How to sell tickets using Wordpress
You've got a site built on Wordpress and you want to sell tickets? Seems a reasonable request. What are your options?
Third party ticket websites
Let's first address the billion dollar gorilla in the room whenever it comes to ticket sales. Eventbrite. The option you've heard of a million times before. Using Eventbrite you can create an event and get a URL you can send your customers to make a sale.
The great thing about Eventbrite is it's super easy to use, has a great interface, and you can be setup and selling tickets fast. It also has a whole host of advanced features such as 'seating plans' which not all services offer.
But, this comes with huge downsides. You're stuck on the Eventbrite platform. This means to sell tickets you need to send your customers to the Eventbrite website. While they're there, they'll have other events promoted to them and you completely loose any sense of 'brand'. It's the equivalent of sending your customers to Youtube. There's a good chance they'll get distracted and never return back to your site.
Eventbrite also has huge fees if you are selling tickets in any sort of quantity. For example selling 100 tickets at $10.00 costs a mind blowing $137. A massive 13.7%!
So what are your other options?
Using Wordpress plugins is where things become much more exciting. These plugins allow you to sell tickets directly from your own Wordpress website.
This means that there's no need to send your customer to another website. You maintain control over everything. It's a much more fluid experience for the customer and doesn't have the jarring effect of sending them to a completely different platform.
Luckily Wordpress has a huge eco system of plugins that can help you to sell tickets.
There's two types of Wordpress plugins for selling tickets:
Self hosted plugins
Self hosted plugins form the majority of what's available. 'Self hosted' means that the plugin and its code lives on your server.
The benefits to this are that you maintain control over everything. If you're so inclined you could go in and edit the plugin code so it does exactly what you want. You're also not reliant on any other third party services.
Because the code lives on your server you need to make sure you're on top of all the maintenance that comes with that. Updating Wordpress plugins is essential for security reasons. But this can be an absolute nightmare. It's often a big job that involves backing everything up, installing the update and hoping nothing breaks.
Another huge issue is security. When you host all the code, you also host all the user data. Every time someone enters their email, name, and payment information this is all stored on your servers. If you were ever hacked and this information leaked it would be your responsibility.
The Events Calendar is one of the most popular calendar plugins available for Wordpress and has a massive 800,000 installs. It has a huge team of developers behind it and a whole host of plugins to extend its functionality. One of which is Event Tickets and Registration.
The Event Tickets and Registration plugin allows the Event Calendar to sell tickets. This is great because you can use 'The Event Calendar' to display all your events, and then the 'Event Tickets and Registration' plugin to sell them.
The biggest downside with 'The Events Calendar' is that it is an intensive application. It can cause your site to slow down if you don't have a powerful enough server and you don't keep an eye on things. Remember me saying that plugins run all their code on your own hardware? This means it can sometimes be a bad fit if you're using as cheap shared server.
Believe me when I say that if your website is slow, your customers will have little patience.
Tickera is another Wordpress plugin that seems to be well recommended. Something of note is the huge amount of payment gateways they support.
Another option is a hosted solution. But what does this mean exactly?
A hosted solution means the service provider hosts all the code and data. This means you never need to worry about updates, or whether your server can handle the load.
Think Youtube for example. If you embed a Youtube video on your website, it's Youtube that is hosting all the code. You never need to worry about updates. It just works. That's the beauty of a hosted solution.
Event Calendar App (Yep that's our product. Apologies if we're biased.) is a complete solution for displaying your events and selling tickets to them on Wordpress. We host everything on our servers, meaning that you don't need to worry about anything. We handle updates, security, and making sure your website stays fast.
Importantly, we host everything but your customer never leaves your website (unlike Eventbrite). They can see your events, and complete the sale without ever leaving.
How does it work?
You can sign up for an account and use our editor to create an Event Calendar.
Events can then be set up to take payment. This includes everything you would expect from a ticketing app like ticket types, custom forms, coupons, confirmation emails etc.
Event Calendar App uses Stripe as a payment processor. You get paid straight into your Stripe account. There's no fees (on our side) and we don't act as a middleman.
Adding it to your website, if we go back to our Youtube example, is as simple as embedding a Youtube video on your website. Event Calendar App generates an embed code that you can add anywhere on your Wordpress website.
Which option to choose?
If you want the absolute simplest way to sell some tickets, particularly if it's a single event, then I would go with Eventbrite. As long as you're ok swallowing the fees, or passing them along to your customer.
If you want a solution that is completely self hosted, and you're confident handling servers, security and updates then The Events Calendar or Tickera are both very good solutions.
If you want a solution where all the hard work of IT infrastructure is done for you, then Event Calendar App is the solution for you.