How to use Google Calendar with your WordPress site

Many WordPress applications want to be able to include and mange calendar events for their readers. This is certainly true for those using WordPress to run their church web site. Google Calendar is a great way of managing these events, particularly since so many other applications and people can access the data too. There are several options available for integrating Google Calendar with your WordPress site.

Using Google’s Embed Code

To use Google’s embed option go to the Calendar Settings page and copy the code from the Embed This Calendar section. You can also customise the code by clicking the link above the code. This allows you to customsie exactly what you want displayed and to adjust colors to suit your site. If you intend putting the calendar in the sidebar of your theme, then you will need to at least adjust the width. The default options produce a full month view, which is fine if you intend to stick it in a page.

Google Calendar Embed

Embedding Google Calendar

Copy the HTML code generated by Google and paste it into either a page or sidebar text widget on your WordPress site.

Adding a Text Widget for Google Calendar

Adding a Text Widget for Google Calendar

You should end up with something like this:

Calendar in Sidebar

Google Calendar in a Sidebar

Using a plugin to integrate Google Calendar

Using the Embed option is probably the easiest way to integrate Google, but you do have fairly limited control of how it is rendered. There are a number of WordPress plugins that try to integrate Google Calendar in a more seamless way. Each has its own way of doing things and you are best just seeing which fits your application best.

WPNG-Calendar

This plugin gives you a sidebar widget and a way of inserting the calendar into a page. When an event is clicked this calendar also produces a pop up window of the event, rather than directing to Google. The plugin-in requires you to obtain a Google GDATA API key.

Visit the plugin home page for more info.

Google Calendar Widget

This is about the simplest plugin to use, though you should read the instructions carefully as you must make sure the Google Calendar url you specify is full and not basic. It actually allows you to show more than one calendar too. The sidebar widget simply drops in and gives you a list of events in the sidebar. a nice feature is the way the title of the event can be clicked simply revealing the event details.

Visit the plugin home page for more info.

ICS Calendar

This plugin fetches and displays events from your Google, Outlook or iCal calendar (or any other .ics file) in your blog. This one offers the most flexibility but is therefore more complex to set up. If the other 2 don’t give what you want, this one might.

Visit the plugin home page for more info.

Of the bunch, Google Calendar Widget gets my vote due to to its simplicity, although my own experience with most of these plugins is that the plugins can sometimes slow down your site while they try and drag data from Google (though Google Calendar Widget seems to have got round this). Integrating them properly into the theme design you are using can also be a bit fiddly, depending on how conventional the code produced by the plugin is. The embed option doesn’t cause these problems and is my preferred solution.