WordPress audio plugins are a great way to engage your visitors. Multimedia content will capture their attention and keeps them on your website for longer.
How can I use audio on my WordPress website?
There are several ways to use audio on a WordPress website. Here are some popular uses of WordPress audio plugins. Later in this post, I’ll tell you how to achieve all these use cases on your own website.
Audio files embedded directly into a page or post
Lots of website content can be enhanced via embedded audio or music. For example:
- An interview might include an embedded audio recording of the interview with a written transcript underneath.
- An online tutorial might include written instructions and audio instructions.
- You might add an embedded audio description to bring your products or services to life.
Audio samples to promote music, CD’s or audio books in an e-commerce store
Lots of WordPress e-commerce stores sell audio products online. These might be audio CD’s or digital audio files which can be purchased for download.
The most popular WordPress audio plugin for e-commerce is WooCommerce. This plugin powers over 40% of all online stores worldwide and can be used to sell physical, virtual or digital downloadable products.
A WooCommerce audio store can increase sales by listing each audio product alongside a short sample of each track. Customers can listen to the snippets and make sure they like them before deciding to buy. This is a powerful tool for any WordPress e-commerce store because music is impossible to describe in words. Providing audio samples is the most accurate way to promote and sell audio products.
Music directory plugins
As the world’s information is catalogued and published online, more and more music directory websites are appearing. These may or may not be e-commerce stores. The key feature is that they create a directory listing 100′s or 1,000′s of music tracks or albums.
A music directory website needs effective tools to help visitors find what they’re looking for. This includes the ability to search, sort and filter the music listings to find a specific artist, album or track. Ideally, it should be possible to listen to audio files directly from the directory.
WordPress podcast plugins
Thousands of podcasters use WordPress to publish their podcasts on their website. These typically contain a podcast archive with embedded audio files so that listeners can hear and download the podcasts.
Audio blog posts
Since the introduction of post formats to WordPress back in 2011, audio blogs have become more and more widespread.
A WordPress blog can now include multimedia content including text, image galleries, testimonials, audio and video. Audio posts are ideal for publishing music or other type of audio in a blog. The audio track can be played directly from the main blog page.
Research into social proof suggests that testimonials are more effective if they are more personal. Reviews with multimedia content such as a photo, video or audio file seem more human and believable. Unsurprisingly, websites with more believable testimonials convert better than those with impersonal text-based testimonials.
Instead of asking customers for a written testimonial, request a quick audio recording of them discussing your product or service. Your visitors will feel like they’re talking to a friend. And everyone knows that people buy based on word of mouth recommendation!
Auto-play an audio track when someone visits your website
This is less fashionable than it used to be, but some websites automatically play audio when their website first loads. For example, a musician or band website might set the scene by playing a snippet of their music.
Having worked in an open plan office, I wouldn’t recommend this. There’s nothing more embarrassing than thinking you’re surfing the web secretly, before a website suddenly starts playing loud music! With that in mind, I haven’t included any WordPress audio plugins from this category in the list!
Tips on how to display audio files without a plugin
In the title of this post, I promised to share 10+ WordPress audio plugins. I’m actually going to share 10 audio plugins plus some amazing tips on how you can add audio to a WordPress website without any extra plugins!
How to embed audio in any page or post
WordPress comes with a feature to embed an audio player anywhere on your website. You don’t need any WordPress audio plugins to create a basic audio player.
- Go to the Add/Edit screen for the page or post where you want to add the audio file.
- Click ‘Add Media’.
- Upload the audio file.
- Click ‘Insert into post’.
WordPress will automatically add a playable audio track directly into the page or post.
How to create an audio playlist in WordPress
Again, you can create audio playlists without any WordPress audio plugins. The instructions are the same for embedding single audio files (above). Instead of uploading your audio via the main tab, click the ‘Create Audio Playlist’ tab. Upload all the audio tracks for the playlist, change any options on the right and click ‘Create a new playlist’.
WordPress will automatically insert a fully functioning playlist into the page/post.
Create audio blog posts
WordPress supports multiple post formats, including an audio post type. This lets you embed audio files directly into any WordPress post, instead of the usual featured image.
- In WordPress, go to Posts > Add New.
- Select ‘Audio’ in the ‘Post Format’ section on the right.
- A box will appear under the main content where you can add the embed code for the audio file.
Please note that this will only work if your theme supports the audio post format. Some themes fully support audio posts and will display the playable audio file on the main blog page, whereas others are less useful.
Top 10 WordPress audio plugins
Below, I will list the 10 best WordPress audio plugins. This will help you to find the best ones – not an easy task, as a lot of audio plugins don’t really add anything that isn’t already available in WordPress.
All the audio plugins listed in this post have been chosen because they add something special. They let you use audio on a WordPress website in a variety of ways. Some of the plugins enhance the audio features already available in WordPress, whereas others add new functionality and layouts. I’ll also provide basic setup instructions for each plugin.
