Anyone landing on your homepage clearly knows how to find your online business. But, do they know where to find your physical location?
This is just one case for placing a map on your WordPress website — writing an address in the footer is fine, but an interactive map gives visitors, especially new visitors, a much better idea of where you’re actually located relative to them.
There are other ways websites can leverage embedded maps to increase engagement too. For example, a travel blog may include maps that track a journey or future destinations, and a restaurant could use polygons to draw regions where they can deliver. Any location-dependent business or blog can probably benefit from an on-site map tool.
And, if you’re considering online maps for WordPress, you’re most likely considering Google Maps, an advanced platform that can accomplish just about anything you need maps-wise … that is, as long as you use a Google Maps WordPress plugin.
Simply embedding a Google Map in your HTML is quick and easy, but it won’t allow for more advanced functionality you get with Google’s Map APIs. By using a WordPress plugin, you can do things like set multiple custom markers, categorize and search locations, give directions, and add a visual theme for your map to better suit your site — all things that aren’t possible with a basic embed.
In this post, we’ve gathered the best Google map plugins that will help you to add Google Maps to your WordPress site easily, so that you can take advantage of everything this tool has to offer — let’s dive in.
Top Google Map Plugins for WordPress
- WP Google Maps
- Maps Widget for Google Maps
- WP Google Map Plugin
- Google Maps Easy
- 10Web Map Builder for Google Maps
- Google Maps CP
- Map Block for Google Maps
- Simple Shortcode for Google Maps
With over 400,000 downloads to date, WP Google Maps is the most popular of its kind in the WordPress plugin directory. It’s a powerful freemium tool to help you create a custom, responsive Google map with an unlimited number of markers containing categories, descriptions, images, and links. Your map can be one of four types: roadmap, terrain, satellite, or hybrid.
We can’t say exactly why this particular plugin is so popular, but we’d guess it has something to do with its simplicity. Adding your map to your page is incredibly easy, and all your settings are limited to just one screen in your dashboard, as shown below:
This makes the plugin perfect for any site contact page, since you’ll be able to easily add a map onto your contact page. It's also a nice option for travel-related blogs, as well as sites that want to show routes and directions. You can define your width, height, and zoom level for your map, drag map markers to an exact location, and even add polygons and polylines. There are nine free map themes (and a custom theme builder) to further make it your own.
The main drawback with this plugin is that the free version only lets you create one map. With the pro add-on of WP Google Maps, you get unlimited maps. Site visitors can also get directions from your maps and filter your markers by category, and many more customization options than the free version.
WP Google Maps Pro comes on three tiers, all one-time payments: Pro ($39.99 for use on three sites), Developer ($99.99 for use on 10 sites), and Lifetime ($199.99 for use on unlimited sites and access to plugin updates).
If you want to display a map inside a WordPress widget, try Maps Widget for Google Maps. As the name implies, this freemium plugin will display a simple map that can be placed in any of your theme’s widget areas. The map first appears as an image thumbnail in your widget area — when a user clicks on the image, it will open a bigger map in a lightbox. Here’s how the map looks un-clicked in a sidebar:
This plugin gives you some customization options to change the look and feel of the widget to match the other content on your site. These include colors, fonts, zoom level, map type, and map size.
However, Maps Widget for Google Maps focuses more on being lightweight and fast in both setup and page performance. The widget doesn’t take much time at all to create, and its relatively few features won’t weigh down your pages. The developers also note that the tool makes fewer API calls than competing plugins, which also keeps pages performing better. Plus, there’s a Gutenberg block that works similarly if you prefer working in the block editor.
Though the free version of Maps Widget allows for unlimited maps, you are limited to one location marker per map. To add more than one marker to a map, upgrade to the premium version, Google Maps Widget Pro. Its plans include Personal ($29 per year), Personal Lifetime ($39 per year), and Agency ($79 per year). The pro version also lets you import pins and gives you a shortcode you can use to place maps almost anywhere.
WP Google Map Plugin is one of the most customizable solutions in the space — it allows you to place high-quality, interactive, responsive, branded Google Map embeds on your website using shortcode.
The free version alone gives you a ton of options. For each map, you can pick the map type, place unlimited locations, add info window pop-ups for your locations, choose from a library of over 500 markers, set a map theme to fit your site branding, and set the map to display other useful info like traffic conditions and a transit layer. This isn’t mentioning all the granular interaction details you can customize for free.
Despite the range of options, the interface stays simple — here’s the interface for adding a new location on your map:
There’s also a premium version of the plugin called Advanced Google Maps. For $59, you can place multiple map layers on the same map, list your locations in grid or list style, categorize your markers so that visitors can filter them, cluster markers if there are too many in one spot, and many other handy bonus features to make your maps truly your own.
It’s worth comparing the free and paid features on the plugin page to see whether the free version offers what you need, or if you should upgrade.
