I stopped by Joseph’s blog a few days ago and read the article about Vint Cerf moving to Google. This got me thinking about an earlier Google-related post about sitemaps on Joseph’s blog, where he wondered about a WordPress plugin to generate Google sitemaps. I figured that the WordPress community had probably finished with this by now, and it seems that they have. This article discusses the development of several such plugins and their features. If you check this link, you can peruse a menu of sitemap plugins.
I downloaded the plugin to my WordPress’
wp-content/plugins directory, then activated it from the Plugins admin page,
http://your.blog/url/wp-admin/plugins.php. Next I went to Options/Sitemap and adjusted the options to suit my blog, then clicked “Rebuild Sitemap” and ran into problem #1–I had forgotten to make
sitemap.xml.gz writable. Easy to fix, see the FAQ section on the sitemap plugin page. Once I took care of this, I successfully built my first sitemap file, but got a “Could not ping to Google” error, also addressed in the FAQ section (although not in the plugin sourcefile). I clicked on the URL after the “Could not ping to Google” error, which basically told me that I needed a Google account. (Yet another password to keep track of, sigh…) So, create Google account, wait for email address verification, then manually cut-and-paste the sitemap URL into the Google account manager. Am I finished yet? No! Google now wants me to prove that I have access to the sitemap’s directory by creating a particular Google-supplied filename. I’m starting to wonder if Google sitemaps are worth the hassle, but I’ve come this far and hopefully this is the final step.
touch GOOGLE0123456789abcdef.html, click “Verify” on the Google’s “My Sitemaps” page, and a nice green VERIFIED message comes up. Then I went back to my WordPress Options/Sitemap page and tried “Rebuild Sitemap”:
Successfully pinged Google at http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://my.blog/url/sitemap.xml.gz
Woo hoo, success! I’d better alert my web hosting company so that they aren’t blindsided by the sudden bandwidth spike. 😉