What is a Sitemap and Feed?

What is Sitemap or Site Map of a Site/blog?
In simple words, sitemap is a complete map of your website. Sitemap consists of a single page or a set of pages linked to each other on your site. If your website has few pages, then all the pages can be linked to a single page, the whole of this forms a sitemap. Sitemap can be considered as a file, which has the list of URLs present in your website.
The sitemap changes as and when new pages are updated on the website. Sitemap of a big article/news website is dynamic because of constant updates from the site owner.
An updated site map is useful to users and the crawlers.Why do you need a sitemap?

Site map is used by the web crawlers/bots to find your website pages on the Internet. Sitemap is a form of input feed to the crawlers which finds the pages by crawling the linked pages. If your website is fairly new with few pages, the search engine crawlers may not know about it’s presence, hence submitting a sitemap to the search engines can help the bots and crawlers to find your pages. Before submitting the sitemap to Google and other search engines, it is recommended to give some time to submitting your site to the search engines. Please note submitting your website, not the sitemap.

What is the difference between submitting sitemap and submitting site?

Submitting site to Search Engines:
When a new website is created, the search engines do not know its presence and not indexed. This can be reversed by submitting site to search engines. But don’t worry about this, as the site will be indexed when the site slowly grows by getting links internally and externally. This is a normal indexing by which the crawlers crawl the pages based on the quality of content, quality of links and so on. In the normal indexing process, the crawlers also finds certain pages which the crawler feels that it is not worth to be indexed and hence avoid indexing those pages.
What do we do when certain pages are not indexed? I know you got my point…
Submitting sitemap to webmasters:
The pages considered as unworthy by the search engines due to lack of good contents, lack of inbound links and internal links will be considered again by the search engines to get indexed when the sitemap is submitted. The benefit of submitting sitemap is to crawl the pages which might not be considered on a normal indexing process.

How do we create a sitemap?

Sitemap is either of the form .html or .xml
HTML format is for users understanding and for the users to crawl through the website.
XML format of the sitemap is used by the crawlers/bots to crawl the website.
We will see in details the types of sitemap some day..
There are online tools available to create a sitemap easily. Here are some online tools I found across the web.
1. xml-sitemaps
2. WriteMaps
3. MakeASitemap
4. XML Sitemap
5. GSiteCrawler

Choose according to your needs and choice from the above sites.

Every fast changing website has a Feed. There are sites which do not offer feeds. Feed is also known as RSS feed, Syndicated content, Web feed, XML feed.
Feed can be defined as the data provided to the users as and when a particular website gets updated. In order to receive the feed, you need to subscribe to one. Feed is the easiest way to get updates for the website of your choice. Many people use feed to get the latest news.
Eg:- The best example of feed can be seen in Facebook. The name used here is “News Feed”. You see the latest updates from your friends here. It is displayed on the left top under your profile picture.

Why Feed? What is the use of Feed?
1. Feed is to get update:
Feed is used for getting the latest updates from your favourite blogs, news, updates about any niche topics and much more.

2. Podcasting:
Feed can be used to listen to music and watch videos from your favourite sites like YouTube. MP3 format is the best supported one on a podcasting for listening to your favourite music.

3. Get traffic to your site:
Feeds can get traffic to your site. Feed is a mode of publicising your blog/website.

4. Information transfer to the Internet:
Using feed you can make your information out to the public on the Internet. It is more of making your contents reachable to others on the Internet. Say what you feel to the N number of other sites at one shot.

5. Easy unsubscribe option:
To unsubscribe from the feed, you need not send a request to the owner of the blog/site. Removing the feed from their aggregator is just a simple step.
6. Self tracking:
You can track the contents of your own blogs easily from one interface. It avoids the inconvenience of going to your individual blogs to know what you have posted or updated.

When subscribing to a feed, the interested users are not giving away any of their data/identity like E-Mail address to the blog owner or anyone. There is less chances of virus, spaming, data identity thefts and hacking.

How do you know whether a site offers Feed or not?
This is easy. You can search for the Feed icon on the site. The icon looks like this

Just click on the icon and subscribe to the feed. Easily done.
To view the feeds, you need a Feed reader or RSS reader. This is a software used to read the feed. It is also called as Aggregator. 

Your opinions and suggestions are always welcome. If I’ve left any important points in this discussion, please do let comment here and we will make this post more informative to my readers. Hope you enjoy reading and find it useful.

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