Wednesday 8 December 2010

Add HTML Sitemap to Wordpress Website

I know, this is a Blogger Blog, but I'm going to give instructions on how to add an HTML sitemap to a Wordpress website.

After scouring the web and nearly giving myself a headache I found a solution, so this will hopefully save others those near headaches.

I'll ramble here a little to begin with, to make getting to the crux of the problem easier, but you're welcome to just leap to the formula below.

You see, when you find the site that provides the code for a Wordpress HTML sitemap, it gives all the information, but not quite all the information on how to implement it - this was the frustrating part.

So I was armed with the 'plugin' code and the 'shortcode' to activate the sitemap, but didn't really get the installation instructions of: "Add the shortcode to the page(s) of your choice". You see an HTML sitemap is a page alone, it shouldn't be added to specific pages, it should usually be on a page called: sitmap.php/htm/html &c.

I wanted my sitemap to be linked from the footer of every page of the site.

So to start with you'll need the 'plugin' code, which is courtesy of Angelo Mandato; there's 3 options: you can download the zip code from here, or go to the installation page, where at the top right of the page there's a big red button, or use the instructions below, which I've stated as being easier.

Being easier, I'd advise you to log-in to your Worpress Dashboard and click on 'Plugins' (left-hand menu), a little drop down menu reveals 'Add New' click here, on this page there's a search box, type in 'HTML Sitemap' and click on 'Search Plugins'. At the top of the list you'll see: 'HTML Page Sitemap', version '1.1.1' - click on install.

Okay, 1st of 3 jobs completed.

Now to create the interaction between the 'plugin' and the 'shortcode' which is [html-sitemap], you'll firstly need to click on 'Pages' (in the left-hand menu) of your Wordpress Dashboard, in the drop down menu you'll need to click on 'Add New', this will create the new sitemap page. Where it asks for 'title' enter 'Sitemap', in the 'content' box you need to add your 'shortcode', which is [html-sitemap], make sure you use square brackets. Now because you don't want this page in the main navigation, it is advisable to give it a parent, so in the 'Page Attributes' (right-hand menu), click on the 'no parent' drop down and put it under 'Other Info' or something similar, click on 'publish page'.

Okay 2nd of 3 jobs done.

Now we need to get the sitemap visible on every page of the site. Back to the Wordpress Dashboard, in the left-hand menu click on 'Appearance', the drop down menu offers the link 'Editor', click on this. In the right-hand menu of the new page all the 'Templates' are listed, go down till you find 'Footer' (footer.php), click on this and you'll see the content of your site's footer links. You will most likely have the following in the footer already:

Right after this add the following:

Naturally change the 'MYWEBSITE' to your own website and the .com to .de, .nl or Click on the blue button 'Update File'.

That's it job 3 of 3 completed.

Go to your website, press the 'F5' key, you may have to do this twice (that's computers for you), and in your footer you should now see your newly created link to your site's HTML sitemap, click on the link to test it, and you should find a nicely laid out sitemap indexing all your site's pages.

Now naturally you may want the sitemap to be more detailed, for this I will reference you back to Angelo's site, where he explains this further, but for me I just needed a nice clear HTML sitemap and no further headaches.

Thursday 25 November 2010

XML Sitemap Submission for Google, Bing, Yahoo & Ask

When you want to ping your newly created XML sitemap to the various search engines, you don't always want to log-in to Google, Yahoo, Bing or Ask to do so, you may just want to let them know of your updated sitemap.xml at your easiest convenience.

Therefore, here are 4 simple URL commands that will do the job for you, copy and paste the URLs into your 'notepad' or whatever editing device you use and change the 'EXAMPLE' for your own website's sitemap address, not forgetting to alter the '.com.' if you've a '' site &c.





Keeping a copy of the saved sheet means, every time you update your website's sitemap you only have to revisit and copy and paste 4 times or if you're really brave paste it into a Word document and launch them from there - it works!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

I Can't Create Similar AdWords Reports

I signed into AdWords to use the create similar reports for my clients PPC campaigns, now these usually take a couple of minutes to generate - not last week, thanks to more tinkering from Google.

I'm not against change, and I know that anything on the web will be continually updated, but hey, Google have my email and they're happy enough to send me other useful AdWords stuff, so why couldn't they have forewarned me of this change?

Instead, my campaign and account level reports took-up unnecessary time as I trawled the web and read nonsensical forums, before I was totally clear on where to create similar reports. Only they won't be similar, because now, every month, it seems I'm going to have to reproduce them from scratch.

