It used to be really simple to ask Google to add a new website to its search index – you could simply go to a page on the Google website and submit your new web address – you didn’t need a Google account and the whole process took about 20 seconds. That changed a while ago, and now you need to get rather deep into Google’s tentacles, using Google Webmaster Tools, or submit an XML sitemap. Neither option is simple or quick. As for Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, it didn’t used to matter much, but now it does, especially as it powers other important search tools like duckduckgo.com.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, there’s an easy way to submit a new WordPress website to Google and Bing. Just install a simple free WordPress Plugin called “XML Sitemaps” and it will automatically create an XML sitemap for your website and tell Google and Bing where to find it, so that your website will appear in their searches. Allow a few days to get indexed, as search engines usually have a backlog of new websites to visit. (Incidentally, the plugin is now called simply ‘XML Sitemaps’ by Auctollo, whereas it used to be called ‘Google XML Sitemaps’.)
You can install the plugin in the usual way – in your WordPress Dashboard go to Plugins, Add New, search for “XML Sitemaps“, then click the “Install” button then the “Activate” button. NB as ever, when installing new software or software updates, be sure that you have an up to date backup of your WordPress files and database.
(Very occasionally, a new plugin or an update will be incompatible with something else on your website and will crash WordPress, so you need to be able to go back to how things were before! For backups, I recommend the free WordPress plugin called “BackUpWordpress”, or the (expensive) “BackupBuddy” plugin, or Cpanel’s Jetbackup if your host’s Cpanel has it. For people who are more techy, the File Manager and phpMyAdmin tool in Cpanel are particularly good if you can learn how to use them, as they offer you the fastest way to restore your website.)
The above plugin is currently unavailable in the WordPress plugin directory (May 2022). As an alternative, try “XML Sitemap Generator for Google” (search for that exact name in the WordPress plugin directory) which is made by XmlSitemapGenerator.org