Since the majority of my clients offer services, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is ‘what is the best way to schedule appointments through my website?’
My answer is always Acuity. Now, I’ll be honest, I use Acuity myself and I have used Acuity since the very beginning of my work as both a health coach and a website designer – so I don’t have anything to compare it to. That said, I’ve always found it easy to use and it offers all of the features that I need, so I’ve never had to try anything else!
*Please note that I am part of Acuity’s affiliate program. I always like to be 100% open about which links I may earn a profit from. That said, I only recommend products that I have personally used and love.
Why you need a scheduling tool
Acuity Scheduling saves you time.
The most obvious reason for using a scheduling tool is that it saves time. You can cut out all of the time you would usually spend sharing availabilities and hoping to find a time that lines up. Instead, your client or potential client can simply find the time that works for them on your calendar.
Acuity increases bookings.
Many prospective clients are more comfortable simply hitting a button and scheduling a session. Plus it’s faster and more convenient than emailing to inquire about availability. This is especially true if you offer a short complimentary session to answer questions and see if it’s a good fit. People will rarely email to schedule a free consultation – but many will book in a scheduler.
You can take care of multiple administrative tasks at a time.
Speaking of efficiency, scheduling tools like Acuity can take care of multiple administrative tasks in one go. If you need to have clients provide additional information at the time of booking, or to fill out something more complex like a health history form (just be aware most of your average scheduling software is not HIPAA compliant), you can set all of that up in Acuity. You can also accept payment along with any forms at the time of scheduling.
How to set up Acuity
Acuity is pretty simple to set up. If you go to Acuity.com you can sign up for a free trial of the Emerging Entrepreneur plan. This is likely all you’ll need – and some of you may even be able to get away with the free version.
What’s the difference between the unpaid plan and Emerging Entrepreneur plan?
The most important difference is that with the Emerging Entrepreneur plan, you can sync your calendar with Acuity so that it will automatically block off any times that you have things scheduled, whether they’re work related or not. This is particularly useful if you already use something like Google Calendar to keep track of everything. Other supported calendars are Outlook, Office 365 and Exchange calendars.
Some of the other features that Emerging Entrepreneur offers are reminder emails and time zone conversion.
How to set-up your account.
Once you create your Acuity account, you will want to sync it with your main calendar if this is a feature that you are intending to use.
Then, you will create appointment types. These are all of the ways clients will meet with you. Examples are your free consultation if offering, and introductory session at X price, and follow-up sessions at Y price. Each of these consultations/sessions should have their own appointment type created in Acuity.
For each appointment type, you can select forms to include. You can create new forms under “Intake Form Questions” on the left menu.
Finally, set up payment under “Payment Settings” – you can use Square, Stripe or PayPal to accept payments.
Integrating Acuity with your website
Once you’ve taken care of all of this set-up, it’s time to put Acuity to work for you! Integrating Acuity with both SquareSpace and WordPress is super easy. (In fact, you can set up Acuity in SquareSpace under “Scheduling” since Acuity is a partner of SquareSpace – that said, you will pay more for Acuity if you set up your account within SquareSpace).
To embed your Acuity appointments in your website, you will need to go under “Appointment Types”, you will see an option by each appointment type for the “Direct Scheduling Link”. If you click on that you will see both a simple link and embed options. The simple link is super simple and will bring people to an Acuity hosted page to book their appointments.
For an extra dose of professionalism, you can select “Embed Scheduler” and copy the code that you see.
For SquareSpace –
In SquareSpace, you can actually embed your calendar using the link. Simply create a new page for your designated appointment type, add the Appointments content block, and when you edit the Appointments block, add in your appointment link.
For WordPress –
In WordPress, you will use the embed code in the HTML of a text block, or in the code feature of any front end page builder.
Note: If you want to embed all of your appointment types in one place, you can grab the link or the embed code for all appointments under “Scheduling Page Link” in the left hand menu in Acuity.
Once you have your appointments in your website, your clients will be able to easily book, provide information and pay all in one go!
There you have it! If you need any help, you can always contact me about a custom project.