traffic or ice cream stores; things you want to avoid when traveling because it eats up your time.

Let’s think of search engine bots(Those that crawl your website) as impatient kids in the back seat of the family’s station wagon (Does anyone actually still own a station wagon?) on a long family road trip across the country (Country=Your Website). Now wouldn’t it make sense for your GPS (Sitemap) to get you to your destination as quick and efficient as possible so you don’t lose your mind? Yes it would. While a Sitemap is considered to be a suggestion to the search engines I’d be inclined to think they take them fairly seriously, especially when it’s well formatted and the most useful content of your website is added to it. The beautiful thing about sitemaps is that unlike your gps unit on the road trip you can actually remove traffic/obstacles in the road instead of just attempting to avoid them (Suggestively that is because it is up to the search engine on whether it follows the Sitemap path).

There are two types of sitemaps, html and xml. Html is primarily for the benefit of your website visitors while xml (xml’s can be zipped and indexed) is purely for the use of search engine bots. (There are evil bots too)
Now that we have a basic understanding of the sitemaps let look at two pieces of software I purchased and used within the last three weeks.

CoffeeCup SiteMapper:

UPDATE: Before leaving this post please read the update at the end of this review for some updated information regarding the SiteMapper program. This greatly alters the opinion I previously had of this program but doesn’t modify my opinions on InSpyders product.

CoffeeCup SiteMapper was the first program I purchased and at just $29.00 ($26.10 with coupon code: 226STS) it was definitely an easy choice to make the investment. Visually speaking SiteMapper is a beautiful piece of software; functionality wise was a completely different story. It comes packed with a lot of convenient features such as scheduling to automatically update and ping the search engines, built in preview of the sitemap, and of course the ability to create both html and xml sitemaps.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test the scheduling and pinging features of this program because after five days of attempting to crawl a website I finally gave up. The crawl would start out fine but before too long the software would lock up forcing me to open the task manager to shut it down(I read similar complaints of this on their Support Forum). Now before you think this was computer related, I installed SiteMapper on my desktop and two laptops just to be certain. (All running Vista Home Premium so there is a small chance it was OS related but not likely)

SiteMapper Frozen

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