If you are building a destination guide, a travel website, or a geoblog, you may find useful to start from the free WordPress tools we are going to show you today.
Let’s start by our goal: building a website that looks and acts like RomeLuv.com, using WordPress and free plugins, and our free Evolutive Lite WordPress Theme.
In RomeLuv, posts are organized by category, and shown ordered by user rating, in the homepage and on each category page.
Each post has it’s map and a simple star user rating; a page with a global map allows to view all posts on a Google Map.
The beautiful grid-based layout is provided by the Evolutive Lite Free WordPress theme, but I’m going to share a slightly modded version, so you can save some time.
So, are you ready?
- Install WordPress
- Install the Evolutive-Lite RomeLuv Custom theme
- Install the RomeLuv Google Maps for WordPress Plugin. This plugin allows you to enter an address on each post and generate the maps. Please configure the plugin settings – you need to obtain a free Google API key, and I love to have the map automatically embedded in the single posts. You can choose a size as well.
- Install the WP-PostRatings plugin – and maybe later configure the labelsaccording to your desire (Ratings menu > Templates)
- Install the LightBox Plus plugin if you want images in lightboxes. The auto-lightbox function of the EvolutiveLite theme was disabled.
- [OPTIONAL] Install the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost De Valk. This is the best SEO plugin for WordPress to date, and I really recommend using it, and configure it according to your website’s structure and content.
- Enter some content, add some posts correctly entering the address in the field under the WYSIWYG editor – test if everything starts to work. It should
- Add a new page to your blog and enter the [GLOBALMAP] tag. This page will show all the posts on a map. The single page template has been hacked to the width is maximized (compared to the single posts), allowing a larger map.
- Add some fantasy and a bit of PHP/CSS coding to customize colours and behaviour.
There may be some things which can be surely improved, but this might be a very useful starting point for everybody who wants to get their feet wet into geoblogging and building a destination guide. Everything is free and released “as is”, so have fun !