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How to Create a WordPress Sitemap for beginners [2020]

In this article,  we will discuss what a sitemap is and how to create a WordPress sitemap.

You might have exceptional content and pages on your blog. If this engaging content is not reaching your target audience, then everything you created is of little value.

Most of the visitors you get are via the search engines provided you are not using paid methods.

It makes sense to ensure that your site gets indexed by the search engines. Although the search engines today are smart enough to index new content.

If we provide the search engines with information about our site. It will make their job easy and ensure faster indexing of our site.

What is WordPress Sitemap?

As per sitemaps.org.

Sitemaps are a simple way for the webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites available for crawling.

In simple terms, it is a file that lists all the pages on the site along with some additional data about each page.

Search engines bots can use this information to navigate through the site easily and index the pages.

What are different types of WordPress Sitemaps?

The WordPress sitemaps are of two types

  • XML sitemaps
  • HTML sitemaps

XML sitemaps are files the search engines use. These files contain a list of website’s URLs along with their metadata. The metadata contains information  like how often the URL changes or when was the last time they updated it 

HTML sitemaps are used by the site visitors to navigate the site. They help in improving the user experience and making the site user friendly. A better user experience indirectly helps in boosting the search engine rankings.

As we have seen that HTML sitemaps are for humans and XML sitemaps are for search engines. Both directly help in boosting the search engine rankings. Therefore, we recommend having both types of WordPress sitemaps on your site.

What are the benefits of Sitemaps?

  1. They help speed up the work of search engine crawlers and helps in faster indexing of your site.
  2. As it indexes your site it helps in boosting the search engine visibility
  3. Sitemaps inform the search engines about any changes in your website content. It also helps in finding any new content on your site.
  4. The Sitemaps help the search engines index enormous sites that lack proper structure and are not interlinked. They also make it easy for visitors to navigate through the site.
  5. An HTML sitemap acts like an index page for visitors. They can navigate the site quickly and find any specific topic they are looking for.

How to Generate Sitemaps?

You can generate sitemaps manually or using a plugin. Here we discuss, how to generate sitemaps for two most popular blogging platforms that is Bloggers and WordPress.

If you want to generate WordPress sitemap without plugin. You should check out this post

Generate XML Sitemaps for blogger blog.

Open the Blogger Sitemap Generator in your browser. In the text box type your full Blogger blog URL including the https:// 

You can create XML sitemap instantly when you click on the Generate Sitemap button. 

Now, login into your blogger dashboard, then navigate to Settings >> Search Preferences >> enable Custom robots.txt.

Paste your XML sitemap in this text box and click on Save.

Generate HTML Sitemaps for blogger.

If you want a complete step-by-step process of generating an HTML Sitemap for Blogger blog. You can check out this post for generating HTML sitemaps for Blogger blog.

Next, we will discuss how to generate sitemaps for WordPress sites. For WordPress, there are a lot of plugins that make your job easy.

This is one reason for recommending a self-hosted WordPress blog. It saves you many hours of time and frustrations. You can concentrate on the most important aspect of blogging like content creations.

You can check out the Bluehost as they have the most affordable WordPress hosting plans. 

Generate XML Sitemaps for WordPress.

As we have discussed above, we will use plugins to generate XML sitemaps. Two of the most popular plugins used for this purpose are: 

  • Yoast SEO 
  • Google XML Sitemaps

You can install these plugins using any of the methods described in the post how to install WordPress plugins

Yoast SEO is one of the best SEO plugins for Search Engine Optimisations. You can use this plugin to create XML Sitemaps.

After you install the plugin activate the plugin, then on the left side menu bar of your WordPress Dashboard click on SEO >> General >> Features Tab.

Then, click the On button under the XML sitemaps section. Now you can click on the ? sign after the XML Sitemaps. A dropdown menu with the XML Sitemap link to generate the XML Sitemaps for your site will open.

A fresh page will load with a list of sitemap URLs of your site. That’s all sitemaps have been generated for you.

Google XML Sitemaps

The Google XML Sitemaps plugin is very useful in creating XML Sitemaps. 

It helps in pinging and notifying all the major search engines whenever you update the content on your site. 

This plugin helps in indexing all WordPress generated content like WordPress pages and custom URLs.

After you have installed and activated the plugin as mentioned above. Go to Settings >> XML Sitemaps.

On this page, you will find the URL of your WordPress sitemap.

Generate HTML Sitemaps for WordPress blog.

As we know that HTML Sitemaps help in the site’s navigation for humans.

For creating this sitemap you have to install WP Sitemap Page Plugin.

WordPress HTML sitemap plugin creates a sitemap on one of the site page using a short code.

This shortcode generates a sitemap of all your posts and pages.

It doesn’t create an XML sitemap; be careful about it.

I hope you know how to install a plugin. After installation click the Pages >> Add New.

Add the shortcode [wp_sitemap_page] to the page where you want to show your HTML sitemaps

After you have completed the job. Click the publish button and check the URL to preview the HTML Sitemap.

How to Submit XML Sitemaps to Search Engines?

After generating the sitemaps next step is to submit them to the search engines. In this article, we will submit sitemap to Google and Bing

Submitting the XML Sitemaps to Google

In order to submit your sitemaps to Google, you have to create an account on Google Search Console. 

Login to Google Search Console and verify your site ownership.

After verifying ownership, on the left side menu of Google Search Console navigate to Index >> Sitemaps

Just below the “Add a new sitemap“ add the sitemaps that you have created

If your sitemaps are ok you will get a success message after a few minutes.

After a few days, you will see that Google has started crawling your site. 

Submitting XML Sitemaps to Bing

If you want to submit XML Sitemap to Bing.  You have to create an account with Bing’s Webmaster Tool

Again you have to verify the ownership of your site. During the verification, you have to enter the XML sitemaps that you have created.

Finally hit the save button.

Conclusion

Sitemaps are helpful for search engines as well as human visitors.

The XML sitemaps provide a map to the search engines for easy and faster indexing.

The HTML sitemaps improve the user experience for the visitor. They also help in faster navigation of the site and find the information quickly. 

In the nutshell, sitemaps help in achieving better rankings in the search engines.

I hope that you must be clear on how to create a WordPress sitemap. 

Let me know if the article was useful for you 

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As a founder of Startblogpro, Bhagwant Singh helps the reader to launch a blog. A blog can be started as a side hustle and converted into a full-time business. Blogging as a business can help you to leave the 9-5 grind and be your own boss.

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