WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems and blogging platforms, critically acclaimed for its customizable codes and broad collection of plugins and themes. Plugins are applications that are capable of executing and managing a specific task on WordPress. As an open source CMS, WordPress houses more than 22,000 plugins that are classified under 13 popular categories. These plugins to date have received over 350 million downloads and the figure does not cease there. The only cliché with plugins is compatibility, as they are compatible up to certain WordPress versions only.
WordPress and Google in a way are entwined. A WordPress powered website once setup requires Google to advertise and rank the website. On the other hand, Google provides plugin versions of its popular services to cater to the millions of WordPress powered websites. So in this way, the assertion that WordPress and Google are entwined is justified. Of the many Google plugins available on WordPress.org, I have elaborated below few must-have Google Plugins for your WordPress website.
Google Calendar Events:
This popular Google plugin displays and feeds schedules in a calendar list or grid style. In addition, the plugin collects feeds from multiple Google Calendar and displays it in a single list. The collected feeds and lists will be displayed on all pages and posts. Users can customize the scheduled information and also modify schedules, reminders and cache duration. The plugin requires WordPress 3.0 and higher versions and is compatible up to WordPress 3.4.2. The plugin has received over 125,000 downloads to date, garnering an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-calendar-events/
Google AdSense Plugin:
Last updated on August 2012, the plugin allows users display ads on their website. With this plugin, you can customize display parameters such as images, links, color, size and formats. Another interesting feature of the plugin is that it lets users adjust the appearance and layout of the ad, and the number of ad units displayed in a page. Requiring WordPress 2.9 and higher versions, the Google AdSense Plugin is compatible up to WordPress 3.4.2. Receiving more than 55,000 downloads to date, the plugin has gathered an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/adsense-plugin/
Google Custom Search:
The Custom Search plugin searches for content within your website. The default search application in WordPress is good, but at times it tends to be sluggish with larger websites and blogs. This is even more apparent when your site is quite large and you have many posts and/or pages. This custom search plugin will be a perfect fit for large websites and provides prompt results by relevance.
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Moreover, the Google Custom Search plugin can also be configured with the help of Google to look up information from multiple websites and domains. Last updated on June 2012, the plugin has received close to 47,000 downloads garnering an average rating of 4.5. The plugin runs on versions released after WordPress 3.4 and is compatible up to WordPress 3.4.2. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-custom-search/
XML Google Maps:
You no longer have to insert Google Maps or Google Earth locations manually into a page. The XML Google Maps plugin requires you to just add a link to your location from My Google Maps or Google Earth. The plugin also inserts maps from your GPS, as it accepts GPX file formats. In terms of certain GPX tracks, this plugin lets you display even speed and elevation charts with the help of Google Charts API.
The XML Google Maps plugin also works in tandem with Open Street Map and Google Earth Plugins. Requiring WordPress 2.5 and above, the plugin is compatible up to WordPress 3.2.1. Last updated in August 2011, the plugin has been downloaded more than 170,000 times. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/xml-google-maps/
Additionally, the plugin offers full control over the website options and you can also disable any feature if required. Requiring WordPress 3.2 and greater versions, the plugin is compatible up to WordPress 3.4.2. The plugin has received a whopping 1.9 million downloads to date, garnering an average rating of 3.6. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analyticator/
Google XML Sitemaps:
Sitemaps are essential sections of a website that help both users and search engine crawlers find specific pages. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin automatically renders an XML sitemap once installed in your website. Search engine crawlers’ value XML sitemaps during indexing because it lets them understand the complete structure of a website. This plugin supports all types of WordPress generated web pages and URLs.
In addition, it also pings to all the prime search engines every time a new post is created in the website. The plugin requires WordPress 2.1 or higher versions and is compatible up to WordPress 3.5. Having received more than 8.8 million downloads to-date the plugin has garnered an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. To download this plugin, click the following link: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/
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