Tutorial

Create and Generate Sitemap Files for your Boonex Dolphin Site or any Site:

A detailed guide to creating sitemaps for any site. Including how to add a sitemap to Google, Yahoo, and MSN so they know where to find it, and your pages.

 

This can be useful for your Dolphin Site, but can and should be done for any web site.

Why create a sitemap for your site?

It will help the search engines find, discover, and index your pages that they may not discover themselves. It could also help them find, discover and index them faster.

You can get a free account at:
google webmaster tools - http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
msn/live/bing webmaster - http://www.bing.com/webmaster

Then submit the link to your sitemap in the above free accounts. Within those accounts you can see how many links the particular search engine has found. Google will tell you how many links are in it, and how many it has indexed for your site. Which is convenient. If your site is new or if your Google Webmaster Tools account is new, it may take a bit for this to happen.

If you add a new page, post, blog, picture, etc. you can simply add the new link, so the particular search engine will know where to find your new page or post.

The one you should be most concerned with is Google. The majority of search engine traffic will come from there. Yahoo and Msn will generally send a much smaller amount of traffic. Any traffic is good, but focus on Google first.

Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Live/Bing) all support XML Sitemaps. However, in my opinion MSN does a terrible job at reading the file and indexing. Yahoo does slightly better, and Google does the best.

Yahoo used to prefer a urllist.txt file. Which is basically all of your site links in a standard text file. One link per line and it should be called urllist.txt and placed in your root directory/folder (yoursite.com/urllist.txt). I have very good luck using a urllist.txt file with Yahoo. So it doesn't hurt to make one of these files too.

Additionally since search engine spiders come and visit your site pages and follow the links on your pages, you should also put a link to a standard sitemap.html in your sites header or footer. A simple standard .html file containing all your site links works great.

Now unless you have a small site with only a few links it can be a pain to manually create a sitemap. If you have a couple hundred or maybe even thousands you probably don't have time to add each manually, and you would probably miss some too.



Avoid pictures, videos, etc. use the actual page the picture is on like:
http://www.dialme.com/photo/gallery/Dolphin-Speed-Optimized

You will also want to check the sitemap.xml file first to make sure there are no errors with the file before submitting to Google, Yahoo, or MSN.

Simply upload sitemap.xml to your host, then enter the address and check the box sitemap:
http://www.validome.org/google/

If you manually make any changes or alterations to the file be sure that you check the file first. Do not set all priority codes to the same number or Google will give you errors. The only link with priority 1.0 should be your main site www.yoursite.com or yoursite.com. All the other links should be lesser value and they shouldn't be the same as one another, or you will get errors.

  • If your site uses www be sure to include it. If your site does not, then be sure you omit it.


Now rather than doing this all manually a good online generator will scan your site and do all of this for you. After it completes it will have a sitemap.xml, sitemap.html, and urllist.txt for you to download. The only problem with the online generators is they are usually limited to 500 pages/links or less. If you have more pages/links it won't do them for you.

One of the more popular online generators can be found here:
http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/



Does your site have more than 500 pages?


For those of you that have more than 500 pages/links or who would rather do this offline and on your local PC, there is a great free program that will do more than 500 pages. If you have a lot of pages it can take a while for the program to scan your entire site and generate the lists for you so be sure you have some time available.

It will also let you change the frequency, priority, omit pages to be included, and much more.

I highly recommend that you do not have the program include links to actual images or you will be there all day waiting for it to complete the process. Most of the search engines do not like links to the actual image anyway, and they won't add them to the index. You can add the page that the image is on like:
http://www.dialme.com/photo/gallery/Dolphin-Speed-Optimized

But skip the actual image location like:
http://www.dialme.com/media/images/sharingImages/28.jpg



You can get the free sitemap generator program for windows based PC's here:

 


Note:
There are others out there, most of which are not free and most do a poor job. Gsitecrawler is one of the better ones I've used for FREE.


If you decide to download and install Gsitecrawler it is fairly easy to figure out.

1. Basically after you install and start it up you want to "Add new project"

 

GsiteCrawler Add New Project

 

 

2. Enter your main website into the address. Be sure to use www or non-www depending how your site is configured, and note that it says to use a trailing slash (/) at the end. So http://www.yoursite.com is wrong http://www.yoursite.com/ would be the right way for this program.

