25 Jul Google Maps WD WordPress Plugin Review
There is no limit to the things you can do to woo a visitor and count it as a conversion. For a local shop owner or a business owner, publishing a map location is one of the easiest things to help the visitors to know the details of your local presence.
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There are two ways to make it happen. First, you can claim your business on Google Maps (which you should) and add all the right information to that listing.
Second, you can use third-party plugins to improve that listing further and showcase the improved details on your business website. You can easily look for WordPress Google Maps plugin to get them.
While the first one is dead simple to achieve, thanks to how simple Google has made the process, the second one is slightly complicated than it looks. However, the first one also requires to setup a Google Plus page (also recommended to get a listing on Facebook).
About dozens of cool plugins, both free and premium are claiming to offer this Google Map customization service. Today, we’re here to check out one of them, named Google Map WD. Let’s get into the details and find out if it’s any good or not.
Google Map WD Review
Looking at the installation procedure, it is simple and just like any other WordPress plugin. You login to the Dashboard, make a search for Google Map WD plugin, and then click on the Install button.
Finally, Activate button is to be pushed to make the services live on your website. Nothing new, right?
The moment it gets installed and activated, the setup procedure starts which is not that quick to get over with. However, simplicity has been promised by the developer, which we’ll check out in details shortly.
Features (Both Free and Premium)
Let’s have a brief introduction before we move further with the Google Map WD WordPress plugin review.
It’s an online tool, offering basic services for free and keeping advanced ones at a cost, which brings Google Maps and WordPress closer to each other. The integration helps a webmaster to edit an existing Map and customize it further to get a custom solution.
If you’re happy with the details mentioned by default Google Map embed, then this isn’t the plugin to start with. On the other hand, if you’re not happy with how usual it looks and wants to fix some out-of-the-box design elements to the map, then Google Map WD should be your choice.
It improves the markers and makes them advanced, i.e., adding more details than usual and own adding custom layers and overlays. These all are intended to deliver more information to the visitors of your website.
Dorado Web LLC is the developer behind the product and their developers have already contributed 25 plugins to the core WordPress. So, I hope this answers all the credibility questions in your mind.
Moreover, the plugin was released a couple of weeks ago and in this short period, it has managed to get a good number of active installs. The developers are also keen to make it compatible with every latest WordPress version pushed out to the community.
In short, all the credibility aspects checks out well and there is nothing you need to worry about before using it. Also, there is no pricing involved to begin using the service. What else could you require?
Talking about the features, the design part is kept responsive to ensure proper compatibility of the visual and functional elements with featured mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops and, of course, desktops. It supports both localisation and language for Google Maps and offers instant live previews for quickly checking the changes made.
Polygon and Polyline layers are supported in multi-edge shapes and the overlays can be done over a selected area using the markers. It requires a standard Google Map API to work and once the configuration is done correctly, all the features offered by Google are supported by default by the plugin in question here. It even includes bicycle, traffic, and transit layers.
The setup part is said to be simple (which will find about shortly) and the free version of the plugin allows using the module on unlimited posts and pages. There are dozens of other features included too which you’ll find all helpful, if not, disabled.
This is all that you get without investing a single penny. In the Pro version (paid), all these individual features are improved further, offering more configurations to handle, and thus, the chance of achieving better functionality.
It adds 100+ marker icons and options which all adds more visual elements and make a map look more interactive. Other than Polygon and Polyline, it also supports Circle and Rectangle shapes along with a dedicated export/import button to quickly implement an existing setting to another map.
The best feature in the premium version is the option to add new Google Maps themes and the tools to customize the existing ones. A different set of styles and colors are offered, which all adds up to a better good.
While the free version is coupled with the normal support via WordPress forums, the paid one comes with dedicated support from the developers.
There are three paid versions available, depending on the number of websites you wish to implement the module, keeping the set of features common to all three.
How well works in real life?
After getting a brief idea about the features offered and functionalities covered, it’s time to check how well it works in in real life. This is the part of the review you should be interested in. So, pay attention!
During my use of Google Map WD plugin, the only challenging part is to get the API key. Go to the link mentioned during the initial phase of setup, and Agree to the terms to move ahead. The developers have already published a user manual to help out in every phase.
Either check out the user manual or move ahead with the on-screen instructions if you’ve already spent a good number of months in the development.
After getting the API, paste it on the screen, and select a language base you wish to target. I picked English and moved ahead.
It’s time to enter the exact location, either manually, or by locating it on the Map.
Before moving ahead, you can select the Zoom Level, Wheel Scrolling option, and Map Draggable. Click Continue!
Click on the button added there and it will redirect you back to the Dashboard area where the Map you just created will be available.
The Map is already published and Shortcode and PHP Function will be available. You can copy any of them and add the Map to any specific post or page.
While creating a new Page or Post, you can either use the Shortcode or use the icon added on the toggle bar to insert either an existing Map or create a new one.
So, this is how you can set up a Map and I personally found the procedure straight and simple. Getting a Google Map API was new to me, but it was still not that tough as I was expecting.
Wait, the show isn’t over yet! There are dozens of cool features which can be implemented now to achieve even a better looking map which also looks custom, as per your likings.
A dedicated Dashboard is available when you click on the existing Map and it opens with all set of tools opened. It’s the time and place to play with the available options and achieve a custom configuration.
I went ahead with adding a Polyline to the map and it was dead simple unless you’re unaware of the terms mentioned here. This was also my first interaction with the paid features, the one not available to me, initially.
Scrolling down at this Dashboard, options to edit or delete existing Markers was available. It was simple to use and did what it supposed to.
Moving next, Settings are available where a bunch of different configuration tools are mentioned.
This is where you can customize the Map completely and make it totally yours. You can enable or disable a particular or set of options, which are either available by default or by the plugin.
Half of the options here are available under Paid version, but there are still a lot to play without paying anything.
A toolbar is always available to let you quickly Save and Apply a change, Save it as a copy or Cancel the recent changes. As aforementioned, Import and Export options are also available which are part of the premium package.
Finally, you’re introduced to the Preview of the Map where you can zoom in to get to the exact location and set a couple of final configurations.
This is all inside the Google Maps WD WordPress plugin and as per the experience I had, it’s a recommended plugin for these specific set of services.
I didn’t find any compatibility issue with other plugins added and it worked perfectly with Genesis framework. I also checked it on my other sites which were having themes from MyThemeShop, ElegantThemes, and tagDiv developers. It confirms that the plugin works with all popular or well-coded themes, either free or paid.
The only part I didn’t like much was the self-promotion section where the developers have mentioned links to their other plugins and themes. It might not add that weight to the overall size, but it is still there.
Surprisingly, a quick Uninstall button is also added which can let you quickly remove all the Maps, configurations and data added to the WordPress core by this plugin. You can always first Deactivate and Uninstall it, following the usual WordPress drill.
Few things to keep in mind is that it will increase the overall page load time, which is a crucial ranking factor, according to modern SEO norms. This is because the plugin has to connect to Google Maps server in order to load a particular Map and then showcase it to the visitors on the website. The added weight is not that heavy but you still need to be aware of it.
In one of my website, I took a screenshot of the Map location and uploaded it. This was my trick to showcase Map details to the visitors while keeping the page load time in control. But, the features I could have got with the use of Google Maps WD plugin were missing.
This was all I had to share about Google Maps WD WordPress plugin under this review heading and I hope it helped you to understand what this plugin is and how exactly it works. It’s time for you to share the thoughts and whether you’re going to use it or not. In either case, let me know the thoughts!