The main idea behind My Store Locator Plus was to bring the Store Locator Plus application to non-WordPress users. Recently, however, I realized that MySLP brings some added benefits to WordPress users as well.
A few weeks ago, as MySLP was stable enough to launch our public beta, we moved all of the Store Locator Plus web properties onto HTTPS. That meant updating a lot of links and general content to cut down on redirect overhead, replacing http with https. Along the way we decided to update some of our web content and move things around.
It wasn’t long before some of our links in the 3,000+ pages and posts stopped working. However there was one link that really stood out. Our customer map. Our very own locator was not locating.
Hosting The Locator Locally
Originally we were hosting the locator using the WordPress plugin on the main marketing site. This caused all kinds of problems when writing blog posts or articles that contained the [slplus] shortcode. Maps were popping up in forum posts and customers were deploying maps on pages with square brackets around them. It was a mess. So we moved the map to our new demo site.
Hosting The Locator At Demo-dot
Unfortunately the updates to WordPress broke the Ninja Demo software we were using to run the demo part of our demo site. The customer list was a persistent demo site, but now it was gone. A WordPress update broke another plugin we used, which broke our locator. Bummer.
Using MySLP SaaS With WordPress
Shortly after the MySLP service alpha was solid enough to start loading real location data. The customer map would be a good test case. We started loading up a few of our customer locations into a MySLP account. We then deployed the map and customer list on a test site. Woot! It worked first try! We had a test map to play with over on a remote WordPress site.
A Mistake And Quick Fix
Alas, things were great until that HTTPS deployment. During the update a lot of links to secondary Store Locator Plus properties now pointed to the wrong thing. We had to replace the URLs on a lot of links. Along the way we (meaning I) messed up an entry using WP CLI and broke the customer list.
MySLP Can Help WordPress Users Too
This is when I realized the huge benefit to WordPress users:
No longer migrate locations or settings with a MySLP account.
Stop worrying about other plugins breaking my locator.
Clone a customer’s site, build their new look, and keep the locator 100% intact.
Build a staging site. Stop worrying about the locator applet and its data.
Create a marketing site with a new look for an upcoming campaign. Drop a locator in the middle of it without worrying that the locations are out-of-date.
So many things I can do with my WordPress deployments and not having to think about my locator data and settings while I’m doing it is a nice feature indeed.