Your REW Site: Adding a Sitemap & Linking to it from the Footer

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Everyone knows that search engines like to see a sitemap on your website. The sitemap should be linked-to from the homepage and, ideally, from every page. The easiest way to make this happen would be to put the sitemap link in your side-navigation, but, the sitemap is insignificant to 99% of your users, so it shouldn't waste space in your side-navigation.

So, how can you have a sitemap that's linked to from every page, but isn't in your navigation? You could paste the link into the body of every page, but that's lame (time-consuming and unreliable, I mean).

Just add the link to your footer, at the bottom of every page. It's easy, and I'm going to tell you how to do it, because I twitch every time I see an REW site without a link to the sitemap in the footer.

In the content management system (CMS, backend) you got with your site, there is a snippet that comes pre-installed but not implemented anywhere. It's called #sitemap#. Guess what it does?

Step 1:
Create a new page and put the sitemap on it:

Login to your CMS and tell it you want to add a new page. Enter what you will in the meta fields, but make sure you type #sitemap# in the body area. And for the filename, let's just use "sitemap" (for the purposes of this tutorial).

Save your new page by clicking on "Add New Page" (or "Add Page" in the old CMS). Your sitemap page is now created, and you can look at it by going to http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.php. But, nobody can find it yet, unless they type that address into their browser the way you just did.

Step 2:
Link to the sitemap page from your footer:

Now, click on "Edit Homepage" in the CMS ("Edit Defaults" in the old CMS). Look for the place where you can edit your "footer". Enter this code:

<a href="/sitemap.php">Sitemap</a>

Save your changes, go to your home page, and refresh (F5 key; make sure your FLock is off). You should see a clickable link in your footer that says "Sitemap". Finito!

Two Common Obstacles

1)

After you add the link to the footer, you might see something like this in the footer:

Designed by Real Estate WebmastersSitemap

or this:

SitemapPrudential Realty

In that case, you just need to add a "pipe" (it's this character: "|" It's usually associated on your keyboard with the backslash, near the "enter" key) or some other element, to separate your sitemap link from that other stuff in your footer. Try this:

<a href="/sitemap.php">Sitemap</a> |

or this:

| <a href="/sitemap.php">Sitemap</a>

2)

The CMS sure is nifty, letting you edit the footer across all pages like that. But there's a catch (EDIT: This is no longer the case as of 2010): there are some pages, like your blog pages and IDX pages, which don't listen to what the CMS says. You can't edit the footer of pages that have /blog/ or /idx/ in their address. You need ftp access to get your shiny new footer showing on those non-CMS pages. (Contact your sales rep or post in the Work Orders Forum to request this.)

Comments (9)

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Celeste

Thanks soooo much for the helpful instructions. They were really undrstandable and believe me as we are overwhelmed right now on the learning curve that was really nice. Also we were nervous at first wondering if we could it but found it was literally step 1, step 2 step 3 and we had it done...Loved we could do it ourselves. thanks again, Celeste and Ashley

mikey

Hi Gerry,

I just added the site map and it worked like a charm. I'd like to remove some of the pages from the site map though - such as "IDX Snippet" and "Site Map." It it possible for me to that? I checked the "hide" box in the CMS so they don't appear on the navigation bar, however they still show up on the site map.

Thanks, Mike

GerryThomasen

Hey Mike, I asked our CSR department and they said it IS possible, but at this point, it requires custom work.

I would love to see a workaround built into the #sitemap# snippet itself. More clients need to request it, though, before it becomes a priority for enough people around here.

Cheers.

mikey

Thanks Gerry. For the time being I will live with it.

Mike

Michael Paul Eau Claire

that was about the easiest improvement I've made all year!

thanks!

Mike Brown

I submitted this sitemap to Google in the webmaster tools. Here's what Google said:

Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported sitemap format instead.
1
Tag: html
6
Feb 13, 2014

GerryThomasen

Hi Mike, you need to submit the xml version instead, which is here:
http://www.mikebrowngroup.com/sitemap_0.xml

Ryan Penn

Thanks Gerry, I just created our sitemap and love the way it is displayed: http://www.360dwellings.com/sitemap.php

Any additional tips for getting the sitemap onto blog or IDX pages?

GerryThomasen

Hey Ryan - that's the charm - because you put it in that "footer" field, it appears on the blog/IDX pages too. :)

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