There are many plugins available to help you schedule patients, prospective clients and needed sources. Many are free and can be easily added to your WordPress blog.
What is a WordPress plugin?
WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to expand the functionality of your WordPress blog site. One of the primary benefits of the self-hosted version of WordPress from WordPress.org is being able to upload and use plugins on your WordPress site.
Free vs Premium WordPress Plugins
There are tons of WordPress plugins available for free download from the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. There are also premium or paid WordPress plugins.
Why would you want to pay for a plugin? Well, there are several reasons:
- While there are thousands of plugins available for free from the plugin directory, paid plugins usually offer a full time support staff and developers that work on maintaining the security and compatibility of plugins with the latest version of WordPress as well as with other themes and plugins.
- Most of the time, plugins play nicely with the core of WordPress and with other plugins, but sometimes a plugin’s code will get in the way of another plugin, causing compatibility issues. With a paid plugin, it’s just nice to know you have support staff that can help you out if anything goes wrong.
You might be asking what types of things plugins can do. All you need to do is surf the WordPress plugin directory for all the ways plugins can enhance your WordPress site.
This is a great plugin. If you don’t yet have a portal for your practice site, get an easy way to schedule your clients for appointments. Here are some resources for scheduling your clients for private one-on-one sessions, either in person or on the phone.
Scheduling an appointment via email or phone could be very time-consuming with lots of going back and forth to find the best time that works for both of you. When you require your patients to make an appointment in advance (like consultations), it’s crucial that you offer a way for your patients to do so smoothly online.
There are two main methods of taking appointments online if you have a WordPress site:
- Use a scheduling/appointment plugin, and take appointments right on your site.
- Sign up for an online scheduling/appointment tool, and simply include a link on your website to the appointment page that you get from that service.
An effective scheduling tool is Timetrade, for my private consultations because it integrates with Google Calendar. (There is a free trial as well as paid versions of it.)
But there are (of course) many WordPress plugins that work well. Here are 3 options.
Paid Online Scheduling Tools
In general, these tools offer more functionalities and require less maintenance work than the above plugins, but most plans are not free. However, some do have a free version so that you can try it out and see if this works well for you:
- Timetrade – (formerly called “TimeDriver”) – (has a free trial)
- Calendly – (has a free version)
- Acuity Scheduling – (has a free version)
- Square Appointments – (formerly called “BookFresh”)
- Appointy – (has a free version)
- Vcita – (has a free version)
This differs from embedding a Google Calendar on your WordPress Site, since you are showing your events when you embed a Google Calendar. On the other hand, with these scheduling plugins and online tools, prospective patients and visitors can schedule a private appointment with you.
Do you have any favorite scheduling plugins/tools? If so, share in the comment box below.