What is a sitemap and why should you have one?
At its most basic, a sitemap is a blueprint of your website that helps a search engine find, crawl and efficiently index all of the content and its specific location on your website.
If you've gone to the trouble of creating a professional website for your proofreading business, regardless of how simple or sophisticated your website is, your primary goal is to attract visitors and potential proofreading clients.
In short, having a sitemap will greatly help you to achieve that goal.
Initially, your new proofreading site is going to attract visitors via search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. through organic searches, and while there is no requirement to have a sitemap (because search engines will eventually get around to finding you anyway) having one will definitely increase your chances of appearing in their search listings.
In Google's own words:
Having your site crawled by Google might sound a little creepy, but in this context it's essential if your proofreading business is going to succeed online.
Besides, if they're going to crawl your site anyway, by providing a sitemap you're preparing your new business for the best possible start from the get-go by making it much easier for Google to index your site so it can better understand what it's about and then rank it accordingly in its search listings (SERPS).
Okay, so that's what a sitemap is, a basic blueprint.
So why should my website have a sitemap?
The bottom line is that all websites want to be found and to appear in search listings (or why have a site at all?).
Once again, if you've gone to the trouble of learning to proofread with the help of our Proofreading course, creating a website for your proofreading business, then you most definitely want it to be found, and a very useful by-product of having a sitemap is that it not only helps you get found, but it also helps greatly with your SEO efforts.
If you apply good SEO disciplines during the creation and ongoing maintenance of your website, then by including your chosen keywords in meta descriptions, post and article titles, and image names etc. those good SEO practices will be found and indexed an awful lot quicker if you have a sitemap to guide the way.
So how do I create a sitemap for my proofeading site?
Thankfully, with the exception of WordPress, they’re mostly done automatically which is a godsend if you're not the techie type
Let's start with the easy ones.
Wix, Weebly and most other template-based site builders (free or otherwise) all automatically generate sitemaps by default.
WordPress is slightly different in that a sitemap isn’t automatically created, but creating one is very easy using a dedicated plugin.
For our WordPress sites we use the free ‘Google XML Sitemaps’ plugin.
To create a WordPress sitemap using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, simply install and activate the plugin. Done.
Okay. So, depending on how or where you created your website, you now have access to your sitemap.
Now it's time to submit your sitemap to the search engines, or more accurately, you're going to submit the location of your sitemap to the search engines.
Regardless of the platform you created your website on (Wix, Weebly, WordPress etc.), here's what you'll be submitting:
Obviously the 'website-name' part of the URL will be your own actual website name!
Now it's time to submit (the location of) your sitemap to the search engines.
Submit your sitemap to Google:
(If you need a quick refresher about Google Search Console, go take a look at my last article 'Your Proofreading Business Website SEO and Google'. Click here).
Submit your sitemap to Bing:
With regards to Yahoo:
On July 29, 2009, Microsoft and Yahoo! announced a deal in July 2009 in which Bing would henceforth power Yahoo! Search, so submitting your sitemap location to Bing pretty much takes care of Yahoo too.
You can now be safe in the knowledge that the major search engines are now aware of your proofreading business website and will henceforth crawl and add to their site index for your site on a regular basis.
Now it's down to you to keep posting relevant, keyword focused articles along with the usual best SEO practices of using keyword rich descriptions for both titles, metadata descriptions and image names.
Owning and maintaining a website that promotes your proofreading business may seem daunting, but in reality, it's a case of taking small but regular steps that will incrementally improve the success of your business.
Submitting a sitemap is just one more small step.
Bye for now!
Full disclosure & disclaimer…
Mike and I are not affiliated in any way to any sites listed above. This information is presented without condition or for personal profit in the hope that, having bought The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course you can make money proofreading without delay.
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My name's Mike Sellars and I'm an experienced proofreader and the author of The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course. Click here to find out more about me.
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