Yes the AdWords link to this page:

Where Can I Find My Reports

Does help, but it's the inconvenience of changing something that worked really well, for something you've got to dig through AdWords for each month to generate.

But on a better note for Google - have you seen the new Bing Webmaster Tools.

It's not that Google can do no wrong, it's the stupidity of their competition that let's them do almost what they want, which is awful for us users because they can make annoying changes to AdWords reports and the like and we basically have to tow -the-line because there is no better alternative.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Gmail Breaks Blank Canvas Add-on Again

Sign in to your Gmail account this morning and find that none of your email signature profiles work.

The great work carried out by the Blank Canvas add-on, is stopped in one sweep by Gmail's update this morning with its 'create mail' now being a button and not a link. Really why can't we chose which release of Gmail we use. I've been really happy with the set-up as it was and then this comes in causing a monstrous amount of work for many people.

Hopefully the clever guys at Blank Canvas can solve the problem and let us get back to emailing without having to jump through loops.

And maybe in the future, before new releases are brought in, there could be a little consultation with clients as to what they want.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Registrars 301 Redirect

You own two website domains and they’re both registered with the same registrar, for example:

But you only want one of the domains to render, for example:

Simple you think, I'll use the web forwarding that my registrar provides; you carry this out, and hey presto it works - you type in '' press return and you're redirected instantaneously to ''.

But it's not as simple as all that, because you see, most registrars don't use a search engine friendly 301 permanent redirect, no they use the not so friendly 302 temporary redirect; you can easily check yours by carrying out a 'server header check' at:

SEO Consultants

What’s you're options to implement a search engine friendly 301 redirect?

Go to the 'root folder' of your website, open up the .htaccess file and add a little 301 rewrite, for example:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www\.)?mywebsite\ [NC]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.*)$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1?%1 [R=301]

You can read a little more about redirects here: redirects using search engine friendly 301.

But, before carrying out any changes to your root folder, make precautions and save the original file first and remember this is for 'php' sites – things are different with 'asp' and naturally I can't accept any liability ;-)

A better way of course, would be for the domain registrars to change their web forwarding from a 302 temporary to a Google friendly 301 permanent.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Link-building & Websites

Google published on 21st June 2010:

Quality links to your site

So who has the time to link to a website, and why would you want to link to a website?

I'm pretty altruistic when it comes to linking and I don't slot in a no-follow attribute either, but, the site I'm linking to has to have quality content - so far this is exactly what Google say in their article about quality content, but I'm not sure if the nature of the web is altruistic on the whole. Yes between friends sharing stuff on Facebook and Twitter, but what if you've a pretty mundane business, it's going to be mighty difficult to get links from other sites no matter how much humour you try to conjure up on your site.

Every day as a SEO/ SEM you get requests for reciprocal links, but we know they're rubbish. Google tells us some Directories are good others bad - yes you've got to be a little naive to believe that by spending £20 on 350 links you'll suddenly reach the dizzy heights of a #1 spot in Google search, but carrying out the link building manually - is it any better, probably not as the Google bot never goes past the 1st page of most directory categories.

So is it also a little of naive Google to believe we live in this ideal world where people will literally rate sites (by adding a link), positively if they've had a good experience or with 'page speed' coming in, won't they just realise if a visitor hasn't the patience to wait 10 seconds (Website Response Times - Jacob Nielsen, there goes my altruism again) surely they haven't the time to (in most cases) go back to their site and add a link!

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Total Visits via 'How Many' Keywords

The regular metric for monitoring a website's indexability progress on the web is:

This tells you how many pages of your website Google has indexed, which is a pretty useful figure, because if your site has 500 pages and Google has only indexed 10 - well, you know you need to do something.

But that is what the figure is; it's more of a check on your site's on-line status than how well your site is performing.

So how can we tell how well a site is performing - naturally before sales figures and the like, this is performance via pure web metrics?

Well, by knowing how many different keywords are used to access your site through 'search', is a clear indicator of how accessible your site is to the search engines, meaning, how good the semantics within your content is to a search engine spider. If your content is rich, that is, it makes sense and isn't only jam packed full of keywords, it will be easily indexed and everything written will have a chance of being accessible to a potential customer when carrying out a search in their chosen search engine.

So how's it measured?


Google Analytics makes it so.

When in Analytics go to: 'Traffic Sources', then drill down through 'Search Engines', then 'Google' (Bing and Yahoo! are still miles behind and hardly worth monitoring), the metric for 'keywords' is the default, see Below:

Then it's crystal clear; columns with the keywords listed in order of usage (you naturally get an overall figure at the top & bottom of the page), with the usage for each individual keyword in the first column, then the usual Analytic metrics.

