I am pleased to announce another great new feature for the v.4.0 gallery sites: Google Sitemaps! You can find this in the admin control panel under Settings > Sitemap. In this post I will first explain a little about what a sitemap is, and then I’ll explain how to use the new feature.
A sitemap is basically an XML-formatted file that lists all of the pages on your website. Google and other search engines have spiders, which are automated programs that periodically crawl through your website to evaluate and index the various pages for their search engines. The spiders can only index pages that they can find through links on your site (or from other sites). This is where the sitemap comes in handy, because it makes it easy for the spiders to see ALL your pages, even if some of them are buried deep in your site or not linked at all.
A sitemap won’t improve your pages’ rankings in the search engines, but they can help to increase the number of your pages that are indexed in the search engines. Another potential benefit is that the sitemap will list all your photos, along with the corresponding title, location, and caption information. This could be beneficial for image search results because it’s telling the spiders the specific information about each image – something that spiders have a hard time doing themselves since they cannot “see” the photos like we humans do.
Here’s how to start using this feature. The sitemap feature is set up to function manually; in other words, you have to select to generate the sitemap for the first time, and each successive time. You can do this in the admin control panel by going to Settings > Sitemap. Continue reading
Did you know, the gallery URLs can accept external links? Here’s how this works:
When you add a gallery, you enter a URL code for the gallery – normally it’s just one or two words to describe the gallery in its page address. So for example a gallery URL of “aerial-photos” would correspond to a gallery page address of “http://www.yourWebsite.com/gallery/aerial-photos/”. With this standard usage of the URL codes, all the gallery pages will be contained within your website.
But what if you want to link a gallery thumbnail to a page outside of your website? In that case, just enter the full website address in the URL field, including the entire “http://www…” part of the address. The program automatically checks to see if a gallery’s URL code includes a full website address, and if so, it simply links to that page rather than creating the usual internal gallery link. So to continue the above example, instead of a simple URL code such as “aerial-photos“, if you enter the URL code as an entire website address like “http://www.someOtherWebsite.com/aerial-photography” then the gallery thumbnail for that gallery will simply link to that external website page. In other words, that gallery won’t display photos at all; it will simply exist as a placeholder to link to that external link.
A practical example of how I use this feature myself can be seen on my Trip Reports gallery page. That page is set up as a gallery with each entry existing as a sub-gallery. However, many of the sub-galleries there are actually empty of photos and simply link out to pages on my blog website – which is a different website than my gallery site (even though it looks similar). Thus, I’m able to maintain a gallery of all my trip reports, each of which might link to another internal gallery, or they might link to an external blog post.
Here are some other possible ways to utilize this feature:
• Maybe you have another relevant website, such as a stock archive on some other stock photography website. You could add an external gallery link to this within your main galleries list.
• You could include gallery links to blog posts, like my trip reports example above.
• You could create a gallery of favorite Links, an have all the formatting and thumbnail options that the gallery structure offers, rather than the simple format of the standard Links page.