Thursday, September 15, 2011

Google Friend Connect and Wordpress

In my next post in my series of posts about Followers and blog traffic, I'll focus a bit more on Google Friend Connect, and then explain how to add it to your Wordpress blog, if you have one.

You see that image to the left? That's my Google Friend Connect widget, as it looks when I'm logged in. See how the top half is the members (followers) of my blog, and then the bottom half is my friends?

Yep. There are some pretty famous people in that bottom half. People like Simon C. Larter, Nicole Ducleroir, Jeff Beesler, Jon Arnston, Frankie Diane Mallis, and so on.

Anyway, I just wanted to demonstrate about the friends function in Google Friend Connect. It's not something I use often, but it can be useful if I find a great new writing blog, and want to easily invite all my friends to follow it as well. It's really quite simple.

According to another friend of mine, Susan Quinn, you can also use Google Friend Connect to send mass updates to announce things like Blog Tours, Book Releases, and so on. I've never done this, but knowing Google, I would think it's probably not that complicated.

Now let's get down to the nuts and bolts, and talk about how to add the Google Friend Connect follower widget to your wordpress blog. I'm basically stealing this walkthrough from this site: Expand2Web, by Don Campbell. So please give him all the credit.

How To Add Friend Connect To Your WordPress Blog

Here are the steps to add Friend Connect to your WordPress Blog.

1. Log into Friend Connect at http://www.google.com/friendconnect/home/


2. Click on the “Set Up A New Site” button. This will walk you through a short process.


3. Upload files - canvas.html and rpc_relay.html to the root directory of your blog.

Note: Google has simplified this step and you no longer need to upload these files. The process will ask you for the name and URL to your website that’s it! (as of Oct 2, 2009)

4. Get the code for the “Members Gadget”


5. Go into WordPress Admin -> Design -> Widgets (this assumes you are using a widget enabled theme.)


6. Create a Text Widget, give it a title, and insert the HTML code into the the Widget.


Now people can join your site as members. They can see other members on your site and meet them. You might want to consider adding some other Friend Connect Gadgets to the site now.

And that's that! Obviously the biggest advantage to "following" and Google Friend Connect is that it's the easiest way to keep up to date on what's going on with the blogs you're interested in. Could you imagine manually checking the blogs you follow every day? Only to find that they hadn't posted in a few weeks? That would be such a hassle.

Also: followers make you look cool. And popular.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rogue Mutt, I now know this only works on wordpress blogs that pay for their own domain, or something like that. If you have a free wordpress blog, it doesn't work. I have no idea why. I'll try to research some more.

40 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

I always wondered what the point of the 'friends' section was. I might start to fill it up ...

Kelly Polark said...

I had no idea what the friend connect was. I thought it was a repetitive step since there were already followers.
You are full of it, Matthew! (and by it I mean useful information :)

Ted Cross said...

That's why I like Blogger much better than Wordpress. Look at all the hoops you have to jump through to get that widget. In Blogger you just add the Followes add-on and you are all set.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I didn't know about the friends connect part of the followers button. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Shain Brown said...

Sounds like I need to spend some time with Google this weekend. Thanks for the lesson.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Thanks for the shout out! And wow - this is why I don't use Wordpress. Although apparently I need to get to know Mr. Dash a little better as well. :)

Scott Stillwell said...

"According to another friend of mine, Susan Quinn, you can also use Google Friend Connect to send mass updates to announce things like Blog Tours, Book Releases, and so on."

That's a cool tip. I'll have to check that out.

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

Thanks to you I just spent a half hour going through my GFC list and inviting people as friends, which to me seems more like "super friends" because they're already on the friend connect.

Anyways, I should be working... :P

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

thanks for this! i think it will be helpful if i can get my pal to add it! man, wordpress users must be mad-tech-savvy! :)

Heather Kelly said...

Matt--I have this on my blog, but am unsure how you use it to tell friends about a new great blog that you find. Maybe I just need more coffee, and I probably look pretty tech illiterate right now, but how do you actually use the friend connect?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

"Followers make you look cool" - I like it!
Wish all the Wordpress bloggers used that widget. I'm stunned that there are so many Blogger people who don't, either! Why would you make it difficult for others to follow your blog?

LTM said...

obvs I don't have a WP blog, but I DID add one bloggy friend to that friends row once... I never have figured out how I did it... so I have one friend. LOL! :D

Michael G-G said...

You mean there's a step up from being a follower/member? You can actually be a friend?!

I'm with Heather Kelly. How the heck does it work?! I'll make my caffeine and wait for an explain.

Beverly Diehl said...

