You’ve decided to improve your website navigation and your search engine ranking with a sitemap. Excellent! You’re on your way to creating a website that’s easier for your visitors to use and for search engines to find and index. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps of creating a sitemap.

Before we begin, we have to emphasize how important it is to save your work! Saving often is your best defense against losing your work in case of computer failure. Here’s how you can save your work:

  • Go to File > Save
  • Click the Save button on the toolbar.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S

Keep in mind that whatever name you choose for your file will apply to your Sitemapper file (.csm) and the HTML sitemap you’ll upload to your server through the Export process. Although you can name your sitemap anything you want, it’s best to name it sitemap. Additionally, the XML sitemap, which is submitted to search engines, will automatically be named sitemap.xml. All right, now that we’ve gotten that information out of the way, let’s get started!

Before you spider your website, it’s a good idea to set your scanning preferences. This gives you control over what goes into your sitemap, which means you don’t have to make as many edits to it after the scan is done. To access the scanning preferences, go to Settings > Scan Options or click the Settings button. This opens the Scan Options window, which allows you to specify which file types to include in your scan.

When you’re done setting your preferences, it’s time to scan your website! Just enter the URL of your website in the Website URL field, and then click the Start Scan button. That’s it! Just sit back and watch the workspace fill with URLs from your website. The Status bar at the bottom of the program lets you keep an eye on your progress.

The scanning process can take a while for large websites, which is exactly why we’ve added the Pause Scan feature. If you want to temporarily stop the scanning process, just click this button, and you can choose to resume at any time by clicking the Resume Scan button that appears in its place.

Cool Tip! You can even pause a scan, save the scan, turn off your computer, and resume scanning a month later if you really want to!

Settings

To open the Sitemap Settings window, go to Settings Menu or click the Settings button. Here you will find 3 Tabs (Scan Options, FTP and Advanced).

Scan Options

This window allows you to specify which file types to include in your scan, which files and folders to omit, and the default change frequency and priority of the URLs in your sitemap.

 

 

Robots Tag: Select this option to have Sitemapper’s spiders follow the instructions in any robots.txt files or robots tags you may be using. (If you aren’t using a robots.txt or robot tag, you can ignore this.)

  • Show Notification When Pending URL Queue Is Large: Select this option if you would like Sitemapper to display a notification when there are a lot of URLs in the spidering queue.

 

 

  • Load Last Saved Sitemap on Program Startup: Select this option if you would like the last sitemap you worked on to open automatically when you open Sitemapper.
  • Maximum pages to include: This will allow you to set the maximum amount of pages that Sitemapper will spider. When this threshold is reached, the spidering process will stop.
  • Frequency: Change frequency is how often you expect to update most of your website files, and it is used by search engines when they rank your pages. If you update a page frequently, search engine spiders will return to it more often.

Be accurate when you set your change frequency! If you try to increase your ranking in search engine results by setting all your pages to a high change frequency, search engines will see right through your strategy and may give you a lower ranking.

  • Map Type: Choose whether you would like scanned pages to be added to your XML sitemap, HTML sitemap, both, or none. Generally, your XML sitemap should be comprehensive and include many links, whereas your HTML sitemap should only contain links to the major areas of your site.
  • Target: Controls how you want the links in the sitemap to react when they are clicked.
  • Priority: Enter a priority you would like to apply to your pages by default, where 1 is the highest, 0 is the lowest, and 0.5 is the default value. Priority is used by search engines when they rank your pages. If a page has high priority, search engine spiders will return to it more often.

Be accurate when you set your priority! If you try to increase your ranking in search engine results by giving all your pages a high priority, search engines will see right through your strategy and may give you a lower ranking.

Ignore URL Window

This window has two options you can use to help Sitemapper determine the content it should record.

 

 

With the first option, you can enter the full path of a website folder in this field. When you’re done, click OK, and the folder will be added to the list. To remove any folders from this list, select them and click the Remove button.

The second option lets you list specific queries that you want the program to ignore. It’s the same concept as the Files and Folders tab, but tailored specifically for PHP. Enter the query text you want to ignore in the field on the right. This could be an entire query (e.g. product=14), or part of a query (e.g. product=).

FTP

To configure the Sitemapper for uploading go to Settings > FTP Settings or click the Settings button.

This window allows you to select the server where you would like to upload your sitemap and gives you the option to add new server or edit an existing one.

 

 

  • Server: Select the server you would like to upload your sitemap to from this drop-down menu. If you have not configured any servers, this list will be empty.
  • Add or Edit Server: Opens the My Servers window, which allows you to add a new server or edit an existing one.
  • Browse: Click this button and choose the path to the folder on your server where you would like to upload your sitemap.

My Servers Window

The My Servers window allows you to add a new server or edit an existing one.

