If you have a website or blog where you need to showcase upcoming events, one solution that is reliable and saves time is the use of Google Calendar, a top-of-the-range calendar system that can easily be integrated into your WordPress site with some nifty plugins, as we discover today.
There aren’t many good plugins in this area, however our research has uncovered a few gems that can be considered the best Google Calendar plugins for WordPress:
Stout Google Calendar
The Stout Google Calendar plugin allows you to easily add and customize embedded Google Calendars to your WordPress site. You can even change color settings that are not normally modifiable, allowing you to seamlessly integrate Google Calendars into the look of your site. It’s a young plugin but definitely the most advanced Google Calendar plugin for WordPress.
- Customize the color scheme of embedded Google Calendars
- Options from the Google Embeddable Calendar Helper can be modified directly within the WordPress Admin
- Save multiple calendars, each with it’s own color scheme, size and display settings
- Display calendars in a Widget, Pages or Posts via shortcode or in templates
- Live preview of all changes to a calendar as you make each change
- Easy color picker or directly input hexadecimal color values
Google Calendar Events
This is a very practical plugin which parses Google Calendar feeds and displays the events in the following formats:
- a calendar grid
- list on a page, post or widget.
Events from multiple feeds can be displayed on one grid or list. You can specify how many events to retrieve, whether to retrieve past events and how long to cache the feed for, amongst other things. Grids can have AJAX functionality, which allows you to change the month, if required. Only a very basic CSS stylesheet is included. The intention is that you will adjust the stylesheet to fit your theme.
The plugin caches the feed data it retrieves from Google in your WordPress database. The plugin will use the cached feed data until it expires, at which point it will request the feed data from Google again.
The plugin does this so that it doesn’t need to retrieve the data from Google’s servers every time someone views a page of your site that utilises the plugin. This reduces page load times a little, uses less of your bandwidth and prevents the possibility of being blocked by Google for ‘spamming’ their servers with requests.
The length of time that the feed data is cached for is determined by the ‘Cache duration’ option in the feed settings. The default is 12 hours (43200 seconds). If you are testing the plugin out, and want any changes you make in Google Calendar to show up instantly in the plugin, set the cache duration to 0. It is not a good idea to leave this at 0 (or a very low number) permanently though, for the previously mentioned reasons.
- Parses Google Calendar feeds to extract events
- Displays events as a list or within a calendar grid
- Events from multiple Google Calendar feeds can be shown in a single list / grid
- Lists and grids can be displayed in posts, pages or within a widget
- Options to change the number of events retrieved, date / time format, cache duration etc
- Complete customisation of the event information displayed
- Calendar grids can have the ability to change the month displayed
The Google Calendar plugin area is quite young, there are a few up and coming plugins, as illustrated above, and our hope is that they continue to be developed and improved. Having the ability to insert Google Calendars into WordPress sites is a very important feature for most website owners nowadays.
I suggest Stout Calendar if you want a calendar that can be quickly put into use and customised using a drag-and-drop system. All-In-One Events calendar is also an excellent choice that can work fine straight out of the box. This can be an ideal solution if you want to import more than one Google Calendar into the blog’s calendar, plus also add some more events from within WordPress itself. For total customisation of the calendar display, Google Calendar Events might be a better choice.
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