Here’s a quick quiz to help you choose the best WordPress audio plugins for your website. Answer the questions and get instant recommendations:
#1 – WooCommerce Product Table – Audio Plugin for WooCommerce
WooCommerce Product Table creates a searchable, sortable list of products. It fully supports embedded audio, making it perfect for any WooCommerce music, CD or audio book store. Alternatively, you can use it to provide an audio description or recorded testimonial for each product. Either way, WooCommerce Product Table helps you to use audio to increase conversion rates.
The product tables are very flexible and you can include columns for information such as product image, audio file, name, description, price and add to cart button. If you have lots of audio products for sale then you can activate the search, sort and filter options to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for. If you add an audio sample of each product then customers can listen to it directly from the table. They can then either click through to the single product page or add to cart straight from the table.
How to create a table of audio products for WooCommerce
- Get WooCommerce Product Table, download the plugin files and copy your license key.
- Upload, install and activate the WordPress audio plugin via Plugins > Add New.
- Go to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Product Table.
- Enter your license key and change any settings as required.
- Now go to the page where you want to add a product table. Add the following shortcode: [product_table]. This will create a table listing all your products with the default options.
To use it as a WordPress audio plugin for WooCommerce, you need to configure the shortcode. The product table documentation takes you through all the options (and there are dozens). However, these are the minimum you’re likely need to display audio samples in the table:
- Columns – choose which columns of information appear in the table. Be sure to include the field where you’re added the embedded audio file. This could be the main description, short description or perhaps a custom field.
- Shortcodes – activate the shortcodes option to tell WooCommerce Product Table to display the embedded audio shortcodes in the table.
Here’s an example of a product table that will list all your products with columns for name, category, a custom field called ‘audio’ where you will add the embedded audio tracks, price and add to cart buttons:
You can configure your product tables in much more advanced ways than this, so read the documentation to adapt it to your exact needs. This is a very powerful plugin with excellent support from a UK WordPress company if you need any help setting it up.
#2 – Posts Table Pro – Create a WordPress Audio Directory
Posts Table Pro is a WordPress table plugin that fully supports audio embeds. You can use it to display any type of content from a WordPress website in an interactive table with embedded audio files that can be played directly from the table. For example, you could use the plugin to display blog posts or a custom post type.
The most powerful use of Posts Table Pro as a WordPress audio plugin is if you create a dedicated ‘Audio’ custom post type. Each audio file can be stored as a separate audio ‘post’ in WordPress with all the information you need to display in your directory. For example, you can use categories for the various artists or years, create custom fields and taxonomies for extra data such as length and genre, and so on. This makes it perfect for creating a WordPress audio library.
As well as an audio gallery, Posts Table Pro works well for creating an archive of podcasts. Each podcast can be added as a separate post (or custom post) with columns for embedding the audio podcast as well as extra information about it. The podcasts can be listed in the table in date order, and can be sorted or filtered by category, topic etc. This makes it easy for listeners to find the audio podcast they’re interested in and either download it or listen online.
How to display embedded audio files in a WordPress table
Barn2 Media, the UK company behind Posts Table Pro, has produced an excellent tutorial on how to create a WordPress audio library. This has written instructions telling you how to set up an audio library step-by-step. They’ve also created a video tutorial which you can see here:
#3 – Smart Podcast Player – WordPress podcast plugin
Smart Podcast Player is one of the leading WordPress podcast plugins. You can publish your podcasts directly on your WordPress website by uploading MP3′s. You can also import external feeds from iTunes, SoundCloud etc.
Your podcasts are displayed as an eye-catching playlist and you can add brief notes and tags to help promote your podcasts. However, essentially this is all about your podcasts and not text-based information. The audio plugin is designed to encourage binge listening, with extra features to keep listeners on your site.
How to use Smart Podcast Player
- Get the plugin and download the files.
- In WordPress – upload, install and activate the plugin.
- Go to the plugin settings page and add your RSS feed (if you’re importing an external feed).
- Configure the settings to choose your color scheme etc.
- Go to the page where you want to insert your podcasts. Click the green ‘SPP’ toolbar icon to insert the podcast player.
#4 – Audio Album – Create music albums or audio books in WordPress
Audio Album is a free WordPress audio plugin that improves on the native WordPress audio playlist. Instead of the default playlist, you can combine multiple audio files to create a complete music album. It’s also useful for creating audio books, as each chapter can be a separate track.
This is a well-written audio plugin and has plenty of options for customizing the album’s color to match your website.
How to create an audio album
Audio albums are created using a shortcode which you can add anywhere on your WordPress site. There are quite a few options and you can read the documentation on the plugin page.
To get you started, here are some sample shortcodes which you can customize to add your own album title, song title, artist name, MP3 link etc.
