WP Event Manager: A complete solution for creating an event listing site on WordPress

WP Event Manager: A complete solution for creating an event listing site on WordPress

Starting as a blogging platform, WordPress has over the years became a complete CMS, allowing users to create any kind of websites, from online shops to corporate websites. Today, let's have a look at WP Event Manager, a plugin dedicated to implement a complete event management solution on WordPress.


What is WP Event Manager?

WP Event Manager is a lightweight, open source, scalable and full-featured event management plugin for adding event listing functionality to any WordPress site.

Event listings are popular since they allow visitors to track down events in their area, based on their interests and availability. Therefore, if for example you run a music website, adding a concert listing onto it could definitely increase your audience interest in your site. Same goes for most blogging niches.

WP Event Manager allows users to submit their events, so as the site owner you won’t have to track down events and add them to your site, event managers and promoters will do it themselves.

Before I show you how to install the plugin, let’s take a look at its basic features:

  • International support for multilingual translations
  • Shortcode powered
  • Event submission forms are easily editable and customizable
  • Comes with WP widgets, allowing you to list recent or future events
  • Optimized for speed and SEO
  • Template files for easy override
  • Extensive documentation
  • Free! (Although add-ons aren’t)

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? Here are a few helpful links for you to get started, and bookmark if you plan to use WP Event Manager on your website:

Installing WP Event Manager on your site

To install WP Event Manager, simply login to your WordPress dashboard, and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Type WP Event Manager in the search field.

Be careful as there are a few other plugins with similar names available, which can cause some confusion. I’ve enlighted the plugin to install in the screenshot below:

Once you have located the right plugin, click on Install. After waiting a few seconds, the plugin will be downloaded and ready for you to activate it. You can do so by clicking on the Activate button.

At this point, the plugin is activated and working, but in order for it to work properly, you need to add shortcodes to pages. WP Event Manager provides a wizard that will create 3 pages (Events, Post an event and Event dashboard) and add the corresponding shortcodes to them.

In most cases, running the wizard is the best and easiest option – simply follow the two easy steps provided and the wizard will create the pages and shortcodes you need for using WP Event Manager in your website.

In the case that you would want to install the plugin on an existing site, it can be better to add the shortcodes where you want each part of the plugin to appear.

For a comprehensive list of available shortcodes, please refer to WP Event Manager documentation.

I have installed a copy of the plugin on my testing server (provided by Kinsta.com). After adding a few test events, here’s how the site looks like:

As you can see, the plugin works out of the box without any coding required and integrates well within the WordPress theme of your choice. I have tested it with Twenty-Seventeen, Twenty-Fifteen, and a few Bootstrap-based themes.

WP Event Manager field editor

WP Event Manager features a field editor, which allows you to create, manage, and delete any form fields without any coding knowledge. Even if you’re a developer yourself, you will appreciate how time-saving this feature is.

To access the field manager, navigate to Event Listings > Field Editor in your WordPress dashboard. Here’s what you’ll see:

Any of the default form fields are 100% editable: you can change the label, the input, placeholder, order and set a specific field to be required or optional. Any default field can be removed, and you can create any other field you’d like.

That way, you can customize the event submission to fit all of your website needs, in a fast and very easy way.

Options for developers

While WP Event Manager works great straight after installing, many users would want to be able to customize the plugin to fit their (or their clients’) specific needs.

After checking out the plugin code, it appears that WP Event Manager is properly written, using WordPress coding standards. It also provides a template file override, which allows developers to customize the plugin templates (such as the event listings or login form) without having to alter the plugin core files.

This works like in many other plugins: all you have to do is to copy the templates directory from the plugin and paste it in wp-content/themes/your-current-theme/wp-event-manager directory. Once done, you can safely edit any of those files in order to meet your site requirements, without compromising its security.

WordPress Plugin developers can also override template files by applying the event_manager_locate_template filter:

return apply_filters( 'event_manager_locate_template', $template, $template_name, $template_path );

WP Event Manager also features template tags, used for outputting event information within the loop. You can get a detailed list of those in the plugin’s documentation.

WP Event Manager Add-ons

WP Event Manager offers a wide variety of add-ons that will expand the functionality of the core plugin.

Most add-ons are priced $19 or $39, and allow you to do things such as paid registrations, recurring events or integration with other services.

Here are a few of those add-ons:

  • Calendar: allows you to display a calendar that lists future events.
  • Google Maps: allows you to find events by location.
  • Sell tickets: allows you to sell tickets for events on your website.
  • WooCommerce paid listings: integrates with WooCommerce in order for you to charge advertisers for listing their events on your site.
  • Recurring events: allows you to automatically relist events happening on a regular basis.
  • Event alerts: allows registered users to receive alerts based on searches.
  • Export: allows you to backup/export the plugin data.

For a complete list of all WP Event Manager add-ons, head over this page which lists them all.

SEO & Speed

One thing I really wanted to test was the site loading speed after adding WP Event Manager. Some plugins can considerably slow down your site due to a large number of assets, which is a bad thing for your SEO as well as for user experience.

I headed to Google PageSpeed Insight. Please note that for testing purposes, my test site doesn’t use any caching system nor speed optimization.

The page scored at 81/100 on desktops and 51/100 on mobiles.

Conclusion

I’ve enjoyed, and had a positive experience testing WP Event Manager. The plugin is easy to install/configure, and it basically takes just a few minutes for it to be functional on your site.

As a developer, I’ve enjoyed the clean code and how plugin developers made the plugin with customization in mind. As a result, it’s easy to customize the plugin for it to fit your (or your clients’) needs. The wide range of add-ons available offers lots of possibilities for those looking to take their events site to the next level.

The SEO optimization as well as the general speed of the plugin confirms the fact that WP Event Manager is a very solid option for anyone wanting to create an event listing site on WordPress.