Recently I was talking to some people about SEO and one of the topics that came up was the usage of XML sitemaps. There's quite a bit of detail behind the best usage of XML sitemaps, as explained in this good article on the topic.
The quick summary is that the sitemap is a file that gives both information and hints to a search engine about what pages on your website matter and where those links are.
This file allows a search engine to more easily index the contents of your website because it lists out all of the links that you want the search engine to find.
A big benefit of this is that it allows the search engine to reliably index every page on your site, a search engine can potentially miss some of your best content pages if it is only discovering the links in your site by using a web crawler.
Additionally by having an XML sitemap file you can more easily diagnose issue to do with indexing of your site.
This is a file that's found at the root directory of your site at
sitemap.xml in the case of this website you can now find this at https://www.lesinskis.com/sitemap.xml.
I realized that this was something that I hadn't put in place earlier. The reason I didn't do this earlier was a conscious decision to allocate more of my time to content earlier on. I knew that if I had too many technical blockers I might not get around to publishing any of my writing and less publishing would lead to less momentum. I knew there was a chance that if I didn't manage my time correctly then this blog had a much higher chance of joining all those other blogs that have been abandoned after a small number of posts. So I took the step earlier on to not do everything perfectly with the site at the beginning as a way in which to help get more writing up. More recently I've been cleaning some things up but it turns out that the sitemap wasn't something that I got back around to doing.
Because this site is statically generated using Pelican it was very easy to implement this functionality by using a plugin. I decided to use this Pelican XML sitemap plugin to get this functionality and found the whole installation and configuration process very easy.