Top 5 Free Google Maps Plugins for WordPress
Google maps is one of the fantastic services offered by the Google. Google maps service is most widely used web mapping service. With a Google maps plugin, you can easily integrate this service with your website to share the locations of your interest with your visitors. Plugins help adding the Google maps with interactive place markers and animation effects. There are many plugins for this purpose. We have picked the fantastic five. Take a look on those Google maps plugins.
WP Google Maps Plugin is based on latest Google Maps API. It provides a shortcode to embed in pages and posts to display the map. In order to display the map in the widget area of your website, you can use WP Google Maps widget.
The plugin allows to configure the Google map with preferred height and width values, alignment, Zoom level, and themes. It allows to create unlimited map markers with bounce and drop animation effects. Also, you can create polylines and polygons in the maps.
In addition to all these features, the store locator functionality is also a nice feature of WP Google Maps plugin. You can enable the store locator on your site to let the visitors find your stores nearby certain address. Using store locator, they can know the location and distance with the bouncing icon(s). If needed, you can even restrict your store locator search by country.
The Pro version of WP Google Maps plugin brings more options to create advanced markers with custom icons, links, titles and descriptions.
Active Installs: 200,000+
MapPress is based on Google Maps API V3. It has a very clean and intuitive interface for map settings. This plugin supports to embed maps in pages, posts and custom post types of a website. You can create a new map for every new post or page. After activation, the MapPress plugin adds a “MapPresss meta-box” beneath the WordPress editor. This meta-box has the options for creating and inserting the map.
You can also see a menu entitled “MetaPress” in your dashboard. This menu offers advance options for configuring Google maps. You can enable keyboard shortcuts and scroll wheel zoom on your map. Also, you can enable Zoom and direction links on POI. You can enable inline directions for your viewers. POI titles can be shown on mouse hover. You can give enough controls to the viewer of the map, which includes street view, pan, zoom, scale, transit, bike and traffic. This plugin has localization options also.
Active Installs: 100,000+
Google Maps Widget allows to embed the map in the form of a thumbnail. The thumbnail opens up in a light box on click. This plugin allows to add map not just in the widgets, but, you can add the maps in your posts, custom posts types, and pages as well. For doing so, this plugin provides shortcode.
Unlike above plugins, this plugin doesn’t create a menu in your dashboard. Instead, you can find its settings navigating to Appearance–> Widgets–> Google Maps Widget. In the tabbed settings area, you can separately configure the map for thumbnail and lightbox.
Active Installs: 90,000+
Leaflet Maps Marker plugin is a comprehensive mapping solution. You can embed the Google map with interactive markers, or layers. It offers very interesting map marker icons. You can add custom pop-up text and images using TinyMCE editor on the map markers. For the viewers, you can enable directions, full screen mode, QR code on the map.
This plugin gives you following options for choosing a direction provider – Google Maps, Bing Maps, yournavigation.org, openrouteservice.org and map.project-osrm.org. You can also add GPX tracks to the markers or layers of your map, but you’ll have to go pro for using this feature. For embedding the map, you can use shortcode as well as widget. The map would by default include “directions” and “Save” link.
Active Installs: 50,000+
WP Google Map plugin allows to create unlimited maps with custom markers. You can manage your markers in categories. In this plugin, Locations and Maps are created separately. Firstly, you need to add a location. You can assign particular category to your location. Then, add a map with as many locations as you want. You can avail the option to set center latitude and longitude for the maps with this plugin. Once you are done with adding the map, you can embed it using shortcode. You can also use WP Google Map widget to display the map in a widget area of your site.
This plugin allows to add marker categories too. For adding marker icon for a category, it gives you the option to upload media file from computer, URL, WordPress’s media library and from its free icon stock. You can make your markers drag-able. As well as, you can choose drop or bounce animation for the markers. You can even choose your own language for the map, since WP Google Map is a multi-lingual plugin.
Active Install: 40,000+
Maps are certainly one of the most important requirements of a business website. Apart from business websites, bloggers do heavily use Google map in their blogs. The plugins discussed in this post, are really helpful for business websites and bloggers. For picking up the right one for your website, jot down your most important requirements. After that go through these plugins and pick the one meeting all your requirements.
Out of five discussed above, our recommendation goes with MapPress and Leaflet MapsMarker. Both the plugins have extensive features even in the free versions. MapPress is so convenient to use. You can create maps right in the page/post edit screen. If you want very simple and absolutely free mapping solution, then Google Maps widget will be a right choice.
Do you use any other plugin on your website? Tell us about that. Have any query about the plugins we have discussed in this post? Put up your question. We would love to interact with you through your comments.