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This month’s hot topic has been, without a doubt, Google+. Whether the new social service from the world’s largest search company will be a “Facebook killer” remains to be seen, but one thing’s for certain: This is one social network you don’t want to ignore.
When it comes to getting found, Google+ is fast becoming a great asset for bloggers and content producers thanks to its ever-expanding user base and simple sharing tools. In this post, we’ll show you a few ways to start spreading a little of that Google+ love on your WordPress-powered website.
Display Your Google+ Profile Information
Software developer John Henson from PlusDevs has developed a handy, easy to use WordPress widget that displays your Google+ profile on your blog. The setup is quick and simple: Install the plug-in and drag the widget into your sidebar. Just fill out the form and you’re done.
You can also incorporate the widget into your template with only a few lines of PHP code, giving you the flexibility to place it anywhere within your layout.
Unofficial Google+ user tracking site SocialStatistics.com also offers an embeddable Google+ widget. Simply add your profile to their database and grab the widget code from your page on their site.
Add the +1 Button
If you’re not already using the Google +1 button, consider taking a moment to add it to your site. This is a great way to let users save, promote and find their favorite content. The +1 button only takes a few minutes to integrate with your site and works with any Google profile. While this isn’t a Google+ specific feature, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it integrated with the service. Either way, it’s another great way of adding an additional avenue for promotion and sharing.
You can learn more about the +1 button from Google.
Use a Google+ Inspired Theme
Do you love the look of Google+’s clean, intuitive layout and unobtrusive interface? For the die-hard fan (or, hey, maybe you run a blog that’s centered around the service), there are already a few Google+ inspired WordPress themes for your perusal.
WP Plus is a fixed-width, 3 column Google+ inspred WordPress theme supporting custom content menus, styled sticky-posts and valid XHTML/CSS code. Clean, fast-loading and SEO optimized, WP Plus gives your blog the Google+ look and feel in just minutes.
Similar to WP Plus, PlusOne is another 3-column, fixed-width Google+ styled theme that supports custom WordPress menus. It’s a clean and well-designed theme, but it does take some liberties with how it translates Google+ to WordPress (so it doesn’t look quite as accurate to Google’s own design).
Reflex+ shares all of the features mentioned in the above two theme but it also brings in jQuery and incorporates AJAX for some tasks, such as the “read more” post navigation, helping it appear more fluid and seamless.
Google+ is still a relatively new service locked behind an invite-only registration system. No doubt as time progresses and the service grows, there will be more options for publishers. Right now there are a couple of options if you’re a developer interested in having a go at creating your own Google+ plug-in.
If you’d like to gain access to the official Google+ API, you’ll need to sign up with Google to register interest in a Google+ developer account. Unfortunately, the API is not yet public. It’s unclear whether this will change as the service matures, but inquiring about developer access is certainly worth looking into if you want serious Google+ integration and sharing between your site and the service.
For a more portable (and presumably trimmed-down) solution, software developer Jason Striegel has put together a collection of PHP utilities for a locally-hosted Google+ API service. In its current state, the API will allow you to retrieve post and profile data and post to Google+. You can check out his code on GitHub. This is a great option to include within your own distributed code, such as WordPress plug-ins and widgets.
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