Getting Started with Store Locator Plus®

This article covers the first 3 steps (2 if you are using our SaaS product) for getting started with Store Locator Plus®.

Store Locator Plus® makes it easy to add interactive location maps and directories on your website. Our latest technology is included in the Store Locator Plus® Maps and Directories SaaS offering. Some of our customers still prefer the self-managed WordPress plugins available via our Store Locator Plus® for WordPress plugins.

Regardless of which method you prefer, both can be setup quickly and have a fully functional site map or directory listing online in minutes.

Step 1: WordPress Users Need A Google API Key

SaaS users can skip this step. Store Locator Plus® for WordPress users need a Google API key to utilize the full features available in the the plugin. WordPress administrators who are self-managing their plugin updates, security, and Google services need to setup a Google API account so they can start billing for map services. 

If you are a subscriber to  Store Locator Plus® – our SaaS directory and locator service, you can ignore this page, we’ve got it covered. Go to our Getting Started guide and move on to Step 2.

For the Store Locator Plus® for WordPress users these instructions are a general guideline. You will need to visit Google and read their User guide to obtain a new account or update your existing account. Google will bill you directly for your monthly map views and location look-ups.

Step 3: Add A Location Map To Your Site

Add a location map to your site by putting the SaaS embed code or WordPress shortcode on any page. You’ll need to have an active Store Locator Plus® SaaS subscription or have the Store Locator Plus® for WordPress plugin installed and activated.

Make sure you’ve completed the initial configuration and setup steps outline in the Store Locator Plus® Getting Started article.

When a visitor goes to a page with the Store Locator Plus® map code embedded, it will show a default search form and a map centered in your country or on the “Center Map At” address you entered when configuring Store Locator Plus®. When someone searches for a zip code that is close enough to a location you entered it will show those locations on the map.

Location Results Report

Location Results reports are included with the Professional or Enterprise plan. This report is designed to show the locations that were returned by users entering addresses on the search form when looking for locations. This can be useful for determining which locations are appearing most frequently for your site visitors.

To view this report you’ll need to turn on reporting features as outlined in the Reports documentation.

Location Results Report 2208.15+

This report will show up to the top 500 locations returned within the date range selected.

Location Search Report

Location Search reports are included with the Professional or Enterprise plan. This report is designed to show what addresses users are entering on the search form when looking for locations. This can be useful for determining areas where your site visitors are looking for your product or service.

To view this report you’ll need to turn on reporting features as outlined in the Reports documentation.

Location Search Report v2208.15+

This report will show up to the top 500 searches within the date range selected.

How To : Location Categories

Assumptions

WordPress environment is setup and configured including activation of the following plugins

  • Store Locator Plus®
  • SLP Power add on

In addition map service (Google API keys) should be in place and some locations should be added to the system.

A page has been created with the [slplus] shortcode present and the map is rendering properly.

Users are logged in as a WordPress administrator (the process will be slightly different for SaaS users).

Adding Categories To Locations

Objective

Create a location category and attach it to an existing location.

User Action: Add A Location Category

  1. Click on Store Locator Plus® | Categories in the WordPress sidebar menu.
  2. In the left “Add New Category Form”…
    1. Type a category name. (Restaurant)
    2. Click Add New Category
Result

The new category should appear on the category list on the page.

Category list after adding the restaurant category.

User Action: Attach Category To Location

  1. Click on Store Locator Plus® | Locations in the WordPress sidebar menu.
  2. Click the Edit action icon on the first location.
  3. Check off the box next to “Restaurants” in the Power | Categories section of the form.
  4. Click Save.
Result

The category is assigned to the location and appears on the location table.

The location with an assigned restaurant category. This view is showing fewer columns as the Screen Options was updated to removed unused columns from the table view.

User Action: Show Category Select On Front End

  1. Click on Store Locator Plus® | Settings in the WordPress sidebar menu.
  2. Change the Category Selector setting to “Single Drop Down”.
  3. Click Save
  4. On the front end, go to the page that has the [slplus] shortcode.
Result

The search form for the map should show a category drop down.

