This is one of the most important topic that we all want to learn about. Sitemaps confused me a lot when i had to built up this blog. To start off, we should first be clear about the fact that there are two different types of sitemaps.
You read about Sitemaps couple of times before but then get confused by landing on the 'Sitemap pages' (html page) on different sites and blogs? Its simple. Both of them are widely used and have their own purposes.
What Is XML Sitemap?
XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap is basically and (dot) .XML file. This is a file that has all of your website/blog articles/pages links in it. Though XML sitemaps are not really needed by blogs and are more useful to the static websites, where content doesn't updates quite often.
Search engines search for new content online. They have a race between them to hunt for the latest quality content that is developed by the hard working online community. When a website is built, webmaster submit their XML sitemaps to search engines, as well as they upload it to their websites.
You would often see a link in different websites footer (mostly) with the name Sitemap. When you open that link, you would notice that the address bar shows up that its an XML file. Its would be something like this.
This file has nothing to do with the readers as its just made for search engine robots to know about the pages (content) in the website.
Why XML Sitemaps Are Not Used By Blogs?
These sitemaps are basically for static websites that doesn't updates quite often. And as they doesn't gets updated often, search engines robots doesn't come by them frequently.
On the other hand in the case of blogs, (that updates frequently), search engines index them almost on daily basis to fetch out new content. So there is no need for XML sitemaps as the blog's content gets in search engines quite faster than a static website.
How To Make XML Sitemaps?
In Google's Blogger platform and WordPress, now you can easily check your XML sitemap by going to your domain.com/sitemap.xml or you can simply follow my guide on how to build an XML sitemap.
What Is A Sitemap Page (Standard HTML Page)?
Now in the case of a sitemap page, its a different story altogether. This page is also called Sitemap mostly, and it basically works as an 'archive page' or 'table of contents page'.
It is for the help of the readers so that they could better find the content of the blog and navigate around easily. Webmasters (blog owners) often highlight different blog categories (labels) in this page so that it becomes more of a hierarchy.
Does Your Blog Need A 'Sitemap Page'?
Well this can depend. If your blog is well grown and has quite a bit of content (50+ articles roughly), then i think a Sitemap or Table of Content Page (you may call it) can be help full to the readers. In fact in our case, the archive page is one of the most top visited page of all time.
That shows that people like to get an overview of a blog's content on one place.
Ok, Now What?
So yeah thats pretty much it. Hope you got the basic idea of the two kinds of the Sitemaps that we often get to see online. If you have a blog, (that you just created) than go on with creating an XML sitemap and submit that to Google.
This would tell Google about your blog (that its live now) and would index some of your articles. Then there on, once you start creating content on regular basis, search engine robots would come by your blog almost daily (that depends upon your blog's posting frequency) and index your latest content.
When I publish posts here, it gets into Google after around 5-10 minutes. So, the process gets on autopilot and as a blogger there on, you just need to take care of creating new quality content that people would like to read.
Hope that helped.
In case of any question or if there's something that you wish to share, do comment below.