New age shoppers feel comfortable buying anything online, even high value stuff. But older folks feel safer buying from a shop window or, even if they buy online, look for a physical address to back up the web address of the shop. And if you can draw a map for shoppers showing your exact location on the face of this earth, they know they are not buying from some faceless entity.
Having a physical address, displaying your location on your website and putting down the exact directions for customers to find your place of business is somewhat assuring to customers and is not very hard to do, not when you use Google Maps.
An interactive map can be included in your website quite easily. You need to submit your location details to Google. This will also give your website a wider reach and your listings will show up on a Google search.
Plugins will help to add Google Maps to your website. You can embed and customize Google Maps and insert it into your pages and posts, and you can use it as a widget too. Adding local images or landmarks will help your visitors to find you more quickly. You can add a simple map or you can add a map with fancy features with the help of plugins.
You may also wonder why you need a plugin, when you can download Google Maps directly into your website. Google will give you a code that you will have to insert into any page or post using the text editor. Done, your store will now be on the map. But that’s about it. You cannot add any details of your location, insert markers or give directions on this map. Plugins will make your maps interactive, customizable and will help you to totally lead your customer right upto your doorstep with landmarks, directions or any other pointers.
There are a number of Google Map plugins that you can use, and most of them are fairly competent. You can pick your plugin from the dozen listed here, depending on the features you want to include in your maps.
MapPress Easy Google Maps
MapPress Easy Google Maps will help you add an interactive map to your website. Just enter the address in any post or page and the plugin will automatically insert a map to your website. Add directions to your address. Create markers with HTML code and drag them about the map till you find the right spot for it. Add pictures and links as well.
Map Press is multisite compatible as well as compatible with Google Map API v3. The plugin supports street view with real time traffic, and you can create multiple maps in a single page or post.
Premium version will let you choose from 200 marker icons to place on your map or you can download markers from anywhere you like. To show all your locations on a single map, you can create mashups. Link the map to your pages and posts or add a widget, if you wish.
To purchase the pro version, you will have to pay $29.95 for the Basic License which you can use with 3 sites and for a Developer’s license, you will have to pay $49.95 with no limit to the number of sites that you can use it on. These licenses entitle you to one year of support and updates.
WP Google Maps
WP Google Maps is great to add on contact page maps, for highlighting delivery area and many other similar needs. Choose from 9 map themes or create and add your own map theme. Insert markers simply by typing in the address and drag them exactly where you want them. Add animation to the markers.
Google Maps street view is supported, as is street locator, localization and map widget functionality. Roadmap, terrain, satellite and hybrid views are supported. Define the dimensions of the map and create it in no time at all. Many layers can be added – bicycle, traffic, transit and weather.
This plugin is compatible with caching plugins. You can use it without being saddled with any advertising links. Store locator functionality is available and you can filter the search for stores based on geographic location.
With the professional edition, you are not restricted to one map and can add as many as you like. Add markers, categories and directions to the maps. Show your visitor’s location on the map and make it the start or end point for directions. Hide all map markers until a store locator search is completed. Store locator search can be done by category and multiple map widgets can be added. The professional edition comes to you at $39.99
CP Google Maps
If you are writing a post about a location in a remote corner of the world, you would like your readers to have an idea where the place is on the map. CP Google Maps will let you insert a map into your posts directly. You can even include markers for the related posts. The number of markers you use can be adjusted in the settings.
When you insert the markers with related geolocation info into a template where many posts are displayed, post over which the mouse hovers will be highlighted. Readers can be led to the related posts. Markers are customizable and associated bubbles can open or be hidden.
In the premium version, points can be displayed with tags and routes can be drawn between the points. Multiple maps can be inserted in a page and maps can also be inserted as a widget in the sidebar. A visitor can get directions on the map. Style the maps and display user location if you wish. You can purchase the premium version for $19.99
Mapify.it is one of CodeCanyon’s top selling map plugins. It is possible to use this plugin with any custom map, and not just Google Maps. And you can toggle between Google Maps and custom maps while maintaining Mapify features. Free PSDs are included in the plugin to help you get on with your custom map. This plugin allows use of custom pin-point graphics, pop-up galleries and any number of locations with tooltips on each.
Zoom upto two levels in custom maps and to many more levels with Google Maps. The pan effect of Google Maps is retained. The images that you use with this plugin can be .jpeg, .gif or .png files. If you are using transparent images, you get to choose the color of those images.
Make every location interesting on your Google Map with unique photo and video gallery. And add any number of locations to it by double clicking or typing in the address. When you hover over a pinpoint you can choose what should appear – photo, video or text.
It is a perfect store locator, listing each location by address. The plugin can be used imaginatively in many ways – for instance to facilitate events where parking facilities or available hotels can be displayed along with images of your own product. Or share online the places you have visited in your travels by placing pinpoints on them.
You can purchase Mapify.it for $17.
Maps Marker Pro
Maps Marker Pro is a feature rich plugin that allows you to add pins to any place in your WordPress site easily. It is used on 88,412 websites. Once installed, you can add maps to your sites in pages, posts, widgets and templates using shortcode. The frontend offers the user a lot of choice.
The UI takes a bit of familiarizing, and the advanced editor will open up a few more options. You can create make believe maps for gaming or for photographs. Create a marker, set the map dimensions and assign a layer and the map is almost done. Geolocation support, size and zoom level for each marker or layer can be set. You can restore default settings at any time.
It works on mutisite installations. Data can be accessed from Bing, OpenStreet Map or Google Earth. Niche maps like Open Cycle Map for cyclists and Transport Maps for mass transit are available. Google Adsense is integrated.
The plugin includes minimaps, maps optimized for mobiles, full screen maps that use HTML 5 and custom Google maps styling. You can purchase a Personal License for $29, a Plus License for $79 and a Professional License for $149 and you can use it on one, five and twenty five domains respectively.
