How to Add Live Chat to a WordPress Site

Sean Lund-Brown

WordPress is a preferred choice for several different businesses who want a simple plug-and-play website that also affords them the opportunity to upgrade, expand, and customize things as they need without having to learn code or spend a fortune paying a developer. 

Your WordPress site is more than a digital brochure for your business. It’s a dynamic tool for sales, service, and marketing, or it can be if you use it properly. Right now, alongside all the other hot topics and trends, people are asking for real-time solutions. One of those, and one that you need to embrace wholeheartedly, is the option to add live chat to your website. 

Did you know that 46% of customers prefer live chat? 

Or how about the fact that 90% of all consumers expect brands to have an online customer service portal? 

We could go on, but no matter how many statistics we cite, the numbers are saying the same thing: live chat is a must for the future and it’s never going to go out of style. Plus, if you keep a live chat service on your website in the age of automation, you’ll eventually have something that other brands have long forgotten. Even though 60% of customers prefer automated self-service options for simple tasks, there are still a large number of people who want to talk to someone human. 

And, of course, there are always going to be some situations that require a human connection. Fortunately, it’s simple to integrate a live chat solution on your WordPress website (and when you enlist the assistance of the live chat agents at Smith.ai to handle it all for you, it gets even easier). 

Before we dig into installing your WordPress live chat tool (and we promise, it’s quick and easy enough that it’s worth the wait), let’s discuss a little more about what you can gain from offering live chat to your audience. 

The perks of live chat

There’s a lot to love about live chat, including the fact that it gives customers real-time access to your brand. Plus, when you partner with a team like Smith.ai, you don’t even have to invest the effort of managing or fielding the chats—we'll do it all for you. No matter who’s doing the talking, though, your business stands to gain several benefits from installing a live chat widget. 

Chat provides easy answers

Live chat makes it easy for you to give people answers and overcome their objections in a format that’s comfortable and low-stress for everyone. Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of management on your part. You can easily resolve issues or point them in the right direction and do it in real-time so there’s no waiting or risking lost interest. 

Improve your service experience

When you use live chat, you are creating a dynamic resource hub for your customers and anyone who wishes to contact your brand. You can meet your prospects and customers where they are, allowing them to get the convenience that the modern consumer demands and provide better solutions across the board. This will help you deliver a premium service experience from start to finish. 

Live chat increases conversions

When you give prospects the chance to reach out immediately, you can easily overcome their objections, address their concerns, and answer their questions at peak decision-making points throughout the buying journey. This will result in much higher conversion rates because people aren’t given time to reconsider while they await a response. 

You can use chats to gather data and insights

Live chat isn’t just for your customers. That’s right—you can gain several valuable insights when you put your website chat widget to use properly. You can easily get information from people you’re already assisting. They're more inclined to offer input when they’re getting something so valuable in return (your chat agents’ undivided attention in real-time). 

You can ask specific questions to generate more information about your prospects, or even get feedback about your marketing efforts, your brand, or the concerns of your audience. Then, you can use that insight to make improvements to your business on all the necessary fronts. You can even gather valuable information about how to find and prioritize the best leads and what information you’ll benefit from most when getting those leads to close. 

Deliver on customer expectations

What better reason to do something than because it’s what customers expect (or demand)? After all, these people are the entire reason for your brand’s existence and without them, you would have nothing. Therefore, installing a live chat feature not only offers all kinds of perks, but it delivers what customers want and makes sure that you live up to their expectations. This can go a long way in creating brand loyalty and increasing your reputation. 

Get in with a competitive advantage

Even though the numbers are suggesting that it’s essential, only around 9% of all websites offer live chat support to visitors. And of those, 21% of all chat requests go unanswered. The industry is improving, but it is young and lacking in several ways. Getting into the industry now gives you a competitive advantage of having live chat before everyone else, and perhaps even forging the way for those who come after you. 

And now, let’s get back to installing your own live chat plugin on a WordPress website. Here’s what you need to know. 



Adding live chat to WordPress websites

WordPress makes adding Live Chat just as easy as everything else on their website builder. Just log in to your account and navigate to the “Plugins” feature on the sidebar. Then, click the “Add New” button and search for the one that you want. 

Once you’ve found the chat plugin, install it and activate it (which may include setting up an account). Create and publish the new chat tool and then check to see whether it’s gone live on your website. After it’s live and looks good, give it a test run by using it a few times or having your team use it to make sure there aren’t any remaining kinks to work out. 