The front end page with the [slplus] shortcode, showing the category selection filter.

User Action : Filtering Locations With Category

  1. On the front end, go to the page that has the [slplus] shortcode.
  2. Enter an address, choose a category.
  3. Click “Find Locations”.

Upgrading Store Locator Plus

The base Store Locator Plus plugin and add ons are updated on a regular basis.  Often the updates include security and bug fixes or fundamental changes that are designed to improve performance by reducing the memory and/or disk request load when your visitors are interacting with the map.

The most common reason your legacy add on stopped working is because it is no longer supported with the latest version of Store Locator Plus  or vice versa

You may wish to choose to stay with your WPSLP Self Managed plugin and upgrade to the replacement bundled  add-ons or switch to  the managed MySLP.

Make sure you have a backup copy of the current version of SLP you have installed that IS working with your  add on packs. We ALWAYS recommend that your site uses VaultPress or JetPack

Whenever you update the base plugin make sure ALL of  your SLP add-on packs are updated to the latest version.

Categorical Location Markers

MySLP Professional and Enterprise level services allow for locations to be categorized. Each category for a location can have its own map marker associated with the category. These markers are then displayed on the map to mark the location. (This also applies for those customers using the WordPress SLP plug-in with the Power add-on or Premier)

However, some locations may belong to more than one category. In this case the map marker that is selected to be displayed on the map is determined by the RANK assigned to the category. If multiple categories have the same rank, or no rank, then the first category by alphabetical listing will be the one selected as the “main” category for rendering the map marker.

Default map markers when no category is selected.

Filtering Locations By Category

What happens when a user decides to filter the list of categories? Only locations that are within the selected category are shown.

If the location only belongs to ONE category, as is the case for the “#1 Food Store” in our example above, the choice is easy. Show the category map marker.

But what should be displayed if a location belongs to several categories, as is the case for our “24 Seven #1” location shown in the example above?

Prior to our mid-September 2020 release of Store Locator Plus® (or the Power 5.5.7 add on for our legacy WordPress plugin users), the marker for the “24 Seven #1” location would be the highest ranked category, which is the convenience store marker.

With the mid-September 2020 release, however, this behavior has changed. The map marker displayed will be the one that matches the filter the user selected.

Since our mid-September 2020 release, category filters change the map markers to match.

Multiple Location Categories

What about Store Locator Plus® interfaces that allow users to select more than one category, such as interfaces that allow checkbox selections for categories? Markers will be chosen from the markers for the selected categories only. If a location matches 2 or more of the categories, the highest ranked OF THOSE SELECTED will be displayed on the map.

This is different from earlier versions of Store Locator Plus® where it would always display the highest ranked category map marker, even if it was not part of the checked list of categories.

Legacy Locator Styles

locator stylesheets

With built-in custom CSS rules now standard for most WordPress themes, version 5.4+ of Store Locator Plus® has dropped legacy CSS styles. Up to version 5.4 users could place a CSS file in the Store Locator Plus® plugin CSS directory and then use the Settings | View | Plugin Style to select that CSS file in place of the default “A Gallery Style”.

Adding The Style With Experience Add On

Copy the CSS from one of the legacy CSS stylesheets listed below an paste it into the Settings | View | Custom CSS box. This requires the WordPress Experience Add on.

Adding The Style With WP Themes

Custom CSS support is built into WordPress core and themes only need to tell WordPress they support that option to enable the functionality. Many modern themes now include this option. Go to Appearance | Customize | Additonal CSS and paste the CSS there.

Legacy CSS Styles

MySLP Store Locator Plus® SaaS

Users of our MySLP SaaS offering don’t have to worry about this sort of thing. The built-in style gallery will suffice for most sites and those that need custom CSS can use the built-in CSS tools provided by platforms like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and more.