WordPress Event Ticketing

Things you should do before start selling tickets on your website

Our support team often gets in emergency situations with some customers who often set unrealistically short deadline for putting ticket selling on their website live. While we do understand that you and/or your clients might have short deadlines, it is advisable to leave yourself a bit of a breathing space. Tickera grew to a complex system over the years and with each new feature we introduce, it grows bigger and bigger. Yes, we are doing our best to make the process as simplistic and streamlined as possible and our support team does best to their abilities to help out and point to the right solution in timely manner but sometimes the deadline is just too close.

Now, in order to avoid putting yourself to the state of emergency, here is a guideline for the things you should do first in order to start selling tickets on your website as soon as possible with as little problems as possible.


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From the ground up

If you are developing a new website locally, you can install Tickera and test most of the things. Also, this is the best case scenario as there is a whole lotta space for things to go wrong without causing any troubles.

First, install and activate Tickera and see if it causes any issues with the existing plugins or themes. By no means we say that is normal but it happened before so it might happen again.

The thing is that there are so many themes and plugins on the market that it is virtually impossible to test Tickera with all of them. So, naturally, some issues might occur every now and then.

If that happens, you should submit a support ticket mmediately so we could check what might be causing the issue and address it. Also, it is VERY helpful to attach a copy of a plugin or a theme that is causing the issue, to the support ticket so we could start troubleshooting right away. Either way, don't ever try to alter Tickera core files in attempt to resolve the issue yourself as you might end up in breaking the whole system. Even if you manage to resolve it, your modifications will be overwritten with the first Tickera update.


Event Creation

If you encounter no issues upon installation and activation of Tickera (which, most likely, will be the case), follow the initial setup provided by Tickera Setup Wizard which will do lot of things "under the hood for you". It will guide you through few simple questions and will prepare your website for use with Tickera. Now, you may proceed to creating a dummy event which you will use for testing purposes. If you are starting fresh with Tickera, the process of creating event is thoroughly explained here.


Ticket Type Creation

Once you have created an event, create one or more ticket types for that event. One of those ticket types should have the price of zero and the other should have regular price. Leave the rest of the options within ticket types as is and don't bother much with the details for now as we first need to make sure that basic functionality works while the rest of the bells and whistles can be added later.


Payment Gateways

Now, navigate to Tickera Settings -> Payment Gateways and enable just Offline Payment Method.

Later in this article we will explain how to setup real payment gateways and try them out in test and real time mode.

Ok. With this, you've met a bare minimum for Tickera to work: you have an event, a ticket types and payment gateways enabled that cover both free and paid tickets.


Testing Checkout Process

Let's place a shortcode now. Create a page or post and insert a shortcode by using Tickera shortcode builder. For starters, select Event Tickets shortcode form the menu and don't bother much with the other options for now. That should result in having a table with available tickets for your dummy event on the front end. If that is the case, go on and add a couple of tickets to the cart, go to the cart page, enter buyer info, attendee info, and try to finish the checkout process.

If everything goes well, you should end up on the Order Confirmation Page

This page should be saying that your order is placed but not complete yet. That's good and it means that all of Tickera pages are working as they should and the whole mechanism works as expected. The reason why your test orders are just placed but not completed is because, by default, both Free Orders and Offline Payment Method have automatic payment status "Order Received" which just creates an order but does not create the tickets until you manually change order status to "Order Paid". Surely, you can change that in their respective settings but leave it as is for now.

Now, head to the Orders area of Tickera and you should be able to see your test order in the table of existing orders. Edit this order and try changing its status to Order Paid. This will result in tickets being generated and you should be able to see them now in the Attendees & Tickets area.


Ok... but what about emails? How to test that locally?

That's where things are becoming a bit tricky if you are doing all of this on your localhost as there is no actual email provider. You can try installing and configuring third party WP SMTP plugins that will attempt to send an email using SMTP login credentials of the email provider you decide to use but bear in mind that it might fail due to limitations of the email providers.

You can try installing and configuring third party WP SMTP plugins that will attempt to send an email using SMTP login credentials of the email provider you decide to use

Of course, there should be no issues once you go live with your website and even if emails fail on live website, this is pretty easily resolved by utilizing some of the aforementioned WP SMTP plugins that are bypassing email service provided by your hosting and are using email provider via SMTP that you can configure within settings of that plugin.

So, if everything works so far, you may start messing around with the options and details, place a few more shortcodes and see what are you getting with them, etc.


Payment Gateway Configuration

Each payment gateway comes with the possibility of sandbox testing

Let's try configuring a payment gateway that you intend on using once you start selling tickets. As you may, or may not know, each payment gateway comes with the possibility of sandbox testing and most of them allow you to test from local host and does not require explicitly an SSL certificate in the sandbox mode. To obtain a sandbox credentials you will need to create an account with that payment gateway (some payment gateways don't require even that and supply sandbox credentials on their documentation pages that are universal for everyone). Once you have obtained your sandbox credentials, head back to Tickera Settings -> Payment Gateways, enable that particular payment gateway by clicking its icon on the list of available payment gateways and enter all of those credentials to their respective fields.