Google Maps Easy is a maps plugin from Supsystic, the developer behind other quality plugins for WordPress tables, image sliders, and maintenance mode. Its maps plugin is one of the best of its kind — WordPress site owners can create as many mobile-friendly maps as they please, then place them with a shortcode or PHP code.
The free version of this tool packs some impressive functionality given the lack of a price tag — maps are customizable with traffic, transit, and bicycle layers, a sizable library of map themes and marker styles, marker clustering, and the ability to place text and media inside your location descriptions. It’s all enough to make beautiful, visually engaging maps for any online business. You can even use polygons to create defined regions as demonstrated below:
Supsystic also offers the Ultimate Maps WordPress plugin, an upgraded version of Google Maps Easy. This version releases limits on the number of markets you can place on maps, enables categories for markers, grants access to more map themes, styles, and shapes (plus a heatmaps layer), and lets you import and export map markers as well. An Ultimate Maps license starts at $46 for one year on one website.
MapPress is another free, quick, and easy tool to place Google Maps on a WordPress website. Visually, the maps are on the simpler side, though professional-looking nonetheless. This makes it best for websites in need of a low-touch Google Maps solution without the bulk of a feature-packed alternative.
MapPress lets users place maps with a shortcode, widget, or Gutenberg block, as well as customize basic map settings like zoom and addresses. As a nice free benefit, you’re allowed to place multiple maps on a site and put multiple markers per map, specified with an address or coordinates.
MapPress offers a premium version of its plugin, MapPress Pro, for $49.95 for use on three websites and $79.95 for 25 sites. MapPress Pro introduces custom markers, marker clustering, map searching and filtering, and the option to generate an accompanying list of markers with your map.
Those looking for a highly customizable map may enjoy 10Web’s map plugin — even the free version has options to build an exceptional map for a business website or blog. For no cost, you can place unlimited mobile-friendly maps and add perks like a store locator, shapes and polylines, multiple layers, and unlimited markers. Modify your maps with the plugin’s front-end builder, which lets you easily preview your customizations before launching the map.
However, the premium version of 10Web Map Builder is where the plugin shines. It comes with the ability to give directions, use custom markers, categorize locations and let users search the map, custom markers and a marker builder, and, perhaps most uniquely, six map themes and several skins to apply to your maps. Here’s an example of a dark theme:
So, while the free version of this plugin is comparable to other options listed here, upgrading to pro will add visual flair if that’s what you’re looking for. 10Web Google Maps Premium sells on three tiers: Basic ($30 for one domain and six months of updates and support), Standard ($45 for three domains and one year of updates and support), and Advanced ($60 for thirty domains and one year of updates and support).
Google Maps CP is a great alternative plugin for bloggers who want to enhance their posts with maps. The tool can place Google Maps into WordPress posts, and each map adds markers based on the geolocation information of the post it’s on, as well as recent related posts. When a user hovers over a marker, a preview of the post will appear. This makes Google Maps CP a cool enhancer specifically for travel blogs.
In the free version, markers can also be visually customized, as can zoom, map width and height, map type, and map language.
To see what this plugin is really capable of, you can upgrade to one of two paid versions, Professional (€19.99, ~$23) or Developer (€49.99, ~$61). Professional brings a myriad of new features — highlights include drawing routes and shapes, being able to load a map with all points from a specific category or tag, directions between points, a map widget, map search, and map styling options.
Finally, the developer version essentially just adds a contact form feature to the map, in which users can submit a response for a specific location on the map.
For a simple solution to integrate Google Maps with the WordPress block editor, consider the Map Block for Google Maps plugin. From the same developers as Maps Widget (number two on this list), this plugin adds a simple Gutenberg Block for Google Maps, letting you place a responsive, user-friendly map module inside a post or page.
Besides creating the block itself, this free plugin lets you make some small customizations to the map display. You can set an address (or coordinates) and adjust the zoom and dimensions of the display. For convenience, you only have to load your Google Maps API key once — it’s then saved by the plugin and usable in all other maps you place on your site.
Lastly, there’s Simple Shortcode for Google Maps, a free plugin that provides a shortcode for embedding Google Maps on your website. Maps are delivered and cached via the WordPress HTTPS and Transients APIs with the goal of keeping load times fast.
The shortcode has parameters for map width and height, and for disabling scrolling, but that’s about it — this plugin is best for users who require only very little customization and just want to create a map as fast as possible.
Put your site on the map … by putting a map on your site.
An interactive, nicely styled Google map makes your site look professional if your site is location-dependent, or even just a simple blog or informational website
The above-mentioned WordPress Google map plugins will offer an easy option to add such a map to your WordPress site, and most of these plugins come with highly customizable functions to tailor your map to your exact needs. You may end up having to pay extra, but the benefits of using a plugin far surpass embedding a simple map that lacks any helpful features.
Originally published May 24, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated May 24 2021