In recent months, I’ve been working on projects for Ghost with a JAMstack approach and using the Gatsby framework to build websites. It’s been an exciting journey that began when we rebuilt our docs site from the ground up – now we’re migrating all of our sites to use the same technology.
It’s been a pleasure working with this stack and getting to grips with a modern website generator like Gatsby. At Ghost, we have a small team of engineers, designers and marketers who collaborate on projects like this to ensure the end result hits the mark.
Some of the things I worked on were implementing performance enhancements and SEO best practices to ensure our new docs site ranked well in the search engines. This included pulling in custom meta data and structured data via the Ghost API (which we are using as a headless CMS), and implementing XML sitemaps.
I wanted to recreate the default advanced sitemap structure that we use for all Ghost publications on Gatsby, and since it’s an open source project, I was able to go ahead and build a plugin which is now available for anyone to use!
Automatic, advanced sitemaps
The plugin generates an organized sitemap that is accessible to both humans and robots and is also capable of generating single or multiple sitemaps with full XSL templates.
The plugin will work out of the box without any additional configuration, but also allows for individually organized sitemaps with a small amount of config work. Once in place, your Gatsby sitemap will be automatically updated and fully optimized for SEO performance.
Rebuilding our docs site using Gatsby was a huge success. We saw major improvements to our SEO performance within two weeks of launching, and watched as our rankings improved and organic search visibility increased drastically over the following months:
This success can be attributed to having improved content and meta data, a lightning-fast website powered by Gatsby and Ghost, and from submitting our new advanced sitemap to the search engines. From now on when we publish new content, the sitemap is automatically updated and content is indexed quickly by the search engines.
Installing the plugin
Rather than making the sitemap plugin platform specific, it was built to work with any Gatsby project. You could be using Ghost as a Headless CMS, or any other software to build your site, and use the plugin for free.