Another small yet vital part of any company or personal website is a sitemap. What exactly is a sitemap? All it is is a simple file that you have within your site that directs the web crawlers around your website. It tells them how each page is connected and how to navigate through every single page. Without it, the crawler is going to have a much harder time trying to find their way around your site. This is going to decrease your chances of being crawled as often and will also make it harder for you to rank.
Have no fear though! We have all of the resources that you need in order for you to get your sitemap built. If you are a WordPress user then this is a fairly simple process. Those of you that aren’t will need to do just a tad bit more work, but nothing that is going to make you jump through a lot of hoops.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a plug-in available to WordPress users that will build and update your sitemap for you. Just go into your Plug-in section in the administrative area of your website and search for a new plug-in. The one that I use is called “Google XML Sitemap Generator” which once you have installed and activated will keep an updated sitemap on your website and will submit it automatically to Google for you. Once you have this activated, your work is done. They do allow you to customize it a little more if you wish, but if you are not a webmaster or tech person, the default settings will work just fine.
Now for the rest of us not using WordPress, there are a few options available to you for building a sitemap. One is to go in and build it yourself. You can find a lot of instructions by just doing a Google search on how to actually build one, the best resource is www.sitemaps.org which is maintained by the top 3 search engines, and is where they have collaborated together to have a set standard that works for all of them. Or you can use a tool that will build a sitemap for you. The best tool that I have found is here. They make the process simple, you just submit your website domain to them and they will build the file for you. Now as I said there is the little extra bit of leg work required for those of us not using WordPress. You will have to go in through your favorite FTP program (I use Filezilla since it’s free) and you will need to upload your sitemap onto your site.
After that you should be set to go! Just be sure that you update your sitemap each time you add more content and pages to your site. Also as a tip to help the search crawlers even more is to have your sitemap address posted on your robots.txt file. Put it at the end after you have set your restrictions and pages that you want hidden. The search engine will then get to your sitemap even faster and will index your site more efficiently.