How to create an XML Sitemap

Sitemaps are useful for your website for a number of reasons, but mostly to help search engines find all of the fabulous content on your website. While it’s possible to create an XML Sitemap by hand, there are several handy tools that make it easy for anyone to create a sitemap for their website. Below you’ll find text instructions as well has a video to help you pick the sitemap creation tool that’s right for you.

Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin, this is one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress. It also has a tool the creates a sitemap for you. While this function is enabled by default, it may have been disabled for your site. To make sure it’s enabled and to access your XML sitemap, login to the dashboard of your site and follow these steps:

  1. Look for the SEO menu item on the left.
  2. Hover over that SEO link and select XML Sitemaps from the menu.
  3. Check the sbutton at the top of the Sitemap options page to make sure it is enabled.

From this page, you can also view and save your XML sitemap, or copy the URL for it to be submitted to search engines through tools like Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) or Bing Webmaster Tools.

Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Google XML Sitemaps WordPress plugin

The Google XML Sitemaps plugins is a simple and easy-to-use plugin if you’d prefer not to use the Yoast SEO plugin. Once installed and activated, it will automtically generate a sitemap for your website. There are some options available with this plugin as well. To access these options or to access your XML sitemap, login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > XML Sitemaps.

XML-Sitemaps.com

XML-sitemaps.com sitemap generator website

XML-sitemaps.com is a generator website that can be used to create a sitemap for any website – WordPress or not. It’s free to use for up to 500 pages in the sitemap, and there is an upgraded version of the service available for large sites.

When you are entering your website domain on the site, be sure to mind whether or not your website uses www, and enter or leave this out accordingly, or it will generate an error.

Once your sitemap is created, you’ll have the option to download several it in different file formats. Search engines need the .xml or .xml.gz versions. If you’re using this method, you’ll have to download the appropriate file form from XML-sitemaps.com and then upload it to the root folder for your website.

The video below contains walkthroughs on using each of these methods to create a sitemap for your website.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. Cheers, and good luck!

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