How to Add an Online Booking System to your Website
We live in an era where everything is practically inseparable from the internet. The list is unquestionably endless, but one certain thing is, businesses are at the pinnacle of technological advancements.
Businesses need to have a recognizable online presence today and technology contributes significantly to this. Your website can help you market your business online and having an online booking system can help you in maximizing your customer’s convenience while helping you have a profitable business.
But, getting an online booking system isn’t going to be enough if you don’t utilize it to the maximum. It is equally important that you know how to add an online booking system to your website in order to facilitate bookings.
And this brings us to our next key question! Which online booking system should you select and how to integrate it into your website?
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
In this blog, we’ll outline how you can add an online booking system to your website and generate more revenue for your business!
- Find the right online booking system for your business
- Add your online booking system to your website
1. Find the right online booking system for your business
If you have still not chosen which online booking system is the best fit for your business, then this section is exclusively for you!
Before you start to browse the list of available online booking systems in the market, it is important to figure out the features that you’d need for your business.
Some of the basic features which are commonly needed by almost all businesses are:
- Send out automated SMS and email reminders to customers
- Easy to set up and use for both staff and customers
- Customizable as per your website
- App integrations with widely-used mediums like payment processors, social media pages, video conferencing tools, etc.
- Accept payments seamlessly
After listing down all your required features, you can start comparing the different software available in the market. You can do this by looking at various listicles, reviews from reputed sites like G2, Capterra, SoftwareAdvice, and many more. You may also want to look at the pricing schemes to know whether it is affordable or not.
Post this, you may want to sign-up for a free trial. This trial period will help you identify whether your business can resonate with the software or not.
2. Add the online booking system to your website
With the advent of digitalization and its acceptance amongst the masses, an online booking system is a must. It makes the job of the staff and the customers super easy. It also helps in enhancing the productivity of your business.
To ensure customer convenience every step of the way and facilitate a good number of bookings on your website, it is important to provide a booking system on your website itself.
There are different ways in which you can add the online booking system to your website. Let’s take a look at each of those!
A.) Embed a booking IFrame to your website
An Iframe is a simple HTML code that you can easily add to your WordPress (or any other) site.
The Iframe can also be customized to match the look and feel of your website so that your site visitors will have a seamless booking experience and at the same time, be impressed with your professional setup.
You can use a booking software of your choice and embed its booking widget right on your website with the help of an Iframe code.
Some benefits of this method include:
- Users stay on your site during booking hours.
- It takes minimal time to execute this, you just have to paste a code.
- This does not require any money as embed codes are provided for free.
One major drawback is:
- Search engines might find it difficult to index embedded booking widgets. So, it is not great for SEO priorities.
B.) Link to an external site
This is the easiest method because all you need to do is create a button or menu item. This link will aid your visitors with the booking process.
The key benefits of this method:
- No time and money investment are required to build your customized booking website.
- Doesn’t require any sort of technical expertise for its execution.
The drawbacks of this method are:
- It reduces the time spent on your business website.
- You will be unable to analyze customer behavior as you won’t be able to track them. This can affect your analysis and future business strategies.
C.) Install a plugin
An effective booking plugin could prove to be a game-changer for your business. Once you find the right one, you can eradicate the possibility of losing customers to ineffective or less-than-ideal plugins that don’t do the job well.
Some benefits include:
- You can get a free (with limited features) as well as a paid plan.
- It’s very user-friendly and easy to set up. Just a few clicks and you are ready to go!
- It is compatible with both phones and desktops.
- It saves a lot of time and resources. You do not need to program it as it requires just a normal installation process.
Along with such benefits, there are a few drawbacks:
- You need to make sure that the one you are installing is not outdated.
- An outdated plugin can cause major security issues.
- Multiple plugins tend to slow down your website. In some cases, plugins from different developers do not work well in tandem.
Appointy is one of the most popular and reliable appointment scheduling software, which also has the best WordPress booking plugin.
It has all the features that businesses need – from accepting appointments, calendar bookings, and payments 24×7 to attracting more customers to your business right from your website and social media handles – in one easy-to-use user interface.
Appointy provides a freemium plan with a wide variety of features that are of great use if you are just starting up and are looking for a free WordPress booking tool.
D.) Connect using an API
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is the software intermediary that delivers your request to the provider that you’re requesting it from and then delivers the response back to you.
Some benefits of API are:
- They are SEO-friendly, as they are designed into your website CMS, thus helping search engines in crawling and indexing.
- APIs can collect both external and internal data which can help you with valuable information for the analysis of various performance metrics.
However, there are a few drawbacks:
- Building APIs requires adequate technical knowledge and experience, so hiring someone for the same is recommended.
- Similar to plugins, you need to make sure that you don’t build outdated APIs and that you update the current ones with time. Otherwise, it may lead to security issues.
But you don’t need to worry when you’re associated with Appointy. Appointy can help enterprises build customizable and advanced APIs under the enterprise scheduling plan, ensuring that you keep your business in check!
E.) Develop your custom-coded online booking system
Last but not the least, if you have a complex business structure along with high reliability on an online booking system, then a custom-coded online booking system is the perfect fit.
The advantages of having a custom-coded booking system are:
- It’s the best solution for a long-term plan.
- Minimizes issues that can be caused while using the methods mentioned previously.
- You have absolute control over the system.
The best fit also has a disadvantage:
- A highly expensive investment, as you will have to hire web designers and developers for this.
But with Appointy and its enterprise scheduling plan, our multi-step consultative process with the clients ensures that we deliver exactly what you need, right from scratch.
The only recommendation from our side would be to sit down and analyze its merits and demerits from a business perspective. This analysis will help you in deciding whether you will need it or not.
We hope this blog would have helped you gauge the different methods on how to add an online booking system to your website.
From a business owner’s perspective, you would have also been able to decide which one suits your business better.
The key takeaways from this blog are:
- An online booking system is a must in the post-pandemic world.
- It will help you follow health and safety guidelines
- It will help you improve the overall productivity of your business.
- You need to figure out which online booking system suits you the best by taking various factors like features, price, etc. into consideration.
- All the points mentioned above have their own merits and demerits, you need to choose what’s best for you.
Wish you the best of luck in the future! 🙂
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!