You got a really nice and functional website or blog. Great! You have practically implemented all type of SEO to make Google happy but you are missing a big step if you still didn’t add XML sitemap to your WordPress site.
Yes! search engines love sitemaps because they provide them an easy dinner to crawl your website.
In this tutorial we will see how to create an XML sitemap and add it your WordPress blog.
What is a WordPress Sitemap?
In very simple words, a sitemap is a page dynamically created with a list of WordPress posts and pages you have ever created on your blog. If there are hundreds and thousands of articles hosted on your blog, sitemap will show a list of URL links of all of those articles.
There are two types of sitemaps: WordPress html sitemap also know as human-readable sitemap and XML sitemap which are basically for search engines like Google and Bing.
Our focus here is to generate an XML sitemap for WordPress as human-readable sitemaps are pretty obsolete now a days but we will see how to create both of them later in this tutorial.
Why you need XML Sitemap for WordPress?
Consider yourself in a big shopping mall, you could get lost very easily instead you will prefer to grab a map from mall reception which will make you explore the area much faster.
As we have discussed already, sitemaps are a treat to search engines. Instead of making search engines to find your website urls manually, you give them a sitemap to explore and crawl your blog. It will also put crawling process on steroids which will be very slow otherwise in the absence of a sitemap.
Let’s see how to set up a sitemap in WordPress.
How to add Sitemap to WordPress?
Most of the SEO plugins have the option to add sitemap to WordPress website or blog. These plugins can also make XML sitemaps readable by humans.
That’s it. Your sitemap page will be available at http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap_index.xml. Give it a visit to see how it looks like.
The SEO Framework
The SEO Framework is another very light weight SEO plugin becoming popular among bloggers. This plugin will not only generate XML sitemap but also offer to make it human readable if required. You an add a sitemap link to your footer using text widget later on.
- Install and activate The SEO Framework.
- From your dashboard, go to SEO. Scroll down to the end of the page until you see Sitemap Settings. Click Output Sitemap and then Save Settings.
- See below a sitemap example you will get from this plugin and your sitemap address will be http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml
Google XML Sitemap Plugin
Google XML Sitemaps is the best WordPress sitemap plugin with several different options like setting priorities for posts and pages, include or exclude pages, categories and other related options which are out of scope of this tutorial.
To your surprise, you just have to install and activate this plugin.
It will run out-of-the-box and generate sitemap link with default settings. No additional settings required. Your sitemap address will be http://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml
XML Sitemap Generator
If for some reason you don’t like any of the methods above, you can also use an online XML site generator to create an XML sitemap for your site. One of the popular services is https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/. Once you download the sitemap, you have to upload it to your online server manually.
We are done with our sitemaps. One additional step you can do to make search engines job easier is to put sitemap link in your blog’s robots.txt. See our detailed article robots.txt explained to see how to add sitemap to robots.txt
You are absolutely ready with your all working XML sitemap for WordPress. Our next step is to tell Google about it. You can use Google Search Console for this purpose. See our article Google Search Console Ultimate Guide to see how to do it.