Simulation of an Actual Ticket Purchase

Now, get back to the page or post where you have placed your event tickets shortcode earlier and try adding a couple more tickets to the cart. Go to the cart page, enter buyer info, attendee info, etc., and go to the checkout page. You will be offered now to use your payment gateway to finish the checkout. Go on and select your payment gateway. If you have entered all of the sandbox credentials correctly, your local website will communicate with the payment gateway site and let it know that you are using test credentials in attempt to make a test purchase which will result in proceeding to the last step of the checkout where you should enter a test credit card number of some other means of payment that this payment gateway is using. If you are using a payment gateway that supports credit cards, you should be able to find on their documentation pages number of credit cards for testing purposes. Enter those numbers to the field on your checkout page and try finishing the checkout. If everything goes well, you should be able to find an order in Tickera's Orders area and that order should have order status of Order Paid.


If all of this went smooth, you have basically set up Tickera successfully and you are ready to go live with it.

Also, it is advisable to test ticket purchasing few times in your browser's incognito mode

However, prior going live, first create a setup that entirely follows a scenario you are about to use on your live website and test it that way with all the tiny bits and details. Also, it is advisable to test ticket purchasing few times in your browser's incognito mode since this the most common case how your customers are going to purchase tickets and also remember to test everything in several browsers 'cause... you know... people use different browsers 🙂

Once you have successfully finished all the testing, you are clear to go live. But prior letting everyone know that you have tickets for sale on your website, run a few tests with purchasing tickets on live site. Make a dummy ticket with price of 0.01 and go through actual purchase of a ticket in order to make sure that payment gateways communicates correctly with your website.


OMG - It's alive!

Okay, okay... don't panic.

Even if you have a website with thousands of unique visits each day but need to implement ticket selling at some point, you can still do it without compromising content of the website in any way. One thing we have noticed, though, with our customers that are implementing Tickera on already-live website is that they often create a subdomain and dedicate a whole website only to ticket selling. Yes, that requires whole lotta more work but if you are dealing with a whale of a website with years of work put in it and if you are just a bit paranoid (which is perfectly ok), this might be the safest bet for you. This also minimizes the chance for plugins clashing with each other. No, we're not saying this is going to happen but it might happen if you have dozens of plugins active on your website.

They often create a subdomain and dedicate a whole website only to ticket selling

So, once you create a subdomain and install fresh WordPress and all that comes with it to match your main website look and feel (theme, some plugins, etc.) install Tickera and slowly go through all of the steps we have mentioned earlier while explaining how to stage the website locally. If everything works well, you can place one (or more) simple "Buy Tickets Here" buttons/links on your main website  that will lead customers to the subdomain where they can purchase tickets for your event.

Yes, we are aware that this means maintaining two websites instead of one. But if anything goes wrong with the ticket selling (again, we're not saying it will), main site will survive completely undamaged and uncompromised.


It takes time

We said this at the beginning but we are saying it again. So, please keep this in mind. Although we are doing our best to make Tickera as simple as possible to use, we also want it to be able to blend with as many scenarios as our customers can possibly think of. That is why Tickera grew to (very) elaborate plugin with lots of options that tend to seem pretty overwhelming to the newcomers. Learning curve with Tickera can be steep but it vastly depends on your exact scenario and your expectations of Tickera.

When it comes to the basic functionality it sounds pretty easy to use.

But things might get a bit complicated when you start dealing with all the tiny details. So, count on that when you start setting up Tickera. Although you can set it up and get it running in minutes, it might take you even several days to tweak it and adjust to your or your client's liking. Sometimes, it might happen that you won't be able to pull everything yourself and you will need an assistance from our support team. And that's fine as our agents are always willing to help. But although we're giving our absolute best to help everybody, depending on your requests, some things can take minutes to get resolved while the others might take even a couple of days.


Test everything. Literally.

So, you got ticket selling to work and everything seems fine and you might think that you are done. But that's only half of the story. There's this ticket check-in thing that occurs on the day of the event. And you certainly want this to work, right? So, don't be lazy and make a purchase of some dummy ticket with ticket template you intend on using for your event, print it out and test the hell out of it: low light conditions, different Android and iOS devices (if you are going to use those), different distances from phone camera to the ticket, etc. Try to mimic the best you can an actual conditions as close to the ones that you'll have at the door of your event. We have covered all of those ins and outs in this post.

Don't be lazy and make a purchase of some dummy ticket with ticket template you intend on using for your event

That post is written based on our experience from the field mixed with valuable feedback we got from our customers that ran number of events using Tickera. We can't emphasize enough the importance of this. Imagine that, on the day of the event, you are having thousands of people in front of the door with their tickets and you can't scan any of those because QR code placed on their ticket is too small and smartphone camera can't scan it. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Well. it is. And the worst thing is that, in this case, no one can actually help you nor you can blame anyone except yourself for not testing it while you could. So, just do your homework properly.


Wrap up

To conclude this very long post, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  1. Do not make tight deadlines and leave room for (you guessed it) testing
  2. Install locally if you can and test everything you so you get properly introduced with Tickera
  3. Once you set up Tickera on live website, test if everything works properly (including tickets check-in) prior going to production (meaning: actual ticket selling)
  4. Read thoroughly our documentation pages and posts on our blog that contain valuable information and get to know anything you possibly can. If you can't find something you would like to know, just contact us via support.tickera.com or via email
  5. Test everything again and contact our support team if you have any doubts

If you do all of this, you can:

  1. Start selling tickets for your event
  2. Profit
  3. Enjoy your event and make plans for the next one

Although all of this may sound intimidating, it is actually a proper approach to any WordPress plugin that you need to rely your business on. So, if you do everything right, all of this should go seamlessly and without much trouble.

Just don't forget to have fun and, as always...

Happy Ticketing!



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