How important or critical is having a sitemap for a website? Extremely important if you ask me.

The obvious current day need for a website sitemap is more so for SEO purposes, specifically search engines crawling the sitemap.

In fact, submitting one’s website sitemap to search engines is one of the first actions to take when launching a website, especially if you desire good ole’ SEO love for Google.

Nevertheless, one of the things likely forgotten or simply done away with is the use of a human-readable HTML sitemap.

Long before search and the introduction of XML sitemaps produced by content management systems, majority of websites donned a simple html page with a list of all of its pages, each link having linked to its respective page.

Dating myself, I vividly recall what an administrative nightmare it was to manually keep a human-readable HTML sitemap updated. From pages no longer in use to forgetting to update the sitemap when a new page was added or modified.

A train wreck it was, yet fast forward to today and I’m thrilled with the advancement and innovation that content management systems have afforded when producing human-readable HTML sitemaps.

Most of my websites operate using WordPress. And while WordPress offers a boatload of free and paid plugins to produce search-friendly and human-readable sitemaps, my favorite plugin to use is the Simple Sitemap plugin by David Gwyer.

Not only does it improve SEO ranking by automatically generating a HTML sitemap for the website in it’s entirety, but it offers a number of features simplifying the consumption and review of your website’s content.

Jam packed with a number of ways to present content, here are a few attributes that can be accessed when using the free version of Simple Sitemap:

  • types – show pages or posts only
  • show_label – show the heading label for each post
  • links – show as link or simple text
  • page_depth – show parent-child hierarchy when displaying pages
  • order – descending or ascending viewing
  • orderby – viewing sitemap by title, author, date, or id
  • exclude – exclude pages or posts by id

It only takes a few minutes to install, activate, configure and apply to your website. In fact, watch the quick video tutorial as I demonstrate how easy it is to add a human-readable HTML sitemap to your website using the Simple Sitemap plugin.

In closing, please don’t hesitate to send me questions or comments about any of the topics I’ve mentioned above.

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Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.