When you’re running a small business, your website is your biggest asset, but you don’t always have the time or technical know-how to design one from scratch. This is where WordPress comes in. It’s easy to use, creates professional-quality websites, and features plugins that show off your product line, process payments, and even schedule appointments!
What are the typical features of a WordPress appointment plugin?
Getting your business off the ground and making it successful requires all of your available energy and resources. This means that you don’t have time to play phone or email tag with customers who want to book a manicure, cut and color, coaching session, or whatever service that you offer.
WordPress appointment plugins are designed to inspire visitor action. They include:
- A call to action button, such as ‘Book Now’, which you can place in strategic areas of the site.
- A public calendar that syncs with your Google or Outlook calendar to display up-to-date appointment availability. No more accidental double booking!
- Payment processing through Paypal or Stripe integration.
Let’s assume that you operate a nail salon and have a month-long special on French manicures. A ‘Book Now’ button appears below the ad, making it easy for customers to book on the spot. On the appointment page, a calendar displays all salon services and the available time slots for each one. The special includes a 15% discount for prepaid manicures, so after choosing a convenient appointment time and selecting ‘French manicure’, the client inputs their credit card details. Their booking is confirmed and paid for, with no phone calls or emails involved!
How can an appointment plugin help your business?
In the above example, the ‘Book Now’ button works as a lead capture, inspiring the site visitor to enter a conversion funnel that ends with a prepaid appointment. While you’re building up your business (or even getting some much-needed rest), the WordPress appointment scheduler plugins make your business available for bookings 24-7 and send automatic reminders that reduce no-shows. They also sync across all your devices, so you can manage your bookings no matter where you are.
The 5 best WordPress plugins featured in this article are meeting scheduler apps that sync with your Gmail and Google Calendar accounts, so that you don’t have to spend time entering information and switching between the two systems. This seamless integration ensures efficiency without sacrificing functionality.
Vcita offers five WordPress plugins that you can use individually or together, depending on your needs.
Appointment booking plugin by vcita
Vcita is a small business management app that supports service-oriented business growth, which is why it is trusted by thousands of small businesses worldwide. If you have a WordPress site, you can use these five free plugins from Vcita to let clients book appointments and pay for services online at their convenience. Although they can be used separately, most users combine the appointment booking and payment plugins to simplify the transaction and encourage the jump from preview to payment.
- Adds a ‘Book Now’ button to your website
- Site visitors can book appointments online
- Automated reminders to minimize missed appointments and no-shows
- Stripe and Paypal integration for taking payments online
- Smooth integration with Google Calendar and Gmail
- Google Calendar syncing reflects real-time availability
- Accept payments and bookings in one easy flow
- Accept payments without a merchant account
- Store client information for easy follow-up and other communications
- SMS reminders and notifications are not available with basic plans
When clients can schedule an appointment from your website, without having to pick up the phone or send an email, it presents a layer of convenience that inspires immediate bookings. Once the appointment is made, vcita automatically issues a confirmation email as well as text message reminders, so that neither you nor the client forgets the appointment.
2. Online payment plugin by vcita
Small businesses that are just starting out don’t always have a merchant account, but the online payment forms plugin integrates with Stripe and Paypal, allowing you to accept credit card and Paypal payments on your website. You can combine this plugin with the appointment booking feature and let customers prepay as part of the booking process.
WordPress users have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the payments plugin. One reviewer wrote, “How did I work before I found vCita?”
3. HTML contact form plugin
With the vcita WordPress form builder, you can drag and drop all desired elements to create a form with the input fields you need. Unlike traditional contact forms, you have the option of archiving client contact information and communications and receiving a text notification every time someone hits the ‘submit’ button, so you can act quickly on each new prospect.
4. CRM plugin
The vcita WordPress CRM plugin helps you build your client base by sending each submitted request to an online contact repository. Compiling information on all client interactions will give you more insight into each person’s preferences and enable you to deliver top-notch customer service.
5. Lead capturing (call-to-action buttons) plugin
This plugin enables you to add call-to-action button to your WordPress, such as book an appointment, leave their contact details, or share a document. It also recognizes returning customers and will provide them with timely appointment reminders and invoice alerts.
Like WordPress, vcita is user-friendly and requires no coding experience to set up and manage, but if you have questions or encounter issues, vcita offers email and phone support.
Bookly is a free WordPress plugin that allows business owners to manage their bookings, services, and client base from anywhere. Although the free version does not process payments, Bookly does a smooth job of automating the appointment scheduling process, allowing you to focus on growing your enterprise.
- Forms are intuitively manageable
- Clients can book appointments at any time
- Sortable and searchable customer lists
- Customizable SMS and email notifications
- WPML integration for multi-language support
- Unlimited number of booking forms available
- Clients can specify service duration
- Booking lists can be sorted and searched
- Basic version is free
- Free version of the plugin does not process payments
- Google Calendar integration only available with Bookly Pro plugin
The Bookly WordPress appointment plugin is ideal for solopreneurs on a tight budget because it’s 100% free yet offers features typically available with paid versions of other apps.
