How to Create A Sitemap In WordPress Without A Plugin?

17 minutes read

To create a sitemap in WordPress without using a plugin, you can follow these steps:

  1. Set up a child theme: Before making any changes to your theme files, it's always recommended to create a child theme to ensure that your modifications won't be lost when you update the parent theme. This step involves creating a new folder in the "wp-content/themes" directory and customizing the necessary theme files within it.
  2. Locate the theme files: Once you've set up the child theme, you need to find the appropriate template file where you want to display the sitemap. Typically, the file you're looking for is "page.php" or "index.php", but it ultimately depends on your theme. You can use an FTP client or access your WordPress installation files to locate the theme folder.
  3. Edit the theme file: Open the desired theme file in a text editor. You can use the built-in theme editor in the WordPress dashboard or edit the file directly using FTP. Insert the following code snippet inside the file, where you want to display the sitemap:
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<?php
$args = array(
  'title_li' => '',
  'echo' => 0
);
$site_map = wp_list_pages($args);
echo "<ul>" . $site_map . "</ul>";
?>


  1. Save the changes: Save the modified file and upload it back to your server, replacing the original theme file.
  2. View the sitemap: Finally, you can go to your WordPress website and navigate to the page or URL where you added the code. You should now see a list-style sitemap displaying all your pages.


Note that this method only creates a basic sitemap listing your pages. For a more comprehensive and XML-based sitemap, it's recommended to use a sitemap plugin or leverage an SEO plugin that offers sitemap generation functionality. Sitemap plugins usually provide more features and options, giving you better control over your sitemap's structure and content.

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Should you prioritize specific pages in your sitemap?

Yes, prioritizing specific pages in your sitemap can help search engines understand the importance and hierarchy of your website's pages. Search engines take the priority values provided in the sitemap into consideration while crawling and indexing your site. By assigning higher priority values to your most important pages, you can signal their significance to search engines and increase the likelihood of them being indexed and ranked higher in search results. However, it's important to note that prioritizing pages in your sitemap does not guarantee top rankings, as search engines use various factors to determine relevance and ranking.


Is it necessary to submit the sitemap to search engines manually?

No, it is not necessary to submit the sitemap to search engines manually. Most search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, have web crawlers that automatically discover and index web pages through various methods, including following links from other indexed pages.


However, submitting a sitemap can help search engines understand the structure and organization of your website better, especially if it is large or has complex navigation. It can also help to ensure that all your pages are discovered and indexed. While search engines will still likely find and index your pages without a sitemap, submitting one can potentially speed up the process and provide additional information to the search engine.


Is it possible to exclude specific pages or posts from the sitemap?

Yes, it is possible to exclude specific pages or posts from the sitemap. It can be done by adding a noindex meta tag to the HTML code of those specific pages or posts. This tag instructs search engine crawlers not to index that particular page or post. Additionally, you can also use the robots.txt file to exclude specific pages or directories from being included in the sitemap. By adding Disallow: /page-url/ in the robots.txt file, the particular page URL will be excluded from crawling and indexing.

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Can you create a sitemap for a multi-language WordPress site without a plugin?

Yes, you can create a sitemap for a multi-language WordPress site without using a plugin. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Enable a multi-language feature on your WordPress site using a language switcher plugin or a multi-language theme.
  2. Create a new page with a title like "Sitemap" or "Site Map." This will serve as your sitemap page.
  3. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Menus.
  4. Create a new custom menu or use an existing one.
  5. Add all the pages and posts that you want to include in your sitemap to the custom menu.
  6. Arrange the menu items in hierarchical order to indicate the site structure.
  7. Add the language-specific pages to the custom menu by switching the language in the admin bar and adding the translated pages to the same custom menu.
  8. Save the custom menu.
  9. Go to Appearance > Widgets.
  10. Add the "Custom Menu" widget to a sidebar or footer area.
  11. Select the custom menu you created.
  12. Save the widget.
  13. Go to the "Sitemap" page you created in Step 2.
  14. Edit the page and add the "Custom Menu" widget code in the content area.
  15. Publish or update the page.


By following these steps, you will be able to manually create a sitemap for your multi-language WordPress site without relying on a plugin.


Is creating a sitemap without a plugin a complex process?

Creating a sitemap without using a plugin can be a straightforward process, depending on various factors. Here's a high-level overview of the steps involved:

  1. Identify the pages: Determine which pages you want to include in the sitemap. It typically includes main pages, categories, product pages, blog posts, etc.
  2. Create a hierarchy: Organize the pages in a logical hierarchy. You can create a visual representation, such as a tree-like structure, to help you understand the relationship between different pages.
  3. Consider priority and frequency: Assign priorities to each page based on its importance. You can use a scale from 0.0 to 1.0, where 1.0 represents the highest priority. Additionally, consider the frequency of content updates on each page (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly) and assign appropriate values.
  4. Generate URLs: Collect the URLs for each page in your sitemap.
  5. Configure XML format: Create an XML file, which is the standard format for sitemaps. It should include necessary tags like , , , , , etc.
  6. Include optional elements: You can also include optional tags like (change frequency) and (if relevant).
  7. Validate and test: Ensure that the XML file follows XML syntax rules and is error-free. There are online tools that can help you validate the sitemap.
  8. Submit to search engines: Sign in to your Google Search Console or other search engine webmaster tools and submit the sitemap. This helps search engines index your website effectively.


While this process may seem complex at first, it becomes easier with experience. However, as your website grows or if you frequently update content, using a plugin or automated tools can simplify the process and ensure your sitemap remains up to date with minimal effort.


What is the purpose of the tag in an XML sitemap?

The tag in an XML sitemap is used to define the URL or web address of a specific webpage within a website. It indicates the location of a particular page that should be included in the sitemap. The tag is a mandatory element in an XML sitemap and is crucial for search engines to discover and crawl the webpages of a website.


Are there any tools or resources that can help with creating a sitemap without a plugin?

Yes, there are several tools and resources available to help with creating a sitemap without using a plugin. Some popular options include:

  1. XML-Sitemaps.com: This online tool allows you to generate XML sitemaps for websites with up to 500 pages for free. Simply enter your website URL, select the desired options, and the tool will generate a sitemap that you can download.
  2. Slickplan: Slickplan is a comprehensive tool that allows you to create sitemaps, flowcharts, and wireframes. It offers both free and paid plans and provides a user-friendly interface to create sitemaps.
  3. WriteMaps: WriteMaps is an online sitemap tool that allows you to create, edit, and share sitemaps. It offers a free plan with limited features and paid plans for additional functionality.
  4. MindMup: Although primarily a mind-mapping tool, MindMup can be used to create simple sitemaps. It is a free and easy-to-use tool with a drag-and-drop interface.
  5. Pen and Paper: Sometimes, the simplest method can be effective. You can sketch out your sitemap hierarchy on paper or a whiteboard, which can help in planning the structure of your website.


Remember, creating a sitemap without a plugin requires manual updates whenever there are changes to your website's structure or content. Therefore, it is important to regularly review and update your sitemap to ensure it accurately reflects your website's structure.

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