The Importance of a Sitemap

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importance of a sitemap

This could arguably be one of the most boring blog posts on the site, but the importance of a sitemap is paramount – so it could also be one of the most valuable.  Each and every site that you make should include a sitemap. And, if you are a WordPress user the whole thing couldn’t be simpler. Once more the search engines love them and your site will be favoured upon those that don’t have one.

When these words crop up, sitemaps, HMTL, analytics code, headers, footers, XML, people tend to be scared off and not get involved.

“I don’t really need to do that, it’s only a small site so I won’t bother” or “I do not know how to do that so I will not even attempt it”

Sound familiar? Well, this used to be me too. It’s only through trying and often learning the hard way that you get to grips with it. So, this blog post  is about the importance of a sitemap – and at the end of the post I will to show you how to install one for your WordPress site or blog. It will take you one minute.

So, what exactly is a sitemap?

Installing a sitemap is often considered redundant in the process of building a website, and that is indeed the fact if you made a sitemap for the sake of having one. By highlighting the importance of a sitemap, you will be able to tailor your own sitemap to suit your own needs.

1) Navigation purposes

A sitemap literally acts as a map of your site. If your visitors browses your site and gets lost between the thousands of pages on your site, they can always refer to your sitemap to see where they are, and navigate through your pages with the utmost ease.

2) Conveying your site’s theme

When your visitors load up your sitemap, they will get the gist of your site within a very short amount of time. There is no need to get the “big picture” of your site by reading through each page, and by doing that you will be saving your visitors’ time.

3) Site optimization purposes

When you create a sitemap, you are actually creating a single page which contains links to every single page on your site. Imagine what happens when search engine robots hit this page – they will follow the links on the sitemap and naturally every single page of your site gets indexed by search engines! It is also for this purpose that you could put the sitemap link on the front page of your website.

4) Organization and relevance

A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s-eye view of your site structure, and whenever you need to add new content or new sections, you will be able to take the existing hierarchy into consideration just by glancing at the sitemap. As a result, you will have a perfectly organized site with everything sorted according to their relevance.

From the above reasons, it is clear to see the importance of a sitemap for website projects with a considerable size. Through this way, you will be able to keep your website easily accessible and neatly organized for everyone.

So, how do you install one on your site?

It’s really easy – I would recommend the use of XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress. A free plugin. There are many free options, but I find this the best.

Download and install the plugin, you can do this via the dashboard on your WordPress site.

Then simply activate it. It will update every time you update your site/blog. There are a number of settings within the plugin, I would recommend leaving these at default.

the importance of a sitemap

Here is what the sitemap of the blog looks like http://www.johnbanksblog.com/sitemap.xml

So there you have it. Get your sitemap installed – You may never truly appreciate the importance of a sitemap but I know that the search engines prefer sites with them. There is nothing to it, and your site/blog will benefit.

For more simple tips like this you could try:

Thanks for dropping by.

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12 Comments

  1. Hi John!

    Excellent post and not at all boring. Sitemaps are often over looked by new bloggers as they don’t realize just how important they can be. It’s a shame because, like you describe, they are pretty easy to set-up. Every blog should have one as it helps search engines to index all of your site.

    Great post and thanks for the link 🙂
    Matt Smith recently posted..How People Find Work OnlineMy Profile

  2. Hey John,

    Nice article and no surprise here, but I totally agree too!

    Something that may be useful to people is to quickly and easily create their own XML sitemaps quickly with our free tool Simple Sitemap Generator.

    Our tool is designed for people who don’t have the benefits from using the WordPress plugins which can be extremely handy.

    Hope it is of some use to someone.

    Thanks
    Michael

    • Yes Sandeep – you are correct. Sitemaps are essential in my opinion, and its great to see someone from an SEO background endorsing this.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog…

      John

    • Thanks Amit – Its amazing how easy they are to install and setup these days.

      Every site should have one….

      Thanks for dropping by….

      John

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