Chatbot are cropping up everywhere and gaining popularity. They provide another way to connect and engage with your users across various messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger and Skype. It’s also commonplace for chatbots to appear on websites. Instead of a user trying to browse your website to find what they need, they can just engage with your chatbot in conversation for directions. If you run a WordPress website and are on the lookout for a WordPress chatbot plugin, then you’re lucky. Because I developed one. It’s called My Chatbot.
What is a Chatbot?
According to the Oxford Dictionary:
A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
Also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity.
Essentially, a chatbot is a software service that you can interact with via a chat interface. The conversation is powered by rules and artificial intelligence to process natural language queries and tailor replies. So if you ask the chatbot a question, it will response with an answer.
Here are some chatbot examples I like:
- The Australian Tax Office has a chatbot called Alex to help you with your tax related queries https://ato.gov.au
- IBM Watson Conversation demo lets you instruct a car what to do https://conversation-demo.ng.bluemix.net/
Why Have a Chatbot on Your Website?
More people are using messenger apps today than they are using social networks. The opportunity is huge. People prefer to ask questions and engage in conversation. So why not add the option to your website as well? Here are some advantages to add a chatbot on your website:
- People that don’t use any social networks can benefit
- Save money on customer support
- Available 24/7
- Handles multiple customers at once
- Can be trained in different languages
- Automates repetitive work
- Can provide tailored advice / recommendations
What is a Free WordPress Chatbot Plugin I Can Use?
Try the My Chatbot WordPress plugin. It uses Dialogflow as the conversation engine. To add a chatbot to your post, simply add the [my_chatbot] shortcode. Try any of following in the chatbot demo below:
- Small Talk – Ask a random question e.g. what is your name? You might get a witty response 🙂
- Quick Replies and Images – Ask to see a picture of an Animal. You should see a quick reply response message with options for you to choose an Animal you would like to see. Then click on a button to view an image response for the relevant selected animal.
- Hyperlinks in Text response – Ask for a hyperlink e.g. do you have any links? A text response which contains a hyperlink will be displayed.
A demo of the chatbot overlay should appear in the bottom right corner. Click to toggle it. It should look like this:
- Assume the appearance of a Dialogflow supported messaging platform to display rich message content. Quick Replies and Image rich messages are supported.
- Add hyperlinks in response message content using HTML markup.
- An overlay can be added on every page to display the chatbot. The overlay can toggle up or down.
- A shortcode and widget are available to display the chatbot.
- Settings with color pickers for backgrounds and fonts, custom text (e.g. powered by) and opacity for old conversation bubbles.
- Lightweight and super fast as it constructs client-side Dialogflow Agent API requests to process natural language queries.
- In-built template system and plenty of extensible WordPress action hooks & filters.
- Enable the chatbot overlay to be displayed on specific posts (via Edit Post screen post meta box as shown below).
Plugin Settings Screenshots
Adding a Hyperlink
Hyperlinks must be added as HTML in the Text Response message as shown below.
Adding Quick Replies
Dialogflow only supports rich messages for supported messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype etc… But you can make the My Chatbot plugin assume the appearance of a messaging platform so that can display Quick Replies and Image rich messages. To implement this, add a Response for a messaging platform which supports Quick Replies or Images rich messages.
Then in the plugin general settings, choose the same messaging platform.