Are you looking to add a WordPress scheduling plugin to your WordPress site? If so great, we will walk you through the process step by step.
The main purpose for a scheduling plugin is to help you get more appointments for your services. Since your business depends on these appointments, it’s important to make sure that you setup your scheduling plugin correctly.
In this WordPress tutorial, we’ll show you how to easily create a scheduling form and embed your scheduling system directly into your WordPress site.
Why do you need a scheduling plugin?
Maybe you’re wondering why do I need a scheduling plugin? Can’t I just use a forms plugin and collect their contact information?
That’s a very common question from beginners but the answer is no, you probably won’t get the results you are looking for. Contact forms do not provide functionality for helping you schedule your time and won’t help you sell your services either.
With a proper scheduling plugin, you’ll not only receive new appointments directly from your WordPress website but you’ll also get the benefits for helping you manage your scheduling calendar.
Below are the top 3 reasons why a scheduling plugin is better than using a contact form on a page.
- Managing Availability – Scheduling plugins are great for understanding when you are available and when you are not available. Your time is the most important part of your life, therefore you shouldn’t be using a plugin that makes you spend more time managing your calendar.
- Capturing Customer Information – Your customers contact information is an important aspect to being able to market your services in the future. It’s important that you keep your customer information in the same place as your scheduling calendar so you can better communicate and follow up with your customers.
- Saves Times – Scheduling plugins save you time in more ways than you think. Aside from not having to take phone calls to have someone scheduling with you, the best scheduling plugins can help you send reminders, ensure you are not double booked and ensure your customers show up on time all without you doing anything.
Step 1: Install the Scheduling Plugin
For this scheduling plugin tutorial, we will use the Start Booking plugin. You can install the Start Booking plugin on your site by logging into your WordPress dashboard and going to Plugins > Add New.
In the search field, type Start Booking and then click on the Install Now button.
After the plugin is installed, make sure you activate the plugin.
Or if you prefer to download the plugin and upload it manually, you can download the WordPress booking calendar plugin.
Step 2: Setup your services
Now that you’ve installed and activated your scheduling plugin, the next step is to start your account and setup your services.
Your services are the things that you want your customers to schedule with you. For example, if you are a barbershop, you would create a service for a hair cut and maybe another one for a beard trim. Once you’ve created your services, we’ll walk you through how to embed them on your page.
First, it’s important to click the Get Started button if you’ve never setup the Start Booking plugin. If you already have an account with Start Booking, click the Connect existing account button.
Now that we’ve activated your account, it’s time to create and setup your services.
Once you’re finished adding all your services, you should see them listed in your account like below.
Step 3: Configure Your Scheduling Availability
Now that you’ve created all your services, it’s time to setup your scheduling availability. It’s important that you properly define when you want your customers to be able to book with you.
Based on how you configure your schedule, thats how the Start Booking scheduling plugin will display your available times to your customers.
To setup your availability, click on the Dashboard link at the top of the plugin.
On the dashboard, you’ll now see where you can adjust your scheduling availability.
Setting your schedule is as easy as toggling the days that you are or are not wanting to accept new bookings. Once you’ve set the days that you are accepting bookings, the next step is to adjust the times for each day that you typically are available. Don’t forget to notice, you can add multiple time slots per day for maximum scheduling flexibility.
For this example, I’m going to say that I’m not available on Sunday, Friday and Saturday. In addition, I’m going to make sure my schedule is not available from 11-2pm on Tuesdays as well.
Step 4 (Optional): Connect Google Calendar
Now that your scheduling availability is set, as an optional step you can connect your Google Calendar with your Start Booking account. By connecting your Google Calendar, you can get your booking schedules pushed into your Google Calendar for additional convenience. You can learn more from our Google Calendar overview.
Step 5: Add Scheduling Calendar to a WordPress Page
As a last and final step, let’s add your scheduling calendar to one of your WordPress pages. In an effort to save you time, Start Booking has already created a page for you called “Book Now” and placed your scheduling calendar on that page for you.
In the final step to setup a WordPress scheduling plugin, let’s review the Booking Page that was automatically created for you. Click the Booking Page button to view your scheduling calendar.
If you want to change the page your scheduling calendar displays on, follow these simeple steps.
First, create a new page or find the page that you want to display the scheduling calendar on. Once you’ve identified that page, you have two options for displaying the scheduling calendar.
Use the Start Booking Shortcodes
To use a shortcode, first click the plus icon to add a new block to your page. Then search for shortcode and select it.
Next, you’ll see a new shortcode block inserted into your page. Insert one of the Start Booking shortcodes into the new block.
If you aren’t sure which shortcode to use, browse the available WordPress scheduling shortcodes and paste them into your shortcode block.
Use the Start Booking Blocks
If you want to use one of the Start Booking scheduling blocks, click the plus icon and search Start Booking.
For example, if you click on the Services icon, it will insert the scheduling calendar to display all your services.
Lastly, now that we’ve setup our scheduling page, let’s go to the page and view it. For this example, we created a page called “Scheduling Page”.
Step 6: Review our scheduling flow
As a final step, let’s walk through the new scheduling page that we just created.
When we load our page, the first thing we will see is our list of services because that’s the WordPress block we decided to use.
Next, let’s select a service and click continue. The next step in our scheduling flow displays our calendar and available times. You can see that the times being displayed match our scheduling availability that we set in step 3.
I’m going to select 10am and click continue. On the final step, your scheduling flow will capture the customers information along with the appointment details.
Great job, if you’ve been following, you have successfully setup a WordPress scheduling plugin from scratch. Keep in mind, this is a simple walk through that explains how easy it can be to add scheduling to your website. There are many other features and settings you can use to customize the flow for your business.