Technique: Custom Google Maps with Pictures

Recently I came across a custom Google Map on Goodwill's website that I was impressed with, which catches your eye, because unlike most Google maps, you actually see peoples' faces. It drew me in, I clicked on a map marker, and read the story of someone who was impacted by Goodwill. I think it's a strong example of how personalization can be compelling, and I figured out how to do it, and tried it myself at a sample blog (will be up for at least three months circa 3/25/15)

It turns out that with some tweaks, you can create custom markers for a custom Google Map, and there are a variety of tools out there -- some allow you to choose from pre-set markers, others allow you to upload your own image for a marker.

For my test, I ended up starting a Starter Wordpress site at GoDaddy, ($3.95/mo), and then added the WP Google Maps plug-in.

Implementing this technique requires some basic digital editing skills - I happened to use SnagIt, a screen capture tool that has some basic editing functionality. I created a small icon with a transparent background:

And then a larger icon for the "info window" that you can have pop up when a person clicks on the Marker.

Then, inside the plug-in within the Wordpress interface, I created two custom markers, added basic information, and linked Yoda to his Wikipedia page, and me to my LinkedIn Page.


I think this kind of approach has a lot of options - from the way Goodwill used it (a way to invite people into checking out stories), or in a business setting, to link to customers, clients, locations, etc.

The bottom line is that I like the "people approach" of putting a picture up, and I think it's worth considering.

To try the map out I created, visit the sample blog (will be up for at least three months circa 3/25/15)