HTML Sitemap: Creating in WordPress and Their Importance

What is an HTML Sitemap? An HTML Sitemap is a page on your website with links to every single page of important content on your website. Any pages on your site that can be indexed by search or are navigable from your menus should be linked to by your sitemap page!

But I already have an XML Sitemap! An XML Sitemap is purely for search engines, and all of the pages you submit via XML are not guaranteed to be indexed. XML Sitemaps are of no use to your end user. They are made for robots and look like they are made for robots. See ours here.

What Does an HTML Sitemap Look Like? A simple list of important pages with links to each one. Check out our Mockingbird Marketing sitemap page!

Why Your HTML Sitemap is Important

All of the content on your site should be navigable with clicks. But, some of your really old blog posts or deep pages may take quite a few page links and clicks to reach. When you create an HTML Sitemap page and place that page link in your footer, you provide links to all the important content on your site within 2 clicks! This is useful for visitors and the search engines alike. It may increase the likelihood of that old, yet important content, being indexed by search. All of this increases the chances of people finding your website and content through search.

This video may be a few years old, but Matt Cutts explanation still rings true, see below:

It’s unclear if HTML sitemaps are still a major SEO force/factor…. However, they are easy to create and possibly useful for search and users, every site should have one.

How To Create Your WordPress HTML Sitemap: Our Favorite Solution

WordPress has thousands of free and premium plugins available to do anything under the sun on your website. Some plugins we love make certain SEO tasks a breeze. We use WordPress SEO by Yoast to do all sorts of on site SEO tasks, like creating XML Sitemaps. That plugin has amazing functionality, but is missing an HTML Sitemap generator. And trust me, you don’t want to manually create an HTML sitemap. This would require creating a link to every page on your website, and adding a link every time you create a new page.

That’s why we use this amazing plugin – WP SEO HTML Sitemap. It integrates with your Yoast XML Sitemap settings, but does not require Yoast to function. With Yoast, this HTML Sitemap plugin will create one link to every page on your website that exists in your XML Sitemap. You should already have your XML Sitemap configured to include all indexed, important content on your site.

Steps to Setup your HTML Sitemap Page:

  1. Install the plugin on your WordPress site.
  2. Create a page titled “Site Map”.
  3. From your site’s WordPress admin screen, hover over “Settings” and click “SEO HTML Sitemap”.
  4. Settings:
    1. Sitemap Page: Select “Site Map”.
    2. Location on Page: Select “After Page’s Content”.
    3. Disable Plugin’s CSS?: Select “Disable the CSS Styles”. This will disable the column setting. Hint: you don’t want to load unnecessary extra css resources on your site.
    4. Link to XML Sitemap: Select “No, Don’t Link to the Sitemap XML”.
    5. Credit Link: Select “Don’t add”. Sorry Plugin Author..
    6. Hit “Save Changes” button.
  5. Add a link to your new HTML Sitemap page in your websites footer.
  6. You’re done!

See how easy that was? A few quick steps to increasing the quality of your website!

Easy Button

Site Speed Matters – So how do you test it?

Site speed is important. Your website speed can influence site traffic and more importantly – conversions. If your site takes 5-10 seconds to load on a desktop with a high speed internet connection, it’s going to take even longer to load on a mobile network. This is not a good user experience and can cause visitors (potential customers) to move along.

There are many factors affecting your site speed… registrar, host, site platform, site code optimization, image size, external requests, the list goes on… However, there are tools available to get quick answers, as well as very detailed answers.

Our favorite tools are:

All of these tools have various scores, data points, pros, and cons. One test is not going to give you a definitive answer; multiple tests will be more telling as to how your site is actually performing. has more functionality and adjustable settings than the rest. Pingdom and Google will give you grades and scores; some of these data points are important, some are not.

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Pingdom has four data points that I find most important:

  1. “Your website is (faster/slower) than (%) of all tested websites.”
  2. Page Size.
  3. First Byte.

The “website is faster/slower than” metric is an easy way for you to gauge your site speed against others. It is also the perfect example of why multiple tests are important. This calculation uses “Load Time”, which is influenced by “Page Size”, host speed, server connection speed, and code quality. Mockingbird pages, for example, average around 0.8-1.4 seconds to fully load, but on a single test in Pingdom I received a 2.83 second “Load Time”. Multiple tests with other testing services are your friend.

