You might be thinking of starting a WordPress-powered event website, or maybe you are already running one and just want to add more features to it, turning it into a powerful event management platform for your business or community. There are plenty of tools to help you do that, but how do you choose the right ones? Some of the features you should be looking for in a good event management plugin are the ability to create event taxonomies according to categories and tags, user registration tools, secure payment gateways, and speaker, sponsor and venue management, to name a few. You can use the following list as a starting point to help you decide what exactly your ideal WordPress event management plugin would look like.
Event Espresso is a powerful yet affordable solution for being as feature-packed as it is. It provides attendee registration, ticketing, transaction reporting, social media sharing and more. The price ranges from $90 for a single-site personal license to $500 for a five-site developer option. Each paid option has a certain number of premium add-ons included with it. Some of the useful advanced features are mobile ticketing check-in, QR codes and MailChimp integration. You can also try a free lite version of the product, with all the basic features such as registration, admin overview, attendee data, payment management and basic calendar. The plugin’s simple interface, WYSIWYG editor and customizable emails make it really easy to use and highly popular among event site owners.
Another full-featured event solution for WordPress sites, Events Manager is equally worth considering whether you are putting together a one-time happening or a series of events. Registration tools, event listings and calendars are some of the features that the plugin offers. You can also manage attendees, accept bookings, manage venues and add Google maps to your events. The basic version of the plugin comes for free, while Events Manager Pro costs $75 for one site and $150 for five. Pro comes with event manager framework for developers and support forums. It also has premium features like Coupons & Discount Manager, PayPal Standard and Authorize.net integration, transaction history and customizable booking forms. The only problem with the paid version is that it only comes with one year of updates and support, which seems pretty limiting for the price.
This free plugin offers a lot of must-have event management features that others charge for. It has registration, ticketing and email functions, as well as attendee database, payment reports and optional Captcha spam protection. Payment options include the ability to send the attendees to PayPal, Google Pay, Authorize.net or Monster Pay for payment collection. The system even allows you to accept cash and check payments. The plugin’s interface was recently updated, receiving a lot of positive feedback. Among Event Registration’s issues, users have been mentioning conflicts with jQuery upon installation.
Eventbrite for WordPress
Eventbrite has long been a popular stand-alone event management solution, but it also has a WP plugin that allows you to pull and push events between Eventbrite and your self-hosted WordPress. The installation itself is free, but you are charged $0.99 + 5.5% per ticket if you are using the built-in payment system or 0.99 cents + 2.5% if you are using PayPal, on top of the PayPal fees. Eventbrite has a clean, user-friendly interface, and provides such features as simple registration process, mobile compatibility and ability to track attendee data. You can also promote your event with the help of the plugin’s social media tools and personalized email invites. Barcoded tickets can be easily scanned at the door with a phone, or you can use a mobile app to collect money at the door. Some of the complaints from users involve Eventbrite logo appearing on all event pages and the program not being a good choice for conferences.
Events Planner developers published their most recent update earlier this month, and the multitude of five-start feedback entries shows its popularity among users. It is another well-rounded, easy-to-use WordPress solution for any event organizer out there. It allows you to manage registrations, locations, discounts, waitlists and much more. The personal one-site license is $59, and the advanced license, also for one site, is $99, coming with extra features like MailChimp extension and shopping cart extension, among others. The developer license for five sites is $299. All packages include only one year of support and updates.
The Events Calendar
The Events Calendar also launched its latest version earlier this month, promising users a fully-rebuilt, faster platform. The plugin designers describe it as made “by developers for developers,” allowing you to create events straight out of the box. The plugin claims to support thousands of events and attendees, and its user list has some Fortune 100 companies on it. Features include monthly calendar view, event taxonomies, Google maps, event search, upcoming events widget and many more. If that’s not enough, you can invest into Events Calendar Pro, ranging in price from $65 for a single site, up to a $325 license supporting as many as 10 sites. The paid version allows you to manage recurring events, and display events by week view, single-day view, venue view or even photo view. It also allows users to choose from different styles, such as Skeleton, Full and Tribe, assign custom attributes to events and take advantage of some great geolocation features.
This brand new, free WordPress plugin provides easy and flexible event management, and so far has only five-star reviews across the board. It comes with an Ajax events calendar, custom taxonomies, Google maps, multisite support, and, on top of all that, it’s Google Rich Snippets ready. Advanced hooks for developers are also available, and so are six event widgets and 26 custom functions. To get support, you can use the plugin’s ticket system or register to be able to browse its forums. Events Maker is only a couple of months old and it might be too early to judge, but it seems to have a lot of potential. In their future updates, developers promise to add more functions like recurring event support, iCal & Google Calendar integration, and more.
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