Google has had a truly interesting last 12 months. The Alphabet platform was launched that separates Google Search from the rest of its products divisions, a new CEO was appointed, and most recently there have been heavy speculations of whether Google is manipulating its own search results to favor some of the presidential election candidates in the US. Stock traders are predicting that Google might acquire Twitter based on the recent news that Microsoft closed a deal with LinkedIn — there’s a lot that’s happening inside and outside of Google, that’s for sure.
Aside from activities outside of products, Google has been pushing out some great new apps and products in the recent couple of months, some of those products include a refined virtual assistant called Google Assistant, they’re also looking into launching their own traveling application called Trips, and Google Enterprise customers can now enjoy using Springboard, an artificial intelligence powered assistant for enterprise support. Google knows a thing or two when it comes to Machine Learning, and aren’t hesitating to infuse their products with AI capabilities.
But for many of us, that’s not how we know Google. We know Google by the benchmark products of GMail, Google+, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Maps, amongst plethora of other apps and products that have shaped the way we do work online, how we communicate, and how we conclude business. As of right now, a single person could use Google exclusively to launch a global-scale startup that would include all required client and server-side features necessary for the task. And WordPress bloggers are truly fortunate to be able to plug their WordPress blogs with external functionality, particularly the immense variety of Google plugins that add all those products and apps directly into your WordPress experience. These Google plugins for WordPress is everything you need to combine your existing Google product usage with your daily blogging tasks, which will inevitably make your work more productive.
The Google+ plugin
Google+ had its days of success. I remember scouting Google+ Groups / Communities for the benefit of generating a lot of traffic, and in turn some increased revenue for one of my old projects. At first, it worked out really great, but then Google decided to revamp things and make more concise changes to the social network. At the moment, Google+ is still in a phase of decision, as to what the future of this network is going to look like. Clearly, Google has plans for Google+ because it keeps pushing out new updates and layout changes, but in my personal opinion — the best thing Google could do in this situation, is to make the network more user-friendly where interface is concerned, and perhaps stick to more traditional design values, whereas material design can feel just a tiny bit overwhelming for some. What we have here is the Google+ Plugin for WPMUDEV — a fairly complex plugin that integrates the ability for your readers to share your content directly on Google+, but also lets you share new WordPress posts from your Google+ Page. That’s kind of neat. Buttons have a selection of sizes so that you can use the size that most fits your design, and you can select between showing and not-showing the share counts for your posts. Styling options and shortcode capability is provided to let WP bloggers be in charge of their Google+ button positioning and appearance.
Google Ads Master
Google ads will be around for decades to come. It’s such an easy to get started with ads network, that all new web publishers choose to go with AdSense to experiment with their potential to earn revenue from their content. Google Ads Master can help with putting adsense ads anywhere on your site, in content, in widget areas, pretty much anywhere. The codebase was carefully crafted to increase performance (load times) of your ads, so that all visitors can enjoy the special offers coming from advertisers. Some publishers have been reporting lower earnings in the last year, but this could be due to the fact that Google is cracking down hard to advertisers who promote crappy ads at the expense of messing up the user experience for the average web user. Ad blockers are also a huge topic right now, and unfortunately Google Ads get overshadowed if a user is using an ad blocker.
Google Analytics Counter Tracker
Want to pull your Google Analytics data directly into your admin dashboard? Now you can, with Google Analytics Counter Tracker — a plugin that takes only a minute to install, and to connect with your Google Analytics account, at which point you will have the permission to access the detailed analytics of your website statistics, directly from the dashboard. You will still be able to learn about the most important stats, and stats can be organized on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Sometimes, we can get overly excited to check our stats because of some traffic bumps, so instead of loading GA each time, you can just keep a tab open of your dashboard, and check in whenever you feel there’s something new to learn about your visitors.
