Are you a travel blogger looking for another way to impress your audience with your recommendations? A great new way to share your hidden gems for restaurants, hotels or any location, is a pre-loaded Google map. In this step by step guide, I will show you how to make a downloadable map for your blog!
Why Do I like Google Maps?
If you search the web on how to make a downloadable map a bunch of creating your own map sites will come up. After doing some quick research, I came back to Google, it’s the best in my opinion.
What I like most about the Google map is that once shared with someone, it will download into the app’s “your maps”. Nothing is better than having something just automatically downloaded into the right place for easy use.
First Step to Make A Downloadable Map
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have a Google account. Once you have signed up for a Google account and are logged in, go to Google Maps.
Google maps will display a map of your current location. From this point, you want to go to the top left corner of the map and click on the three stacked horizontal lines. This will bring down a menu of choices. The option you want to choose is Your Places.
Then in the box that opens, you want to click on the MAPS option on the far right. Once you have clicked on maps, you will see at the bottom of that box CREATE A MAP. Click that option.
Now you will have a blank map ready to start creating. This is where you are going to personalize this map with all the points of interest you want to reference.
How to Personalize the Downloadable Map
Now that you have hit create, and have a blank map before you, it’s time to make it your own.
Start with naming your map by clicking on the Untitled Map. From here you will fill out the name of your map, and a brief description of what the map is for. I reference the blog post and the city the map is for.
Once you have named your map and added your city in the search bar, save the location. It will ask you if you want to Add to Map. Click this button adding the location to the map. You can customize one step further by choosing an icon and color for this point of interest.
For this example, I have a blue icon with a star. I renamed the “untitled layer” with “Sites of Malta”. Now you can add more of the same types of points of interest to this section. If you want to add a new section with a layer for “restaurants” you can do so by clicking the untitled layer below the one you created. Add as many layers as you want.
Saving and Sending the Downloadable Map
Once you are finished and have all the information on the map it’s time to send. You can share the customized map as a direct link. In order to get the link for sending, you click the Share button that is next to Add A Layer.
A screen will pop up that has the link to share, but FIRST, you need to change the privacy. If you don’t change the viewing access and leave it private no one will be able to open this map.
Click the Change button next to where it says Private, only you have access. You want to select a feature here. I always choose to use the 2nd option, which is, Anyone with the Link.
Copy and paste this link to whoever you want to have a copy. This is the link we will use in your automated email to everyone who requests the map, so also keep a copy saved.
Bonus: Add the map to your site directly with an embed
Maybe you are not ready to share the map as a link in an automated email. If you just want to add the map directly into your blog follow these steps.
- Go back to the share access section and change it to Public, “anyone on the Web”
- Click the three vertical dots as see below.
- Get the embed code.
- Grab the embed code and put it directly into your site with an HTML widget.
Setting Up Automation, Sending The Downloadable Map
Here is where we take it to the next level and set up automation. This process is easy, just time-consuming. Once you have all the steps down, it will flow a bit quicker.
These 2 platforms will work together to do the following:
- Generate the form to be completed in Active Campaign
- Default to a page with instructions on what to do next for the map
- Add a contact to your subscribers’ list
- Add a tag to this person so you can categorize them as a contact
- Automatically send them the map you created
Sign up for Active Campaign and Lead Pages
Both these sites have free trials, but both will cost a monthly (or yearly fee). You need to decide if you are ready to invest in platforms to do automation for you. If you are a new blog, you may want to explore other platforms that have free services, such as Mail Chimp.
If you have decided you don’t want to use either Active Campaign or Lead Pages, you can still read on to see the process, then use it with the service you chose. The process would be a little different, but the concept is the same.
Active Campaign Set Up
Active Campaign has great tutorials on how to use the platform. I will not go into detail for all the functions of this service. My instructions will be what order you want to do certain steps to seamlessly get your map out to subscribers.
- In Active Campaign, Create a List for this downloadable map. I label my list Map of Malta
- Create the Form for which your subscriber will complete. When you create the form you – Subscribe them to the list for Map of Malta & Add a tag for Map of Malta. This can be done in the Options tab with the form you are creating. Photo below.
- Opt-In Settings- If you need to send an Opt-in for subscriptions based on the country you live, be sure to do this in the form using the “options” tab. The way to EDIT the opt-in email is to click on the setting button in the Subscribe to a list action- Next to Map of Malta.
- When finished, press Integrate and save your HTML code for your form created in Active Campaign. Get ready to use this later when you create your lead page for this map promotion.
Lead Pages Set Up
Lead Pages is a platform to create more beautiful landing pages, pop up and forms than Active Campaign has to offer. Once you have created your account and familiarized yourself with how to use this platform, you are ready to go to the next step.
- Create a Landing page for your map. You will want to include a short message to the subscriber letting them know that upon subscribing, instructions on how to get the map are sent. When you create this landing page, you want to add a custom HTML box and paste the HMTL code from the Active Campaign form you created.
- Create a Thank You page in Lead Pages for when someone fills out your form. This page is where they are directed to letting them know to check their email for the opt-in page confirmation.
- It is also a good idea to let the person know they may need to check their spam folder for the email. Once you create this page, take the URL that is created and then copy and paste it back into the Active Campain form box under “Options” then “On Submit”. Picture below.
Setting Up The Automation
This is it, you are almost done! It is a lot of work to get this setup, but pays off when you see your subscriber list grow and grow!
For the last portion of setting up this automation of How to Make a Downloadable Map, you head back to Active Campaign.
- Start by Clicking on the form you created “Map of Malta”
- Go to the top right corner that says “trigger automation” and select.
- Click the + button, and select the top option that says Send an Email.
- Then you want to create an email.
When you create your email, be sure to include the link to your downloadable map. This is where you will paste the link from Google maps that we made in the beginning of this post. The email could look a little like something below.
After you have saved and exited the email you created, you want to end the automation. To do this, go to the menu on the right and click the drop-down for conditions and workflow and drag over the “end automation”.
Final Steps on How to Make A Downloadable Map
You have EVERYTHING ready to go, so now it’s time to add this into your blog post!!
This next step is up to you on how you want to implement it. I create a fun graphic in Canva to go along with this map. You can see an example below. If you use a graphic, you add as an image to the blog post, then link your Lead Pages URL to the Map of Malta. Alternatively, you can just say, Click here for a map, and link your Leadpages URL to the text.
Click Below to see the finished product!
Curious about Malta? Check out the post here!