My opinion on WordPress XML SiteMap Plugins.
It is my opinion which is shared by many others, to keep the number of WordPress Plugins on your website as low as you can. Each WordPress Plugin requires its own learning curve on how to use, setup and implement.
Some can be implemented with very little work at your end whereas others require more work. Each of them were developed by developers and you need to ensure that it does what you need it to do. So each WordPress Plugin is separate and as much each one requires different amounts of time to implement.
The more WordPress Plugins that are active on your site means that each one potentially consumes more computer resources and take more time to deliver your great content back to your website users. This great content needs to be displayed to your website users as quickly as possible.
Of course, three separate WordPress Plugins well written may be better than one WordPress Plugin that is poorly written that performs similar functions to the three separate WordPress Plugins.
1. All In One SEO WordPress Plugin
Many websites using WordPress use the All In One SEO Plugin. It just so happens that this WordPress Plugin has some great additional functionally, and one of these functions is the All In One SEO XML SiteMap.
After doing some research, I decided to implement the All In One SEO XML SiteMap on my website. At the time I did some quick research and make a quick decision after reviewing my options. I do not use other sitemaps so I can not comment on them. Another reason, is that I was already using other functionally provided by the All In One SEO Plugin, so I did not have to implement an additional WordPress Plugin.
2. Keep the number of WordPress Plugins to 4 or less
I am keen to keep the number of WordPress Plugins activated to four or less, and I have already reached the four limit. This is a self imposed limit based on what I was reading. It is also the limit that my webhost recommends. I am of course not limited to four WordPress Plugins.
In April 2020, I actually have 9 WordPress Plugins installed at this website, 5 of which are activated right now. The other 4, I activate when needed and then de-activate. This approach works for me. This website is hosted with the webhost that recommends to use 4 WordPress Plugins or less.
3. Site Health Checks
I like to show you the SiteHealth of one of my websites over a period of time. The main idea here is to show that using this SiteHealth tool I was able to convert it from RED to GREEN by focusing my time and effort on activities that helped me to achieve this goal.
Using the tools and information learned, the SiteHealth of that website changed from red to green. This is an “internal score” rather than an “actual score” achieved against the search engines. This “internal score” and suggestions help me to determine what I should be focussing my time and attention on.
You too can learn how to do this. Below is more information which when followed up and acted on by yourself will, in my humble opinion, most likely help you to obtain results as well.
I have no way of knowing if your results will be better or worst than mine.
You can start from having no website and/or having no website knowledge. By following this approach and plan, that will quickly change. 🙂 🙂
Once you know how and have the necessary connections in the industry, you will be able to build websites. This process with our help and connections is not hard, as you will soon discover for yourself as you go through the process.
This SiteHealth tool checks various different business performance headings for me, provides scores and provides feedback on how the website could be improved. Of course, this is not an exact science, however having this information helps me to determine what to spend my time on.
4. Implement All In One SEO XML SiteMap
The notes below assume that the All In One SEO WordPress Plugin is already installed and active on your website and that you have administrator rights to the associated WordPress Dashboard:
Go to your website’s WordPress Dashboard, select All In One SEO from the list, then select XML SiteMap from that list.
Then click on the button to enable the All In One SEO XML SiteMap.
Set/Edit settings accordingly to how you want the tool to behave. When I did this first, I simply accepted the default settings and then changed some of them. You will notice a Help icon displayed within the tool. If you need help, simply click on that 🙂
I used this help icon to help me to decide on some settings. 🙂
This help icon is there to help people, including you and I, so I suggest you use it.
At this stage, the tool is suggesting that you review your settings and edit them if need be. If you changed settings during this process, be sure to click the update option, otherwise your revised settings are not saved. After this process, click on the view sitemap link to ensure that the process works.
I recall I had some trouble initially. It reported an error, something about some sort of parsing error. I cannot remember the exact error message.
I then used ftp to access my site. Everyone has their favorite tool for this, mine just happens to be Filezilla. I find that it does what I need to do and therefore am quite happy with it. If it is not broke, do not fix it. I already know how to use this tool from earlier life experiences.
Anyway, I used ftp to access my main folder on my website. I believe that this is different for everyone so I will not mention the folder name here.
Among the files, I would clearly see:-
Both of these had a file size of 0 and the last modified date was not just now. This to me, just appeared as ‘oops, not all is as expected’. So I renamed both of them as follows:-
- sitemap.xml Renamed to sitemap-old.xml
- sitemap.xml.gz Renamed to sitemap-old.xml.gz
Then I went back to my website’s WordPress Dashboard, selected All In One SEO from the list, then selected XML SiteMap from that list. I then selected the view sitemap link and it worked. Yipeeeeee. 🙂
Once I had it working, I then reviewed the settings for more fine tuning. I excluded some pages as they contain similar information used by numerous websites throughout the internet. This is considered as good practice. The pages I excluded were my Privacy, affiliate, terms and conditions pages.
Then I could access the sitemap.xml file on my website using my browser. This file is recreated and rebuilt every time it is requested so the information on it is as up to date as possible. Yipee. Job done. 🙂
So I think, all good.
The webhost where this website is hosted is the same webhost that I recommend in my 17 Requirements Secure WordPress Hosting Providers Should Have article. I have come across no other webhost that has all of these requirements. I have been using this webhost since January 2015.