Very cool! I don't use Wordpress, but knows of peeps who do, so have shared the love, and the link.

Angela Brown said...

You have an award over at my blog:

http://publishness.blogspot.com/2011/09/better-than-academy-awards.html

Yes, I think it's well deserved. Your posts are great.

No, I do not think Yoda used the force on me.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Thanks! I have a couple of sophisticated friends who use this friend thingy. Now I know how they did it! :)

Old Kitty said...

I think your blog needs one follower who is a proud member of the uncool and the unpopular! And I proudly volunteer! Yay! LOL!!

Take care
x

Carolyn V said...

I didn't know what it was either. I'm going to have to see if I can get this up on my blog. Thanks Matthew!

Amanda Bonilla said...

Holy crap! I had no idea you could do all of that stuff with Google Friend Connect. Thanks! :D

Holly Ruggiero said...

I never knew what the "friends" thing was all about. I'm still not too sure what the pros are.

Michael Offutt said...

Are you saying that having followers visible on the page makes you into a somebody? Because I would like to be somebody, ya know...

Donna K. Weaver said...

Another great demo. I THINK I have the friend connect thing, but now I'm going to have to check.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i really hope more wordpress people start to use the widget. It would make it so much easier to show i support them

Rogue Mutt said...

Crap, haven't got it to work yet. When I put the code they generated in it just puts most of it up as ordinary text.

Rogue Mutt said...

OK, something important you left out that was in the comments of the original article: you can't use it on the regular free Wordpress blogs, only on what they call "self-hosted" ones. So no joy for me.

Em-Musing said...

Hmmm? I'll have to check my Blogger widgets and see. Thanks for the info.

Sommer Leigh said...

Free wordpress blogs can't use google friend connect because the free blogs block Flash items as a protection issue. Since you don't manage your own hosting with a free blog, blocking flash keeps flash items that are harmful from corrupting your blog.

Self-hosted wordpress blogs can use google friend connect because flash isn't blocked and you are expected to take precautions on your own to not use flash based widgets that will harm your blog.

Laura Pauling said...

That's one of the reasons I switched to self hosting with wordpress for google connect; and other reasons! Great post. I was psyched when I managed this on my own!

Ann said...

Thank you for enlightening me on the purpose of Friend connect. I am feeling so very knowledgeable right at the minute!

Phoenix said...

Daaaaamn, Matthew, you are the ONLY one who's ever gotten my Gimli reference!! I have to follow you purely on principle and Geek Code now. :) And I'm gonna go (wirelessly and affectionately) punch Eric on the arm for suggesting me to other bloggers. He knows how bad I am about getting followers, I think. :)

Jonathon Arntson said...

This post is killer! It's comprehensive and entertaining. Well done.

And my affinity for this post has nothing to do with the fact that you mentioned me :D Thanks for that though.

*\o/*

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow, how did I miss these posts? Thanks for all the info. I've been wondering what the difference is between the Google Follow button and the Friends button. Will have to explore...

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks so much for doing this. I wish all WP blogs would put on this widget! It makes it so easy to subscribe. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

WritingNut said...

This is so useful! I never knew what the friend connect was... thanks for sharing! :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Ah, cool. One of the reasons I never went with Wordpress was because it didn't have something like this before. Or I didn't think it did.

Joe said...

Mathew,
I'm just catching up on all your posts. Work has been crazy at my day job. These posts and the links to the other posts have been an amazing tutorial for me. Thank you for writing it - now I have to get off my ass and follow your advice...

Ishta Mercurio said...

AH. Posts like this that are long and technical make me happy that I use Blogger.

I don't actually know how to USE Google Friend Connect - I thought it was like Following. I'll have to spend some time figuring that out. Thanks for the tip!

Ishta Mercurio said...

AH. Posts like this that are long and technical make me happy that I use Blogger.

I don't actually know how to USE Google Friend Connect - I thought it was like Following. I'll have to spend some time figuring that out. Thanks for the tip!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Hey Matthew, thanks for stopping by my blog. I actually thought this whole follower/GFC thing was a popularity contest, so I didn't add it to my blog when I started it two months ago. Then I joined Rach's campaign, and people were leaving comments asking how to follow my blog, and the light bulb finally came on that people actually used it to keep track of new posts. So I added it, but the modified version without the faces, so the lack of followers staring back at me wouldn't make me feel bad. :-)

Nichole Giles said...

Wow, I didn't know this was even possible. I haven't done this on my blogger blog, but I'm sure it's possible. I should find out how. Thanks for the fantastic idea.

And by the way, hope you don't mind if I share this post with my wordpress-user friends.