Page Size is important, because it influences your load time and can be optimized. Is your page over 2 MB? If you don’t have many images or any videos – I would find this alarming. Are your images poorly optimized for web? Is your site code overly bulky? Are you loading too many large external resources? All of these are fixable by web designers and developers. Poorly optimized images are the most common increase in page size and has the easiest fix. “Save for web” in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing programs is a simple step to take when creating images for a website.

First Byte is something clearly displayed in the results – but is not clear in the Pingdom results.  Your First Byte time is the time it takes to DNS Lookup, Connect, and Load the initial HTML file. With Pingdom this can be seen as the time it takes to load the initial page file within the Waterfall graph.

Other Scores

Load Time can be useful especially for smaller sites – because this time should be low for small sites. There’s probably no videos, as many external resources, or as many images as larger sites. But for large sites this time can be hard to control. I prefer to stay within 0.5-3 seconds, but under 5 is ok. Performance Grade – this metric has some useful data for web developers. However, for a small business who is actively marketing – this score is useless. Just having advertising, analytics, and call tracking is going to bring this score way down, because the amount of externally loaded resources that are necessary.

Let me give you some “Pingdom” Load Time examples from our clients.

Client Who Moved From Slow Host to Our Favorite – WPengine:

  • Load Time: Old Host = 8-10 seconds | WPengine = 0.7-3 seconds (Wow!)
  • Page Size: 2.9MB

Huge Bulky Client Website on WPengine:

  • Load Time: 1-3 Seconds (This is amazing for a bulky, older, big box theme, WordPres site)
  • Page Size: 1.5MB
There’s always room for website improvement. But, anyone can use these tools to find glaring, yet fixable problems.

As you can see, a fast host like WPengine can really make a huge difference. For reference – big sites like newspapers or syndicated blogs will have load times of up to 12 seconds! This is because of their large amounts of content and advertising. But their “Start Render Time” is still going to be 0.5-2 seconds, allowing users to view content quickly.  This “Start Render Time” time may be influencing search results. – Test a website’s performance

This is truly an amazing tool for developers. I won’t go into all the details here, because it’s not that useful for the average user. But there are a few features and data points I highly recommend using.

  • Connection (Can test your speed over Cable, DSL, 3G, 2G, etc…)
  • Number of Tests to Run (Here is where we weed out the outliers with up to 9 tests)
  • First View and Repeat View (Repeat View will allow you to test your caching by comparing speeds to First View)
  • “Start Render” data point (After you run a test – this will be one of the first items you see – it’s important for larger sites and ensures your visitors are seeing content quickly)

Google Page Speed Insights

This tool from Google gives you a Mobile Speed Score, Mobile User Experience Score, and a Desktop Speed Score out of 100. Your Mobile User Experience should be 100/100 or very close to it – to ensure a strong mobile user experience. The rest of the optimization suggestions contribute to your score, which I have mixed feelings about.

You might ask – why not just go for a 100/100 scores on the Google PageSpeed Insights? I could continue this rant and explain the technicalities of those scores. But to keep it simple, it’s not worth it, because it would require a huge web development budget with no tangible return on the investment. Check out this case study on earning a 100/100 score – Smashing Magazine Performance Case Study.

Go Test Your Site!

I suggest using a combination of the tools discussed above to assess your site. If your page speed and load times are super slow – you might consider a website redesign or host change. You might even discover that you have giant images over 1MB each! That’s an easy fix.

LMQ #8: What Is A Google Practitioner Listing?

What is a Google+ Practitioner listing and how is it different for a practitioner compared to a business? Joy explains some of the confusion behind Google Practitioner listings, especially for attorneys. What makes someone eligible to have this type of listing? Should a firm have more than one?

Have another Legal Marketing Question? Send us one at

LMQ #7: Is My SEO Paying Off?

Why don’t I come up in a search for my name, location and practice area? How do I evaluate the effectiveness of my SEO? Do ranking reports work? Conrad Saam explains some ways to measure traffic and how to see if your SEO efforts are worthwhile in this “Legal Marketing Questions” video.

Have another Legal Marketing Question? Send us one at

LMQ #5: Why Does Website Speed Matter?

Conrad Saam explains the importance of site speed and how it impacts search results. He provides tools you can use to diagnose your website speed and how to improve it.