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FAQ: How To Fix Your Website’s “For Development Only” Google Map

If you have had a website for a while (or longer than three years) you may have noticed an issue with any embedded maps on your website. Maps are greyed out with the text “for development purposes only” on top of them. If you use WordPress, this can vary depending on what plugin you used to embed your map. But regardless of what caused it, you probably want to fix it. Not only does it look a little unprofessional, but from a UI/UX standpoint, a broken map has no value to your website users. You might not want to get rid of your map, because Google Maps are an important part of communicating with your audience. Instead of deleting the map, there is a relatively easy solution.

Why Did Your Google Map Break

Starting July 16th, 2018 Google Maps made a big change in how embedded maps are shown on other websites. That change is; it’s no longer free. But that does not mean you can’t embed a map on your website and pay nothing for it. That is actually still a possibility. But, the long and short of it is, if you want to host a Google Map on your website, you need an API (Application Programming Interface) key. An API key reports data to Google about how many people see and interact with your map, and that is how Google determines how much money you owe. In order to use Google Maps, you will need to set up an API key, associate a debit/credit card with it, and plug-in that key into your map plugin on WordPress. Your API key won’t work if there isn’t a payment method associated with it.

How To Embed A Google Map For Free

As I mentioned above, even though Google Maps are no longer “free” you can still technically use them for free. Alternatively, you could find a 3rd-party map or even a static image of a map and host that on your website. It is still possible to use an interactive Google Map without paying for it. As of writing this blog, Google gives all accounts a credit of $200 dollars a month for their embedded maps. If you don’t spend more than $200 a month on map uses, you won’t spend a penny on your map.

How To Optimize Your Embedded Google Map

With your $200 worth of monthly credit, most small businesses and companies will never have to spend money on their account. $200 dollars covers roughly 28,500 dynamic maps a month, or 100,000 static maps a month. $200 would also cover 40,000 “get directions” clicks. By checking your Google Analytics reports, you can see if a $200 budget is enough for your website. If you are not seeing more than 20,000 users a month on your website, it is highly unlikely you will spend any money on Google Maps. If you are worried about being charged, changing from dynamic maps to static maps will decrease your budget. You can also set up Google Maps to open a new tab or window when someone clicks “get directions”. Because they are no longer on your website, this action will not count towards your monthly bill.

For more information on using Google services, improving your website, or having your website professionally audited for free, please contact Boston Web Marketing.

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