Why create a sitemap?
A sitemap is a page that lists all the pages in your site. Each page listed is linked to that page, so when clicked on takes the user to the page. Sitemaps are a link map of all the pages in your site. A sitemap is important not only for your visitors but also for the search engines.
Create a sitemap for your visitors
The purpose of a sitemap is primarily for your visitors, so if they cannot find a page in your site via your main menu, they can go to the sitemap and find the page they are looking for. You should also include a sitemap for your visitors.
Create a sitemap for the search engines
A sitemap helps the search engines find pages in your site too, and may help index these pages. The search engines take into consideration how user friendly you site is, so including a sitemap for your users is an important.
How to create a sitemap
If you have a a small website, then all you have to do is:
- create a page
- name it “sitemap”
- type the names of all the pages in your site
- and then link the names to the matching page
- add a link in the footer to the sitemap
But if you have many pages then this method could be very time consuming.
If you have WordPress you can install a plugin.
Here are some plugins:
- WP Sitemap Page
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
If you have other programs like Joomla and Drupal then you can add a module.
Any other software like HTML, Dreamweaver or other website programs, you will have to do it manually.
You can use a sitemap generator to help you create a sitemap.
You can use a free online website to create your sitemap like:
Where do I add my sitemap?
If you have created your sitemap manually, then you will have to:
- upload the sitemap file to your server into the root folder of your site
- you can do this via CPanel and File Manager
- check that sitemap is working by typing in www.yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml
- this should display your sitemap
- then add the sitemap to your Google Webmaster account
Once you have created a sitemap, you should add a link to the sitemap in the footer area of your website. The is the most obvious place for the user to look for a sitemap.
All important pages like a sitemap, privacy, contact, terms and conditions should always be included in your footer.
When you create a sitemap make sure:
- its dynamic – meaning that the sitemap updates regularly
- the updates get submitted to Google via Google Webmaster Tools
- your website displays a user friendly sitemap, so it is easy for your user to read
- add a link in the footer of your website to the sitemap
Written by Jodi Allbon Jan 2015