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:
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:
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 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 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.
Roost Web Push
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 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 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?