How to add live chat to your website

Tutorials

Providing real-time support to your website’s visitors via live chat is an effective way of improving customer happiness, boosting sales, and increasing the effectiveness of your support team.

You’ll be happy to hear that adding live chat to your website is actually quite straightforward. You simply need to choose a live chat service and copy a few lines of code onto your website to embed the chat widget itself.

Full disclosure, we run our own live chat service called Natterly. We’d love it if you gave us a try, however all of our advice is relevant even if you decide to look at alternatives instead.

Choosing a live chat service

The first thing you’ll need to do is find a live chat service that’s right for you. There are a number of things you should take into consideration when deciding which live chat software to use.

Features

It’s important to choose a service that offers all the features you need. Every service is different, so have a shop around and see which one had everything you need.

Natterly lets you to do things like:

  • Fully customisable the appearance and text of the chat widget.
  • Provide chat support for multiple sites using the same account.
  • Group users into departments to automatically assign chats and determine whether a member of staff is online before a visitor to your website is allowed to start a chat.
  • Keep track of meaningful statistics like average response and resolution time.
  • Store transcripts of chars between you and your staff for as long as you want.

You can see a full list of our live chat features here.

Price

A lot of website owners are scared off by live chat after seeing services like LiveChat who charge $19 per user per month.

You’ll be glad to hear that there are some solutions out there which are much more affordable. For example, we only charge $10 per user per month as you can see from our pricing page.

Paying per seat (user) is the norm amongst live chat software.

You’ll also want to make sure that you find a service that offers a free trial so you have enough time to evaluate the product before you need to start paying for it. We offer 14 days, some other services offer more or less.

If a service isn’t offering a free trial they’re probably trying to hide something.

Usability & Performance

Having a bunch of cool features is worthless if that chat widget is broken, slow or difficult to use. Try to find a website that uses the service’s chat widget so you can try it out from a customer’s perspective.

In fact, one of the best ways to do that is to start a chat with the live chat services themselves (if they’re online) as they often use their own software. If they don’t use their own software, that’s a very worrying sign!

Adding the chat widget to your website

Once you’ve chosen live chat software, it’s time to add the visitor facing chat widget to your website.

In 99.9% of cases you will simply need to insert a couple of lines of code into the HTML of your website. The actual steps to do this will differ depending on where your website is hosted or the language/framework being used.

That’s why it’s important to choose a service with detailed setup guides or a friendly support team to help you get up and running quickly, even if you’re not comfortable editing your website.

The live chat embed snippet for Natterly needs to be inserted before the closing </body> tag and looks a little something like this.

<script src="https://cdn.natterly.com/chatbox.js"></script>
<script>
  var chatbox = new NatterlyChatbox('23a5f504-961e-4f0c-bffc-d26631463348');
  chatbox.render();
</script>

Some live chat services will have special tools to make the setup process as painless as possible. For example, we created a simple plugin to help our customers add live chat to WordPress websites in seconds.

Ready to add live chat to your website?

We’d love it if you give us a try for free for 14 days.

Simply sign up for an account or get in touch if you have any questions about our service, including help adding Natterly’s embed code to your own website.

A little bit about the author

Rob is the Product Development Manager at aTech Media. He is absurdly tall with a passion for CSS, JavaScript, burgers, and rugby.