Wouldn’t it be great to stay in touch with your visitors even when they’re on someone else’s website? To let them know when you publish a new post no matter what they’re doing? Push notifications allow you to do just that, and they’re easy to integrate into your WordPress website.

Push notifications can help drive traffic to your website and, if you’re running an e-commerce store, increase your sales.

In this post, I’ll show you some examples of push notifications, tell you why they’re beneficial, and then show you how to set them up for your WordPress site.

Push notifications update your fans immediately

If you own a smartphone, you’re probably familiar with push notifications. Push notifications initially gained traction on mobile but have since become popular for desktop users as well.

They work like this:

A person visits your website. On your website, they get a request from you to receive push notifications:

1-push-notification-accept

If they accept, you gain the ability to send them notifications that show up on their desktop and/or mobile phone.

Then, whenever you publish a new post or want to update your website fans, you can directly send them a notification like this:

3-notification-example

As long as their browser is open, users will see your message no matter if they’re on your website, another website, or anywhere else on their desktop.

The software that supports push notification includes:

  • Chrome (desktop and Android)
  • Safari (Mac only – no iOS)
  • Firefox (desktop and Android)

Push notifications increase your traffic

Now that you know what push notifications are, you can probably see how they might be beneficial to your website’s traffic. Here are a few areas in which they excel:

  • Push notifications allow you to bring back loyal users. A user liked you enough to accept your push notification request, but maybe they’ve been busy and forgotten about you. A push notification with your latest post will allow you to show them new content and bring them back to your site.
  • Push notifications are way more visible than email. Email open rates are paltry in comparison. It’s easy for people to completely miss your email, even if they’re interested in your content. Push notifications eliminate this problem by making your latest posts incredibly visible to your fans. Email click rates are usually around 2-5%, whereas push notifications average around an 11% click-rate.
  • If you’re using Woocommerce or another plugin to turn your WordPress site into an e-commerce store, push notifications allow you to send special offers and coupons to your customers. This brings back customers to purchase again. PushCrew has been documenting successful case studies of e-commerce stores using push notifications to boost their sales.

Push notifications are powerful. Don’t abuse them.

One caveat, push notifications are great, but it may be tempting to abuse them. Remember how much trust users are placing in you when they accept your push notification request. Don’t abuse that trust. You’ll be much more successful in the long-term by respecting your users.

With that being said, let’s dig into some of the plugins that will allow you to implement push notifications for your WordPress site:

5 Best WordPress push notifications plugins

These 5 plugins are the best ways to implement push notifications into your website.

PushCrew

5-pushcrew-wordpress-plugin

PushCrew is a popular push notifications service. They’re not exclusive to WordPress, but they have a dedicated plugin which allows you to easily set things up.

PushCrew can send notifications to Chrome (desktop & Android), Firefox, and Safari. That’s pretty good coverage as far as plugins go. It also allows you to completely customize your message.

The only downside? It doesn’t automatically notify users of new posts. You’ll have to manually create a notification for each new post. There is a silver lining to this – it ensures you never accidently send too many notifications.

EDIT: with PushCrew’s new function RSS-to-Push, users will be notified when there is a new blog post on your RSS feed.

Price: Free as long your subscriber list contains fewer than 500 people. If it grows larger, you’ll need to opt for a paid plan.

OneSignal

6-onesignal-wordpress-plugin

OneSignal is another plugin that supports Chrome (desktop & Android), Firefox, and Safari. It’s got over 3,000 active installs with a 4.5 rating, making it one of the most popular push notification plugins on the WordPress directory.

Unlike PushCrew, OneSignal allows you to set up automatic notifications so that any time you publish a new post it will automatically send a notification. You can choose to send notifications at other times, as well.

OneSignal also offers two awesome targeting options:

  • You can choose when users get the opt-in message. This is important because you don’t want to request push notification privileges on a user’s first visit – you want to make sure they’re a fan first. As far as I can tell, this feature is unique to OneSignal.
  • You can target by segments. OneSignal lets you only send messages to certain segments of your audience, like people who have visited your site X number of times.

Analytics round out an overall awesome feature-set.

Price: Free

Roost Web Push

7-roost-wordpress-plugin

Roost Web Push allows you to target Chrome (desktop & Android), Safari, and Firefox.

It allows you to send automatic notifications. You can send for all new posts or only posts in a certain category. You can also choose to send notifications when updating a post.

Analytics and scheduling are a couple of the other main features.

With over 1,000 active installs, Roost is another popular plugin on the WordPress directory. Still, for my money (which is $0 in this case), I would choose OneSignal unless there’s something specific you love about Roost.

