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How To Create An XML Sitemap In WordPress

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Everyone has heard of sitemaps, but few know what they actually do Since so many plugins take care of their creation and maintenance, it’s common for experienced WordPress users to be completely unfamiliar with how sitemaps work and why you should definitely have one.

In this article, we’ll cover the what, why,  and  how of sitemaps   . First of all, we will talk about what a sitemap   is and how it is created with XML.  Next, we’ll explore why it ‘s important to use sitemaps on your site  . Finally,  we’ll walk you through how to create a  sitemap on  your own WordPress site  .

Ready to create a sitemap?

What is a Sitemap?

A  sitemap  is a small file that contains data about your website’s pages, posts, images, and other elements, plus the links and connections between them. Sitemaps are created so that search engines like Google or Bing can easily crawl your site and add your pages to their search results.

Sitemaps are written in XML.

What is XML?

XML

XML, which  stands for Extensible Markup Language  , is used to create documents that can be easily read by both humans and computers. In a web design context, this usually means search engines.

Why Should You Make an XML Sitemap?

Because a sitemap creates an easily accessible map of your site (which is where it gets its name), it’s easier for the search engine to “crawl” or “index” your site. This means creating a list of your site’s pages so they can be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs).

You can also add other information to the sitemap that helps the search engine index your site. These include things like when the page was last updated, versions of the page in different languages, how often you plan to update the page, and other useful information.

To summarize, by adding a sitemap, you increase your website’s visibility in search engine results.

How to Create an XML Sitemap

There are two different ways to create an XML sitemap with the plugin and manually.

  • with plugin
  • Manually, Without Attachment

Generate XML Sitemap with Plugin

The easiest way to create an XML sitemap is to use a plugin. Fortunately, there are many free options available. Let’s walk through using each of them.

  • Yoast
  • Sitemap Generator
  • All in One SEO
  • SEO Press
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Google XML Sitemap Generator
  • Sitemap from BestWebSoft

Already using an SEO Plugin? It is very likely that it will automatically generate a sitemap for you. This includes Yoast, All-in-One SEO, SEO Press and others. Still, we’ll show you how to double-check the settings to make sure everything is working properly.

1.  Yoast

Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins available for WordPress, and for good reason. It covers pretty much everything you’ll need to optimize your website’s SEO. This includes creating a sitemap.

First   , download, install and activate the Yoast plugin Next, go to SEO > General in your WordPress sidebar  .

Now,  click on the Properties tab.

Next,  go to XML sitemaps. By default, it will already be enabled.

To view your sitemap, click the small question mark next to the title, then click   View  XML Sitemap .

Beautifully made!

2.  Sitemap Generator

This simple plugin uses an external program to crawl your site and generate a sitemap. It is very easy to use and can generate a sitemap in a matter of seconds.

First, download  , install and activate the plugin  . Next, go to Sitemap Generator > Sitemap Generator in your WordPress sidebar  .

Next,   click  Generate sitemap .

You will now have to wait between ten seconds and a few minutes depending on the size of your website. You will see a green success message when the process is complete.

If you scroll down, you’ll also see a list of statistics about your site.

You can also   download the sitemap by pressing the Download button.

3. All In One SEO Pack

With over 2 million downloads, All-in-One SEO (called AIOSEO for short) is another very popular SEO plugin.

You can download the free plugin from the WordPress repository. After installing and activating, you will see a popup wizard. Click the big green button.

Follow the next steps by filling in your information. When you get to Step 4, you will see the option to enable Sitemaps. It is enabled by default.

Once you’ve filled out the rest of the settings, you’ll be taken back to the WordPress dashboard. You  can now  view and edit your sitemap settings by going to  All-in-One SEO > Sitemaps .

On this page, you can customize your sitemap’s settings, including links per sitemap, post types to include or exclude and taxonomies, priority pages, and more.

4.  SEOPress

Yet another popular SEO plugin is  SEOPress  .

To edit sitemap settings, first  download,  install and activate the plugin. Next, go to SEO > XML / HTML Sitemap in your WordPress sidebar  .

You will now see a bunch of different options to customize the sitemap on your site. You can enable or disable the sitemap, view it, enable an HTML sitemap, or select the post types or taxonomies to include.

To activate your sitemap for the first time, make sure the top item is enabled, then  click the Clear Permalinks  button.

5.  Google XML Sitemap

This plugin is extremely popular and has been downloaded over two million times, so you can trust it’s working!

After downloading it from the WordPress repository  ,  install and activate the plugin. Next, go to Settings > XML-Sitemap in your WordPress sidebar  .

