How to Create a Sitemap for WordPress Website
A sitemap is a detailed list of all the pages on your website. When a user clicks on the sitemap, they will be taken directly to your home page.
Why Create a Sitemap for Your Website?
Having a sitemap will be beneficial to both human and search engine crawlers. Search engine crawlers are software programs that browse the web looking for new websites to index. Without a sitemap, they will have a difficult time navigating your site and potentially indexing all the pages.
Humans also need a sitemap to find relevant pages on your website when performing a search. If you are logged in, the search bar at the top of the browser window will reflect your personal preferences. If you are not logged in, the search bar will default to the general public which in turn, will affect the results you see on the search engine.
What Is the Difference Between a Homepage, Metaphpage, and Dynamic Page?
As mentioned above, a sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site. Just like a physical address, the url (uniform resource locator) of a page will give you a rough idea of where it is located. However, the url does not always have to be static and can be changed by the person who owns the page. This is why it is best to use the term “metaphpage” instead of “homepage.”
A metaphpage is a page that is linked to one or more other pages on your site. For example, let’s say you own a shoe store and you have a shoe designer’s website set up where you can show off their shoes. Each pair of shoes is linked to the website.
If a shopper is on your site and clicks on a pair of shoes, they will be taken to the shoe designer’s website. But what happens if they are on your site and click on a different pair of shoes? Since they were not directed to the shoe designer’s website specifically, they will be taken to the closest matching page which happens to be one of the other pairs of shoes.
This is why it is a best practice to create a sitemap for your WordPress website with all the pages specifically linked to one another. When a human performs a search on your website and clicks on a result, they will always be taken to the home page or the url of the homepage (if there is no other url on the page). This ensures that they always land on the right page and do not have to search for more information.
The Anatomy of a Sitemap
Although a sitemap does not have to be complicated, there are some basic guidelines you need to follow so that your website can be easily indexed by search engine crawlers.
Firstly, make sure that the links within your sitemap are correctly formatted. If a crawler encounters a badly formed link, it will not know where to go and can potentially cause harm to your website.
Secondly, each page in your sitemap should be dedicated to a single topic. If you happen to be blogging, make sure that all the posts are tied together by a central theme. Search engine crawlers do not always behave in the same way as humans which is why it is a best practice to have a singular topic on each page.
If you have a gardening blog, all the posts should be dedicated to a single plant or flower. For example, you could have a page for rose bushes, another for lavender bushes, and so on. Each page should be relevant to the others so that when a bot indexes your website, it will have no trouble finding what it is looking for.
Thirdly, make sure that you update your sitemap whenever you make changes to your website. Updating your sitemap does not necessarily mean that you have to add or remove pages, but it just means that you have to adjust the way the pages are linked. You can also add or remove blog posts but make sure that all the pages are still relevant to one another.
How to Create a Sitemap for Your WordPress Website
To create a sitemap for your WordPress website, you will need to follow these steps:
1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
Make sure you have logged in to the WordPress dashboard before performing any tasks related to this tutorial.
2. Click on “Sitemap” from the dashboard menu.
You will now see a small button in the upper right corner of the page that looks like this:
When you click on this button, you will be taken to a “sitemap” page where you can input the details about your website.
You can add a brief description for your site (up to 250 words), the url of your homepage, and any other relevant information. Make sure you use the “subdomain” setting to enter a short domain name for your site (e.g., “google.com” instead of the usual “wordpress.com”).
You can also include keywords in the description so that your content shows up when users are searching for specific terms. When adding keywords, make sure you use the “quotes” feature to enclose phrases and words within a phrase. For example, if you add the word “green” to your site’s description, you will automatically trigger the search term “green website.”
3. Preview your sitemap.
You can preview your sitemap to make sure everything is working as intended before you publish it.
Once you are satisfied with the contents of your sitemap, click on the “publish” button.
4. Click on “save” at the top right corner of the sitemap page.
By clicking on the “save” button at the top right corner of the page, you will be creating a new sitemap which will be named “Saved Sitemap.” You can now edit the contents of this new sitemap with any changes you have made to your website since the last time you saved the file. When you are satisfied with the contents of this sitemap, click on the “save” button again.
5. Optional: Add additional URLs to your sitemap.
If you have other relevant pages on your site that do not appear on your home page, you can add them to your sitemap using the “+” icon at the bottom of the page.
To add a new URL to your sitemap, simply enter the url in the corresponding field and click on the “save” button.
6. Click on “view” at the top right corner of the sitemap page to open the detailed view for this particular sitemap.
You can now go back to the list of all the sitemaps you have created and open the detailed view for any of them. This way, you can easily find the pages you have created for your website.
7. If you want to change the name of a specific sitemap, click on the name and enter the new name in the provided field.
For example, if you have a sitemap named “Unsaved Sitemap,” you can change the name to “Saved Sitemap” and the content will be saved under the new name.
8. To remove a specific sitemap, just click on the “x” icon at the top right corner of the page.
This will remove the particular sitemap from the list of all the sitemaps you have created and you will be returned to the main dashboard menu.
9. To remove all the sitemaps you have created, click on the “x” icon at the top right corner of the dashboard.
This will remove all the sitemaps from the list and you will once again be returned to the dashboard menu.
You can now add a new URL to your site and preview your sitemap to make sure everything is working as intended. When you are satisfied with the contents of your sitemap, click on the “publish” button to create the sitemap.
To learn more about creating a sitemap for your WordPress website, check out the Google Webmaster Help Center where you can find a complete guide to making a good sitemap.