Price: Free (with an unclear “Contact Sales” message on their company website).

PushAssist

8-pushassist-wordpress-plugin

PushAssist lets you send to Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

It offers a feature list similar to OneSignal. You can segment your users, automatically send notifications, and get detailed analytics.

It also has a nice feature where you can preview what your notification will look like in real-life. On top of that, there are many opt-in templates to choose from.

One thing I can’t determine is whether or not PushAssist allows you to delay displaying the opt-in prompt like OneSignal does. That feature tilts things towards OneSignal in my opinion.

EDITORS NOTE: We got word from the devs of PushAssist, it IS possible to delay the opt-in prompt.

Price: Free notifications to up to 3,000 subscribers, paid after that.

Pushup Notifications

9-pushup-notifications-wordpress-plugin

PushUp Notifications is only available for Safari, which is limiting. Why did I include it? Because it has a nifty feature I wish other plugins would adopt. Whenever you publish a new post, PushUp Notifications gives a little check mark above the “Publish” button which allows you to choose whether or not to send a notification. Super simple.

If you run a website targeting Apple fanatics, PushUp Notifications might be perfect for you. Otherwise, you should probably pick another plugin and tell them to implement the aforementioned feature ;)

Price: $14.99 set up, then free for small plans. Paid beyond that.

Wrapping it up

As you may have noticed, many of these services are paid after you pass a certain threshold. If you’re just looking for a free solution, OneSignal, PushAssist or PushCrew are probably your best bets. PushCrew is great if you want to always customize your notifications, while OneSignal and PushAssist are nice for their targeting and automation. All offer detailed analytics. You can pick the one that best fits your needs.

My overall favorite? OneSignal.

As desktop push notifications are still a relatively new phenomenon, I’m sure we’ll see the number of plugins increase as more developers and businesses jump into the fray.

For now, did I miss a good one? Have you used push notifications and achieved a positive or negative effect?


Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

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8 Comments

  1. Hi,

    This is an interesting concept, and I have seen it on few sites.

    I always choose not to allow notifications when some site asks me to.

    I think most people do the same. It is some kind of fear.
    Like what is this notification for, this site wants to access my browsing and privacy data, etc.

    What about mobile phones.

    Does this notification work for handheld devices too?

    What if a published post and subscriber is not online? Will he get a notification when he opens browser?

    • Hi Kasa,

      I agree with your first point. That’s why I think OneSignal’s delay feature is so important. A lot of sites ask for push notifications right away, which is a big turn off to a lot of people. I think you should always try to delay asking until you have a good guess that the person is actually a repeat visitor/fan.

      Some of these will work for some mobile devices. I don’t know of any that work for iOS (without turning your website into an app, which some plugins I didn’t list can help with). But a lot of the above will work on Chrome that’s installed on Android.

      For your last question, I’m not 100% sure. I know I get some notifications when I boot up my computer, but it doesn’t seem to work 100% of the time.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Ahmed LAHMAR

    I use pushify.com their free plan offers unlimited subscriptions and comes with awsome features

    • Pushify looks intriguing! They’re pretty new though, right? I checked out their plugin page on the repository and it looks like it’s only been around about a month. Definitely another one to consider.

  3. I’m hoping some larger websites implement Push Notifications are publish real data on number of subscribers and referral traffic. Without that this just seems like another idea which might piss users off more than engage them.

    The pushcrew article gives their data, but they are the product creator, so the data is not as objective and not “real world” like a news site or heavily trafficed blog would be.

    • I think if you request push notifications the second your visitor lands on your site, it’s definitely going to piss a lot of people off. Some people still say it works, but I would never do that personally, even if it did work. Because even if you’re gaining subscribers, you’ll never see the part of the iceberg under the water – people who get pissed.

      I think asking at a later time is much less likely to do that. At least personally, if a site asks after I’ve been visiting regularly, I may not grant permission, but it doesn’t annoy me. If they ask right away, I get annoyed.

  4. You lost PushAll.ru – Its on Russian now, but we translate service to English soon.
    Features:
    1. Its platform for push-notifications with more 2k channels and +30k users
    2. WebPush Notifications to Chrome, Safari, Firefox
    3. Plugin Notification to Chrome with history of pushes.
    4. Telegram Notifications with bot.
    5. Email notifications
    6. Notifications from PushAll Android App
    7. Notifications from PushAll iOS app beta
    8. SocketPush if ports is blocked
    9. And methods for recieve choose user! And can be conbinate.

    If u can help me with English – write me to Email (on bottom on site)

    • Cool Oleg – would love to check it out once it’s all in English.

      I sent you an email too – I’ve actually just done something similar for another Russian-speaking service.

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