Google released their +1 button publicly last week. It’s yet another attempt by them to get involved in the world of social media.
Their previous attempts, it must be said, have not been successful.
Wave was withdrawn after a year in which take up was pitiful, Buzz angered many because it made the contact details in your address book available to others, and Google Friend Connect certainly hasn’t set the world alight.
So why will +1 be any different?
I don’t know that it will, but there’s a difference this time: Google has been quite open about the fact that it will increasingly be used as one of the signals in their ranking of pages in the natural search results.
Which will focus the mind of anyone who’s interested in search engine traffic.
So what is Google +1?
Google +1 is a button that you place on your site, like a Twitter or Facebook button, and which readers can click if they like the page.
If readers click the button a little icon will appear next to the page when it shows up in the natural search results, indicating to searchers that others thought your page was pretty good.
And, if you are logged in to Google when you come across a page that has been +1’d, the names of others in your address book who also voted for the page will be displaid.
In the words of Google, this is so you can see which of your friends also liked the page.
Installing Google +1 on WordPress
There are a number of ways you can install Google +1 on WordPress:
First you will need to customize your button and grab the code – which you can do here.
Then you have a number of options:
- You can use the brand new Google +1 WordPress plugin: find it here.
- You can add Google +1 to the Sharebar plugin.
- You can install it manually.
Installing Google +1 manually with the Thesis theme
Since I don’t like plugins my method of choice was manual and, with Thesis, it’s easy to both install and style it using the custom functions file. There’s a great tutorial on how to do that here.
That said, my experience wasn’t painless.
Following the instructions in that tutorial to the letter worked like a charm on one WordPress/Thesis site and completely failed to work on another.
I did eventually get it to work – but only after some serious head scratching. So if you come across a problem here’s a list of things to check:
- Deactivate all your plugins and see if that fixes it. If so, reactivate them one by one until you find the one causing the clash and decide what you want to do with it.
- Check your file permissions. Yes – unusual, this one, but I found that the root folder on the site where it didn’t work was set at 750 instead of 755.
- If you still have a problem, and you have other social media buttons displaid using a function in the custom functions file, try adding just the line
<g:plusone count="false"></g:plusone>to the existing function.
The combination of 2 and 3 is what did it for me.
You still need to add the API call to your Software and Stats Scripts section in Site Options, as per that tutorial, but you don’t need to add the function call to the custom functions file because (with option 3) you’re adding the button code to an existing function.
If you create a new function (or want to jazz up your existing function) you can create a new div in the custom stylesheet and write it into your function – which is what I’ve done with the buttons below.
Here’s the code I used:
And now I’d love it if you clicked my brand new +1 button (below) 🙂