WordPress Integrations: The Ultimate Guide
With WordPress now powering more than 30% of the entire web, it’s no surprise that there is a myriad of WordPress Integrations available for everything from productivity and communication to e-commerce and membership sites.
You can bet that if there is a popular platform, tool or any type of software that works on the web, there is a way WordPress can talk to it!
There are endless possibilities when it comes to leveraging WordPress Integrations to enhance your website and your business, but finding and implementing the “right” ones for your business can be a little overwhelming.
There are literally millions of different solutions out there.
Where do you even begin looking?
How do you know which one to pick?
How do you know if the path you are choosing is safe and secure?
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help answer some of these questions by identifying different problems that these integrations solve and provide suggestions, hacks, and tricks you can implement right now to help you achieve your objectives.
So, sit back, relax and let’s dive right into it!
How did we get here?
How did SO many add-ons, integrations and plugins spawn for one website platform?
Let’s take a step back for some context:
WordPress began when Matt Mullenweg forked a version CafeLog, long ago in the ancient year of 2003 AD.
I had the privilege of meeting Matt in 2018 at the annual WordCamp US conference. In the 15 years between that fateful CafeLog fork and now, his experiment has evolved to power tens of millions of websites, amounting to the 30% number we mentioned at the beginning of this article.
It was clear at this conference how far this reach had gone, with thousands of delegates from all over the world…
Iwan and Matt, 2018
Among the stands at the conference, there were many companies all built on top of WordPress, among other companies that provide integrations and plugins, from startups to the big internet companies like Google and PayPal.
All well represented here.
With such a wide variety of companies offering different software solutions — all either built exclusively for WordPress or who offer integrations — it’s clear that there is really nothing that WordPress can’t do (at least online) which is something that other popular website platforms like Wix and Squarespace can not match.
WordPress Integrations by Function
We’ve identified four main areas of interest that we can use to categorize these integrations under.
Keep in mind that this is just a way for us to create different umbrellas under which to put these different integrations, but there will certainly be a lot of overlap.
These areas are:
You can click on any of these to jump to that section at any time throughout this guide!
Our entire company began as a custom theme that used the Paid Memberships Pro plugin to streamline the way we delivered web design services.
It started with a productivity plugin to a platform where we tracked hours and chatted with clients and tried to deliver a better service.
This meant working more productively, by leveraging WordPress Integrations to achieve our goals.
We were able to build a whole business by simply using the tools available and I’m confident that by exploring your options, you can gain an advantage as well.
Let’s look at common productivity problems companies need to solve:
- Task Management
- Time Tracking
We’ve all been there.
It seems like everything is out of control and there are just too many things to do and keep track of, too many people to keep happy and too many items that are screaming for your attention.
When you don’t have a proper task management system in place, things will fall through the cracks.
Fortunately, we’ve identified several popular software platforms that you can use to solve this problem.
And all of these have WordPress Integrations that you can use to make them talk to your site and vice versa.
Trello is one of my favorites because it’s extremely intuitive interface gets right down to business.
They’ve taken the well known Kanban approach and boiled it down to its basic functionality:
Columns and Cards.
Even though we have our own internal ticketing and tasks system I still very often pop open a Trello board whenever I’m working on any sort of project to firstly break down large objectives into smaller, achievable tasks and then mapping out a process.
You can also use Trello for customer service.
Let’s say a customer begins a live chat with you on your sales page, you would want that to be a ticket, so you can follow due process.
You can also have your contact forms easily integrate with forms on your website by using the Email-to-Board feature.
This generates a random email address that people can email which then creates on Your Trello board.
Slack has taken the world by storm.
It originally started as an internal communications tool for a game-dev team run by Stewart Butterfield.
When the game didn’t pan out all they had left was their internal chat app, which they pivoted to and which became Slack.
It’s well known that Slack has integrations to just about platform you can think of, so let’s look at some of the WordPress specific extensions:
Slack + Tawk To
One of the most popular posts is a guide to connect live chat software Tawk.to with Slack. Read that post here!
Google Docs / Google Sheets
There are many ways you can connect Google Docs and Sheets with your WordPress.
While there aren’t any native WordPress Integrations for Google Docs, there are plenty of Zaps:
This is for hardcore content teams only though, but many editorial teams do run their content off of a google spreadsheet.
