How to Add Login With Google Friend Connect to Your WordPress Site

According to new data from janrain.com, more people prefer to log in to sites across the web using a Google ID. Google is far and away the clear winner over Facebook and all other 3rd party services, coming in just under 40%.

Why allow users to authenticate with Google?

A quick look at the overall numbers will demonstrate the benefits of including Google login options on your site:

Many Google users are already logged into Google services when they visit your site, so when they see the friendly Google icon, logging in feels convenient. This causes the user to be far more likely to comment and interact with your content.

Depending on what kind of site you have, you may find that your visitors prefer to log in with one 3rd party service over another. This is an important consideration. For example, in general the numbers seem to show that if you’re running a news media site, then Yahoo or Facebook login options might server you better.

If you’re not sure how your visitors would prefer to log in, you might consider offering a poll. Based on the results you receive, you’ll be able to select a plugin accordingly. Most general WordPress sites will benefit from following the steps below, to let users authenticate with their Google IDs.

Step 1: Install the FriendConnect Login Plugin and configure it at Settings >> FriendConnect Login

You can download this plugin from the WordPress repository. You’ll need to get a Google Connect Site ID, if you don’t already have one. Paste that into your settings and check the boxes that suite your site’s needs. I recommend not using the plugin’s default CSS, as the wrapper included with it may mess up your theme.

Step 2: Add Buttons to your theme as necessary.

The FriendConnect Login plugin comes with a template tag that you can add wherever you want to place the Google login button:

{code type=php}{/code}

Add it to your sidebar.php, comments.php, header.php or wherever you want to show the login button. The FriendConnect Login plugin provides you with a conditional logout snippet as well, that will distinguish user type and generate logout and profile links appropriately. You can find that code in the installation instructions, as well as the dashboard settings.

This plugin’s compatibility with BuddyPress is a bit spotty right now. Yes, it works to authenticate users and create a new account. However, avatars are not carried over and the username created is a very long number, which is problematic in BuddyPress. I wouldn’t recommend this plugin for use with BuddyPress in its current state but if the username issue can get sorted out, it may be a decent addition to your site.

The FriendConnect Login plugin will help you to get more comments and interaction with your blog posts. Plus, you’ll keep the Google junkies happy. Win win.