 

GsiteCrawler Site Details

 

 


3. Most of this will be auto-selected for you. I do recommend not including images, video, etc. Google most likely will not index these anyway, and it will take this program forever to find them all.

 

GsiteCrawler Options

 

 


4. Here, I have unselected the image, video, etc's.

 

GsiteCrawler No Images or Video Etc.

 

 


5. In this next step you can have the program automatically upload by ftp to your host. I keep it unselected as I prefer to manually do this with my own ftp program. You can just leave it unchecked and choose next.

 

GsiteCrawler FTP

 

 


6. On this next step everything is standard. You can leave it as is or unchecked something if you wish.

 

GsiteCrawler Other Options

 

 


7. Now it will start scanning your site pages/links. Depending on how many you have this could go fairly fast, or take a long time if you have a lot of pages/links.

 

GsiteCrawler Scanning Pages

 

 


8. After it is done, you should look over the files to make sure you don't include something in the sitemap that you don't want. In the red circled links, I don't want I just remove the check marks.

 

Gsitecrawler Remove Links

 

 


9. Say I wanted to change the "Priority" from 0.50 to 0.75 instead. I just click on the URL, then in the lower priority I select 0.75.

 

GsiteCrawler Change Priority

 

 


10. There it has changed from 0.50 to 0.75 value. Note: You can select the "Specify" option and enter any number you want. Make sure you know what you are doing and what values are available.

 

GsiteCrawler Priority Changed

 

 


11. After you are content with all your changes, simply "Generate" and "Google Sitemap-File" on the top menu to create the sitemap.xml file for your site.

 

GsiteCrawler Generate Google Sitemap File

 

 


12. Then, same thing "Generate" and "Yahoo urllist.txt" on the top menu to create the urllist.txt file for your site.

 

GsiteCrawler Generate Yahoo Urllist File

 

 


13. For the sitemap.htm you need to "Generate" and "URL list for export". A new window will then open.

 

GsiteCrawler Generate Sitemap html File

 

 


14. Then, you select "Simple site map.htm" and "OK export with this template. Afterwards, you can rename it sitemap.html if you are like me. You can also open it with any text editor and change link and background colors if you want to match your site more.

 

GsiteCrawler Simple Sitemap htm

 

 


15. There are some "Page Tools" at the bottom you might play around with later. Also, statistics in the top menu/navigation.

 

GsiteCrawler Page Tools

 

 


This program has a lot of other nifty features if you play around with it in your spare time.





Ok after that you simply upload sitemap.xml and gss.xsl to your root directory/folder. The gss.xsl just makes it display nice and pretty in your browser.

Then upload urllist.txt and sitemap.html to your root directory/folder.

Add a link to your Dolphin footer for sitemap.html so it shows up on all your Dolphin pages. This is mostly so the search engine spiders find it rather than your visitors.

To do so:

Open:
/templates/tmpl_uni/_footer.html

*If you have another template other than Dolphin's default tmpl_uni then go to your template name like:
/templates/your_template_name/_footer.html


Open the file and find:
        <div class="bottomCopyright">
            <div class="bottomLinks">
                __BMI_Links__
                __BMI_News__
                __BMI_ContactUs__
                __BMI_About__
                __BMI_Privacy__
                __BMI_Termsofuse__
                __BMI_FAQ__
                __BMI_Feedback__
                __BMI_Aff__
                __BMI_Invitefriend__
                __BMI_Bookmark__
            </div>
            <div class="bottomCpr">Copyright © 2017 DialMe.com</div>
        </div>


Add your sitemap.html link by doing the following:

        <div class="bottomCopyright">
            <div class="bottomLinks">
                __BMI_Links__
                __BMI_News__
                __BMI_ContactUs__
                __BMI_About__
                __BMI_Privacy__
                __BMI_Termsofuse__
                __BMI_FAQ__
                __BMI_Feedback__
                __BMI_Aff__
                __BMI_Invitefriend__
                __BMI_Bookmark__
                <a href="sitemap.html">Sitemap</a>
            </div>
            <div class="bottomCpr">Copyright © 2017 DialMe.com</div>
        </div>

Save the changes back to your host.

Refresh your site in your browser and the link should now be in the footer. Click on it to make sure it actually takes you there.

