It’s no great secret that I am a Gowalla fanatic. Out of all of the geo-social apps on the market today (Foursquare, Brightkite, and Loopt) I see Gowalla as the premier app. As soon as Gowalla gets it’s Blackberry app going full steam I think we are all going to see it steal a lot of market share from Foursquare. To position yourself to be ready for the great Gowalla explosion you might want to consider leveraging your Gowalla account on your website or blog. Fortunately Gowalla has an API that will allow you to roll your own integration if you are a developer, but if you are not a programmer this might present a challenge.
Fortunately for WordPress users there are already a few really nice Gowalla plugins starting to show up from various developers in the community. I am going to touch on a few of these and give you some insight as to how I think they can best be used.
- WP-Walla: This is probably my favorite plugin so far for integrating your Gowalla checkins into your blog. I actually have it running on this website in the sidebar. One day when I am able to sit down and do a redesign of this site it’s going to have a much more prominent location. This plugin allows you to present your most recent checkins in a sidebar widget. It’s a really clean plugin that has a lot of flexibility. You can exclude the Gowalla icon if you want, however I think it looks cool to have it there. You can also limit how many checkins you want displayed. Based on your vertical real estate you might want to have 3 or 4 locations stacked in your sidebar. Each checkin is also linked back to Gowalla’s main site. I highly recommend this plugin.
- GoWPWalla: This is another really nice Gowalla plugin that pretty much does the same thing. I think it might have some additional functionality w/ it as well but for me I think the out of the box layout and design of the sidebar widget takes up too much vertical real estate. One thing that this plugin does if you are a location is that it also allows you to display recent check-ins at your location. There are some great screenshots here if you are interested in checking this one out. I haven’t spent a lot of time w/ this plugin so I don’t know a whole lot about it other than to say it’s pretty freaking sweet.
- Gowalla Spotter: This plugin displays activity in a Gowalla Spot in a WordPress Post or Page. It uses the Gowalla API and requires the unique Spot ID saved in a custom field in WordPress. While custom fields might not be the easiest thing in the world to explain to clients, it could still be pretty useful if you are a developer and you are deploying pages for them. I really like how this looks on a page.
I am sure that as time goes on there will be plenty of other Gowalla related plugins in the plugin directory but right now these 3 should give us all something we can use to get started sharing our geo-social content with our visitors.