Blogging is a great, popular way to share information and educate people. But to get people to read your websites, you’ll need to make sure that your website is optimized and SEO friendly so that the chances of your posts appearing at the top of search results is greater.
The good news is that we’ll be taking a look at plugins that make it easier than ever to make sure that your website is as SEO-friendly as possible. For a writer blogging should be easy, right? Well, if your end goal is to actually land targeted readers and get people to read the content you spent a lot of time writing, you’ll need to make sure that it is properly indexed by search engines (like Google).
A sitemap is simply a detailed index of URLs of your posts, pages, and content that you want search engines to crawl. There are three main types – sitemaps that are used during the planning of a website by its designers, human-visible listings, and structured listings intended for web crawlers such as search engines.
Why you need an XML sitemap
I’m sure there are a few of you wondering why this is actually important, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons you need a sitemap today:
- Make it easier for Google to index your site (and do so faster)
- Help search engines understand your website’s structure
- Prioritize pillar content during the crawling process
It is in fact not true that search engines won’t crawl your website if you don’t have a sitemap but they are able to do so a lot better if your website has one.
There are 3 reasons how search engine crawler will come on your website.
There are three common reasons a search engine will crawl a website:
- The tendency to crawl all publicly available pages
- A do-follow backlink from another website that is also indexed by search engines (as this encourages the website to crawl your website too)
- You submit your sitemap using the Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools)
The best plugin to create a WordPress sitemap
1/3rd of the internet is now powered by WordPress. With the rapid growth of the WordPress.org ecosystem, the number of plugins that you can use to extend the functionality of your website has also grown to over 46,000. When it comes to WordPress SEO and, in this case specifically creating a sitemap – Rank Math is a great, free option. The Rank Math WordPress plugin also makes it extremely easy to conduct an SEO audit that confirms that important WordPress settings are properly configured.
If you’d like to learn more about why we highly recommend using Rank Math and how it stacks up against other popular WordPress Search Engine Optimization plugins, check out our in-depth post about WordPress SEO plugins.
The structure of a sitemap
When using Rank Math, a sitemap would look something like what is shown below and would be located at example.com/sitemap-index.xml
Using Rank Math not only gives you the ability to create a sitemap, it also gives you access to a whole suite of SEO tools for WordPress which I highly recommend using if you want your site to rank higher in search results.
However, the rest of the plugins we’ll be taking a look at in this post will just be sitemap plugins – so, let’s jump right in:
1. Sitemap by click5
Sitemap by click5 is a plugin that slowly reaches more and more people. Its complex set of features allows your visitors to easily navigate through your website. Down below the HTML sitemap settings:
Next to the HTML sitemap, you can also take advantage of the XML sitemap. It allows you to grow your SEO rankings by helping search engines to crawl your website. Here you can see the XML sitemap settings:
Here are some of Sitemap bt click5’s most notable features:
- Custom post type – so you can create a sitemap that comprises your custom post type;
- Exclusion of subpages – you can exclude anything that you don’t want to publish in the sitemap;
- Robots.txt – enable robots.txt to crawl your website and help you rank higher;
- WooCommerce support – product and category listing without add-ons.
Apart from all the features that I listed above (and there are more to discover), another major benefit of Sitemap by click5 is the fact that you can have it for free. You can enjoy all its functionalities by simply installing it from the WordPress repository and getting to work!
2. Google XML Sitemap
The Google XML sitemap plugin has currently been installed on over a million WordPress websites. It allows you to easily create a website just like the one shown below:
Here are some of Google XML Sitemap’s most notable features:
- The plugin is also free;
- It allows you to create a sitemap that improves search engines’ abilities to crawl your website;
- Split a sitemap with a huge number of posts/pages to tackle the 50,000 entry limit;
- Create a news sitemap, images sitemap, and sitemaps for custom post types.
It really does exactly what you’d expect it to. On one hand, generates sitemaps to help search engines crawl your website even better. On the other hand, it notifies search engines when a new post has been published or an existing post has been updated.
3. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
The Better WordPress Google XML sitemap plugin is perfect for news websites. Why? Because there is no limit to the number of URLs that you can generate an XML sitemap for. Moreover, it is already able to generate sitemaps that are compatible with Google News.
Here are some of Better WordPress XML Sitemap’s most notable features:
- The ability to create a news, images and custom sitemaps.
- Split a sitemap with a huge number of URLs to avoid reaching the 50k limit.
- Fully compatible with WordPress multisite installations.
- Powerful configuration options.
4. Google Sitemap by Bestwebsoft
BestWebSoft‘s very own sitemap generator plugin for WordPress comes packed with advanced features. Among those, you can find the ability to connect to your Google Search Console account which makes submitting sitemaps way easier…
In the event that your website’s robots.txt file doesn’t already have a link to your sitemap, the plugin has an option to automatically insert a link to the sitemap for you.
The Verdict: What’s the best Sitemap plugin for WordPress?
So, which plugin did you decide to install to help you generate a sitemap for your WordPress website?
Using WordPress as a content management system simplifies a lot of tedious tasks just like this one. This way, you don’t actually have to worry about building custom solutions for everything.
You could theoretically create an XML sitemap for a WordPress website by uploading a custom sitemap.xml file into the root directory of your website. But that would be a relatively poor use of your time if you know that you’re already able to do so by installing any of the plugins that we’ve mentioned in this post.