8 WordPress Plugins for Hyperlocal Bloggers
by Matt McGee on Aug 19, 2008 in Content
UPDATE, MAY 2009: I’m now using the MapPress plugin to insert maps into WordPress. You can read my MapPress review here.
As a hyperlocal blogger, chances are you’re writing about specific locations pretty consistently on your local blog. But are you also showing where these places are? That extra visual element might be what separates a good post from a great one.
If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins that make it easier to add map data to your hyperlocal blog. Here are eight for your consideration, with more details on the one I’ve been using:
- Google Maps for WordPress – see below for more on this plugin
- Google Maps in Posts – I’ve tried this one but am having trouble getting the map to display
- Umapper – this is the next one I’m going to check out
- XML Google Maps
- WP Geo
As I said above, I’ve been using Google Maps for WordPress on a couple of our local blogs. The functionality is pretty simple: Into any post, you can insert a map from Google Maps showing the exact location you’re talking about in the post. Let me show it in action…
How It Looks
A couple months ago on our Kennewick blog, I wrote about the local 7-11 store and its goal of becoming the Slurpee capital of the world. You can click the link, or have a look at this screenshot showing how the map displays at the end of the post:
How It Works
I could’ve put the map anywhere in the post, but it made sense at the end. I can also control the size of the map, and I can include those “Directions To/From” links in the info bubble. The plugin controls are available on the same admin page where you write the blog post. Here’s a screenshot:
If you look closely at the small text near the bottom, you do need a Google Maps API code to make this plugin work (and you probably need it for all of the above plugins). But don’t start shaking at the mere mention of API codes — this part is brain-dead simple. Just go to Google, enter your URL in the form and hit the submit button. One second later you’ll have the code you need to input into your WordPress admin.
Pros and Cons
I like the simplicity of this plugin because I’m the furthest thing from an expert on latitude, longitude, KML, XML, and all that other stuff. But the reason I’m going to look at other plugins is that this one only allows one address to be marked on the map. So, if you have two different restaurants that you’re writing about, you can’t show both locations with this plugin.
A few questions for you: What other mapping tools have you used on your hyperlocal blog? Are there similar map plugins/tools that can be used on other blogging platforms?