What this little zap allows is a way for the content creator to just stick with their existing workflow and let Zapier do the work of sending it to WordPress.
It’s become increasingly to track time on activities, especially for Gig-economy or freelance workers. Fortunately, there are TONS of tools out there that will allow you to do this.
Check out our list of time tracking tools here!
One of the Most Popular time tracking tools out there is Toggl, a free to use and easily approachable time tracking tool.
Toggl offer native integration with WordPress through their Toggl Button.
If you’re a freelancer or small team and your switching between the Toggl and WordPress tabs, stop that. Bad dog. Use the Toggl button!
Harvest is another amazing tool and this one’s geared more towards teams than freelancers.
While they don’t have native WordPress Integrations, there are very useful Zaps that you can use from Zapier.
Effective communication is key to any business succeeding.
With the vast amount of tools out there to communicate with your customers, there’s really no reason why even the smallest companies can’t provide excellent communication to their customers.
We’ll look at two areas where you can leverage technologies to enhance your customer communications through your website:
- Live Chat
- Messaging Services
There’s something reassuring about knowing there’s someone you can actually talk to when considering doing business with a company.
This also extends to a company’s website.
There are many live chat options to choose from, and we’ve outlined a few of them here:
One of our favorite live chat tools is TawkTo because it’s good, it’s 100% free and it has great support for WordPress.
You can get set up with WordPress and TawkTo in less than five minutes.
In fact, this is the live chat software we use ourselves!
So, if you see that we’re online at the bottom right-hand corner, pop in and chat to us 🙂
We’ve also written a blog post on how you can integrate TawkTo with Trello, mentioned earlier.
One of my favorite features of TawkTo is their Agent service.
You can have a 24 hour a day presence with real humans answering your chat by hiring agents either to handle your chat entirely, which works out to $1 an hour, or you can hire agents to handle chats when you and your team are offline.
Hubspot Sales Chat
Hubspot CRM comes with a great free live chat as part of their CRM.
If you’re already using Hubspot CRM, this is a no-brainer, since it creates contacts and leads right in your CRM from live chat.
What’s interesting with this is the chatbot functionality, you can easily create bots that help you qualify leads, book meetings and provide answers to common questions.
Intercom’s probably the most recognized live chat solution out there, you’ve probably seen their smiling chat bubble online:
While Intercom isn’t free, it does certainly makes up or it’s cost with amazing features.
Interactive apps in the chatbot, a whole host of integrations and advanced collaboration tools make it a great solution.
I will caution that this solution is probably more suited to companies of at least more than 10 employees, if your a single person business or a small team, TawkTo is probably good enough, as Intercom seems to me to be more of an Enterprise solution.
In the time it will take you to finish reading this sentence, over a million Facebook messenger messages were sent.
You can see that live with this showing Facebook Messenger Stats.
That’s just one platform and it’s not even the most popular messaging platform in the world.
(It owns the most popular one though, so you could argue it’s one and the same.)
A handful of popular messaging platforms facilitate billions of conversations daily.
It’s safe to assume that people are comfortable using these platforms (well, kinda) and that they like using them.
So why not go to where your customer is and talk to them there?
Many businesses have embraced this and introduced WordPress Integrations on their websites that link their live chats with these social media chat platforms.
Let’s look at how you can do it with a few popular ones!
With over 2 Billion users, Whatsapp has overtaken WeChat (not the only Facebook-owned entity to do so) to become the world’s most popular chat platform.
Ironically, the only market (other than China) where Whatsapp isn’t the most popular chat app in its home country of the United States.
That said, it’s hugely popular and many (MANY) people use it to communicate with each other and now with businesses too using Whatsapp For Business.
You can integrate your Whatsapp for Business account with your WordPress site using something like WP Social Chat, but that’s hardly the only option.
If you’re willing to jump through some hoops, you can even get access to a Whatsapp for business API now, although this does require working through a pre-approved Facebook partner.
If you wish to follow this route, but need a developer to help you build a solution, please talk to us.
Coming in at second place for the most popular messaging app is another Facebook tentacle, namely Facebook Messenger.
While it’s no secret that you can use Facebook Messenger to have your customers communicate to you from Facebook itself or from the Messenger app, you can also have your customers talk to your Facebook Messenger account from your WordPress site with one of many WordPress Integrations available for this very purpose.
