Sitemaps are an essential part of any WordPress site for allowing search engines find, categorize, learn about your sites content. Here are a few tips for resolving issues related to generating valid sitemaps.
- We recommend Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps
- Use only one sitemap plugin to avoid conflicts
- Customizing robots.txt could affect sitemap creation
Sitemap Best Practices
We recommend Yoast SEO
Our go-to plugin for adding a sitemap to your WordPress site on Shifter is Yoast SEO. It’s one of the most popular plugins available for WordPress SEO and we’ve added functionality to our Shifter platform specifically for supporting this plugin.
We also support the Google XML Sitemaps plugin
Shifter also supports Google XML Sitemap, a free plugin available in the WordPress plugin directory that offers a simple way for just for adding a sitemap. If the many features of Yoast are not something you’re looking for this is our second recommendation.
Searching for missing sitemaps
If you generated the static version of your site and the sitemap is missing but it was visible in WordPress, there are a few things you can do to check.
Using more than one sitemap plugin
If you are using more than one plugin, function, or feature to mange sitemaps that could be the cause of a plugin conflict resulting in a failed sitemap. If the generator cannot detect the sitemap caused by this conflict the sitemap will not be generated.
The solution to this problem is to review any other plugins installed and active for sitemaps and disable or remove it.
Conflicts with Virtual Robots.txt
Shifter supports customizing the robots.txt file using the Virtual Robots.txt plugin. However, enabling this plugin to customize SEO settings isn’t recommended when using a dedicated SEO plugin like Yoast or Google XML Sitemaps.
Why the conflict? The way Yoast sitemaps work is be adding the URL for the sitemap they create to robots.txt. The line that Yoast adds to robots.txt is could be overwritten when using the Virtual Robots.txt plugin.
The most common solution to this problem is to disable the Virtual Robots.txt plugin and test. View the robots.txt file and search for the XML sitemap entry that Yoast adds. If it’s there you’ll know that the plugin conflict was the cause.
If your project does require manual entries in the robots.txt file make note of the entry that Yoast adds and manually re-add it back to robots.txt using the Virtual Robots.txt plugin. This way the entry is still there when Shifter generates your static site.