Push notifications are an effective way to keep in touch with visitors after they’ve left your site.
They’re also a great way to increase traffic to your site.
For them to work, all a visitor to your site has to do is agree to receive notifications. After that, those visitors will start getting alerts or notifications whenever you decide to send them.
The notifications can be manually sent out when you want to communicate with your subscribers. They can also be automatically generated each time a predefined condition is met, such as a new post is published on your blog, or a new product has gone live.
More traffic to your site often means more conversions. So if your goals are increased sales or sign-ups, using push notifications to generate traffic should result in more profits. But even if your goals are just more readers for your blog, push notifications are still worth enabling.
If you want to forge a lasting connection with your visitors, adding push notifications to your website is one of the best options, along with starting an email list for your site. Best of all, you can add push notifications to a WordPress website for free. Not only that, but the process is very straightforward – provided you choose the right tools.
If you follow this guide, you’ll know exactly how to add push notifications to your WordPress website for free and increase your chances of staying in touch with new visitors to your site, gaining the ability to encourage them to come back and check out your content again and again.
What are Push Notifications?
Just so that we’re on the same page, in the context of this topic, push notifications are notifications that are primarily delivered to subscribers via their desktop or mobile browser.
The visitor will see a push notification when one is triggered by a website they have subscribed to. If they click on the notification, they’ll be taken to the relevant page on that website.
As long as the browser they subscribed to your site in, such as Chrome, is running on their device, they will get the notification. They don’t need to be viewing your site at the time.
So regardless of whether your visitors access your site on a desktop or mobile device or what browser they use, implementing push notifications will increase your ability to connect with your audience and attempt to bring them back to your site whenever you want.
Benefits of Push Notifications
Now that we’re clear on what web push notifications are, let’s look at some of their benefits and why you should think about enabling them on your site:
- Easy opt-in process – visitors only need to click once or twice to subscribe.
- A simple way to build a list of subscribers.
- Notifications are very noticeable and hard to miss.
- Effective at generating return visitors.
- Ideal for announcing new products or services to your audience.
- More visitors to your site can increase conversions.
- Delivers a key benefit of having a mobile app (push notifications) without needing to have a mobile app.
- Can be very easy to set up on a WordPress website.
In short, the main benefit of push notifications that are delivered via a browser on smartphone and desktop devices is that you can quickly and effortlessly ask subscribers to return to your site in just a few clicks.
Once those visitors have arrived at your site, you can use the opportunity to share a new piece of content with them, promote a new product, inform them about your services, or anything else that will help you achieve your goals.
As you can enable push notifications for WordPress sites without any cost and in a short amount of time, they’re something all website owners should consider.
How to Add Push Notifications to Your WordPress Website with OneSignal
There are many services and plugins for adding push notifications to a WordPress website.
However, after exploring the other options and trying out the leading contenders, OneSignal should be the best option for most people.
OneSignal is a push notification service that can easily integrate with WordPress via a free plugin.
Some of the main reasons to use OneSignal and its WordPress plugin to add push notifications to your site are its ease of use, a generous free plan (up to 10,000 subscribers), a popular user feedback rating (4.4 stars out of 5), and a history of being regularly updated.
OneSignal will also deliver push notifications to a broad range of devices and browsers, covering desktop and mobile as well as Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and more.
The plugin has lots of useful features to ensure you’re able to set up and run push notifications on your WordPress in the way that you want, including:
- Automatic notifications that are sent to subscribers.
- Manual notifications that are sent as required.
- Ability to create segments of subscribers and notify them separately.
- Ability to customize the opt-in prompt that’s displayed to visitors.
- Analytics tools for tracking the delivery of push notifications.
- A/B testing functionality for experimenting with different types of notifications.
- Ability to schedule notifications using a range of criteria.
If OneSignal sounds like a tool you’d like to use to enable push notifications and start driving re-engagement at your WordPress website, read on to find out how to set up this service.
1) Install the OneSignal Plugin
OneSignal is freely available from the official WordPress plugin directory. Thanks to this, it can be installed directly from inside your WordPress dashboard, all in just a few clicks.
To do so, log in to your WordPress dashboard. Then click on the Add New item located under the Plugins menu of the dashboard sidebar.
Next, search for OneSignal. Then click on the Install Now and then Activate button for the plugin.
2) Create a OneSignal Account
You’ll also need a OneSignal account to use the push notification service on your site. After you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you’ll be prompted to sign up with OneSignal.
3) Connect Your WordPress Site to Your OneSignal Account
After following the prompts, you should have your OneSignal account set up and ready for use.
Next, you’ll need to copy a few details from your account area on the OneSignal website and paste them into the OneSignal area of your WordPress dashboard.
The OneSignal area of your WordPress dashboard has instructions for this process. There’s also the OneSignal Web Push Quickstart Guide to help you.
4) Configure the Push Notifications
Once you’ve copied the APP ID, Rest API Key, and Safari Web ID from OneSignal into your WordPress dashboard, you can configure how push notifications will work on your website.
By default, visitors to your site will see the notification in their browser that prompts them to subscribe for notifications.
The plugin will also display a floating icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Clicking on the icon gives visitors the ability to change their notification subscription status.
One potential issue is that browser ad-blockers can prevent the notifications from the plugin from being displayed. Therefore, if you don’t see the notification or floating icon when testing the plugin, it might be blocked by your browser configuration. To get around this, try a different browser or disable any ad-blocking features of your current browser.
Once you’ve established that the OneSignal push notifications are working, you can start customizing their appearance.
5) Customize the Notification Display
Once you’ve activated OneSignal on your site, the subscription notifications are ready to go.
However, you can customize them if you’d like to change their appearance. Through the plugin dashboard, it’s possible to change the prompt text that asks visitors whether they’d like to subscribe or not. You can also change the button text.
You can also send a welcome notification to new subscribers. Again, the contents of this notification can be customized. One option is to change the URL that the visitor is taken to if they click on the notification. If you have a particular page on your site, you’d like to promote, you could add the URL to this notification.
6) Sending Notifications
By default, OneSignal will automatically send a push notification when you create a new WordPress post.
However, you can easily disable this and manage it post-by-post.
If you’d like to send an ad hoc notification, you can do so from your account dashboard on the OneSignal website.
From there, you can create the notification, choose which devices it’s sent to, and decide whether to send it to all of your subscribers or just a segment of them.
That covers how to add push notifications to WordPress websites. As mentioned, there’s a lot more you can do with OneSignal, so be sure to check out their online documentation.
As we’ve just seen, enabling web push notifications for WordPress is pretty straightforward.
You’ll need to create a free OneSignal account, install the free WordPress plugin, and then connect your site to your account.
But after that, visitors to your site will be asked to subscribe to notifications. If they do, when you publish a new piece of content, those subscribers will automatically get a notification giving them the option to view the piece of content quickly. You can also manually send notifications whenever you want to reach out to your subscribers.
Now you have a way to encourage previous to re-engage with your site and its content, almost on autopilot.
However, if you want to get more hands-on with web push notifications, you can experiment with different messages to see which ones get the best response.
Regardless of how much time you have to invest, push notifications are a great way to improve engagement at your site.
If you’re looking for another way to connect with your visitors, check out our guide to adding an email list to your WordPress website for free.
If you have any questions about this topic, please leave a comment below.