By monitoring this data on a monthly basis you are going to be offering your clients a much more worthwhile piece of data than the site index could ever achieve, and if it increases incrementally month on month, then you're going in the right direction and your clients should be pleased.

Then all you have to do is encourage these new found visitors to purchase, sign-up or whatever your website's goal is...

Thursday 15 April 2010

Top Search Queries - Google Webmaster

The new look 'top search queries' in Google's Webmaster Tools seems fresh off the press and it's a treat.

It not only gives you the previous information of how many times your site generated impressions and clicks in Google SERPs, it also gives you a good dissection of these details.

Before when you thought, well my site has generated 6,600 impressions (please see above), you'd have believed at least a few of these would have generated a click - but no. For some keywords it's pretty painful, but for others an impressive 44% (also see above).

That's naturally not all, you now get to see where a particular keyword is ranking in SERPs, and this is the surprising bit, because in the previous layout you got the information that someone had clicked through to your site and you wondered how, because you weren't on the 1st page of Google; now you find out that people do actually find you on the 3rd page of Google and click through to your site.

The graph is also a boon, even if I originally thought I'd mistakenly logged in to Analytics.

The countries option and date option will help when you want to test any campaigns or try out some new keywords on the site. Once more the job of SEO is becoming more transparent, nothing to hide behind; that is of course of you show your clients the report!

Monday 29 March 2010

Notice of Right to Cancel

It seems even if you have a small SEO company and offer work from your home, which can be referred to as 'Doorstep Selling', you may need the legal documentation of a 'Notice of Right to Cancel'.

Seems a little extreme, but I have it on good grounds.

What does this entail, well it means instead of offering your services and carrying out the work and then wishing to be paid; somewhere in the middle of all that you should have got your new client to sign a Notice of Right to Cancel. Otherwise you could be leaving yourself open to firstly, none payment and secondly legal action if your new client is so inclined.

It's not the end of the world though as a simple form like this could solve all your problems and allow you to sleep soundly at night.

If you're interested in the subject or just want to find out a little more, here's a site full to the brim with information on Doorstep Selling.

Friday 5 March 2010

Google Personal Search

Don't get me wrong I like Google.

I like Google a lot more than I like Bing and the now defunct Yahoo!

But personal search, well it seems to be going a little too far...

I carry out searches every day for different clients, I need to, to check how their selected bench-marked keywords are performing in SERPs. But every time I do this now I need to remember to 'disable customizations based on search history' - why should I have to.

Why can't I opt out.

It isn't just the forgetting to disable - I can't it's implanted.

It's when I carry out a search of my own before dinner and visit a few sites, go and eat, then carry out the same search query again after dinner, hey presto everything I visited before dinner is now at the top of the page. This is frustrating, because now I don't which site was genuinely the best - or should I say performed best in Google's SERP.

Maybe some users like this, well if that's the case let there be a big on/off button.

It seems to me that the web is dumming down, aiming for the lowest common denominator. Our web pages are becoming more cluttered with advertising, you need to scroll down half a yard with most blogs now to get to content - you can't see the wood for the trees.

Is this really what we imagined a few years ago, that the web would become just one great big battle for which api, web service, website &c will get the most advertising revenue.

It seems so, and its really putting me off.

Like I said I like Google, but localising & personalising my search, well I might just have to start looking elsewhere.

Monday 1 February 2010

Google Labs - Site Performance

You probably have tracking measures set-up for your website to let you know if it ever goes down. How accurate are these and do they give you information about when your website is running slowly - probably not.

In Google Webmaster there's a little tool that's been in operation for a short while now, it's under 'labs' and it's called 'site performance'. It's basically a nifty bit of kit which lets you see visually (see above) how your site has been performing. It also tells you how your site is performing compared to other sites on the web - that is, is it faster or slower.

I've been complaining for quite some time about the speed of websites, basically I find too many sites too slow, this is usually down to adding too many apis, or poor consolidating of JavaScript and CSS script.

Google bringing in their 'page speed' is a blessing and hopefully it'll shake up the developers who persist in trying to bring web users machines to a staggering halts.

By using the site performance gadget in Webmaster Tools you'll have more ammunition to throw at your web developers when they tell you, you are wrong and that your website runs just fine - be that on their system!

Thursday 28 January 2010

West Penwith

The glorious solitude to be found throughout Cornwall's moorland.