Power 4.9.1 Improves Location Import

Store Locator Plus Power 4.9.1 improves location imports. It is available for WordPress now and will be updated in our end-of-year release for MySLP users.   Here it what was patched and improved.

All Users (MySLP and WPSLP)

Address 2 column on CSV import files was incorrectly being mapped to the address field.   This has been resolved.

The location import processing has vastly improved progress indicators on the import sub tab.  Check them out.

Power 4.9.2 Import Processing Progress
Power 4.9.2 Import Processing Progress Bar

WordPress Specific

Store Pages custom post types , that are included with Power, correctly registers with WordPress 4.9 showing the sidebar menu.

Power has been updated to work on servers running PHP 5.3.  You really should upgrade to PHP 5.6 if you value site security, not too mention performance.  PHP 5.3 has been out-of-date for several years now.  Actually jump right to PHP 7 if you can.

General Notes

Import and Basic Auth

The new import process requires that your site be able to run WP Cron.  Some hosts and site admins turn that off for “security reasons”, but there is limited-if-any security risk with that process.  Not running it not only will prevent the new imports from running but stops lots of other things from working in WordPress; like automated updates.

If your site is using basic authentication, you’ll know if it is, the import processor cannot start the second (reading the CSV file) and third stages (geocoding locations) automatically.    You’ll need to be logged in as an authorized user and surf to your website/wp-cron.php to kick things off.     Some development and staging sites use basic authentication to prevent a casual web surfer or search bot from accessing a site they are working on.

Marker Not Found Notice On Settings Page

If you are seeing “marker not found” notifications when going to your Settings tab in SLP, this could be an obvious indication that basic auth is running on your site.    Our marker-testing uses the built-in WordPress “get this web thing” function which access something, like your marker URL , as if it is a “Joe Public” web user just surfing the web WITHOUT typing in special access codes or passwords.     As a side note, if you are seeing that notification there is a good chance that someone visiting your site with a browser you’ve not tested yet is getting a map with no markers on it.

Tag Based Location Searches

No, we’ve not completely fixed the TAG search in this release.   The tag searching is better, but still not 100%.  We are actively chasing down that bug and a few others for the SLP 4.9.2 + Power 4.9.2 release.

Other Updates

We are working on getting Premier to run on PHP 5.3 servers (you ARE going to upgrade to PHP 5.6, right?) along with some other minor patches.

If you have issues please post in the forum (this shows up in our dev teams Slack channel) or Contact Us via email.  If using the forum, please start your own thread if you are sharing information about your site and want help debugging.  Include a link to your locator page and copy the content of your plugin environment (for WPSLP users) or profile (MySLP users).

Keep in mind that if you updated OTHER THINGS like WordPress, another plugin, or a theme… those can break Store Locator Plus.    SLP is the most visible thing you’ll see if your JavaScript breaks as the search form stops working.  Nobody usually notices a slide-out menu not sliding out but a search for locations is front-and-center.   Check your browser’s developer tools and look in the console for error messages.   We’ve had several sites update things like their them which was missing a library, such as Lightbox, that breaks JavaScript and stops the locator from running.

3 comments on “Store Locator Plus and WordPress 4.9.1 Updates”

Store Locator Plus and WordPress 4.9.1 Updates

It has been a busy week for WordPress and all the updates and patches going around.    For those on our MySLP managed service, sit back and relax.  You’re good.    While you may wait a little longer for some new features and a couple of minor patches you are not going to be affected by software updates.   You’re good.

For WordPress users we’ve been busy chasing down some notable functionality issues with Store Locator Plus and the Add Ons for WordPress since WordPress 4.9 and 4.9.1 hit the update queue on your sites.

Location Sensor Can Help Visitors Find Your Store

Finding  Locations Near You

How important is it for people to find a location nearest them?  “Near Me” has been a top-ranked search term on Google for the past seven years. This may be the number one reason to use a location sensor.  Research indicates that the common phrases of “near me” in Google searches is a top-ranked query.   The phrase “handyman near me” might return a  cloud based app that in turn redirects  the users search to some  popular apps but how does your browser,  Google Maps or other platform know where you are?

Location Sensor

Enter location sensor, a browser-based tool that detects where a user is at the time of search.  On GPS-enabled mobile devices it returns the precise location using the device’s built-in GPS sensor.  For the Store Locator Plus users the location sensor can be enabled by checking a box under General Settings.   WordPress Plugin users will need the Power add on.   MySLP service users will need to be subscribed to the Power, Professional, or Enterprise plan.

Mobile App using location sensor
Location sensors in mobile apps can guide people to your store.

Using HTTPS Improves Sensor Performance

Google Chrome’s v 50 and higher ( the most popular browser with the largest market share  at this time)  requires site urls to be served over a secured site before it will allow the location of the user to be transmitted.  They have stated that location is sensitive data and determined that HTTPS versus HTTP  be  required to protect the privacy of your users’ location data.  Other popular browsers , such as Mozilla Firefox, may submit a pop-up box asking the user to grant permission for their location to be known.

In short, if your site is using the location sensor feature it must get an SSL certificate and be serving pages on an https address.   Many browser disable multiple features if you are not a secure site, including the location sensor.   It won’t be long before ALL browsers disable location sensor support if you are not hosting an https site.

Location Sensors Can Increase Sales

If you have a physical location that counts on people walking in the door to make a sale, adding Google Maps and employing the location sensor can have a notable impact on your walk-in traffic.    Your first step is to get an SSL certificate on your site so you can serve secure pages; This also helps boost your Google search rank.   Once you have that completed put Google Maps software that supports the locations sensor on your site.     Add a couple of posts to your site that relate to your business such as “Boutique Near Me” and drop the map code on that post.   It won’t happen overnight, but as your site starts to generate traffic the map will lead people to your store.

 

Have questions?   Contact us.