Google Map Lightbox Popup
What would the world be like without Google Maps? It’s hard to imagine. Although now that I’ve travelled to many places across Asia, it occurred to me that using Google Maps isn’t really effective in that part of the world, whereas using them in modern 1st world countries, and also 2nd is almost inevitable. It’s convenient to just type in the address, and follow the directions until you reach the destination. Businesses who host their websites online rely heavily on the help of Google maps to help promote the physical location of their business. It’s true. And now you have Google Map Lightbox Plugin to add to your plugins collection. A lightbox is a simple grid layer that overlays the main element, which is the actual Google Maps widget. It’s a nice user interface experience, and saves your website pages from having to load Google Maps data directly. So what exactly are the features of this plugin? First of, it’s the actual popup widget that you can plug anywhere on your site, and have users access it by clicking the Google Maps button. The popup can be positioned in the sidebar if necessary. You can use custom images for your Google Maps widgets as well.
Social media is a place that you will inevitably have to learn how to navigate if you want to bring a new and fresh audience to your content. The diversity of social media ensures that the people who do visit your content from social media, actually have some sort of interest in what you have to offer, or what you have written. That makes social media an invaluable asset for bloggers and writers who are passionate about their work. Yet, harnessing social shares — at least in early stages — can prove to be a time consuming task. At first, nobody knows who you are, and so nobody really wants to trust your judgement. This can lead to frustration on your part, but as with all things — patience is key, and results will eventually start to show themselves. However, if a shortcut is your preference, and you really want to explore how engaging your own audience is, you can experiment with social content lockers. In this particular case, because we’re writing about Google plugins for WordPress, we can only showcase the Google+ Locker — a plugin that locks content from readers and asks them to share it on Google+, or perhaps subscribe to your YouTube channel. The config options are versatile, and users can opt to close the window if they don’t like the popup — which is another important point for these types of plugins, it’s best to give the user the ability to close the popup, otherwise they might get irritated and simply leave your site altogether. There are strong benefits, and certainly strong cons to such techniques. Use at your own risk.
It took Google developers a long time to come to the realization that they could publish their own WordPress plugins, but once they did — the downloads quickly stacked up to more than 100k; who can resist to use a plugin of a platform that’s provided by the platform itself. Here we have Google AdSense plugin, a dynamic way of integrating Google Ads into your WordPress website, and not just in the content area. What has made this plugin successful, is the interactive way that bloggers can select the placement of their ads, and stick to it. The “drag and drop” user interface opens up your active WordPress theme, and gives you a cursor that you can use to navigate the placement of your AdSense codes. Manual processing is possible for those who’d rather avoid using dynamic WP plugins.
Google Maps Bank – Easy Google Maps
We have to talk about alternative Google Maps plugins, because the actual Google Maps platform is so huge and versatile, that a single plugin couldn’t do justice for it. And regardless, webmasters are always in need of new ways to present maps, and so we have here Google Maps Bank — a map building engine that really capitalizes on modern features, to ensure that the maps you add to your website are completely compatible with your business vision. Start by creating a custom map, move on to managing the location data, add any markers that might be helpful for the user, add custom polygons if necessary, polylines can be added to better explain particular routes, add custom layers before jumping to the last section which is advanced settings — these offer drag and drop functionality, street views, scale controls, clusters, overlays, and more.
Another one for you; Google Maps! This is almost a universal solution for all your Maps needs, be it for business, or for custom maps that are related to your content. The plugin has been crafted to reflect the best features of Maps, and gives you the tools to integrate a maps widget in your blog. The pinpoint feature can help you target your business location precisely, so that customers are never baffled about the place they need to visit to find your business. You can create custom markers that portray your color style choices, and you can upload your own custom visuals to be used as markers as well; such as the picture of your business. Polygons can be used to create and highlight custom areas on the particular map you’re showing, further helping visitors/customers to find the place of your business. Great execution for a Maps plugin, with countless features you’ve yet to learn about.
