Managing events online, using nothing but your WordPress site, has become possible on account of the 1000 odd plugins available today for the purpose.
From creating registrations, advance bookings, free-for-all events, to webinars, conferences, workshops and fundraisers, these plugins work to give you a complete system for creating, organizing and managing your Event.
These plugins come in a variety of shapes and sizes; ranging from basic, feature-specific plugins, to high-end event management systems. Some are feature-rich, some are easy to use while yet others are priced more economically than the rest.
Choosing an appropriate plugin, depending on what you need and what you want, from this milieu can be an exhausting task.
Which is why, we have narrowed this list down, to the five best event management plugins for WordPress, which we will be discussing in detail here. In no specific order, these are:
- Events Manager Pro
- Event Espresso
- Events Calendar
- All-in-One Events Calendar by Timely
In this series, we will take you through each of these five plugins individually and exhaustively, root, tree and branch, comparing them based on specific criteria; so that you can make an informed decision about which of these plugins best suits your requirements.
We review these plugins based on:
Ease of Use
A look at how easily the plugin can be installed and operated, how intuitive the settings are, how accessible the functions are and how responsive the plugin is. The compatibility of the plugin with WordPress themes also needs to be taken into account, since it ought not to keep throwing up bugs for you to sort out.
Perhaps the most important consideration while choosing an event management plugin, the functionalities a plugin offers are the cornerstone of how well it works in creating and managing event efficiently.
For an event management plugin in particular, some of the important features that plugins ought to possess are:
- Events Design and Ticket Setup
- Event Registration
- Online Ticket Selling Facilities
- Events Display
- E-Commerce Support
- Attendee Management
- Smooth Customer Interaction
- Venue Management
- User Management
- Spam Protection
- Payment Options
- Tax Administration
These are some of the most essential features an event management plugin requires, to organize and control an event successfully.
Although pricing should never be the primary criteria for choosing a plugin, it is an important factor nevertheless.
Plugin prices generally differ according to the features and the support they provide. It makes sense to be clear of what you need, currently and in the future, so that you can purchase the plugin accordingly.
The plugins we are going to discuss are, almost all of them, premium plugins.
It is generally believed that paid plugins are more reliable, in terms of support and updates, but that is not true in every case. The point is, it is necessary to gauge what functionalities you need now and will need later, and then buy the plugin, not just because it is popular.
That said, compromising on quality for a few bucks is not sensible either.
You get it.
Support and Updates
This is the gray area for every plugin.
Ease of use, features and pricing, all are what you see is what you get factors, but for support and updates, you are solely dependent on the plugin developers.
Speaking specifically for event management plugins, you are bound to come up with queries when planning for major events, or are a new user (relatively), managing hundreds of people.
A strong support system and extensive documentation is a godsend here, as they can guide you through the process and resolve any glitches that turn up. Besides, regular updation of the plugin, be it for minor bug fixes or some big overhaul, always helps you know if the plugin is in working order.
The five plugins we will talk about here have all got decent support and update systems, more or less, which we will see further.
Integrations and Extensions
An event management plugin needs to be flexible enough from the developers’ point of view, so that it can be tailored to fit individual requirements. It helps if the plugin has plenty of hooks and filters for coders to add specific functionalities, as per the site’s individual requirements.
Generally, it is better to begin with the basics and go on incorporating changes into the source code, when the need for a particular functionality turns up. This keeps the plugin light and also prevents redundancy of features.
Apart from extensions, event management plugins ought to have integrations that leverage the features of other plugins, each specific to their field of expertise. For example, if a plugin does not have an in-built e-mail newsletter system, it could provide an email marketing add-on as a solution. This lets the event manager avail of the best of the two domains, instead of having to forego the feature altogether.
Use of WordPress as a platform for creating Event Management websites is very much in vogue today.
The simplicity of WordPress coupled with the versatility of event management plugins gives the user powerful tools to build a full-fledged Event Creation and Management website. The best ones in the market are Events Calendar and Events Manager, and here’s a detailed comparison on it.
The criteria we have seen above are a yardstick for a good event management plugin, and that is what the shortlisted plugins will be measured up against.
Let the Plugin Games begin! 😀
Stay tuned for the detailed plugin reviews here!