 

 

  • Server Name: The TCP/IP hostname of your FTP server. It should be in the form of an IP address, your domain name (e.g. yourdomain.com), or your domain name preceded by ftp. (e.g. ftp.yourdomain.com). Do not include ftp:// or any directory name such as ftp.yourdomain.com/ mysite, because these are invalid TCP/IP hostnames. It is up to your web hosting company to assign your FTP server hostname, so you will need to find out from them what it is.

Examples of valid host names: ftp.mysite.com or 24.24.100.100 or mysite.com
Examples of invalid host names: ftp://ftp.mysite.com or ftp.mysite.com/mysite or http://www.mysite.com

  • Username: The FTP username assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Usernames are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your username, you must enter it that way.
  • Password: The FTP password assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Passwords are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your password, you must enter it that way.
  • Anonymous: Checking this option allows you to log into your server anonymously. This is an older protocol that rarely occurs anymore, so you should only use it if your hosting provider has explicitly instructed you to.
  • Passive Mode: Checking this box activates passive mode. Enable passive mode if you experience trouble connecting.
  • Save Password: Checking this box saves your password so you don’t need to type it in every time you upload your files to your server.
  • Stay Connected: Checking this option overrides any timeout functions that may be enabled on your server. This allows you to stay connected longer.
  • Port: This option depends on what connection type you are using to connect to your FTP server. When you select a protocol, the program automatically changes to the default port for you.
  • Timeout: This option allows you to set the maximum amount of time (in seconds) that the program will use to try to connect before timing out.
  • Initial Remote Folder: Your initial host folder is the folder where your website files are stored. Common names include www, public_html, or web. If you aren’t sure of this information, contact your hosting provider.
  • Initial Local Folder: This is the default local folder the built-in FTP client accesses. You should set it to whichever folder contains your website files.
  • Comment: Enter any comments about the server in this field.
  • Add Server: To add a new server profile, click the green plus sign icon.
  • Delete Server: To delete a server profile, click the red minus sign icon.

Server Profile Wizard

The Server Profile Wizard walks you setting up a new server profile in five steps.

Step 1

 

 

  • Profile Name: This is the name of your server profile. It will appear in the My Servers list. Since this is just a personal reminder, you can name it anything you like.
Step 2

 

 

  • Username: This is the FTP username assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Usernames are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your username, you must enter it that way.
  • Password: This is the FTP password assigned to you by your web hosting company. Be sure to enter the information exactly how it was given to you by your provider. Passwords are case sensitive, so if there are capital letters in your password, you must enter it that way.
  • Anonymous: Checking this option allows you to log into your server anonymously. This is an older protocol that rarely occurs anymore, so you should only use it if your hosting provider has explicitly instructed you to.
  • Save Password: This option saves your password so you don’t need to type it in every time you upload your files to your server.
Step 3

 

 

  • Host Name: This is the TCP/IP hostname of your FTP server. It should be in the form of an IP address, your domain name (e.g. yourdomain.com), or your domain name preceded by ftp. (e.g. ftp.yourdomain.com). Do not include ftp:// or any directory name such as ftp.yourdomain.com/ mysite, because these are invalid TCP/IP hostnames. It is up to your web hosting company to assign your FTP server hostname, so you will need to find out from them what it is.

Examples of valid host names: ftp.mysite.com or 24.24.100.100 or mysite.com
Examples of invalid host names: ftp://ftp.mysite.com or ftp.mysite.com/mysite or http://www.mysite.com

  • Default Folder on Server: This is the folder where your website files are stored. Common names include www, public_html, or web. If you aren’t sure of this information, contact your hosting provider.
Step 4

 

 

If you don’t use a proxy or SOCKS server, click the button that says No, I don’t even know what that is. If you do, click the button that says Yes, I use a proxy or SOCKS server. If you are not sure, it’s probably likely that you aren’t using a proxy or SOCKS server, but you can still contact your hosting provider to find out.

Clicking the Yes, I use a proxy or SOCKS server button opens the Proxy Server window. Enter the proxy host name, login, password, port, and type in the provided fields, and then press OK.

If you are unsure of any of this information, contact your hosting provider.

Step 5

Click Finish to finish the server setup.

Advanced

  • Live Preview Uses: will emulate Internet Explorer to display a preview of your sitemap. However, there are a few things you should know before wondering why your sitemap may look a little odd in the Live Preview.
    Sitemapper supports HTML5, the most current (and most powerful) standard in web design, but older versions of Internet Explorer do not (anything lower then 8). Therefore, we’ve included the ability to switch between several versions of Internet Explorer to use for the Live Preview. Just pick another version of Internet Explorer (we recommend always to use the highest version) from the drop-down menu next to Live Preview Uses in the Advanced Settings Tab:
    If you do choose to make a change, Sitemapper will need to be restarted for it to use the new settings. Make sure to save everything before restarting the program!
  • Spidering: This window allows you to adjust the way Sitemapper spiders your website. These settings really do not need to be adjusted, but if you find that your system is running a little slow while your site is being spidered, you can adjust these accordingly.