Have you ever wanted to create events and let people join your event right at the comfort of WordPress? Today let us introduce you to a free WordPress plugin called Meetup that will let you effectively create and manage events on your WordPress-powered site.
Why Create Events on WordPress
Granted, these days it's more popular and easier to create and manage events on Facebook and Google+. Everybody is doing it. But if you can do it on your own website, it not only creates a positive image towards your brands, it also gives you more control over the various managements aspects of WordPress.
For example, you can set up when the registration of your event starts and ends as well as set the number of seats available. So let's take a look at the plugin we'll be reviewing today.
Meetup is a free WordPress plugin developed by Tareq Hasan. you can download from WordPress repository. It lets you create events, manage attendees, registration and speakers. The plugin is highly customizable, so you can add as many speakers as you want, define how many seats are available for the event, how many seats can one person book, as well as the event agenda and sponsors information.
Meetup plugin is extremely easy to use. You can set up the event from a single page and the plugin will turn that into a beautiful event page. Your users can easily see the event agenda, speakers and their topics, a list of other attendees as well as book a seat (or more) via Facebook or email.
So let's see a brief overview of how Meetup plugin works and why it is the ultimate event management plugin from your WordPress site.
Just like you create posts on WordPress, you can create as many events as you want with the Meetup plugin. Creating events using Meetup is a fast, easy and intuitive process. You click Create Event link and you type in all the details, agenda, registration dates, speakers and sponsors as well as upload images from the same page.
So that's just the event title and short description, where do you type in the detailed information about the meetup? If you scroll down a bit on that page, you'll find Meetup details pane identical to the screenshot below where you can type in the event schedule, capacity of the event, address of where the event will take place, and when the event starts and ends. You can also configure how many seats can one person book so that you can make sure one person does not book too many seats.
Below that you can also set the Registration Start Date and Registration End Date. The plugin is intelligent enough to start accepting registration and stop registration within that time period. So you can just configure and forget as the plugin will take care of the rest.
As you can see, users will need to connect with their Facebook account in order to register and book a seat. Users can also register using email if they want to. In order to enable registration option using Facebook, you will need to create an app and enter the Facebook App ID in Meetup settings.
The Meetup plugin will also show avatars and names of all registered attendees on the event page as you can see in the screenshot below.
The process is automated. Every time a user registers for the event, their Facebook profile picture is added along with their name in the list of attendees. If they use email address, Meetup uses their gravatar profile picture instead.
Meetup lets you enter a number of seats available for the event. You can also control how many seats a user can book when they register for the event. It's extremely helpful if you are organizing an event that has a limited space and seats available and you want to make sure the registration stops when all the available seats are booked.
Users can also see on the event page what is the capacity of the event, how many seats have been booked, and how many are available. This gives them a quick look over how populous the event is going to be.
You can control the number of available seats and maximum number of seats per user when creating an event using Meetup plugin. It's all in the same page.
Speakers and Sponsors
In the same page when creating an event, you will find separate sections to add speakers and sponsors. Under the speakers section, you can click to add as many speakers you want. For every speaker you add, you can add their name, the topic of their session, email address, website, speaker bio as well as a URL to slide that they showed during the event.
This is for post-event update. So even when your event is over, you can still add those data to the event page and keep it relevant to the interest of its attendees.
Similarly you can also add sponsors that will show up under the Sponsors menu on the event page. Just like speakers, you can create sponsors with their name, logo, and short details about the sponsor.
Towards the bottom of the create new meetup page you will find a section called Schedule. This will enable you to list all the sessions by date and time so that attendees can take a look at what's going to happen and when. This is an easy-to-use way to show your audience the whole agenda of your event in the events page.
As you can see, the Schedule section of the event page shows a detailed timeline of what is scheduled to happen during the event. So it's easier for your attendees to know the agenda beforehand, and professional for you to show this like it is.
Lastly, you can add an optional image gallery to go with the event page. You can tease your audience with some pre-event pictures of the venue, or you can upload all the images after the event is over. Regardless of when you choose to upload as many images you want and show them on your event page in multiple galleries.
Athemes prepared a list for top WordPress event themes. Have a look.
Conclusion and Download
Meetup is a simple yet amazing plugin that you can use to manage events on your website. It offers many features that you won't be able to have on Facebook events or Google+ events. At the same time, it can be integrated with Facebook so that people can sign up and book their seat without having to type in email or anything.
If you need to create events — online or offline — give Meetup a try. It may be a free plugin, but the functionality that it offers are extremely useful and intuitive.
You can download Meetup plugin from here, or you can go to your WordPress Dashboard -> Plugins -> Add New and search for Meetup.
What do you think about Meetup plugin? Is there anything else, any more feature that you would like to see in the plugin?