Keep Your Locator Intact During Site Moves

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.

Migrating Store Locator Plus to HTTPS
Migrating Store Locator Plus to HTTPS

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.

Our SLP Demo Site - back online after patching the Ninja Demo code ourselves.  It was offline for more than 2 months.   Yup - we sent the WP Ninja folks the patches.
Our SLP Demo Site – back online after patching the Ninja Demo code ourselves. It was offline for more than 2 months. Yes,  we sent the WP Ninja folks the patches.

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.

Next step – deploy on the main Store Locator Plus site.   MySLP made it easy , just copy the JavaScript snippet and paste it into our customer page.  BAM!  There was our map.   Very cool.     Tweak the map markers, change the map styling using the JSON map styling tool, and things looked a lot better.

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.

But… WOHOOO…. guess what?  My locations and settings were still intact over at the MySLP service.      Within minutes I had a new page online with ALL my locations and all my settings.    No MySQL dumps.  No import/export routines.  No running geocoding again.   No Google API server keys to deal with.     I just pasted some JavaScript and there was my customer map, 100% back to normal within seconds.   So sweet!

Store Locator Plus Customer Map thanks to MySLP
Store Locator Plus Customer Map thanks to MySLP

 

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.

Build a new site with a new theme and change EVERYTHING about that site.   When I’m ready I just put some JavaScript on my locator page and all my locator settings and locations are there.

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.