6 Best Webinar Tools for WordPress
Webinars (web seminars) are online meetings or lectures typically conceived to educate the participants. A webinar typically means real-time interaction with visitors – an indispensable way of community building. For some websites, this can be an effective avenue of growth, depending, of course, on what you’re offering.
It comes as no surprise, then, that there is no shortage of tools designed to aid WordPress users in organizing webinars – especially recently, with the idea of working from home gaining ever more traction. This is why we have created this curated toolbox for you to pick and choose from and create your perfect WordPress webinar.
But first, let us go over some basic features we think you should consider.
Webinar WordPress ThemesView Collection
What Do I Want From WordPress Webinar Tools?
Firstly, webinars are educational. You want tools which facilitate sharing of information. If you (or your staff, or associates, or guest lecturers) are going to be delivering your content in real time, you want a tool which supports video-conferencing and file sharing, possibly collaborative document editing or a similar feature.
Secondly, webinars are not video-tutorials: they are supposed to be interactive. Depending on the size of the audience you expect and the exact type of content you are offering, you may want them to be able to interact with you and each other. You also want a set of moderation tools to keep the discussion from going off-piste.
Finally, if you are running a paid course, you may want to restrict your content to paying customers. In that case, a registration form is the least you could do, but you may want to look into more security features and payment gateway integration.
Now, of course, if you’re in the business of selling complex educational content, such as courses, you might want a full learning management system for WordPress, not just a simple webinar platform. In that case, we have a whole list of LMS plugins for you to peruse. Only you know what’s best for you.
With that in mind, let us kick off our list of best webinar tools for WordPress users.
If you are looking for a free solution for your webinar needs, do spare a look at WebinarPress. The plugin uses either YouTube Live‘s functionality for real-time addresses, or any of your prerecorded content uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo or hosted on your server. It comes with a question and answer feature which you can use to address your audience‘s issues later, if you don‘t want to do it live on video.
The plugin is fully responsive, meaning your webinar will look good regardless of the device your visitors might be using. WebinarPress also collects your visitors‘ names and e-mail addresses, allowing you to send custom e-mail reminders, and, even if they miss it, your visitors may replay your videos if they so choose.
The Pro version of the plugin comes with even more useful functionalities, such as payment- or membership-based access, Call to Action elements, past and upcoming webinar widgets, integration with WooCommerce and Google calendar and more.
Zoom has recently become one of the world‘s most popular video-conferencing tools. With Zoom Video Webinars, you can harness its power to help you create a webinar which will appeal to your visitors. Zoom integrates with Facebook and YouTube, specifically their Live functionalities, allowing you to extend your online presence to these channels. You also get full reporting and analytics so you can be better informed when planning future events.
What we particularly like is the set of host controls: you can moderate the discussion by muting or unmuting your panelists, allow your visitors to become panelists and generally steer the discussion as constructively and productively as you can.
And with the independently developed Video Conferencing with Zoom plugin, you can integrate your Zoom webinar with your website with ease. And while Zoom itself is not free for event organizers, at least this plugin is.
Skype is a nearly ubiquitous chat and conferencing app, especially among Windows users. Its basic version is free, and you can use it to organize a small-scale conference. It makes no distinction between the panel and other participants, meaning you have no control over the discussion. It does support file sharing, but that‘s about it.
With Skype for Business, though, you also get a shared whiteboard, for easier presentation, and with the Meeting Broadcast feature, you can, unsurprisingly, broadcast your meeting to up to 10.000 other Skype users.
To integrate Skype meetings with your WordPress website, we suggest a Skype link whitelisting plugin such as Allow Skype Protocol.
Apache OpenMeetings is a free and open source alternative to premium conferencing software. It is replete with useful additional features, such as instant messages, white board, and collaborative document editing.
Apache OpenMeetings also supports meeting recording, meaning that you can rebroadcast your webinar for users who did not make it to the live broadcast, and also has a planning (calendar) feature to make sure there are as few of them as possible. Moderators have a range of useful tools, such as disallowing or allowing whiteboard use for individual users, allowing one participant to speak while muting others, and allowing or disallowing video or audio for individual users.
With WebinarJam, you get a complete webinar solution in one neat package. This premium app‘s features include panels of up to 6 panelists, audience chat (with sticky announcements, highlighted comments, moderation tools and more), and automated recordings. WebinarJam will record even chat comments and reproduce the entire event, including chat and comments, not just your presentation. There is also a calendar feature which allows you to schedule live and replay sessions. The developers also promise high definition streaming across all devices ranging from average home computers to mobile phones. WebinarJam supports audiences of up to 5.000 members.
WebinarIgnition is a comprehensive service allowing you to create, organize, and manage free or paid webinars from your WordPress dashboard. It comes with user friendly templates for webinar pages which you can customize or simply use as is. The plugin uses YouTube Live, Livestream or Ustream for streaming, but supports embedding live video into your WordPress website.
On the moderator‘s end, we find the live console, a moderation and reporting tool. You can use it to monitor the number of attendees, manage in-stream call-to-action messages and field live questions from your visitors.
Of course, WebinarIgnitions capabilities come at a hefty price – but it is a one-time fee, which still gets you lifetime support and updates.
These are our picks for top WordPress webinar tools. But which one is right for you? Well, the first thing to consider is the budget. If you are working on a shoestring budget or prefer open source software, try Apache or WebinarPress, the latter especially if you do not have a strong technical background. If you are already used to Skype or Zoom, why not try and integrate your conferencing software of choice into your website? Of course, if you are prepared to dish out a hefty sum for a comprehensive, dedicated webinar suit, we suggest you go with Webinar Jam or WebinarIgnition. In each case, peruse the features list carefully – you know your audience and your capabilities. The choice, as always, is up to you.
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