Google Authenticator – Two Factor Authentication
Maybe when systems were first introduced, passwords were considered a safe choice for protecting sensitive data of customers, and software, but nowadays — a simple password authentication doesn’t provide that much security, for neither party. Not only can passwords be brute forced, they can also be sniffed and social engineered. Many companies in the last few years experienced devastating system hacks that led to leaks of billions of user details, like names, email addresses, and passwords. That’s why two-factor auth became so popular, and is now being embraced literally anywhere where sensitive data is at play, even Google will rely on two-factor auth if it senses that your account might have been compromised, the same goes for online banking systems, where the bank will alert the account holder if suspicious activity is detected. Two-factor authorization is basically a method for preventing hackers of accessing your sensitive data, even if they have managed to gain access to a single passwords of yours. Typically; two-step auth will introduce a second layer of verification security that will most commonly be attached to a technological device, such as your smartphone. So even if an attacker has a password of yours, when trying to login to one of the services that you use, he would be required to verify his identity through a code that would be sent to your mobile device, and because you’re the sole owner of that device, the chances of him getting that code are non-existent. So, your security goes up a notch, and your data remains safe. If you want to add two-step auth to your WordPress blog, Google offers two-step auth services that have been bundled together into this marvelous plugin. By default, Two-Factor Authentication (Google Authenticator) plugin for WordPress is free for 1 user forever. Limited Authentication methods are included in the free version of plugin. Telephony credits are needed for certain authentication methods like Phone Verification, OTP over SMS.
Google Books Importer
Google Books — a worldwide library of book collections that have been fetched from all over the internet. Indeed, Google Books has a spectacular collection of available books, many of which have been considered extint for a long time. Researches love the ease of fetching a link to a book that’s hosted by Google, and now WP bloggers can fetch their own collections of books with a simple plugin. What would the purpose be for such a plugin? Perhaps, to do custom reviews and instead of fetching all data manually, you could have a plugin do it for you, perhaps — you’re in the affiliate marketing business, where marketers will fetch multiple books at the same time, and promote them with their own buy links. To employ this technique, you will need to ensure that the content for each of the fetched books is populated with unique pieces, so that search engines actually consider paying attention to it. Plugin can fetch all available information through the Google Books API — the simple search dashboard in your WP admin panel is flexible to use for fetching multiple books from the same category at the same time, for example; all WordPress books, or all Joomla! books.
Google News Grabber
For a lot of digital journalism consumers, Google News is an invaluable asset. The same goes for sites that rely on Google News for their website traffic. A media site such as The Guardian would take a huge hit to their traffic numbers if Google suddenly decided that they won’t index any new articles or editorials from The Guardian, so in a sense it is a bit of a monopoly going on. However, if you enjoy Google News and want to populate your own WP blog with latest articles for particular keywords, directly from Google News — just install and configure this plugin. Any time a new piece of news is added for your keyword, the plugin will fetch those news and make a new blog post for them. Easy! Just watch out, this isn’t a solid technique for generating traffic, or even revenue. Google puts in good precautions to ensure that webmasters follow guidelines, and aren’t trying to game the search engine through thin content. Perhaps, the best use for this plugin would be to monitor your own company, or to do news roundups on weekly basis. Let us know if you can think of other uses.
WSAnalytics – Google Analytics And Dashboards
Have an urge to implement the official Google Analytics Dashboard straight into your WP admin dashboard? Your time has come! Shiva has worked hard to develop a WP plugin that could make that integration of Google Analytics and WordPress, and the results are quite insane. User interface has been crafted with care, and list of features easily mimic the potential that Google’s own dashboard provides. You can even glimpse at everything that’s happening on your blog in real-time. That’s a double window for the real-time feature that Google took so long to perfect.
Google Forms often see use by users who’re building forms to collect survey information, to conclude an interview process, or to generally gather information about users who are interested in a particular service. And yes, Google Forms can be used as a plain contact form as well. The plugin can fetch any pre-built Google Forms widget and render it usable on a WordPress blog through shortcodes, or individual post pages. You only need to specify the identification number of your Google form to activate it on your WP blog. At this time, there’s no direct support for private Google forms. And just to extend on the usability of forms — a contact form is the standard page that any website should create, even before they focus on content. The contact form is often the place where a lot of magic happens. People can get in touch with you to ask questions, to give feedback, but you can also use forms to collect payments, to gather client data, and as mentioned — to collect survey data.
Google Language Translator
It usually is the case that webmasters disregard additional languages altogether. Who cares about visitors from Spain, Italy, or Denmark. They best learn English if they want to read your content, but luckily, with the development of technology, platforms like Google Translator can be in-built in the WordPress core and can be used to give users an option to translate your content in the language they most prefer. The results aren’t always 100% accurate, but it might give your foreign readers a chance to better grasp the main concepts you are discussing. Google Language Translator integrates the Google translate service in your blog through a simple to access widget. You can opt in to provide only specific language translations, or all of them.
