All is quiet as you browse the internet for some food. Then, after Googling ‘Italian takeout’, you see it: Bob’s Spaghetti Palace. Perfect. You click on Bob’s website. Suddenly, you’re jolted back into your chair when ‘That’s Amore’ blares through your laptop’s speakers. At first, you’re unaware of where the song is coming from, but as you scroll a bit — there it is: a music player.
Okay, forcing website visitors to listen to something might not be the way to go. However, there’s a lot more than autoplay when it comes to audio players for WordPress websites.
Adding a WordPress audio player can be beneficial in numerous ways. Whether it be for podcasts, music playlist, introducing a product, and more. We’ll explore all the reasons to include one on your website in this post.
Plus, with the additional assistance of a free audio player plugin, you can amp-up your user’s website experience. I’ll be showing you the latest, up-to-date audio plugins, their features, and specific reasons to use them instead of just the basics that WordPress provides.
As for using audio in the first place, there are many reasons why you should. For example, if you want to:
- Share a welcome message.
- Embed a full recording of a teleseminar or interview into a blog post.
- Publish your latest podcast.
- Share audio testimonials.
- Include audio versions of your content.
- Share a song or playlist you’re listening to from Spotify or some other audio-streaming service.
As you can see, there are ways to use audio to support your site and it doesn’t have to come off as cheesy (possibly mozzarella cheesy?) or unwanted.
Just please: don’t force the autoplay!
On That Note…
You might be undecided about whether or not having audio is a good idea for your website. If so, consider these facts:
- Audio is an intriguing way to draw visitors to a specific element on your site (e.g. a CTA, free download, etc.).
- Like other media, audio can boost SEO by keeping engaged listeners on your site longer.
- Your brand recognition can be improved if you include a particularly unique or memorable audio clip.
- If you’re not great at writing, audio can be a substitute.
- If you’re a singer, in a band, or voice artist, you can use an audio music player to showcase your work — and sell it.
- It’s a way to provide more options on your site for digesting content.
- Interviewed by Oprah? It’s a great way to showcase it for your listeners.
- It adds a human touch if it’s your voice or someone else’s recognizable voice.
- Your audience may want to know and experience what type of music playlist you’re into. This is your chance to have it accessible to them.
Differentiating your site with a WordPress audio player plugin can make a user’s experience from just “well, that was so-so” to “wow, that was freaking awesome”.
Speaking of freaking awesome, check out for yourself what adding audio to your site can do with this episode of our own Hello, WP podcast:
How to Add Audio to Your WordPress site (Without a Plugin).
So it’s true: you don’t need to have a plugin when adding an audio player. However, plugins can enhance them in several ways (which we’ll be going over).
For now though, here are four other options that enable you to include an audio player without a plugin.
1. Gutenberg Block
Like everything else, Gutenberg has made adding audio almost effortlessly.
First, go to your block options (+).
Once you click Audio, you’ll see that you have several options to choose from. You can Upload a file, retrieve audio from your Media Library, or Insert from URL.
Just paste it in the spot provided and hit Apply.
If you’re using different audio-streaming services (Google, Amazon, etc), chances are they can also provide you with links you can paste right into your site.
Once you hit Apply, just like that, you’ll have a media player.
You can also add a caption, and there are advanced options, for styling, size, and design.
This is by far the easiest way of manually adding a WordPress audio player. You won’t have as many features that some of the plugins offer, however, it does do the job: inserting audio as effortlessly as possible.
2. Embed a link to the source audio player
Embedding is another option of applying media from another source. Just like the link in the first example, there is typically an embed code as well for audio on most streaming services.
For this, we’ll be using the classic editor.
Once you get the code, paste it in your WordPress blog or page in the Text editor.
When doing it this way, you don’t have to worry about hosting any of the audio and you can import it directly from the source.
And just like that…
…you have a playlist.
The one negative about this method is you don’t have any control over the way it visually looks on your site. Your digital service has specific colors, fonts, etc. that may not fit with the rest of your website.
3. Upload an audio file through Media
You’re likely familiar with the Add Media function in the classic editor of WordPress.
Yes, the same place where you can add images is where you can also upload audio clips (and retrieve them for the Gutenberg block). If you use this option, be sure to update the metadata as you would any other media file for SEO.
There’s not a lot of control over this way of embedding. The clip will go in its entirety unless you’ve edited it before you upload it. Also, it will appear in the default WordPress audio player design.
4. Add a Playlist
WordPress enables users to create an audio playlist of their own.
When you go to Insert Media in the classic editor, you have the option on the left-hand side of the screen. If you have the audio files available, all you do is create your playlist the way you would a video playlist or an image gallery.
Just click on Create Audio Playlist and upload your files. And don’t forget to add the metadata for each.
Once you add your files, you’ll be able to edit specific information you want to be included in your audio playlist; including Show Tracklist, Show Artist Name in Tracklist, and Show Images.
Once completed, below is what the final playlist looks on WordPress.
