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How to Create an HTML Sitemap in WordPress

How to Create an HTML Sitemap in WordPress

HTML sitemap is a great method to tell visitors how many pages are accessible on your website. That brings each visitor good browsing experience thereby decreasing bounce rate effectively. This guide includes the way to create an HTML sitemap in WordPress, which is easy to understand and handle.

What Is an HTML Sitemap?

Differing from XML sitemap that is used to tell search engines which web pages should be crawled, the mission of HTML sitemap is to let visitors know how many pages they can access to. That is generated in HTML. In most cases, an HTML sitemap should be like the following example.

HTML Sitemap Example

Accordingly, categories of web pages are shown on the sitemap and each item comes with an internal link. Visitors can target a web page at a glance and then access to this page by simply clicking it. That enables great browsing experience for each visitor as well as encourages visitors to stay longer on your website.

Create an HTML Sitemap on Your Site

WordPress developers have released multiple plugins to create HTML sitemap in a simple manner. Among hundreds of options, we select two of the most popular plugins to achieve the goal, one is HTML Page Sitemap plugin and another is Hierarchical HTML Sitemap.

# Method 1: HTML Page Sitemap plugin

HTML Page Sitemap plugin allows users to add an HTML sitemap of all web pages on a website by using a shortcode. Note that, the HTML sitemap page doesn’t display posts. First of all, install and activate the HTML Page Sitemap plugin via WordPress dashboard. And then, add HTML sitemap to your WordPress website by using the given shortcode.

Install HTML Page Sitemap Plugin

Create a page that is used to display the HTML sitemap. Go to Pages > Add New and name it properly. In this guide, we name this new page as “Sitemap”. Copy and paste the shortcode [html_sitemap] to the page editor and then publish this page after having all settings done.

Create HTML Sitemap Page

View the HTML sitemap via website frontend and that should be like the following example. All pages are listed on the sitemap. The display order of each page is in accordance with that on the admin pages list.

HTML Sitemap Sample

Users can customize the default HTML sitemap by adding some attributes and values to the default shortcode. The Template Documentation for the wp_list_pages function includes a list of useful attributes and values.

# Method 2: Hierarchical HTML Sitemap

Hierarchical HTML Sitemap allows you to generate an HTML sitemap of your WordPress website by using a shortcode. The HTML sitemap displays all pages and posts in hierarchically sorted categories. Install and activate Hierarchical HTML Sitemap plugin via your WP admin.

Hierarchical HTML Sitemap

Create an HTML sitemap via Pages > Add New. Give the new page a proper name and then insert the shortcode [htmlmap] to page editor.

Sitemap Shortcode

Publish this page and then check if the HTML sitemap can be shown on your website successfully. If so, the HTML sitemap page should be like the following screenshot.

Sitemap Sample Page

All categories of pages and posts are displayed on the sitemap page. That enables a clear view of the whole website structure. In this way, visitors can easily target a certain category and then search specific post or page as planned.

By the way, the Hierarchical HTML Sitemap plugin allows you to customize the default shortcode as needed. That makes it much easier to exclude certain posts or pages from the HTML sitemap by inserting post’s ID or page’s ID into the shortcode.

For example, the shortcode [htmlmap exclude=324,325] is used to exclude the post or page with ID number 324 and 325. Besides that, the shortcode [htmlmap showpages] enables the display of all pages while the shortcode [htmlmap hidedate] makes it possible to hide posts’ published date.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.