Tips for Adding Google Services to WordPress
In my last article titled, 10 Easy Steps to Add Content to WordPress, we added more content and widgets to the website. Specifically, we provided instructions for adding a Call-to-Action, Social Network, and the Visual Editor widgets. The Visual Editor is a widget used to type or copy plain text and add images, and to insert HTML code and short-code into the Web page.
No WordPress website is complete without Google services. In this article and the next few articles, we will detail how to add some common Google services like Google Feedburner, Google Maps, and Google Search Console to add more functionality and user interaction to your website. This article will focus on setting up the Google Search Console because it is required before installing some of the other Google services.
Google Search Console
The Google Search Console is a great resource for any professional website. Adding a property to the search console improves search engine optimization (SEO), enables Web analytics, and is compatible with most user interaction/user experience (UI/UX) Web resources.
1.Type “Google Search Console” into your browser’s search field. In the results click the link for “Search Console – Home – Google.” This will take you to the Search Console home page.
2.On the Search Console home page, click the red “Add a Property” button. In the dialogue box use the drop-down arrow to select the type of property; "Website" is the default. Next, type in the URL of the property then click the “Add” button.
- The next screen will ask you to verify your ownership of the property. While there are several options available for doing this, Google suggests using the “Recommended Method;” an HTML file upload. Using this method will require that you have already set up a file transfer protocol (FTP) to transfer files from your computer to your domain root files. Some examples of FTP programs include Cyberduck, FileZilla, and CoreFTP.
3.Next, click on the link to download the “HTML verification file.” Follow the Google instructions for downloading and uploading the file then click the “Verify” button. If you can’t verify your property using this method, click the “Alternate Methods” tab and try one of the other methods. Google suggests verifying your property using more than one method.
4.Once your website has been verified, you will get an email message with some additional actions that need to be taken. Although Google provides some straight-forward instructions for accomplishing these tasks, they can be challenging for newcomers to Google Services. So, if you get stuck on an item, you can use the “Help” feature by typing in the issue that you need help with. The additional actions that should be taken will include the following:
- Specify if you will use the www or the non-www version of your site.
- Decide who will be able to see your Search Console Data.
- Determine if your site will target certain countries.
- Submit a sitemap.xml file to Google.
- Test and submit a robots.txt file so that Google can crawl your site.
5.Avoid making changes to your property in the Google Search Console until Google produces results of your sitemap.xml and robots.txt files. That’s because some of the activities that you perform in the Search Console may take hours or even days to be completed. For example, it may take several days before Google is able to complete a crawl of the site. So, if you make changes before the crawl is completed Google will have to start over and this will delay the processing of your property by Google.
Google Maps is an interactive element that no website should be without. To install Google Maps on your Contact page the SiteOrigin Google Maps widget must be activated.
1.From the WordPress Dashboard, click on “Plugins”, then click on “SiteOrigin Widgets.” Find the Google Maps widget then click the “Activate” button.
2.From the WordPress Dashboard, select “Pages,” then select “All Pages.” Scroll to the “Contact” page area and click edit. Click the “Add Row” tab then select the desired size of the row where you want the Google map to appear. Click the “Insert” button, then click the “Save Draft” button. (Note: When you are ready for the website to go live, you would click the “Publish” button.).
3.Click inside of the row that you added then click “Add Widget.” From the Widgets page select the “SiteOrigin Google Maps” widget then click the “Save Draft” button.
4.To configure the Google Maps element, rollover the right edge of the “SiteOrigin Google Maps” widget and click on “Edit.” Inside the open dialogue box, there are a number of configuration settings you can choose to fit your needs.
5.One of the first things that you must do with the maps widget is to obtain a Google API Key. Click on the link titled, “Google APIs Dashboard.” Follow the instructions for obtaining an API Key, then copy and paste the API Key in the space provided in the section labeled, API Key.
6.Configure the remaining settings to suit your needs. Once you have completed configuring the map settings, click the “Done” button. Once you are at the page interface again, click the “Save Draft” button again.
In my next article, we will learn how to set up an RSS feed on your website using Google Feedburner. This will allow your audience to subscribe by email to receive all new posts from your blog. Because Google Feedburner requires numerous steps, the entire article will be devoted to installing that service.
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Diane Penny is a full-stack Web designer, author, and blogger. For more information on how to set up a professional website and stay up-to-date on current Web trends, click the "Subscribe to Feed!" link for our RSS Feedburner feed. You may also use the “Sign-up” button above to subscribe to the "Tech Realm Newsletter." In addition, you will find some great video tutorials on Web design and development by following this link to the Diane Penny Web Design YouTube channel.
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