How to choose a booking plugin for WordPress
If you are looking for a booking plugin for WordPress that matches your needs than this article could save you hours of useless searches on the web.
Let’s start by saying that choosing the right booking plugin for WordPress could be a tough task if you don’t have a clear picture of your specific needs that this plugin should satisfy.
Today on the market there are literally tons of different solutions in terms of booking plugin for WordPress, the real challenge is to identify which ones among these are the one that really fit your business needs.
In this article will talk about the following topics:
- Defining your real “scheduling” need
- Identify the main sources for your plugin research
- Choosing among a WordPress plugin or cloud based solution aka SaaS (Software as a Service)
- Choose a Free or Paid software
- Final suggestions and conclusions
1 – Defining your real “scheduling” needs
It’s quite obvious that the first step towards the research and selection of a WordPress booking plugin need to start from the definition of your current needs and goals.
There are plenty of WordPress booking plugins out there, but you should first look for those that suits your business model.
In this article we’ll cover those WordPress booking plugins made for the management of “appointments scheduling” needs.
If you run a business where you provide services to your customer by appointments, then you should focus your research only on those plugins that have been designed to accomplish this specific goal, excluding for example those booking plugins made for Hotel, Travel, or Renting booking.
Business like the following one could be interested in this kind of WordPress booking plugin:
- Hair salons
- Barber Shops
- Beauty centres
- Nails salons
In all these cases the main goal is having a tool that allows the professionals to receive reservations from the customers using their website and that follow some scheduling rules that they have previously defined inside the plugin settings.
Your main goal is having an “appointment scheduling software” that can be installed on your website using a WordPress booking plugin.
2 – Identify the main sources for your plugin research
The WordPress booking plugin that you are looking for can be found in different “markets” according to your previously defined goals, let see them in details.
You have three main markets were looking at:
The WordPress.org / Plugins repository is for sure the first place where you can perform research for your booking plugin.
Which “keywords” you need to use to find the right one for your business?
We suggest you to try the following ones:
- Booking plugin
- Appointment scheduling
- Salon booking plugin
Once you performed these searches you’ll get a long list of solutions where to pick your plugin. Here are some suggestions to choose the right one:
- Look at the number of active downloads
- Look at the rating of the plugins
The higher those values are the better will be your choice, but when to choose a WordPress booking plugin you should also look at other parameters like:
- How recent is the last update of the plugin
- How recent are the answers from the plugin authors on the support forum
These aspects also help you understand how well is maintained this plugin and how easy will be for you to receive support in case of need.
Performing the research with the above keywords these are the common results from wordpress.org
At this point once you have identified the most popular and high rated plugins, and now you can begin having a look at their features details to see if they will actually fit your real needs.
Another great marketplace for WordPress plugins is out of doubts Codecanyon.com, the main difference with the WordPress is that here the booking plugin for WordPress need to be purchased.
Even con codecanyon.com you should perform the same “keywords” searches to find all the possible candidates, and then you can sort them by popularity and rating.
You need to know that many WordPress booking plugins that are present on the WordPress.org official repository have also a paid version on Codecanyon.com
Capterra.com is one of the most important software directory listing. Here are listed the most part of all the software currently sold all around the globe and it is organised by “Software category”.
Here you can find both WordPress booking plugin, like Salon Booking System, and also standalone booking pieces of software usually defined as SaaS ( Software as a service ).
Capterra is very useful when you want to have a wider picture of all the possible alternatives for a specific software.
The key benefit of looking into this marketplace is that you have access to a very large number of in depth review submitted by the users of each software and you can quickly understand how reliable is a specific software before proceed with the purchase.
Even on Capterra you should look at two important elements:
– Software rating
– Number of reviews
In your case you could look into this directory:
– Appointment Scheduling Software
By default, the system will list the results sorting them by “Sponsored”, so you’ll see those pieces of software that have paid to be listed first and then all the others.
Our suggestion is to change the sorting criteria using the “Most reviews”.
Capterra.com should be used in those cases you are looking for a very solid and reliable software and that could be also integrated into your WordPress website.
But as we said before on this directory you can find even WordPress plugins.
3 – Choosing among Free and Paid WordPress booking plugin
We know that the most part of the WordPress booking plugins are usually free, but it’s also true that many of them tend to offer a paid version that has more features and guarantee a technical support.
Nowadays, the most popular business model for most plugin authors like us is to give the users the possibility to test their plugin letting them installing a free version.
When the user is quite sure that this choice will fit his needs he will likely opt for the PAID version that will offer him more features and priority support.
Choosing a Premium WordPress Booking Plugin gives you a guaranteed of a well maintained piece of software and assures you that in case of problems you can easily receive support from their authors.
If you are looking for an appointment booking plugin that will be used to manage your daily business, opting for a Premium solution is the smartest choice.
4 – Final suggestions and conclusions
We could sum up all the words of this article in these simple concepts:
Today you have an infinite numbers of alternatives when looking for a WordPress booking plugin. You only need to identify those that really match your daily needs and if you are using it for your real business always opt for a Premium solution.
While you can start your research on WordPress.org remember that having a look at Codecanyon.com or Capterra.com is always a good choice as you will not miss possible better solutions.
Even if a WordPress booking plugin could be the right solution for you, consider also the possibility to opt for a cloud based service, nowadays, all of them can be easily embedded on your website through an Iframe for example.
Use the number of the active installs and current rating as first screening, but also have a look at the updates frequency and at the support responsibility.
The freemium model gives you the possibility to test it first and then decide if to switch to a premium version.
Hope this guide will help you with your next WordPress booking research.