Google Places Reviews
Google Places helped local businesses to shape their online presence, and collect user reviews for increased exposure. Restaurant owners, retail chains, real estate agencies, hotels, and any other business with a physical location can enjoy the truly immense benefits of Google Places. The Google Places Reviews plugin is strictly for displaying your Google Places reviews on your blog with the help of a widget. Giving your users the exposure to your business widget, allows them to quickly analyze the potential of usability for their needs, and gives you extra leverage right from the start. The widget will allow you to show reviews, up to 3 unique reviews per widget. You can also show your business info, like the name of your business, your website address, your social page, and other details that could be important to your customers. A theme selection is in-built to suit the needs of websites that focus on light color scheme, but also dark. Have you added yourself to Google Places yet? Now could be a great time to do it. All reviews appear in live Google search results when people search for a business like yours.
Google Images Search And Insert
Google Images is world’s most renowned service for finding visual content. The actual Google Images engine has evolved so much that it understands even most complex queries, like finding people only through their facial features. Besides that, Google does a wonderful job at indexing images quickly, as good as it does for general search engine results. Now your WP blog can enjoy the addition of direct access to Google Images with this plugin. Once activated, the plugin adds a Google Images button to your content editing pages, and once you click on it a new dashboard opens where you can insert the keyword of an image you are looking for, and directly embed it into your content, or set it as a featured image if you prefer. The good part — you can specify to look only for creative commons pictures, to avoid any copyright issues, but the search extends to things like looking up images according to their size, type, and color. Adding photos to your blog content will never be the same.
Error pages are to be monitored extensively by webmasters, not only do they cause concerns for the users who are trying to look up content, they also hinder the user experience, and web servers like Apache, or NGINX don’t tend to provide solid solutions for displaying 404 pages. Of course, WordPress has a built-in mechanism for displaying 404 pages, but they’re usually nothing more than just the big letters of Error 404. True, anyone can explore the options of create their own custom 404 pages, the inspiration for them is vast and can be found rather easily. Google 404 plugin does a few things to make the error pages more effective. First, it can fetch relevant content to what the user was trying to view but received an error, second — the plugin can suggest additional pages and point the user to the website’s sitemap. But, another great wonderful it includes is the custom Google search for your domain name. So if users didn’t find what they were looking for because of an error, they can try and find the right page for that content on your website through a Google search.
Google Keyword Suggest
Keywords are the lifeblood of content. Without a specific keyword, the content has no direction, and if it doesn’t have clear direction, then users will simply disregard what you are writing about, but even then — creating a content without a keyword is quite hard, because usually the idea itself is the keyword that you are writing about. In earlier days, Google made it easy for webmasters to monitor their incoming keywords, but a few years ago, Google cut access to webmasters to view incoming keywords, and now webmasters have to rely on paid tools to understand the most prominent keywords in their niches. The plugin at hand will suggest you additional keywords to use based on the keyword that you’re already writing about. This could lead to new ideas and headlines to write about, but mostly it would improve your content’s visibility through additional keywords that are being searched all the time.
Google for WordPress
Feeling the pressure of all these individual plugins? Google does offer a multitude of amazing services, and sometimes you just want to install them all at once, and now it is possible, with the Google for WordPress plugin that integrates a great deal of Google services and tools into your WordPress blog, all of which can be switched on or off, depending on what you require. The services included are: Google Plus, Analytics, Authenticator, Calendar, Drive, Fonts, Groups, Hangouts, Maps, reCaptcha, Translate, and YouTube. The available services is growing on frequent basis, but the developer is doing all this work on his own time, so we should be patient with the release of new services. Whatever you can’t find in this plugin bundle, you can most likely find independently from any of the plugins we already listed, or are about to list. All the provided services can be added to your WP pages with a shortcode, and generally provide flexible configuration options.
