How To Make Money With WordPress & Google Maps
In the early days of the internet, before the rise of advanced search algorithms, directory sites ruled the web. They provided long lists of websites categorized by industry, topic, and niche.
Instead of typing a search query you had to filter down by category until you found what you were looking for:
You could even purchase books which used the same approach:
Trying to categorize the entire scope of the internet nowadays is a fool’s errand. The ‘indexed web’ now contains at least 4.5 billion pages, making search an absolute necessity. The Yahoo! Directory closed down in December 2014 and DMOZ stopped operating in March of this year (2017).
But does this mean that ‘directories’ are an old paradigm, an outdated technology made extinct by machine-learning and AI?
Not at all, in fact, quite the reverse is true.
Although attempting to categorize the entire breadth and scope of the internet is simply impossible, curating and categorizing businesses and content is more relevant today than it ever has been.
Let’s take Google as an example:
Each search query you enter reveals thousands or millions of websites. Yet, the first page of results contains only 10 listings.
And a staggering 91% of people do not click past the first page.
If one were merely to rely on Google to ‘discover the web’ they would only see a pinhole proportion of content related to their search request.
You could even say that ‘Page Two Of the Search Results Is the Best Place To Hide a Dead Body’ !
This has led to the rise of the ‘listicle’ – one of the most popular content types on the internet.
According to research published in the Journal of Consumer Research the ‘top-ten effect’ is:
“..based on the mental tendencies to use categories and to exaggerate the differences between them. These tendencies are part of the natural human readiness to perceive the world in terms of discrete things.”
In short, a sea of information is disconcerting. Users want highly relevant, targeting information, without having to dig around for results.
Google is well aware of this natural human desire and often ranks ‘listicles’ above everything else.
Here is a case-in-point. A quick search for ‘coffee shops chicago’ reveals the following:
With the exception of the Google Map listings, not a single coffee shop business is listed on the first page of the results!!
Instead, we see ONLY two things: listicles and directory sites.
Let’s have a quick look at the #1 position for this keyword:
It’s a list article with a brief description of two dozen coffee shops with a full-screen map detailing their locations:
Furthermore, the article belongs to the local version of ‘Eater.com’, a portal, directory and blog that showcases hundreds of food outlets in the Chicago area.
Now, it’s important to notice something very interesting here:
The twenty-four coffee shops that appear in this article (ranked at #1 in the SERPs) do not appear on the first page themselves.
But they are benefiting from the traffic that comes with a high-ranking because of this blog post.
This gives the directory business huge leverage over the individual coffee shops, creating a business opportunity that everyone can benefit from:
- The Directory business can charge a fee for advertisements and promoted businesses
- The small businesses benefit from increased traffic and exposure
- The end-user benefits from a highly curated directory not available from Google by default
Now, of course, Chicago is a huge city, with stiff competition. Let’s zoom in a little further and see what happens:
Out of the five listed above for ‘coffee shop lagrange park’ only two are directory sites (auto-generated by Yelp). Comparing this to the first result we can see that the more you niche down, the less directory/listicles sites will appear in the search results.
As an entrepreneur who wants to make money with WordPress, you can benefit from this huge opportunity.
It’s simple enough to create a basic ‘best of’ directory, similar to the one above. No advanced coding skills are required and everything can be accomplished with the Divi Builder and a little CSS.
Divi ships with over 40 modules, one of which is the ‘Maps Module’ which uses the Google Maps API.
What is an API Key?
An API (application programming interface) is a list of commands that one program can send to another. It helps two programs communicate with directly and use their functions. In this case Divi is communicating with Google to display a custom map.
In order to use Google Maps (with Divi or any other theme), you have to create an API Key. This is required so that Google can track and control how the API is used (and prevent malicious use of its software).
Setting up a Google Maps API key is very easy. All you need is a standard Google account.
To get started login to your Google account and navigate to the Google Maps API documentation page and click on ‘Get a Key’.
Click on ‘Create New Project’:
Give the project a name and click on ‘CREATE AND ENABLE API’:
Then just click on the button to copy the key:
In the Divi Theme Options under ‘General’ you can paste the key:
…don’t forget to click save! 😉
Now you can start adding Google Maps to your website. With the standard Divi ‘Maps’ Module, you can:
- Set a centering position for the map
- Add multiple pins to the map
- Add content inside of the markers
- Set the zoom level to be controlled by the mouse
- Allow the map to be draggable on mobile
- Use a grayscale filter for the map
It’s great for the basics, but if you want complete control over the look and feel of the map, check out the ‘Google Maps Extended Module’ by Divi Web Design.
The ‘Google Maps Extended Module’ lets you:
- Hide and Show Controls
- Choose Different Map Styles
- Choose Map Types (Roadmap, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain)
- Show the Info Window On Load
- Create a Bounce Animation On Marker Pin
- Define A Height For the Map
- Create Custom Pins
- And many more stylistic options!
If you would like to try creating a simple one-page directory, check out the two tutorial videos below:
Directory sites and listicles are essential to the internet. They group together content and make it easier to find what you are looking for’. Moreover, in popular niches, Directory Sites are often ranked higher than the individual businesses they represent. This creates a lucrative business opportunity for anyone who can create a simple directory!