Adding a sitemap to WordPress is invaluable in terms of search engine optimization. However, there is a difference between the XML and HTML versions. For one thing, XML is much easier for search engines to crawl. But what about visitors? When it comes to the human eye, a WordPress HTML sitemap is much easier to read.
Why would you want to include an HTML sitemap for your website? It’s a great way to organize your content in a hierarchical layout. It makes it easier for visitors to see all of your content and how it relates to various categories.
Think of it kind of like a table of contents for your site.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up a WordPress HTML sitemap page. It’s a quick process and may yield some positive results in terms of visitor retention.
Setting Up WP Sitemap Page
Today, I’m going to demonstrate the WP Sitemap Page plugin. It’s one of the more popular tools for this purpose with over 100,000 active installations. With a stellar rating score, it’s probably one of the best HTML sitemap plugins for WordPress.
Install and activate the WP Sitemap Page plugin. Make sure you get the correct tool, though. You’ll find a lot of HTML sitemap plugins available, but this tutorial is specifically for WPSP.
Go to Settings and click, “WP Sitemap Page.”
This area is full of information regarding how to use the shortcodes that are available as well as changing what content is displayed to visitors. By default WPSP will show the Archive and Author post types in the HTML sitemap for WordPress. However, you can change these and include posts, pages and even image galleries and albums.
For now, let’s just copy the shortcode for the traditional sitemap. This is displayed as “[wp_sitemap_page]” on the settings screen. Any time you want to show the sitemap, you simply paste this code into the post or page.
Creating the HTML Page
Let’s say we want to create a page specifically for the HTML sitemap. This way, visitors can see a complete list of everything you have available for content.
Go to Pages and click, “Add New.”
Name this page “Sitemap” and paste the shortcode in the editor.
Click the “Publish” button and your HTML sitemap is live.
Once you have your sitemap page created, you can share it or even add it as a custom menu item in your navigation bar. This makes it easier for people to find and access.
Other Sitemap Plugins to Consider
The WP Sitemap Page plugin is an excellent tool for showing your posts and pages. It also has one of the more organized and clean-looking layouts. However, there are plenty to choose from if you want to find something that fits your website.
Simple Wp Sitemap
Simple Wp Sitemap is a useful plugin as it provides both HTML and XML sitemap types. This means you can create one specifically for visitors and another for search engine optimization. However, it doesn’t have the nice and elegant appearance of WPSP.
Companion Sitemap Generator
The Companion Sitemap Generator is another plugin with glowing reviews as well as the capacity to create both HTML and XML layouts. It has a few customizable options available such as editing robot access and removing specific posts from being listed.
HTML Page Sitemap
Although it’s not as popular as WPSP, HTML Page Sitemap works similar to the tutorial above. It uses shortcodes that let you remove certain content from being listed and has a fairly nice layout in terms of visual appeal. And like WPSP above, it doesn’t provide XML sitemaps.
Will an HTML sitemap confuse search engines if you submit an XML version?
No. In some regards, it may actually help SEO to have an HTML sitemap available. Back in the day, these were used primarily by search engines to find content on a website. The use of XML is just much easier for bots to process nowadays.
Why not just use a plugin that does both HTML and XML sitemaps?
This is actually more related to personal preference. For example, many people love to use the Yoast SEO plugin to provide the XML sitemap. As Yoast and many other SEO plugins don’t have HTML variants available, it’s easier to install something like WPSP in addition to those tools.
Making it Easier on Your Visitors
Essentially, the HTML sitemap for WordPress just makes finding certain aspects of your content easier. Instead of sifting through the archive function, users can just visit a table of contents and see what you have available. It doesn’t take long to set up, and some of your guests may appreciate the functionality.
What kind of tools do you use to make your content easier to find? What plugins are your favorite in terms of visitor engagement?