This past week, WordPress.com community members received one of their most requested features, the ability to connect their WordPress.com site to their Google Plus profile.
In the News announcement from WordPress.com, several options were presented, including:
- Publicizing your posts to Google Plus
- Google authorship for your site’s posts.
- Commenting on WordPress.com sites using a Google Plus profile.
- Embedding Google Plus posts in your WordPress.com site.
Like many users I was very excited to be able to finally connect my G+ profile to my site and first connected my personal site to Google Plus. During the connection process I noted that I wanted to share my posts only with my Circles (i.e. not Public). I then followed by connecting three of my other sites, including this one, and at each connection request I noted that I wanted my posts shared publicly to give them the widest possible circulation. Shortly thereafter I reblogged one of my own posts on my personal site, only to discover that the post had been shared publicly on my Google Plus profile. A quick question in the Community Support forum was answered by Staff that:
In this case, as a developer explained, the publicity/permissions level thing that you grant at Google happens at an “application wide” level.
The upshot of this is that you can’t have different settings for different sites, or possibly for the same Google+ account across different WordPress.com users. We’re still working through all these cases though, to figure out what is and is not possible.
And indeed, looking at my Apps on my Google Plus profile, I was greeted with this information:
Clicking the “Edit” button brought me to a pop-up where I could adjust my visibility settings, but only globally and not per site.
As you might expect following the above replies, disconnecting the Publicize to Google Plus for my personal site also disconnected it for all the other sites I had connected. In the broader scheme, not being able to automatically push your posts via Publicize directly to your Google Plus profile or page is not a disaster, as you can still “share” via the G+ sharing button, if you’ve enabled it on your site.
Adding authorship in your Sharing settings not only adds a direct link to your Google+ profile just below your sharing buttons, it also adds your site to the Contributor section in your Google Plus Profile’s About page. Here’s mine as it currently appears:
If you want to check whether your individual posts or pages are correctly being attributed to you after you’ve connected your Google+ profile to your WordPress.com site, you can use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool. (If you have questions about this utility, the FAQ is available here, and the place to seek help is in the Google Webmaster Help forum.)
Most importantly, and perhaps overlooked by WordPress.com community members, is that when you’ve chosen to connect your G+ Profile to your WordPress.com account, your Google+ “Real Name” then becomes the name that appears in your post’s author byline rather than your chosen WordPress.com nickname. If this is not what you want, then do not connect the two.
Another way to connect your site to your G+ Profile is by using the Google “Badge” creator and pasting the results in a text widget in your site’s sidebar or footer. (Due to code limitations on WordPress.com, currently we can only use the Icon, not the Badge.)
So far I’m really enjoying this much-awaited addition to our arsenal of content promotion tools and look forward to seeing what new ways WordPress.com will come up with to extend our posts via social sharing. Do you have any special sites that you think WordPress.com should connect to in the future? Please mention them in the comments.
Updated Addendum: A few people have written asking if it is possible to connect to a Google+ Page rather than a Profile. WordPress.com introduced this ability on 11 December 2013. Read more about it in the official announcement.