How important is the sitemap? I have a sitemap listed with my main categories, but not sub-categories. Is that best practice?
Sitemap create linking between web pages.Sitemaps are an important way of communication with search engines.Sitemap can Provide better visibility by search engines for any websites.
Are you talking about an HTML sitemap for people to use, or an XML sitemap for search engines only?
It depends very much on your site - how big it is, what sort of navigation options you have, usage patterns and so on.
I am talking about an XML sitemap. My site is pretty big. I have over 5k pages right now. You can take a look and tell me what you think: http://bigdogcattle.com/sitemap.xml
easy to crawl with the bot when you have sitemap
google seemed to index and cache more of my pages once I made both html and xml sitemaps, and linked to them with a few of the main pages, and submitted the xml in the webmaster control panel for google....
If we can define sitemap.xml file on webmaster tool it will be easy to index your Web Pages .The sitemap.xml will help goggle to index your new pages quickly.
All the major search engines are capable of finding your pages by following links. If you have a good linking structure, you do not need a sitemap. But, it certainly won't hurt. It will just waste some of your time.