Sitemap of your blog is one of the most essential element and the first step for making your blog search engine friendly. Sitemap file contains link to all the posts, pages of your blog and you can submit the file to Google Webmaster tool, Bing webmaster tool or any other search engines to help them crawl your site effectively. We already have a detailed write up on Google crawling and indexing, which will give you detailed information on sitemap and how search engine crawls your website.
One of the coolest thing about WordPress platform is, you don’t need to manually generate sitemap after writing a new post. You just need to pick the best Sitemap plugin and install it at the time of setting up your blog. Once you have generated the sitemap file using any of the below listed plugin; you submit it to Webmaster tools, and this plugin auto include new posts, pages in your existing sitemap file.
In this post I will discuss some of the popular WordPress Sitemap plugins that you can use on your blog. Do remember, you just need one plugin to generate sitemap and there is no point in using more than one plugin for the same purpose. Moreover, you should also generate image and video sitemap for your blog, which will help you to drive traffic from image and video searches.
Popular WordPress sitemap plugins
WordPress SEO by yoast:
SEO by yoast is most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, and you can refer to this guide to learn everything about this plugin. This plugin has a module which will let you generate sitemap for your WordPress blog. The reason for adding this plugin at the top of the list is; you might be using SEO by yoast plugin on your blog and instead of having another plugin to generate sitemap, you should use sitemap module of this plugin. Once you have installed and activated the SEO by Yoast plugin, simply go to SEO > XML site maps and generate sitemap for your blog. For Google news WordPress site, you need to buy a premium version to generate news sitemap file.
Google XML sitemap plugin:
This plugin has been around for years and if you are not using our no.1 sitemap plugin, you should use this one. Google XML site maps plugin is easy to use and not memory exhausting anymore. Years back they had few issues with server memory but now this plugin has matured and you would like it to use it on your blog.
Better WordPress Google XML sitemap plugin with Google news sitemap (BWP GXS)
This is the best alternative to above two plugins and best free WordPress plugin for generating sitemap for news site. Currently (August 2014), I’m using this plugin on my blog to generate sitemap. This plugin comes with lots of setting option for your sitemap file and a busy WordPress site will appreciate the cache mechanism of this plugin. Above image shows the news sitemap module of this plugin. You can download the plugin for free from official repo here.
What I don’t like about above plugins is: They don’t let us create sitemap for images or videos. I believe this is one feature that the above mentioned stand alone plugins should offer. Here are options for image sitemap and video sitemap plugin:
- Udinra all image sitemap plugin (For generating image sitemap file)
- Google video sitemap feed with multisite support (For generating video sitemap file)
Conclusion : Which one you should use
If you are using SEO by yoast plugin, then use the sitemap feature of that plugin only. If you are not using SEO by Yoast or need a free WordPress news sitemap plugin, use BWP GXS plugin. If your scenario doesn’t fit above two plugins, then you should use Google XML site maps plugin. You should definitely use image and video sitemap plugin to generate image and video sitemap and submit it to Webmaster tools.
Do remember, you just need one plugin for generating sitemap and it’s better to limit the number of WordPress plugins on your blog as too many plugins will slow down your blog. Read: How many WordPress plugins you should use