How to Setup Push Notification in WordPress with OneSignal?

How to Setup Push Notifications in WordPress?

There are different ways to deliver your valuable content to your target audience. Though organic traffic from search engines is the most preferable option, it is not easy for new website owners to stand out from the completion. Many site owners follow email marketing and paid advertisement as part of their marketing efforts. However, push notifications is another less used ways that many site owners do not use. In this article, we will explain how to setup push notifications in WordPress with OneSignal plugin.

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What is a Push Notification?

Did you receive notifications from apps on your Android or iPhone? In fact, many smartphones users completely rely on the notifications for checking urgent emails or get latest news updates. Similarly, Windows, macOS and all desktop platforms also can send notifications when you subscribe to an app or website. This is simply called push notifications which you can make use of to drive traffic to your content in WordPress. It looks something like below on the desktop and clicking on the notification will take you to the website that triggered the notification.

Users can subscribe to push notifications by providing access in the web browser when opening the website. Once the permission is granted by user, you as a website owner can trigger content to their devices.

Subscribe Notification Example
Subscribe Notification Example

Why to Use Push Notifications?

Push notifications have many advantages over tradition email marketing:

  • You do not need to collect user’s email which many users consider private.
  • You can instantly deliver new content to interested subscribers without any additional effort.
  • Push notifications can be sent for free when you have limited subscribers and you scale up as your subscribers grow.
  • It is also possible to send content to particular segment of your subscribers.
  • You can quickly send coupons and other important site notifications using push notifications.

Above all, conversion rate of push notifications is much higher than email marketing. When many subscribers click and read your content, you can make more revenue from display advertisements or through a product/affiliate sale.

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How to Setup Push Notifications in WordPress?

There are few popular plugins available for WordPress to setup your push notifications. However, most of the services have limited free features and you need to pay when your subscribers limit reaches to certain level. Among many plugins, OneSignal is the most popular as you can instantly start the setup with free option.

OneSignal Push Notifications Setup Process in WordPress

The process of setting up push notifications in WordPress is similar to setting up newsletter subscription.

  • Create an account in OneSignal website
  • Get App ID and API key
  • Install plugin in WordPress site and link ID and key
  • Customize settings
  • Test and start sending notifications

Let us explain each step in detail so that you can follow the same for your site.

1. Create OneSignal Account

First go to OneSignal website and create a new account. You can use email address for creating an account, or us Google/Facebook/GitHub account to login without additional email/password.

Create OneSignal Account
Create OneSignal Account

If you use email, you will receive a confirmation and click on that to verify your account.

OneSignal Account Created
OneSignal Account Created

2. Get App ID and API Key

Next step is to get two things – App ID and API key from your account. After verification of your email, you will see the welcome page like below. Enter a name for your app and select “Web” as your platform.

Create an App
Create an App

Click “Next: Configure Your Platform” button to proceed further. On the next configuration screen, select “WordPress Plugin or Website Builder” option and then “WordPress” from the list of available platforms.

Select WordPress Option
Select WordPress Option
  • Enter the name of your site, this can be the site title in your WordPress setup so that subscribers can remember your brand name.
  • Provide correct site URL with correct protocol HTTP or HTTPS and with WWW in the front.
  • Enable “Auto Resubscribe” option which is applicable only for HTTPS sites. This will make sure to retain your subscribers when then clear the browser’s cache or reinstall the browser.
  • Finally, provide a link to your site icon image that you want to show in the push notifications. The recommended size of the icon is 256 pixels in square. You can either provide the URL from your site after uploading the image in “Media > Library” section or directly upload the image in OneSignal website.
WordPress Site Setup
WordPress Site Setup

Leave the last “Advanced Push Settings” for Safari as disabled and click on “Save” button.

Advanced Settings
Advanced Settings

You will see the App ID and API key in the next section as below. You can ignore the Safari Web ID which is no more required separately. Leave the page open or copy the ID & key and paste in a text app for using in the next step.

Get App ID and API Key
Get App ID and API Key

Note that you can go back to OneSignal account settings and get the App ID and API key any time later. However, make sure not to share these details with anyone as they credentials are used for linking your OneSignal account and WordPress site.

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3. Install OneSignal Plugin

Next step is to login to your WordPress admin panel and navigate to “Plugins > Add New” section. Search for “OneSignal – Web Push Notifications” plugin then install and activate it on your site.

Install OneSignal Plugin
Install OneSignal Plugin

Go to “OneSignal Push“ menu and click “Configuration” tab. Simply paste the App ID and AI keys in the corresponding text boxes.

Enter App ID and API Key in Plugin Configuration
Enter App ID and API Key in Plugin Configuration

Basically, you are done with the settings and the push notifications will start showing in the browser when users visiting your site. However, you can change the default settings and customize as per your preferences.

4. Customize Settings

Under “Setup” tab, you can find the detail steps to setup the service under “Overview” tab. Other tabs show notification previews and the results in different platforms. You can ignore the “Safari Push” section as it no more required.

OneSignal Setup Tab
OneSignal Setup Tab

Scroll down on the “Configuration” tab where you have added the App ID and API keys to find more customization options.

  • Enable using post’s featured image in notification.
  • Select whether you want to automatically hide the notifications on the devices after delivery.
  • Customize the size, position of bell button.
Customize Push Notifications and Bell Icon
Push Notifications and Bell Icon Customization
  • Customize prompt text and welcome message shown after subscribing.
  • Enable automatic notifications when you create new posts (you can do this for custom post types as well) and add URL parameters for tracking.
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After setting up, click on “Save” button to save all your customization changes.

5. Test and Start Sending Notifications

Now that you have setup the plugin, you can view the published site to see how things look. Alternatively, go back to your OneSignal account page and click on the “Go to My Website” button showing below the step 5.

Add First User
Add First User

Your site should show the push notifications in browser and you can subscribe as a first user. Again, go back to your OneSignal account and click on “Finish” button to finish the setup process.

OneSignal Subscriber Statistics

You have no option to view the dashboard or statistics in WordPress admin panel. You can view the analytical statistics like subscriber numbers, country details and trigger a manual push from the dashboard.

OneSignal Dashboard
OneSignal Dashboard

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OneSignal Free and Paid Plans

OneSignal free accounts support the followings:

  • Unlimited subscribers with 10K recipients for a message for web push.
  • Six audience segments with ten data tags.
  • GDPR compliant and A/B testing.
  • Segment wise push and manual push.

Now that you may wonder how come everything is free. When you use free account, OneSignal will collect and use your data with third-party marketing companies for analysis. If you do not want them to sell your data then you have to upgrade to one of the premium plans. The price starts with $9 per month for 1K subscribers and varies depending upon the number of subscribers. You can check the dynamic pricing on their product page by selecting the number of subscribers.

OneSignal Pricing
OneSignal Pricing

Final Words

OneSignal is an easy way to setup push notification in WordPress sites. In our opinion, free plan is sufficient for a normal user while you may need premium plan to protect your privacy and send in-app mobile notifications.

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