70. Calendars, Schedulers and Your Website
In our busy world, it feels like we never have enough time!
With the start of the new year, comes the tendency to want to become more organized. To do things in a new and different way. It comes from the clean slate of a brand new year. One of the biggest time savers I have implemented into my website was adding a calendar scheduling link to my website. It saves me from going back and forth to find a time that works for everyone. It also enables me to calendar block my time so that I am not jumping around with tasks and can instead be present for client calls when they occur. I dig into how to set this up on your website in this week’s episode, get the whole scoop here.
I cover both calendars and scheduling links specifically for WordPress.
If you don’t have a WordPress site, I highly encourage you to look at building one for your next website. I go into all the reasons why in Episode 60, but the big two are scalability and SEO power. If you have a different website, the scheduling piece of this episode will still be relevant, but you may want to fast forward to that piece (20:45).
Let’s jump into website calendars first.
First, why would you want a calendar on your website? Specifically, this works for businesses that offer classes or regular events. I talk specifically about uses for restaurants and my friends over at the Craft Box who offer a multitude of classes for their audience. Get the whole scoop on how it could work for you here. These are my 3 recommendations for an integrated (lives on your website) calendar:
1. Modern Events Calendar. They offer a free version that you can try out first, but if you have advanced needs like adding ticketing and payment options to your events, you will need to purchase a license. For one website (which is most likely what you will need) it’s currently $75. I like that this calendar:
- Integrates with lots of other software (including payment options)
- That you can categorize events
- That you can enable reservations (super helpful!)
- That you can customize the calendar to match the rest of your site
- You can create recurring and custom events
- They offer options for weather, maps, and location
2. Sugar Events Calendar. This option is less expensive, but as always, you get what you pay for. The paid version of this plugin is $29 a year and comes with quite a bit of functionality. But, if you need something with advanced features, I would go with Modern Events Calendar. The best features for this calendar are:
- Simple to use
- Quite a few features
- Integrates with most calendar options
- They claim it won’t slow down your site
3. Events Schedule. This option is $29 a one time fee. It offers 12 style choices, but no customizing. Because this is a third party plugin offered through a vendor, support can be spotty. That is the main reason it is the third option on this list. The benefits of this option are:
- It integrates with most other calendars
- It includes a schedule builder
- Is optimized for speed
- Is easy to set up
To wrap up – here are some important questions to consider before making a calendar choice:
- Will it integrate with your current calendaring option (Google, iCal, Office, etc.)?
- Is it responsive so it serves your mobile audience well?
- How will the integration affect your overall site experience (slow it down, etc.)?
- Does it have the functionality you need in your business?
Let’s hop into Schedulers next!
In the episode, I cover why you need a scheduler and the different ways an online schedule link can help you optimize your time. Here are my recommendations:
1. Acuity Scheduling. This is the scheduler I use and I have tried a few. I prefer this option because:
- I can control my time by appointment type (some appointments require more time)
- Integrates with my Google calendar
- I can add teammates as I bring them on
- I am able to customize the look and feel
- I can create surveys for different client types
- There are multiple time-saving integrations like Zoom and payment connections
This plugin is easy to connect to any website, I am going to do a live video this week over on the Facebook page to show you how to set it up in WordPress. Come check it out here.
2. Schedule Once. I started with this plugin and it has a lot of great features, but I moved to Acuity because:
- The mobile access is terrible
- No client data is stored
- They don’t offer recurring appointments
- Personally, I didn’t really like the backend, I felt it was harder to maneuver.
- But, it’s still worth checking out depending on your needs and they do offer online training.
3. Timetrade. I’ve not used Timetrade, but this a good starting option. As a starter, there are not a lot of the above options available. However, the price is right to get you started. Onboard pricing is $6.50 per month per user. Here are some of the reasons it doesn’t work for my business:
- Limited to creating one calendar.
- There are no analytics available for measurement.
- There is no way to break up appointment types (one link for all different appointments).
- Lower pricing options don’t offer integrations or advanced features.
- No free trial.
That’s a wrap for this week.
Overall, adding a scheduling link to your website can be a HUGE timesaver, but you will have to choose which option works best for your business model. If you are interested in that quick training on how to integrate with WordPress, join me this week on the Facebook page.
What did you think about this episode?
Come on over to the Facebook Page and let me know if you learned something new.
Listen to the entire episode here:
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