Create a Free Sitemap for your WordPress Website

Nov 7, 2018 | Tech Stuff, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Wednesday

Easily create a free sitemap to your WordPress website that dynamically updates itself as you publish content! Kori Ashton helps you create the sitemap link on your website with this easy plugin resource.

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Full Transcript

Hey, y’all, my name is Kori Ashton and you have found a video inside of a YouTube channel dedicated to all things WordPress. There’s over 300 videos that I have created over the years to help you improve your online marketing. So if you like this, not only comment below please, but also subscribe because every Wednesday, I’m creating videos totally for free to help you improve your online marketing.

Another great solution for you is Pressable. If you love WordPress and you need a great hosting company that can answer and support things dealing with WordPress, plug-ins, themes, whatever issues you might have, is where you need to be and I’ll give you a link below to go get some free stuff from them. They give you a money back guarantee.

Alright, let’s get to it. You guys, I have a solution for you on how to create a free– free is always in the budget– sitemap link to help Google crawl your site better and to let your users quickly go and find pages in a sitemap, a really cool layout. Alright, you ready to learn? Let’s do it right now.

Install Yoast

Okay, first thing’s first, you need to install Yoast. It’s one of my favorite SEO plug-ins. If you’ve never used it before, I’ve got an entire playlist to help you improve and use this really cool free tool. Alright, so you’re gonna go here right up above me and do a search for Yoast. It’s like toast but with a Y. Yoast. Do a search and do an install now.

What’s interesting about this is they use to have it a little bit more accessible so you can find it, but now it’s a little hidden of how to go in and find the link to your sitemap.

XML Sitemap on Yoast

It’s kinda tricky, so now that you’ve installed it and activated it, over here on the left side, you can go to all of these different areas and just kind of learn, each tab, kinda learn what you need to do and work on the settings. So of course, right now, it’s gonna say, “Hey, you’ve got an issue,” because I’m in a staging environment. But, if you go into Features, and go down to XML Sitemaps. Do you see this area right here?


So you wanna be certain, of course, that it’s on. But if you click on the little question mark, interestingly enough. Open that up, check it out.

Enable a sitemap that Yoast generates. See the XML Sitemap. And then you can read why it’s so important. So they have a link here to give you a little bit more education, right? That’s always cool.

And see the XML sitemap. If you click on that little link, it’s gonna give you the URL that you need- voila– for your sitemap in your footer. So you’re gonna just copy that on to your clipboard.

Now, if you wanna drill in and only offer your pages sitemap, this is kinda giving all four of the different sections of my site. My post, which is my blog, my pages, which is kinda my static content, my category sitemap, which is pretty cool, and even an author sitemap, if you have multiple authors for your website. So if you wanted just to offer your pages, you could click on that page sitemap option, click Copy, and have that one available for your users.

Best practices, though is probably to offer everything to Google. Let them crawl it all. So I’m gonna use just the sitemap_index.xml link. Grab that right there. Grab the whole URL, copy it, and then you would go into the front side of your website and put it down in your footer, right? Where that lives down in the bottom part, usually where it’s got like, powered by WordPress or your copyright information. Throw it down there as a link to get to your sitemap. And that’s gonna vary based on your theme, right? So that could be totally different based on your widgets that are available down there. So as long as you know how to get to that URL, that link, grab it, you can go put it down in your footer. So, I’ll show you.

Adding XML Sitemap to 2017 Theme

For now, if you’re done, you’re done. If you wanna stick around for a second, I’ll show you how I actually add that to the 2017 theme right now. Okay, we have a couple of different options.

I’m using the 2017 theme, so I’m gonna scroll all the way down to the bottom and they do give you widget options here. So I have footer one and footer two in my two columns here. So I could if I wanted to come in here and add it very easily to my widget area right here underneath my search bar.

So from there, you just go into Appearance and go to Widgets and this is my footer widget two area so I’m gonna add a text box to that, add it to footer widget two. Excellent. I’m just gonna go into text mode here and write the little nerd code.

If you wanted you, you can easily do this in the Visual mode as well. But because I had it on my clipboard, I’m able to just paste it right in there, right? Give it a title for best practices here. Say sitemap, excellent, and say sitemap, and end the nerd code there. Click Save. And I’ll show you how it lands, or kinda displays. See it right there, sitemap? That’s perfect. You click on it. Of course, you always wanna test whenever you’re doing HTML code, any kind of code for that matter, you always wanna test the link and be certain you did it correctly. And we did, voila! Exciting.

If you wanted you, you can even continue in this space. You can do a pipe, and you can say Privacy Policy and add in all of your legal things that you need to add, right? You could say Accessibility Statement. You could do your Terms of Use, right? Add all of these in here and put all of the links in there, click Save, and of course, you’d write all the links. And they display beautifully right here.

Using Child Theme in 2017 Theme

Now if you’re trying to get this further down into kind of a copyright area, 2017 doesn’t really give us access. This particular theme does not give us access to this area. Easily. So you’d have to use a child theme. If you don’t know what that is, I’ll put a link below so you can go figure out what a child theme is, and you would add it into the footer PHP file.

Adding XML Sitemap to footer.php File

So you’d go to Appearance Editor. Right now, we could add it to the footer, which is over here. We could add it in here and display it in here, but as soon as the theme has an update and we click Update on that option to stay secure, which you have to do, right? Everybody nod your head with me. This would go away. It would revert back to the original copy. That’s why if you’re ever editing inside of a PHP file, you need to be doing it inside of a child theme. So that it’s always going to be relevant, it’s never gonna be overwritten, okay? So that’s just a quick tip for ya.

I really do hope that this has helped you guys. I know it’s kind of a longer tutorial, but if you stuck around for this at the end, way to go. You’re amazing. You can code, I know you can do it. Don’t get intimidated by seeing PHP on a screen. I’m not really a developer. I just kinda hack my way through it.

I appreciate you sticking around, though. I will see y’all next WordPress Wednesday. Bye, everyone.