The Right Direction: Free Plugins to Put your Website on the Map
Nothing can be more frustrating than seeking out a specific brick-and-mortar store, restaurant etc.—one you find via a website—and becoming completely addled when trying finding directions to get there. Indeed, so much of what we do online these days depends on our physical location, with a host of apps that can make recommendations and programs that sync seamlessly with map services.
Therefore, if you’re a WordPress site owner, you may want to consider adding a location function—Google Maps or otherwise—to your page to make it a little easier for your users to find you or to assist them with markers, directions, routes and more that can bring them right to your front door in either true or virtual reality. Also, prolific posters whose work relies on or is enhanced by adding a sense of location to their articles will certainly want to consider orienting their readers is some fashion to put them in a specific place of mind.
The aforementioned Google Maps is certainly a leader in the online map market—you can embed a code that you paste into your WordPress posts. But they aren’t customizable, and you’ll have to switch back and forth into text editor mode to add the line. But thankfully there are some great WordPress plugins that you can utilize to instantly add the feature to your site. Here are a handful worth checking out, all free and all easy to install and launch.
- One of the most popular available today, MapPress Easy Google Maps allows you to add a map to any post—even a custom one—or a page simply by typing the address. You can also embed the map before or after a post, or use a shortcode to stick it within the post itself.
- Google Maps Builder is also great in that it comes with lots of customizable features and options. You can not only add locations but choose the map size, type and theme via a visual tool panel, and add custom markers and show nearby places to help orient your visitors.
- Utilizing a widget, WP Google Maps lets you create wayfinding directions and set markers via a sidebar or any other widget-ready place on your site. And it also lets you switch to street view with just a click.
- If you’re looking for a map function that is highly interactive, WP Google Map Plugin has tons of features that let you add custom information in windows and automatically redirects visitors when they click on the map. And it even allows you to save multiple locations and create a unique map with colorful markers that clearly displays said locations.
- The Google Maps Widget plugin gives WordPress site owners the ability to display a map in a sidebar, and when clicked on the map opens in a lightbox popup format with a nicely enhanced and larger view. You can also customize colors and even use your own images as pins.
- Lastly, CP Google Ma allows site administrators to quickly associate geo location data with a post and then display a map with custom imagery as markers. However, to really get the most out of the plugin you’ll have to fork up some cash for the paid version, as the free one, which nice, is still fairly limited in its abilities.