Google Font Manager
Google Fonts provides nearly a thousand unique typography fonts that can be used freely by anyone, anywhere. Designers will agree that many of the fonts are simply garbage, and will not find use in general content websites, but some of the fonts have been adopted quite heavily, and many services rely on Google Fonts to provide readers with a readable content experience. Adding Google Fonts to a website, be it WordPress or other management system is usually done through editing the stylesheet to specify a unique font for a particular content element, but this kind of approach usually takes up a lot of time, and effort. So a plugin really comes in handy. Google Font Manager activates all of the available Google Fonts onto your WP blog and you can customize it to have different fonts for your content headlines, and content bodies. As designers, we recommend to use no more than 3 unique fonts on a single page, so as not to confuse your readers.
Inline Google Spreadsheet Viewer
Google stands out when it comes to bringing forward desktop office software to the browser. Spreadsheets, and even Google Docs, isn’t an exception to this. Create custom spreadsheets or other data sets using the Google Spreadsheets tool, and effortlessly import those spreadsheets into your WP content, which will be rendered to be responsive, design friendly, and user experience appealing.
Google Drive Embedder
Google Drive plugin, similar to the Google Images plugin, will create a new button in your post editor, that once accessed can be used to embed content from your Google Drive folders, directly into your posts. Remember to setup your Google Drive so that documents can be shared and accessed by everyone, otherwise they won’t show up in the posts.
Premium Google Plugins for WordPress
Apart from a few select business services, Google tends to be free for everyone, in all of its platforms and software tools. So what sense does it make to purchase a premium solution for adding Google’s product functionality to your blog? For one, it’s a way to experiment with plugins that you won’t find on the free market, though many of the following premium plugins actually do exist on the free market, so the other thing is — you get an extra set of features, usually unique for each plugin, and you also get support packages that ensure that if you experience problems with using the particular plugin, the developer who built it will be there to help you solve your issues quicker. The more we can support independent developers, they more we encourage them to build more interesting plugins, and you never know where your next useful plugin is going to be coming from.
Google Web Fonts for WordPress
TylerQuinn has done extensive work on premium WP plugins, which is why his Google Web Fonts plugin has accumulated more than 500 sales already. If you need an all-in-one solution for plugging your WP blog with Google Fonts, then this is the one plugin you will want to install for sure. Create custom font rules to adjust the font requirements for all your posts and pages. Create unique font combinations to enrich the user experience through beautiful and free typography.
Google Interactive Maps
If you think that standalone Google Maps aren’t interactive enough, or are plain boring, you will love Google Interactive Maps that gives you a concise set of tools for manipulating the world maps, but also countries, continents, and subcontinents. Even cities and provinces can be customized with your own interactive and dynamic settings. Manage tooltips, hover overs, create actionable elements, and adjust your maps with custom sets of colors.
Ninja Forms Google reCaptcha
Ninja Forms easily ranks amongst the most successful web forms maker plugins and tools that you can get your hands on for WordPress. And now, GuillaumeDIARD is bringing additional functionality to Ninja Forms with his Google reCAPTCHA extension. Protect your forms from unauthorized submissions, or spammy submission that are coming from spammers, and never worry about wasting your time on contact or other form submissions.
Responsive Google Maps
MarkAdvertising is sharing with us a responsive Google Map plugin for adding uniquely designed and customized maps to your business pages. Create and pinpoint multiple locations across a single map. Create multiple versions of a single map on the same page, without any interaction errors. Create custom markers and upload your own pictures to replace them. Maps built with this exact plugin will support full-screen view. Create navigation paths and adjust them with custom colors, same goes for creating dynamic walkthroughs to get from one point to the other.
Google Traffic Pop for WordPress
Want a slightly more sophisticated approach to content locking your WP posts with a Google+ locker? Google Traffic Pop has a more design-oriented approach to exposing your users to the +1 button. Tap into the advanced features to customize the way a popup opens, and what permissions users have to close it. You will not find it hard to use this plugin due to its rich documentation, available after purchasing the plugin.
How to add Google services to a WordPress blog?
Clearly we have answered this question for you, in a big way. We didn’t expect it ourselves, to put together such a rich resource of the best Google plugins for WordPress bloggers, but there you have it — the full set of Google services, now at your disposal directly into your admin dashboard. Google will continue to come out with great software in the future, no question about that, so keep an eye on this topic when a new globally used tool gets published, because we will be the first to update this post to reflect those changes. For now, thanks for reading and we hope that these plugins will be a useful addition to your already productive workflow.