If you own or maintain a website or intend to own one, wouldn’t it be great if you get frequent visitors who find satisfaction in getting exactly the information they need from your page?
While that satisfaction largely depends on the contents of your website, how you get to be accessed by website users is the most critical factor of website development. For if your website can’t be reached universally, you defeat the very purpose of the internet: that is, to make information available to any website user from across the world.
How you get to be accessed is actually a matter of presentation style, organization, and most importantly, how fast and extensive search engines get to lead users to your website. Unless your pages are indexed in the search engines they can’t send you the free visitors you are all looking for.
Fortunately, the search engines want your content too and there are a number of ways you can help them, which they encourage you to do – by creating sitemaps of your website. Sitemaps created for the various search engines will enable these search engines’ spiders to crawl faster, more systematically, and more extensively into your website’s pages.
By doing so, you get the maximum exposure you can. Such exposure will boost your pride in having your pages viewed, read, and used by more and more visitors the way you intended them to. On the financial aspect, the more visitors your website gets, the higher your website’s potential advertising value.
Now with the vast expansion of websites on the internet, it has become necessary to create different types of sitemaps, each having its own complexity in setting up.
Creating an HTML sitemap linked to and from your home page is something savvy webmasters have been doing for years and perhaps is the simplest to create. This sitemap is simply a list of pages contained on your site and enables the search engines spiders to easily find your pages, especially the ones that are linked deep in your website that they may have trouble finding otherwise.
A text sitemap is simply a list of the URLs of your site in the form of a text file. These can then be submitted to search engines such as Yahoo! to notify them that all the pages exist and by doing so invites their spider to visit.
Google launched Google Sitemaps as a way for webmasters to give them information they could use to better crawl their sites. This involves creating an XML Sitemap for which they provided their Google Sitemap Generator. This can be the most complicated to set up using the tools provided by Google as you need to be running Python on your server. It’s perhaps the most important one too given the current dominance of the search engine.
Setting up all three types of sitemaps may seem a daunting task but luckily there are websites that take the strain out of this and you can create all three within a matter of minutes.
XML-Sitemaps.com is one such site. Originally developed to easily create Google sitemaps for webmasters without an understanding of Python, it has evolved through demand for new features.
It offers the Sitemap Generator that lets you build your sitemap online in four simple steps, for free! The Sitemap Generator is easy to use and user-friendly even for average computer literates. Just type in your URL and other parameters (e.g. frequency of change or update that your website will likely undergo, the priority of a specific URL relative to the other pages on the same website, etc.) and follow the ensuing instructions until you get to add your URL to the Google Webmaster account. You will then be given the options to download your websites sitemaps in XML, HTML and TXT format. If still you get stuck with a step, you may enquire and get assistance from its technical support.
Go check xml-sitemaps.com for more details or better yet, to get started!
The only limitation of the free sitemap Generator is that it allows only up to 500 pages per website. Still, this limit is high. Statistics show that out of the more than 64000 sitemaps generated using this service, the average website size was only 155 pages, way below the 500-page limit. This figure is represented by 78% of all webmasters who have used the Generator.
However, in case your website falls beyond this limit, you may check out the PHP Sitemap generator script. Offered at a very reasonable price, this stand-alone script is intended for unlimited-sized sitemaps, which is beyond the capacity of online services.
Whichever search engine or for whatever search purpose, sitemaps are clearly the fastest and most efficient way to navigate this digital highway. The best thing about it is, with these easy-to-use sitemap generators, you don’t have to be a computer geek to help keep this internet traffic moving.