Site-ation: Mapping Your Website

If you are starting out your website for the first time there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind. Site architecture, clean code and great design are all part of a web designers/developers to do list. Sometimes the small stuff is forgotten like good description tags. One such item are sitemaps. Your site map is used by search engines to get an idea of how often to search your site and what pages are on your site. It is like a table of contents for your website. We would like to walk you through how to make, where to put it, and what to do with a sitemap.

Building a sitemap is actually pretty easy. It doesn’t take much for the novice programmer to figure out as long as s/he knows how to make it. Creating becomes difficult if your site has hundreds or even thousands of pages. So keep in mind that the more you handle up front the better. This first part is creating a xml site map. Here is the markup for it.

?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"? >
urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" >
url>
loc>http://www.example.com/ 2005-01-01 changefreq>monthly priority>0.8 /url>
/urlset>

If you need additional pages then you just repeat the tags url > to < url with the content inside. If you have a content management system (CMS) there is often a plugin that you can use to include easily generate a site map. If you don’t have a cms and want to speed up the production as opposed to hand coding it you can use XML-Sitemap.com which is a free sitemap generator. Once you’ve created a sitemap you should save it titled sitemap.xml file.

Now that you’ve created a sitemap you’ll want to put on your website. This is done by uploading to your root directory. You’ll want an FTP client server to upload the file. All you will need to do is drag the page from the left to the right. You should be able to view it by looking at yousite.com/sitemap.xml. It really is easy.
Sitemap File Transfer

Now that you have it you will want to notify Google through your webmasters account. We are assuming that you have a webmasters account. Within the webmasters interface click on Site Configeration > Sitemaps. There will be a button within in the page to submit a site map. Add the destination Url of your sitemap. Google will most likely index your site after submitting the url.

Sitemap Submission in Google Webmasters Tool

Sitemaps are recommended method by Google to getting your website indexed. What search engines do not know is what pages they should index. Creating this will help you not only get found but help with your position within search engine results.

Other Sitemap Tools:
Xml-Sitemap Generation
WordPress Sitemap Generator
Drupal Sitemap Generator
Joomla Sitemap Generator

Have other tools you use? To generate a sitemap just let us know. We may be inclined to use it.

About Derek Hanson

Derek Hanson is a digital strategist and founder of Emprise Media, a digital web design and internet marketing firm. You can connect with him on Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin.
This entry was posted in Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Website Development. Bookmark the permalink.

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