It has been a busy week for WordPress and all the updates and patches going around. For those on our MySLP managed service, sit back and relax. You’re good. While you may wait a little longer for some new features and a couple of minor patches you are not going to be affected by software updates. You’re good.
For WordPress users we’ve been busy chasing down some notable functionality issues with Store Locator Plus and the Add Ons for WordPress since WordPress 4.9 and 4.9.1 hit the update queue on your sites.
How important is it for people to find a location nearest them? “Near Me” has been a top-ranked search term on Google for the past seven years. This may be the number one reason to use a location sensor. Research indicates that the common phrases of “near me” in Google searches is a top-ranked query. The phrase “handyman near me” might return a cloud based app that in turn redirects the users search to some popular apps but how does your browser, Google Maps or other platform know where you are?
Enter location sensor, a browser-based tool that detects where a user is at the time of search. On GPS-enabled mobile devices it returns the precise location using the device’s built-in GPS sensor. For the Store Locator Plus users the location sensor can be enabled by checking a box under General Settings. WordPress Plugin users will need the Power add on. MySLP service users will need to be subscribed to the Power, Professional, or Enterprise plan.
Using HTTPS Improves Sensor Performance
Google Chrome’s v 50 and higher ( the most popular browser with the largest market share at this time) requires site urls to be served over a secured site before it will allow the location of the user to be transmitted. They have stated that location is sensitive data and determined that HTTPS versus HTTP be required to protect the privacy of your users’ location data. Other popular browsers , such as Mozilla Firefox, may submit a pop-up box asking the user to grant permission for their location to be known.
In short, if your site is using the location sensor feature it must get an SSL certificate and be serving pages on an https address. Many browser disable multiple features if you are not a secure site, including the location sensor. It won’t be long before ALL browsers disable location sensor support if you are not hosting an https site.
Location Sensors Can Increase Sales
If you have a physical location that counts on people walking in the door to make a sale, adding Google Maps and employing the location sensor can have a notable impact on your walk-in traffic. Your first step is to get an SSL certificate on your site so you can serve secure pages; This also helps boost your Google search rank. Once you have that completed put Google Maps software that supports the locations sensor on your site. Add a couple of posts to your site that relate to your business such as “Boutique Near Me” and drop the map code on that post. It won’t happen overnight, but as your site starts to generate traffic the map will lead people to your store.
For our WordPress users, next week will mark the two-year anniversary of our move away from our “Legacy Add Ons” to our newer Premier, Power, and Experience add ons. We made this change back in the fall of 2015 for many reasons including:
less plugin overhead on customer sites
fewer upgrade notices for customers
better interoperability between our add ons
better performance from the add ons
less overhead for development/testing/support
more time to focus on adding features and improving our service.