The responsive booking form makes it easy for customers to schedule appointments from any device. The calendar only displays available time slots, so there’s no risk of double-booking, and users can even specify which employee they want to work with. Once they submit their details, they receive an email or text notification and their booking is automatically added to the calendar. Text reminders ensure that they don’t forget the appointment.
If you use Google Calendar, you can upgrade to Bookly Pro, which will sync with your calendar and keep the scheduling information current on both platforms. You will also need to upgrade if you want a WordPress appointment plugin with payment capability or to access priority support.
SimplyBook.me is a popular online schedule maker that provides numerous features for service-oriented businesses like tanning salons, small gyms, and tattoo shops. After creating a SimplyBook.me account, all you have to do to connect it to your WordPress site is make some easy adjustments in the plugin settings.
- Forms are easy to set up, customize, and manage
- Calendars present clients with all available time slots
- Accept online payments without a merchant account
- Clients and staff receive SMS and email notifications for appointments
- Booking insights and statistics available
- Booking pages sync with Google and Outlook Calendar to reflect up-to-the-minute availability
- You can create special events and promotion campaigns
- Time zone settings can be adjusted for clients outside your area
- Basic version is free (14-day trial available for Premium package)
- Free version is limited to only 50 appointments per month
With the SimplyBook.me plugin, you can create a customizable booking page for your WordPress website, making it easy for clients to schedule sessions and appointments at their convenience. The ability to customize even extends to reminders, notifications, and other communications.
In addition to making the booking process convenient, SimplyBook.me helps eliminate scheduling conflicts by syncing with your Google or Outlook Calendar. The analytics feature lets you monitor the popularity of each service and provider (staff member), so you can identify and build on your business strengths.
In the beginning, you may intend to run a lot of promotions to attract new clients. With Simplybook.me, you can generate coupons and gift cards that encourage people to try your services and tell their friends about them.
If you encounter any issues with this WordPress appointment plugin, support is available via email, live chat, and an online help center.
The BookingRobin WordPress plugin allows your clients to see your availability at a glance and book their own appointments online. The forms, which can be customized to match your website theme, are logically laid out and make the booking process extremely easy. While the free version does not process payments, you can upgrade to paid plans starting at $150 USD per year.
- Forms are optimized for responsive website themes
- Clients can easily book, cancel, and reschedule appointments
- Support for multi-location businesses
- Automated email notifications to clients and service providers
- Automatic time zone detection
- Forms can be customized to blend in with the overall design of your website
- Automated email notifications limit the likelihood of no-shows
- Time zone settings are convenient if you have international clients
- Basic version is free
- No free trial available for paid plans
- No payment processing or Google Calendar sync available with the free version
BookingRobin’s WordPress appointment plugin is easy to configure and delivers quality results. The embedded booking calendar has a clean and intuitive layout, so customers can immediately see when you have an availability for their preferred service. Unlike some WordPress calendar plugins, it has multi-location support, so it can grow with your business.
This appointment calendar practically runs itself: clients can book, cancel, and reschedule without having to get a hold of you first. The admin panel has additional appointment management tools that let you get the most out of the BookingRobin scheduling capabilities.
Unfortunately, the free version does not support payment integration or two-way calendar sync, but you can upgrade to a personal or business plan with a convenient annual payment. Support is available via an online contact form and knowledge base.
SuperSaaS has a free WordPress plugin that you can use to put together an appointment schedule that is consistent with the look and feel of your brand. It synchronizes with your Google calendar for always-accurate availability and integrates direct payments via Paypal or Stripe.
- Forms can be customized to match company branding
- Clients can easily book, cancel, and reschedule appointments
- Create waiting lists automatically or manually
- Automated email and SMS reminders
- Appointment system supports recurring bookings
- No minimum subscription length
- Accept credit card and Paypal payments online
- Available in 28 languages to support multinational clients
- Basic version is free
- Free version contains ads
- No Google Calendar sync available with the free version
Unlike some software, the free version of SuperSaaS is a WordPress appointment plugin with payment capability, so you can accept deposits and prepayments online. The booking page layout can be modified to blend seamlessly in with the rest of your site, and you can opt to show availability by day, week or month.
What’s especially appealing about SuperSaas is that it’s designed to grow with your business. As you open multiple locations, the plugin makes it simple to oversee staff availability in each one, ensuring that customers receive the best possible service. If you run a fitness facility or any other business that holds classes, SuperSaas also supports group bookings, which streamlines group reservations.
The free version does not sync with your existing calendar software, but upgrading is simple and inexpensive if you like the product enough to invest in it. Support is available via email and an online knowledge base.
When you have the best WordPress appointment scheduler plugin for your business, you can enjoy sustainable growth while you’re focused on other areas of the company or simply enjoying some well-deserved ‘me’ time. The 5 plugins summarized here can help you make 2020 your most profitable year yet.