Creating the sitemap of a website is an important part of the SEO of the webpage. It helps Google to discover all the pages on your website. In this article we determine what is a sitemap, what is the benefit of using one and how to create one.

What is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a structured, hierarchical list of all the pages and content within a website. It serves as a roadmap or directory for search engines and website visitors to easily navigate and understand the website’s structure. Sitemaps are typically organized in a tree-like structure, with the homepage at the top and branching down to include all the subpages, categories, and posts on the site. This helps search engines index the site’s content more efficiently, improving its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

There are two main types of sitemaps:

  • XML Sitemaps
  • HTML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps, primarily designed for search engines, and HTML sitemaps, intended for human users. XML sitemaps are submitted to search engines like Google and Bing to assist their crawlers in discovering and indexing web pages, while HTML sitemaps are often linked in the website’s footer or menu to help users quickly find and access specific pages or content on the site. Both types of sitemaps play a crucial role in enhancing the overall user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) of a website.

How to Create a WordPress sitemap?

As WordPress is a popular CMS, here we shall focus on creating a WordPress sitemap. It will benefit the SEO of the WordPress website. There are two main ways in which you can easily create a sitemap for a WordPress website.

Use a Plugin to Create a Sitemap

Install and Activate the Plugin: If you haven’t already, install a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack. Both plugins offer sitemap generation features.
Access Sitemap Settings: After activating the plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard and find the plugin’s settings. For Yoast SEO, click on “SEO” in the left-hand menu and then navigate to “General” > “Features.”
Enable XML Sitemaps: In the “Features” tab, you’ll find an option to enable XML sitemaps. Toggle it on.
Customize Sitemap Settings (Optional): You can customize your sitemap settings by clicking on “XML Sitemaps” within the SEO plugin’s settings. Here, you can define what types of content you want to include in the sitemap, set priorities, and more.
Save Changes: Make sure to save your changes. Your sitemap is now automatically generated and updated by the plugin.

Create a Sitemap Manually

Access Your Theme Files: In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Appearance” > “Theme Editor.” From there, find and click on the “Theme Functions (functions.php)” file on the right-hand side.
Add Sitemap Function: Insert the following code at the end of your functions.php file to create a simple sitemap.

Save Changes: Click the “Update File” button to save your changes.

Generate Sitemap URLs: You’ll need to manually add URLs to the sitemap by editing the custom_sitemap function. Be sure to include the necessary <url> elements with the <loc> (URL) and <priority> (priority) tags for each page or post you want to include.

Access Sitemap: To access your sitemap, you can typically do so by visiting “yoursite.com/sitemap.xml” in a web browser. If you’ve customized the URL or location of your sitemap, adjust the URL accordingly.

These are two simple ways to create sitemaps for WordPress websites.

Benefits of Adding WordPress sitemaps

These are some of the uses

Comprehensive Indexing: WordPress sitemaps include various types of content, such as posts, pages, images, and custom post types, ensuring all your web assets are indexed.

Automatic Updates: WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO can automatically update and submit your sitemap to search engines whenever you add or modify content.

Enhanced Analytics: Sitemaps help you track the performance of your website, allowing you to identify popular pages and areas that may need improvement.

Faster Discovery: Sitemaps expedite the discovery of new or updated content on your site, reducing the time it takes for search engines to index changes.

Deeper Content Visibility: Sitemaps can include deep links to individual blog posts or pages, ensuring that even less-visited content gets indexed and ranked.

International SEO: Sitemaps support multilingual and international SEO efforts by helping search engines identify language and region-specific content.

These are some of the benefits, it becomes clear that using a sitemap is very good and important for your website.