What is an XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a protocol that allows the search engines to identify the number of pages to be indexed on your website. As this is necessary to find out what pages will be available to the user, this process is of utmost importance to your website. For contemporary terms think of a sitemap similar to an open sign on your front door. All of the lights for your business may be on, your computers may be running and you may be ready for business but if you don't let anyone know you are open, no business will be coming through the front door. If we simply let the search engines know you are available (i.e., Open sign), you will start to see your pages start to get indexed and potential customers will start coming to your website.
How will a Sitemap help your business?
A sitemap is crucial to your business because without an up to date sitemap the search engines will not crawl (inspect your website.) As this is paramount to your business being found in the search engines, I'm sure you notice the urgency of not having a correct sitemap? If your business cant be found by the search engines, then there is no way it will be found by a potential customer on Google or Bing. As sitemaps are the foundation of any website, there needs to be a focus on the initial stages of making sure that it is set up correctly and that it is being read in the Google Search Console.
How can I identify if I have one already?
There are several ways to identify if your business website has a sitemap. One of the easiest ways is to run it through an XML sitemap checker and see if it finds your website's sitemap. It would be best to run this through a few sitemap checkers just to be sure. If you check and notice that several say you don't have a sitemap, then odds are that you don't have a readable sitemap. If so this will need to be solved as soon as possible, because you are losing out on potential customers every day you don't have a correct sitemap on your website.