Verify that the sitemap.xml is valid and no errors by going to this site:
http://www.validome.org/google/

If it comes back "Green" and "Valid" you are good to go. If it tells you it has errors don't submit it anywhere until you fix the errors.



Now tell Google, Yahoo, and MSN (bing/live) where to find it:

Sign into your Google Webmaster tools and add your sitemap.xml, same for Yahoo, and MSN.

I already have all 3 accounts and added sitemap.xml, but if you do not it will ask you to verify by adding code to the header or a file. Simply follow along to verify.

Google Webmaster Tools:
www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

Choose "Add a site" enter your site and click the "continue" button and follow the verification process.

 

Google Webmaster Tools Add Site

 

 


After you finish the verification process, select your site from the main page.


Then in the "Dashboard" of Google Webmaster Tools select "Site configuration," and then "Sitemaps" on the left column.

Select the "Submit a Sitemap" button.

 

Google Webmaster Tools Submit Sitemap

 

 



Note: My statistics are already here as I have a sitemap.xml file in Google Webmaster Tools already. You wouldn't see these stats if you haven't submitted your file yet.

After clicking on the "Submit a Sitemap" your site info will partially be there and you just enter sitemap.xml and click "Submit".

 

Google Webmaster Tools Sitemap Location

 

 


That's about it for Google.

Check back in Google Webmaster Tools in a day or two, and you should see some stats. It might take Google a bit to find your site links, but this certainly helps.

You are all set with Google, move along to Yahoo and MSN. Be sure that Google is your first priority though.


Yahoo SiteExplorer:
https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

After logging in simply enter your site and click "Add My Site" Follow along the verification process. Again, similar to Google's verification process.

 

Yahoo SiteExplorer Add My Site

 

 


Now click on your site and select the "Feeds" link on the left menu.

 

Now enter

sitemap.xml in the box. Leave it at "Web Site Feed" and click "Add Feed" button.

 

Yahoo SiteExplorer Add Sitemap Feed

 

 


Now repeat this for urllist.txt and click "Add Feed".

 

Yahoo SiteExplorer Add Urllist Feed

 

 




MSN/Bing/Live Webmaster:
http://www.bing.com/webmaster

At Bing you after signing in choose the "Add a site" button and follow instructions to verify. Very similar to Google's verification.

Enter your website, then Sitemap address (http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml), click submit and follow along.

***Believe me Microsofts Crawler needs all the help it can get!


Pretty simple really. As time goes by you can check back at each of these accounts and they will give you some statistics.



You will eventually want to repeat the process as time goes by and new pages are created on your site. You would want to update or create new sitemaps and urllists that have the links to the new pages.

Either use the online site to generate a new one, or use the gsitecrawler program to re-crawl your site to gather the new links.

Then upload the updated sitemap.xml, sitemap.html, and urllist.txt to your web space.

Go back to Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo SiteExplorer, and MSN Webmaster and resubmit.

For Google after uploading an update file you can either just let google find it on its own, or login to Google Webmaster Tools.

Then click on your site.

Select "Site configuration"

Then "Sitemaps"

Check the box next to sitemap.xml and click the "Resubmit" button.

 

Google Webmaster Tools Resubmit Sitemap

 







Google, Yahoo, MSN (bing/live) Verification Process:

To Verify your site using a Meta Tag:

Verifying with Meta Tag in header for Dolphin:

If you opt to add the code to your header of your Dolphin site it should be placed in yoursite.com/templates/base/_header.html between the <head></head>.

So it might look something like this for Dolphin 6.1.6 for example:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en-US" lang="en-US">
<head>
    <title>Create and Generate Sitemap Files for your Site</title>
    <base href="__site_url__" />
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

    <meta name="description" content="__meta_description__" />
    <meta name="keywords" content="__meta_keywords__" />
    <meta name="verify-v1" content="some-big-set-of-characters=" >

--More Dolphin Code would be here--

</head>
<body>

Save the changes to your host, and then confirm the verification process in Google, Yahoo, or MSN.

 
Written By
Tutorial by: Jeremy LeSarge (AKA Ray)

I am the owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I write Tutorials for Boonex Dolphin as well as tips and resources surrounding website programming and development. I enjoy working with WordPress, SEO, and Web Hosting / Servers. I also maintain a WordPress Blog here on this site where you will find a variety of technology and webmaster resources.

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