You purchase a license for life and for updates, you will have to subscribe annually.
The free version of this plugin is Leaflet Maps Marker and you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository.
Google Maps Widget
If you want to display a single, fast loading image of Google Maps in a widget, Google Maps Widget is the plugin for you. The widget can be located in any widget ready area. The location is not restricted to widgets, and any page or post can also display the map with the help of shortcode.
You can adjust the map size, type of map – road, satellite, terrain or hybrid, zoom level, pin color, size and label, as well as the position of text. Links can be in the form of URLs or lightbox.
The premium version comes with about 50 extra features. Extra pins can be chosen from the 700+ pin library. The map can be of the road or satellite type. Header and footer text can be added and choice of skin colors is available. Google analytics is integrated.
There is no fixed price for the plugin and you can pay what you think is fair.
5sec Google Maps
5sec Google Maps is the number 1 top selling maps plugin on CodeCanyon. It won the Top WordPress Plugin Award from ThemePlugins.com. It does not need any setup, API keys or code editing. As it uses the local cache for mapping the address to the latitude/ longitude, it can load very fast.
The plugin can be inserted in sidebars, posts and pages. It supports full screen and direction to address support. Bubbles can be added for description and multiple pages can be supported in a page, with multiple pins per map.
This plugin should be your top choice if you just want to include a map with your address and no frills attached to it. The Purchase price of just $12 is an added attraction.
Interactive Google Maps
If you want to create many interactive maps and display them, Interactive Google Maps maybe a good choice for you. It is a suitable plugin when you want to show many places around the world, and so if you have a requirement to show your office locations the world over in a corporate website, or the projects your NGO is involved in various locations or the places of interest in a travel website, you now have an idea which plugin to pick.
Many maps of the world, continents, regions and parts of a country are already included. Plenty of options are available – vary background color, vary borders, vary the dimensions of the map and color inactive regions. And with Visual Composer included, there is a lot you can do. Maps can be included anywhere, including in a widget in a sidebar or in the template using php. The maps will display in Mac products as well.
The plugin can be purchased from CodeCanyon for $21.
WP Google Map Plugin
WP Google Map Plugin is yet another feature rich plugin and it comes in two versions – lite and premium.
The lite version will allow you to show any number of Google maps on a single map and decide the latitude/ longitude bearing at which the map must be centered. On clicking a marker a URL may open up or a message window may appear.
The maps can display in many ways – the default Road Map view, Google Earth Satellite images, a blend of normal and satellite views, terrain view, real time traffic view and show bicycle paths.
In the premium version, location details can be displayed in the message window and lists can be sorted according to address, category or location. Start and end location will be displayed in direction tabs. If you have too many markers, you can enable marker clusters.
Premium purchasers also have access to Snazzymaps and access markers from external sources. They can add any number of maps on pages and posts using shortcode, or in a sidebar using widgets. Shortcodes can also be used to add unlimited locations by address or by latitude and longitude bearings. Searchable and paginated location listing is possible. Display polygons and polylines and modify existing ones.
The premium version can be purchased from CodeCanyon for $28.
Geo Mashup will turn your WordPress into a GeoCMS. This free plugin was created with customization possibilities in mind and ease of use was not a priority. However, many user requested features have been added over the years.
Location information can be saved on pages and posts and then presented on maps in many interesting ways. Other map providers like OpenStreet and Leaflet can be accessed for maps. Global maps can be filtered by category, custom taxonomy or custom post types.
The distance between the start and a searched location can be displayed using a GeoSearch widget. Markers can be clustered to present a neater appearance. Category markers can be connected with a colored line.
Click on a location and you get the address, this is possible with reverse geocoding. Geo RSS is automatically added to feeds.
Comprehensive Google Map Plugin
Comprehensive Google Map Plugin is an interactive plugin that installs both as a widget and as a shortcode. It is fully documented and the documentation will help if the information in the tooltip is not sufficient.
You get access to OpenStreet maps with this plugin. 250+ custom marker icons are available and you can group markers into clusters. All markers from published content can be collected and displayed in a single map. User location can be added to help in finding location.
Creating shortcode is possible with the shortcode builder and the code can then be integrated with post or page editor. Save the code and insert into pages and posts.
Comprehensive Google Map plugin is compatible with jQuery tabs, so maps display beautifully. The plugin is compatible with W3 Total Cache.
This free plugin was last updated 3 weeks ago and there is a word of caution that the official support and maintenance of the plugin has been discontinued. The plugin is one of the most downloaded Google Maps Plugin from the WordPress repository and therefore, it is included here.
Simple Google Maps Short Code
I almost didn’t include this plugin, but changed my mind on seeing the perfect 5 star rating, the sheer simplicity and over 10,000+ active installs. There is no setup page of any kind with this plugin. You simply have to paste a shortcode in a page or post, fill in the address and save it. Done, your map is ready. No customization is possible.
Simple Google Maps Short Code will enable a shortcode that will help to embed Google Maps in any page or post. The codes will deliver cached maps with little impact on the performance of your website.
Which is the plugin for you ?
The simple fact is that there is no one choice. There are many good plugins that have not been included here, as the number of plugins available is just too large. The list here is only representative.
That being said, if you are looking at extensive features, try Maps Marker Pro or WP Google Maps or MapPress. WP Google Maps is also for those who want only a single map that is both simple and functional. For a no frills and fast loading plugin, take a closer look at 5sec Google Maps. If you want to show all your locations all over the world attractively, try Interactive Google Maps. If it is a simple, free and functional plugin you are looking for, Simple Google Maps Short Code or Google Map Widget should work just fine.
Have you tried any plugin that has worked out great for you ? Your feedback is welcome.