WordPress has been a great platform for even the most novice of users to create a website. All the basics for publishing content are there. Using plugins are a large source of features and upgrades for your site. I decided that I wanted to create a plugin to handle some heavy lifting for some of the more tedious tasks I perform. So I created Structured Data for WordPress.
The plan is to have multiple features all contained within one plugin. A lot of plugins can start to slow the performance of your website, so I am always a big fan of consolidation. The first feature I am releasing in the plugin is Google+ Interactive Posts. It essentially gives you a call to action right within your posts. Read more about it here.
Google+ Interactive Posts
The important part in the above image is the button with the red “Create Page” text. That’s your CTA embedded within a Google+ post. Along with everything else in the image, that text is ‘customizable’, and can link to a different URL than the actual post. So you essentially have two links within one post; one to link to your content, and the other (the CTA) links to something like the subscription link to your newsletter.
The fact you even found this page indicates you know have a use for interactive posts on Google+.
This is the easy part. Start by downloading the plugin, or just retrieve it from your WP admin interface (search for “structured data” and select plugin authored by RankHammer). The plugin is installed? Good. Activate it and let’s get started…
In order for Interactive Posts to work with your site on Google+, we need an API key from Google. In order to get it, you need to go here. If you have never used the Google API, you should see something like the image below. Go ahead and click ‘Create project’
After clicking the button, you should be taken to a new screen that has a long list of APIs available to you. Scroll down until you find the Google+ API and switch it to “on”. When you turn it into the on position, you will have to accept the terms & conditions; click accept and move on.
In the vertical navigation bar on the left, click on the ‘API Access’ menu. On this page, you will want to click the big blue button to create an OAuth client ID (if you haven’t done so in the past).
After clicking create OAuth 2.0 client ID, you should get a pop up window asking you to fill in some information. You can name your app access whatever you like, I just used our company name for the Product name, and linked to our logo and home page. Then click next.
On the next screen, select ‘Web application’ and fill out your domain name. Then click Create client ID.
The line labeled ‘Client ID’ is what we want to copy over into the plugin. We just need the string blurred out in the screenshot that comes before apps.googleusercontent.com. Again, the only part of Client ID we need is everything in front of .apps.googleusercontent.com. (See screenshot below).
Now that you have that Client ID, follow these steps:
- Login to your WordPress admin.
- In the left hand vertical navigation, Click the ‘Markup’ towards the bottom next to a little blue ‘R’.
- The admin interface for this plugin opens and you see some fields to fill in.
- Click the enable checkbox for G+ interactive posts.
- Paste (or type) the client ID in the ‘Google+ API Client ID’ field. This gives you API access to use the interactive posts on Google+.
- The next 3 fields are required for the plugin. They will be used as a default CTA for all your interactive posts. You can customize them on a per post basis, but these values will be used as a default if you make not changes to your CTA on an individual post. Here is an example of default settings.
- Once you make your choices, click Save Settings.
How to Share Interactive Posts
Now that we have everything setup, let’s share our first post! Choose a public post and click the ‘Add Markup’ button at the top of the editor. A popup window will open, where you can change the default settings for this post. If the changes are made, click ‘Save Settings’.
After you have saved your settings (or if you made no changes and just want to share), click the Google+ Share button for the window to pop up. If you are already logged in to your Google+ account, you will get a window that allows you to choose the circles you want to share it to, add some text, and publish it.
Google+ Interactive Posts is an amazing opportunity to increase engagement with your users. On top of the new CTA button allowing for better engagement, it also points your users in a direction on what they should do next. With WordPress being so flexible in extending it with new features, it was natural to add an easy to use interface to start sharing your content interactively. Please let me know of any issues you have with this plugin, or any new features you would like to see. I am going to be extending this plugin more. The next features that will be plugged in will be helping out with your internal linking and some structured markup to make crawling your content easier for the search engines.