Have sitemaps got you all confused? Don’t panic, chloédigital is here to help you understand the difference between HTML and XML sitemaps, and show you how to add them to your WordPress fashion blog.
XML and HTML sitemaps – What’s the difference?
An XML sitemap is designed for search engine bots to use. It tells them how to crawl your website and ensures that all of your most important pages get indexed. In your sitemap, you can also specify how often you update your website, so bots know to come back and crawl it frequently!
An HTML sitemap is a regular web page featuring links that can be used by web users. Basically it gives them an alternative way of navigating your fashion blog and accessing your content.
Do you need both?
Although sitemaps aren’t compulsory, they can greatly improve your website’s SEO (indirectly) and user experience. We recommend that you create both an HTML sitemap (as a page) and an XML sitemap for your WordPress fashion blog for full optimization.
How to create an XML sitemap
There are several ways you can create an XML sitemap for your WordPress fashion blog but one of the easiest ways is to use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. It’s free to use and offers a number of other SEO benefits that are simple to use!
Once you’ve installed the plugin, you need to enable its XML sitemap functionality. To do this, go to SEO > XML sitemaps and check the box to enable it. You will then be given a number of options that you can use to configure your fashion blog’s sitemap. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave these as they are, so just click save.
Now your sitemap is generated and ready to use! It’s really that simple.
Telling search engines about your sitemap
Search engines are fairly good at finding XML sitemaps; however it is best practice to submit a new sitemap to Google, using Google Webmaster Tools. This will not only ensure Google knows how to crawl your site but also provides you with information about errors, pages indexed and other relevant stats that can help you analyse your website.
How to create an HTML sitemap
WordPress allows you to easily add a HTML sitemap of your pages using the shortcode [sitemap]. Simply add this in a text widget and it will display an outline of all of your site’s pages in a hierarchical list, following any parent / child relationships you’ve set in your page attributes.
The [sitemap] shortcode will work in any theme; however it may look slightly different e.g. it may not feature bullet points or indents, so keep note when writing your future posts!
If you’re looking to improve the navigation of your WordPress fashion blog, whilst also aiding its SEO, it’s highly recommended that you have a go at installing both an HTML and XML sitemap. Have you tried installing both on your fashion blog? Let us know how it works for you!