I love messaging. I love being able to hop on a website and get a quick answer to my question. However, this isn’t always a great idea when it comes to your website. Frequently I’m asked about whether a site should have live chat or not, and my answer is this: it depends.

What is Live Chat?

Live Chat is a feature on a website that allows you or an agent for your business to chat directly with website visitors. Lots of websites have it, particularly if it’s a website that allows troubleshooting or support.

Live Chat

The benefits of having live chat include:

  • qualifying your leads by asking direct questions
  • creates a new channel for potential clients to contact you
  • allows for instant communication with potential customers
  • potentially initiate contact with site visitors for engagement
  • responding to new customers faster makes a better first impression

Should your website have live chat?

This is a different question altogether, and I have a few questions you should answer before you consider adding live chat.

  1. Are you available and willing to respond to inquiries on your website as they come in, or do you have staff you can trust to do that?
  2. Are you interested in paying for a live chat service to manage your live chat?
  3. Who is your target audience? Depending on the audience, live chat may not be best suited for your demographic. If your demographic is senior citizens, live chat is not likely to enhance your leads.
  4. What kind of questions do you typically get asked? If you were able to answer those questions on a live chat, would those contacts be more likely to engage with your business?

Do your answers indicate that live chat is a good options for you? Then it may be time to get started.

How do I add live chat to my website?

There’s no one way. There are a number of free and paid plugins or systems you can use to add live chat, and it all depends on a number of factors. Will you be manning the chat window yourself? Do you want to customize the appearance? Do you want to respond on your phone via an app? Here are a few options:

  • LiveChat: This is one of the most well-known chat systems available in use all over the web, and not just on WordPress sites. It has a 30 day free trial, a phone and desktop app, and integrates easily with WordPress.
  • Formilla: Formilla is a great option for those just starting out because there’s a free level with limited features. This allows you to get your feet wet before committing, or if it works for you, keep it free forever. It’s easy to set up and has plenty of notification options and also has an app for iPhone and Android.
  • WP Live Chat: This is one of the most popular WordPress Live Chat plugins and it’s free. There’s no phone app though, so you need to be at your computer to respond to your chats. (Although I hear that’s something that’s being planned.)
  • Tawk.to: This is a free chat service you can add to your website with a lot of great features. The software is free to use, but you can hire the company for agents to respond to your chats if needed. It also has multiple Apps for use on desktop and mobile.

Adding chat to your website can increase leads and conversions, but does require care and management to make work. Unanswered chats won’t bring you any benefits.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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