See this guide here for more details of how to integrate Facebook Messenger with your WordPress site.
,Every business needs customers to survive.
The process to go about getting customers is called “Marketing.”
I’m sure by now many website owners already do not associate marketing with billboards and TV ads, but rather with online content.
This is another strength of WordPress.
Since WordPress started as primarily ‘n blogging platform, it’s geared toward content marketing out of the box.
We’ll dive into how you can best leverage WordPress Integrations to help with your content marketing.
We’ll also look at how you can integrate your WordPress site to ensure your Paid Advertising efforts are also effective.
But we’ll begin, as WordPress itself did, with blogging…
- Landing Pages
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
While WordPress itself does make it quite easy to quickly crank out landing pages, there are services that specialize in high-converting landing pages with features like A/B split testing and detailed reporting right out of the box.
Leadpages is a great example of one such solution.
It uses proven layouts from a library of pages that you can pick from and easily customize for your business.
What’s more, they have an official WordPress plugin that makes it easy to run your landing pages without having to leave the WordPress dashboard.
Setting up the LeadPages WordPress simple is easy:
ClickFunnels focuses on building funnels to turn visitors into customers, with powerful automation flows and advanced features to maximize the chances of converting leads.
What I like about ClickFunnels are the videos, they really go out of their way to help you understand how to BEST use their product and it shows, I think the founder still does a lot fo the videos himself and the passion really shows.
And of course, they also have an official WordPress plugin, so you can get started easily.
Building your email list is one of the main functions you would want your WordPress site to do.
There are the obvious things like adding a sign up to my Mailchimp account, using the Mailchimp Plugin.
But, that’s just scratching the surface of what you can do.
Let’s take it a step further!
ConvertKit is amazing and is used by people like Neil Patel and Pat Flynn.
What makes it so great is it’s automation features and it’s Native WordPress Integrations.
If you tinker with Convertkit and WordPress, you can set up workflows like:
- Add subscriber to drip campaign when downloading lead magnets.
- Notify Previous customers of deals expiring x amount of time before they do.
- Trigger Coupon Codes on certain conditions to covert or retain Woocommerce customers.
- Change a subscribers tag in Converkit when they visit a certain post!
We’ll add some guides to this one in the future, so stay tuned.
Reply.io is different from other email sending vendors in that it integrates with your own GSuite/Office365 or regular email inbox.
Please note: Reply is not meant for mass emails.
What reply can do is automate your own inbox and send emails, like a robot, on certain events.
A customer has left a bad review: Send an email directly from you asking if there’s something you can do to help and you can set a time delay so that the email doesn’t go it immediately, but a few minutes or hours later.
This will create the impression you typed and sent the email, making the customer feel important. And when they reply, it is on a real thread in your inbox.
There are tons more you can do with Reply, but we should again mention this is not for regular automation sequences but events where you the business owner or manager needs to quickly get an email thread going with a customer.
You can also set replies to this specific thread to notify you on Slack so you can prioritize big-ticket items or important support tickets.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘Content Calendar’.
This is widely and frequently used, but rarely implemented correctly.
Content calendars can get messy and become lost among spreadsheets, Trello boards, and other systems.
Then there’s implementing what’s actually on the calendar, and then there’s reporting. It can get messy.
We’ve found that there really is still no better tool to manage this than CoSchedule.
It automates everything from WordPress posts to social media posts, handles the execution of these posts on a scheduled calendar and even allows for content to be written all in one place (on CoSchedule) and then publishes it to WordPress and all your social channels.
It is a tad on the pricey side, with prices from $49 / month and up, but it is worth it if you can get it.
Since it already has extensive native WordPress Integrations, we’ll look to extend these into your other apps like Slack and Trello, using Zapier.
If you don’t want to fork out a monthly fee, you can do a lot of social scheduling with Buffer, on their free plan, which is quite extensive:
But the issue is they don’t have as extensive support for WordPress as Coschedule does.
Fortunately, there are plugins and Zaps that can help:
WordPress to Buffer plugin let’s you send stuff, well, from WordPress to Buffer.
Easy as that 🙂
There are also many Zaps you can use:
- New Post from WordPress -> Add to Schedule in Buffer
- New Post from WordPress -> Add to Buffer
In 2019, the US spent $365.2 Billion USD on online sales. It could be double that in just five years.