[audioalbum title="The Album Title" detail="Some other Details" date="2016"]
[audiotrack title="Song One" songwriter="credit" mp3="http://domain.com/wp-content/uploads/audiofile1.mp3"]
[audiotrack title="Song Two" songwriter="credit" mp3="http://domain.com/wp-content/uploads/audiofile2.mp3"]
#5 – ZoomSounds – Create more attractive audio embeds
ZoomSounds is a WordPress audio plugin that creates more attractive audio embeds than the native WordPress one. You can either upload audio files (e.g. MP3) directly to WordPress or import from SoundCloud.
The main reason to use this plugin is the choice of designs. They’re much more eye-catching than the default WordPress audio embed. There are multiple styles to choose from, designed to suit different brands. You can add an image and choose where to position it. There are also fancy features such as wave animations while the audio is playing.
How to use ZoomSounds
- Get the plugin and download the files.
- In WordPress, upload the plugin, install and activate it.
- Go to the page where you want to embed audio.
- Click the ‘ZoomSounds’ toolbar button and follow the onscreen prompts.
The plugin developer has provided a series of setup videos, which you can watch below:
#6 – TPlayer – Create eye-catching audio playlists in WordPress
TPlayer is a WordPress audio plugin that creates much more attractive playlists than the default WordPress playlists.
There are lots of audio playlist plugins for WordPress and I decided to include TPlayer because of the SEO-friendly information you can add about each track. It lets you add a description of each track which appears alongside it in the playlist. This provides information to your visitors, as well as giving you a boost in the search engines.
The plugin also comes with some other neat features such as song statistics and social sharing options.
How to set up TPlayer
- Get the plugin and download the files.
- In the WordPress admin, upload, install and activate the plugin.
- There’s no written documentation, so create your audio playlists by following the steps in this video:
#7 – Gear HTML5 WordPress Audio Player
The Gear HTML plugin is yet another playlist plugin. I’ve included it in my list of the best WordPress audio plugins because of its unique and innovative design.
Instead of listing audio files in a boring list, this plugin has an unusual circular layout. It works beautifully and you can click on the track names around the edge or spin the wheel in fun ways. Have a play with the demo to find out!
How to use the Gear HTML5 WordPress audio plugin
- Buy the plugin and download the files.
- Upload, install and activate the plugin in WordPress.
- Go to the settings page and start setting it up.
#8 – PowerPress – WordPress podcasting plugin
The PowerPress podcast audio plugin isn’t quite as fully featured as Smart Podcast Player, but is definitely one of the best. While it’s a free plugin, it was developed “for podcasters by podcasters” so it has been creative with plenty of industry insight.
The plugin is simple to use but also has a more advanced mode. You can import audio tracks from sites such as iTunes, Google Play and Switcher. It also supports video and you can embed videos from YouTube etc.
How to use PowerPress for your podcasts
- In WordPress, go to Plugins > Add New and search for PowerPress.
- Install and activate the plugin.
- Go to the settings page to start creating your podcasts. For more information, click on the links in the settings page or watch this video from the plugin developer:
#9 – Simple Music Widget – Sidebar audio plugin
Simple Music Widget is a free WordPress audio plugin that makes it easy to insert a music player into any widgetized area (e.g. a sidebar) in WordPress.
While some of the other plugins in this list include shortcodes that can be added to a widget, this plugin makes it easier. With dedicated styling for widgets, you can be sure that your sidebar music player will look fantastic. You can include various information about the song including artist name, song, short description and an optional cover image.
How to use Simple Music Widget
- Go to Plugins > Add New in WordPress.
- Search for ‘Simple Music Widget’.
- Install and activate the plugin.
- Go to Appearance > Widgets and drag the ‘Simple Music Widget’ to any sidebar area.
- Enter the information, save and view the widget on your WordPress website.
#10 – Compact WP Audio Player – Space-spacing audio embeds
Compact WP Audio Player is a free WordPress plugin from a major plugin company. It’s very simple and just makes some slight improvements to the built-in WordPress audio embed.
For example, the native WordPress audio shortcode fills the full width of the screen which not everyone wants. This audio plugin creates a space-saving version of the audio player which doesn’t dominate the page as much.
How to use Compact WP Audio Player
- Search for ‘Compact WP Audio Player’ in Plugins > Add New in WordPress.
- Install and activate the plugin.
- Add the following shortcode to any page, post or widget: [sc_embed_player fileurl=”URL OF THE MP3 FILE”]
What’s the best WordPress audio plugin?
I’m afraid I can’t answer that question for you! It all depends on the needs of your website.
Do the quick quiz earlier this article to get a recommendation on which WordPress audio plugin is best for your site. Once you’ve got a recommendation, read about the plugin in more detail and check it’s right for you. You can then install your chosen plugin and start displaying audio on your WordPress website in new and exciting ways!