Here’s a breakdown of the process in screenshots to help you navigate on your own:


Navigate to Plugins on the left sidebar.


Click “Add New” next to the Plugins header.


Search the marketplace for the chat plugin that you want (we’ll go over that next). Install and activate your chosen live chat software.


Create and publish your chat tool, then check whether it’s live and test it out.

It’s a pretty simple process and it only takes a few minutes to do. Of course, you can choose a live chat tool that’s not offered in the Marketplace on WordPress and embed the code in your HTML instead of using the plugin feature. Here’s a glimpse of how that would work. 

Installing live chat with embed codes

Generally, you’ll find that your WordPress theme has an editable footer. You’ll want to scroll down in that section until you reach the final empty space right before the closing tag (</body>). 

Then, grab the embed code from your Live Chat dashboard or platform (which should be made readily and obviously available to you by a reputable provider). Copy that code, paste it into the designated footer area, and click “Update File”. 

Your widget should now be active, and you can test it to be sure that it works properly. 

If you’re using a theme that has an editable main page, you’ll do the same thing, but in the index.php or page.php template. If you’ve got the configurable footer option (rare for most WordPress themes), here’s how to proceed:

Go to Appearance > Themes > Customize 

On the left, look for something that says “Footer Menu” or a “Custom Code” header like pictured below where you can drop the HTML code for your live chat feature. 

Then, all you have to do is grab the code from your Dashboard, copy and paste it into the appropriate section, and click “Save”. Check your website to make sure the feature is live and then you can start testing it to make sure it’s ready to use. 

How to choose a live chat plugin or provider

Several different factors go into figuring out what kind of Live Chat solution your website could benefit from. It's going to be up to you to figure out which one will be best, but there are some guidelines that can help you get a better grasp of your choices. For starters, make sure that you choose a live chat platform that is scalable and designed for the size of your business needs. Other things to consider include:

  • Usability: For agents and customers alike, a live chat plugin needs to be user-friendly and provide people with the tools and resources that they need in a simple-to-access design. If the live chat software is difficult for customers or agents to use, it will not deliver the solutions that your brand needs and it will definitely not give the professional impression that you intend. 
  • Integrations: What kind of integrations does the live chat app offer? Can it fit into your website seamlessly? When you add live chat to your website, it shouldn’t make things more complicated. It should make things easier. Consider how the tool you use integrates with your tech stack and your website alike. 
  • WordPress Compatibility: If you’re building from WordPress, you’ll want to make sure that your chat plugin works with your site, both in terms of the theme or design that you’ve chosen and for the WordPress platform itself. Fortunately, WordPress offers tons of different options for a live chat tool, including several known and popular brands and apps. 
  • Automation and AI: Does your chat tool only provide live chat service, or does it have a chatbot or FAQ option that also allows you to give people a different way to interact with your brand. Chatbots and AI are great resources because they give people self-service options, but make sure those aren’t the only options they have by keeping your live chat staffed with experienced, relatable human agents. 
  • Customization Options: How many ways can you customize and scale your live chat tool to fit your brand perfectly? Think about how you can integrate it on your website, what kind of welcome message customization options you have, and check out other features like automated workflows, notifications, and more. 

All of these elements are the ones that should be on your list when you’re in the market for live chat software. It’s about making improvements, after all, and you can’t get better with a subpar addition to your tech stack and customer service solutions. Fortunately, when you choose live chat, you can also choose to enlist the help of our dedicated live chat agents who will go above and beyond the call as the face of your brand to handle all live chat interactions. 

Let Smith.ai handle the live chat and more 

If you’re ready to embrace the future of digital business and marketing, you’ll be pleased to see the array of solutions, resources, and tools available to assist you along the way. Our experienced team of live chat agents is capable of handling all kinds of live chat demands for your business, acting as the professional face that you deserve, and delivering the personalized, friendly service that consumers demand. 

If you don’t want to deal with the work of setting up and managing a live chat plugin on your WordPress site, you don’t have to. That’s where we come in, and when you hire us to handle your live chat and other online messaging services, you’ll be able to trust that everything is done right, right away, even when you’re busy with other things. 

To learn more about the live chat solutions available from Smith.ai, schedule a consultation now. You can find out all about how we can deliver what your brand needs, as well as how we can help with things like Facebook Chat and SMS message answering, and so much more. You can also find us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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