That’s just the USA (which is a giant slice of the pie, admittedly).
The barriers to entry for any size business to sell stuff online have never been lower and companies big and small are jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon.
That said, with such a seemingly never-ending array of tools, platforms, and services to select from, entrepreneurs are faced with a daunting challenge to pick the right ones for their business.
Well, since you’re (presumably) already on WordPress, that makes things a lot easier.
So we’ve broken our e-commerce guide down into two parts:
- Recurring Payments
- Recurring Payments
Paid Memberships Pro
We have had a longstanding relationship with Paid Memberships Pro — and for good reason!
For making recurring payments easy in WordPress, this is hands-down the best solution out there, at least in my opinion.
You can get started in 5 minutes.
What we don’t mention in that article, however, is the massive list of extensions, plugins, hacks and other things you can do to extend the functionality of your PMPro site.
Everything from affiliate marketing to custom payment gateways, the list is endless.
If you are running a PMPro site and would like to extend its functionality, please contact us to find out what’s possible!
Woocommerce – Onlines Stores
Instead of listing out possible plugins to operate an online store from your WordPress site, we’re rather going to focus on one of these.
By far the most popular, Woocommerce powers millions of online stores.
What is not obvious to many is how customizable and extendable Woocommerce is.
Everything you can possibly think of from automating invoices to automating actual shipping orders.
I once tested out such a shipping integration, just messing around with it really.
Next thing I knew, a courier was at my door expecting a shipment.
Okay, so he had to leave empty-handed and I did end paying for that little experiment. What I did take away from that experience was how automated everything had become, it took me a few minutes to set that up. Within a few hours, there was a courier at my door for my “Test Order”.
Let’s look at some things you can do to supercharge your Woocommerce site:
Many businesses use Xero for their accounting and specifically invoicing. Woocommerce has a fantastic integration directly with Xero. Automatically send your tax and sales data to Xero (see the section below on streamlining taxes too) and make it easy to keep your books in sync with what’s happening on your website.
While this does come with a $79 a year support fee, I still recommend it, and if you get stuck you can reach out to Woocommerce’s amazing support team to straighten out any issues.
This also appears on the official Woocommerce site as a plugin but this one’s free. I guess it’s due to the massive popularity of Quickbooks for small businesses. Also, the actual developer is a third-party. That shouldn’t dissuade you, it’s a great plugin.
To take it even further, we can look at integrations with Google Sheets for you to plan your next move in world domination!
Let’s face it, collecting sales tax isn’t fun 🙁
Especially in the US, where there are 50 different state tax codes, countless county taxes, and special product tax conditions.
Fortunately there are several Woocommerce integrations that take the pain out of taxes. Here are a couple of my favorite:
Avalara is an automated tool that calculates sales tax for each and every transaction based on where your buyer is purchasing from, where you are, the product type and so much more.
It applies the correct sales tax right at checkout.
What I like about Avalara is their Woocommerce support, a native plugin that takes minutes to set up.
What About Other Functions?
This list is by no means exhaustive and we’ll be updating it frequently with things we find useful.
There are certainly tons of other areas where popular software platforms have WordPress Integrations that can help your business.
I want to touch on a tool that really lets you dive deep into customizing workflows and integrating different tools and that tool is Zapier.
Even in this post, you may have seen me use the term “Zaps” a lot, well that simply refers to actions done through Zapier.
Zapier is amazing because there really is no limit to the number of platforms and tools you can string together.
There are literally thousands of different variations you can do with Zapier and WordPress.
And this becomes millions if you trigger third-party apps with WordPress which then goes on to trigger other Zaps with yet other third-party apps.
We’ll be constantly trying out new Zaps and may launch a blog series focused entirely on WordPress Zaps.
Stay tuned for more…
The Sky’s The Limit
What we’ve sampled here is just a tiny foretaste of everything that you can use you to give your website superpowers.
We’ve yet to touch on so many categories, such as shipping, invoicing, video.
We will continue to revise this guide from time to time to hopefully give you an even broader toolset of WordPress Integrations you can use to enhance your website and, by extension, your business.
Also, remember to go into the deep dives, our specific posts that guide you through how to get some of these integrations set up, step-by-step.
We’ll continue to add more guides as well, so check back in with us for updates.
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