How to Create Chat Rooms in WordPress for Your Users
January 6. 2021
One of the best things about WordPress is its flexibility. You can make almost any kind of website in WordPress, adjust almost any settings, use almost any theme, add a plugin for almost any purpose. This gives you a lot of freedom with regards to what you add to your website. Calendars, recommended posts, tag clouds – these are all popular choices. But did you know that you can also create chat rooms in WordPress? Not just chat rooms where you provide customer support either. Rather, chat rooms for your users to interact with each other. This may seem at first like a somewhat outdated idea, but WP Full Care has found that it is actually a smart tactic to improve engagement and build a community around your brand.
Reasons to create chat rooms in WordPress for your users
In the digital age, your website makes a huge difference. Customers find you through your website, learn about your services or products online, read your reviews, and otherwise familiarize themselves with your business through your online presence. But even the best website design and maintenance combined with excellent marketing won’t inspire loyalty if your customers don’t feel a connection with your brand. This is where user chat rooms can be very helpful. Setting one up will:
- create a space where your users can communicate with each other, share their experiences and opinions, and get genuine reactions to your products or services
- facilitate discussion about your content and interaction with it
- foster a sense of community centered around your brand
- inspire loyalty among customers who feel like they belong somewhere thanks to your business
- create more buzz around your brand without you having to do much
Finally, it’s worth remembering that people are social creatures. We like talking with others. That’s precisely why instant messaging apps are so popular. So odds are your users will appreciate having a place to communicate on your website.
Create chat rooms in WordPress using a plugin
The easiest way to modify your WP website is with plugins. Chat rooms are no exception. There is a variety of both free and premium plugins that you can use to add a chat room to your site. The exact steps you take to set one up will depend on the plugin you choose. However, most will follow a very similar process. So to make this easier, we’ll use Simple Ajax Chat as an example since it is one of the easiest to use and one of the most popular ones that doesn’t integrate third-party messaging services like WhatsApp or Facebook Messanger but rather creates a whole new chat on your website.
Install and activate the plugin
Of course, the first thing you’ll need to do is to install the plugin itself. If you don’t want to use Simple Ajax Chat, you can browse the plugins on WordPress.org for other options too. However, remember to read the description of the plugin carefully before you install it. Most chat plugins are intended to create a line of communication between you and your customers. But if you’re not looking to set up customer support via chat, you’ll want to avoid those. You should also make sure that the plugin you choose is compatible with the version of WP you’re using and your theme. When you’ve made your choice, install and activate the plugin on your website.
Create and set up the chat room
The next step is setting up the chat room using the plugin. Navigate to Settings > Simple Ajax Chat (or whichever plugin you’re using). Then, under Plugin Settings, you’ll have a variety of options that change the appearance and functionality of the chat room. You’ll want to choose a name for your chat room first. Then, you can go through the rest of the settings. Do you want to give access to the chat only to logged in users? Or should everyone be able to participate in the conversation? How do you want your chat to look? Are there any words you want to ban? Do you want to send a welcome message to new users? These are just some of the settings that you can change in Simple Ajax Chat.
Display the chatroom on your website
Finally, setting up the chat room is pointless if your users can’t actually see it. So now you have to display the chat room on your website. First, scroll to the Shortcode & Template Tag section of the settings page. There, you’ll find the shortcode you need to copy in order to display your chat room. Then, create a new page through your WP dashboard. In the Editor, click on the little circled plus sign. Type “short” or “shortcode” in the search bar and open the shortcode widget that appears. Paste the shortcode in the text box and click on the Publish button to save changes.
Alternatively, you can copy the template tag to add to your theme. Depending on your choice of WP theme, you could add the chat to your sidebar or footer. That way, users don’t have to navigate to a separate page for the chat but rather access it from anywhere on the website.
What to do after you create chat rooms in WordPress for your users
Once you create chat rooms in WordPress for your users, there’s not really much for you to do. The whole point of these chats is to let the users do the talking. Aside from occasional moderation to ensure everything is going smoothly, you can let your chat room be. Focus on other things instead – post on your social media, promote your blog, or develop new marketing campaigns. That’s the best thing about chat rooms for users: you get plenty of benefits without needing to put in too much work.