Here you will see all the options to customize your sitemap. At the top, you’ll see the settings for automatically notifying search engines like Bing or Google.

By scrolling down you can choose which pages to include or exclude, priority of posts, what content or taxonomies to include in the sitemap, and more. You can also add “hints” that show how often the content of a particular page will change.

6.  Google XML Sitemap Generator

This simple plugin will generate a sitemap for you. After downloading from WordPress repository,  install and activate.  Go to the plugin’s settings page by going to  Settings > XML Sitemap .

On this page, you will see all the available settings for the plugin. You can automatically ping Google and Bing with page updates, add the link to your robots.txt file, and choose which post types to include or exclude.

On the right, you’ll also see useful links to view your sitemaps.

7.  Sitemap from BestWebSoft

 

Finally, BestWebSoft Sitemap is a free plugin that quickly and effortlessly generates a sitemap.

After downloading the plugin, install and activate it, then go to Sitemap > Settings  in the sidebar  .

You will now see a bunch of tabs, each with different options:

  • The main  Settings tab lets you set up basic things like enabling  robots.txt   or creating a media sitemap  .
  • The Structure  tab allows you to select the post types and taxonomies you want included in the sitemap.
  • In other tabs, you can edit the settings available to professional users. This includes the ability to change how often your site is pinged, among other features.

Generate XML Sitemap Without a Plugin

Don’t want to use a plugin? No problem. You can also use online tools to create your sitemap.

  • Online XML Sitemap Generator
  • XML-Sitemaps.com
  • sitemaps.org

Uploading via FTP

After you create a sitemap with any of these tools, you need to upload it to your site’s root (top-level) directory. The easiest way to do this is with FTP/SFTP.  We recommend using  Filezilla.

Step 1: Install Filezilla

First   you will need to install another FTP/SFTP program like  Filezilla  or  Cyberduck We will be using Filezilla for this tutorial.

Step 2: Access Your Site with FTP/SFTP

After installing Filezilla, you need to obtain credentials to access your site via FTP or SFTP. You can usually find them in your hosting panel, but the exact connecting process is host dependent.

In general, it is better to use SFTP as it is more secure.

Step 3: Upload the File

After connecting to your site, simply upload the sitemap file  to the root directory. This is the top level of your site and should be the first page you see when you connect. It looks like this:

Once you’ve uploaded the file, you’re ready to go!

Online XML Sitemap Generator

This free online generator will generate a sitemap for you. Enter the address, the date the site was modified, the change frequency, and other settings, then   click  Generate sitemap .

Once your sitemap is complete, download the file and upload it via FTP to the root directory of your website.

XML-SiteMaps.com

This tool generates a sitemap in just one click.  You just need to  enter your domain and  hit Start You can also   customize extra options such as Page priority and Page Last Modified by clicking  More options .

Once your sitemap is ready, download it and upload it to your site’s root directory.

sitemaps.org

This website is not a tool in itself, but a guide to the XML sitemaps protocol. It has a sample sitemap as well as guides to the various XML tags you can use.

Submit Your Sitemaps to Search Engines

After creating your sitemap, the final step is to submit it to search engines. By doing this, you can quickly speed up the process of getting your site listed in search results.

Many plugins do this automatically; but you can speed up the process by making the connection yourself.

robots.txt

Before you do anything else, you should replace example.com with your own domain by adding the following line to your robots.txt file.

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

If you are using a plugin to generate the sitemap, this submission process will have already been done for you. If you created it manually, you need to  create a text file called robots.txt  and upload it to the root or top level of your website via FTP/SFTP.

Google Search Console

Google is of course the largest search engine and that means you have to submit your sitemap to it.

To do this, first  create a property. After doing this,  verify your site. Finally, you  can use the Sitemaps report to make sure it’s working correctly  .

Bing

Bing, created by Microsoft, is the second most popular search engine. To submit your sitemap to Bing, follow these steps:

First,  go to Bing’s Webmasters tools page  and create an account. Next,  go to the Sitemaps tab and click Submit Sitemap  in the top right corner of the page   .

After the page loads, fill in the information and submit your sitemap.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo  is a search engine known for its commitment to privacy. Fortunately, you don’t actually need to submit your sitemap to DuckDuckGo; they will get it automatically!

In this article, we explained what a sitemap   is and  why you  should create it. Next, we walked you through creating a sitemap, both with and without a plugin. Finally, we covered the process of submitting your site to popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

Which plugin are you using to create a sitemap? Or did you create it manually? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

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