How to Set Up a WordPress Chat Plugin for Your Website
If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either a WordPress developer or designer, or maybe even both! If not, then perhaps it’s time to consider becoming more involved with the platform and setting up a WordPress career. With so much talk of communication and collaboration through platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Facebook Groups, it’s a surprise that more WordPress users haven’t jumped on board already.
If you’re looking to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, or simply want to enhance communication between members of your team, then this article is for you. We’ll explore how to set up a WordPress chat plugin that can act as a central gateway for all your team’s communication. It’ll only take a minute to set up, but it can make a huge difference in how your team works together.
WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform. It’s much more versatile than that, and has been designed to be used in a variety of contexts, including for websites, podcasts, blogs, portfolios, and more.
WordPress was first released in 2007, and since then it has grown to become the de facto standard for publishing websites, whether you’re looking for a simple blog or a full-blown news site. If you’re curious as to why so many prominent figures in media, technology, and business have set up blogs on WordPress, it’s because of the platform’s versatility and massive community of users.
WordPress is also extremely popular with developers. If you’re a programmer or a web designer looking to spice up your portfolio or establish yourself as a go-to person for freelance work, then WordPress is the perfect choice. Finally, because WordPress is free, it’s an ideal choice for anyone who’s looking to start a blog or news site. There’s no cost and no risk in giving it a try.
What is a chat plugin?
A chat plugin is a piece of software that connects your team’s instant messaging applications (like Slack, Kik, and WhatsApp) to your website. When a visitor of your website clicks the Plugin button in the footer, they’ll be redirected to an external URL that begins with “https://”, and contains a file called “i.wpchat”. This URL will launch a new chat room for the member or members of your team who have installed the plugin.
An embedded webcam allows others in the chat room to see you while you’re chatting, while text chat is also supported.
Before you begin, make sure that your team members have installed the WordPress Chats plugin. If you have an administrator account, you can give permission to install the plugin for particular URLs, such as https://yourdomain.com or https://yourdomain.com/about-us. Once the plugin is installed, click Settings in the admin area to view the URLs to which you granted permission.
Now, let’s get to the fun part: setting up your chat room!
Create a Support Link
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a support link for your chat room. This can be done from your WordPress dashboard: click Settings > Appearance > Links > Create a New Link. Name the link Support and enter the following URL (make sure you use your domain):
Once the link is created, you can click Edit to make any necessary changes. When you’re ready, click Save changes.
Set Up a Room Topic
Next, you’ll want to set up a topic for your chat room. This is similar to the support link, but you’ll be using the topic to organize your conversations. As a general rule, start with a short introduction to pull people into the room and get the conversation going. Remember: Your chat room is a place for collaboration, so make sure that the first thing people see when they arrive is something that indicates this.
For example, if your team is part of a larger firm, then you might want to set up a room for each department, or team, within your company. Alternatively, you could use the topic to create a forum where your team can discuss specific projects or initiatives.
Organize Your Topics Using Circles
After you’ve set up a few topics, you’ll realize that they aren’t always easy to navigate. If you’ve ever been in a circle of parents gathering for a family picnic, then you know how difficult it can be to figure out who’s saying what. The good news is that WordPress comes with a built-in circle feature! This feature allows you to visually group conversations into circles, so that you can easily keep track of what’s been said and who’s said what.
To illustrate how this works, say that you’ve set up a chat room for yourself and a colleague. You can create a circle for yourself and add your colleague as a secondary circle. This way, you’ll be able to see who’s said what in the room without having to check individual messages.
If you want to add more colleagues, you can drag their name into the circle and connect them to the conversation. Doing this will create a chain of communication where everyone connected to the conversation can see it, but only those in the circle can read it.
Make Sure Your Chat Room Is Secure
People will always have the temptation to try and hack into other people’s computers. This isn’t specifically related to your chat room but it’s important to keep in mind when setting up any public platform, whether it’s yours or a third party (like a hotel or restaurant website).
You’re making a sacrificial choice by giving people access to your computer and letting them publish whatever they want, but it’s also your responsibility to ensure that your computer is secure. There are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure that your chat room is as secure as possible:
- Use a strong password.
- Only authorize certain APIs that you feel are necessary.
- Keep your computer protected from malware.
- Update your software and patches.
- Review your backups and take necessary steps to ensure data safety.
Pro-Tip: Include A Brief Bio About Yourself
It won’t hurt to give a brief bio about yourself if someone is interested in learning more about you. The quick and dirty version of a bio is that you’re a web designer or developer who is looking for a part-time job. Your full name and email will only be used if they’re requested and you don’t have to provide your contact information (unless you want to).
Having a short biography will make your chat room a bit more personal, and provide visitors with a better sense of connection.