It’s great that WordPress offers built-in options for uploading and publishing audio. However, there is little control over settings and appearance without advanced design knowledge. So, that’s where a plugin can help tweak and design everything for your audio needs.
Plugin the Amplifier
So you want to amp things up, huh?
With audio plugins, you can do just that. They are available to help your audio with sound, displays, words, and more. Depending on what audio your website is featuring (music, podcasting, interviews, etc.), there’s a free plugin that can enhance it.
Audio plugins have many benefits (as you’ll see). Several examples are:
- Custom player options
- Saved audio positions
- Text-to-talk features
- Specific labeling of audio clips
- Organizing audio
- Subscription tools
- Payment for songs/audio downloads
There is a variety of free audio player plugins. Each one has unique features, capabilities, and can be suited best for your needs. Also, these are all compatible with Gutenberg and up-to-date.
If you’re going to have audio as part of your visitor’s experience on your website, you need to make it a good one.
We’ve searched high and low to find several free WordPress music player plugins. Once you review their features, you should be able to decide what one works best for you.
Here are some of our top choices.
In a band? Then the Audio Dock might be a hit. This plugin by Themify has some features that make it especially great for musicians looking to showcase their newest album while visitors browse through their site. Its attractive audio player is highly customizable and works well with any theme.
Some of the features include:
- Personally owning custom titles for tracks
- Unlimited number of audio tracks
- Customizable bar and track color
- Responsiveness across all resolutions
There’s not a ton of advanced options with Audio Deck. However, it does make for a quick-and-easy customization plugin when it comes to looks, autoplay, and creating custom titles.
If music isn’t your thing, maybe it’s a podcast.
PowerPress is great for podcasting. It was developed by podcasters for podcasters. The features are quite impressive when it comes to delivering your audio. And setting it up is essentially just like setting up a blog post; allowing text, audio, visuals, and more advanced options.
Some of the features of this plugin include:
- Full Apple Podcasts & Google Podcasts support
- Integrated HTML5 media players with embed support
- Skip to a position in Player shortcode
- Subscription tools
- Podcasting SEO
You can set up your podcast in 3-simple steps with this plugin:
- Fill out the settings.
- Create a blog post with an episode.
- Submit your feed to iTunes and other podcast directories.
With its ease of use, subscription options, and delivery method, it’s a great free option for your podcast listeners.
The Compact WP Audio Player lives up to its name by being, well, very compact. Some might even describe it as “cute”.
You can embed an mp3 or .ogg audio file with this responsive player.
Some of its most notable features are:
- Not taking up a lot of space
- HTML5 compatible
- Works on all major browsers
- Can be embedded on posts or pages
- Offers previews if selling audio files
Overall, this is a simple audio plugin that will fit snug into your website.
Another example of a small player is the mb.miniAudioPlayer. This plugin was made to transform any mp3 file uploaded into a post into a small HTML5 audio player with various features.
Some of the options that you can utilize with this player include:
- Customizable skins
- Volume and seeking control
- Title bar
- Rewind button
- Mute and play buttons
You can also include a download option for your audio clips.
This player is relatively simple to set up and use. It’s a good fit if you’re looking for minor adjustments to add to your WordPress audio player.
Audio Album gives you the ability to style a group of audio files as a single block formatted as an album. This can come in handy if you’re looking to display multiple albums (music or spoken) on your WordPress site.
Shortcodes are used to set the parameters; including titles, width, height, date, songwriter, and more.
Some of the features included are:
- Customized colors
- Attractive player
- Play buttons
This is a more prominent player, which is great if you’re wanting your visitors to pay attention, and listen to what you have to offer.
What separates the CP Media Player from the rest of the pack is its ability to play audio AND video. It also has some great customization options that allow you to match the look of your player to your website.
Some of the various file types it can publish are MP4, OGG, WebM, MP3, WAV, and WebSRT subtitle files. It also works on all browsers.
It’s main features are:
- The capability of publishing an audio and video player in a post, page, or template.
- Supports a wide variety of audio files.
- Allows you to associate a playlist to your media player.
- The adjustable design of skins.
You can also get a premium version of the player, which features more skins, selling of files from the player, and a sales report.
When setting up, the player provides 3 separate blocks:
- New Audio Player
- New Video Player
- Insert Player From Gallery
Overall, it’s a nice option to have all your audio and video capabilities in one plugin.
AWS for WordPress is a very unique audio plugin and a bit different from the others. Its main feature is the capability of translating your posts into other languages and creating spoken words with the help of Amazon Polly.
This can also be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, so you can listen to your posts on Alexa-enabled devices.
To use it, you must have an Amazon AWS account. It’s free to set up and get started.
The features of this plugin include:
- Works perfect for the visually impaired
- Translates text into different languages
- Easy to use
- Works with Amazon Polly
If writing or blogging is your main focus, this plugin might be a good option; especially for accessibility and being more user-friendly for viewers who are visually impaired.
With exceptional reviews and lots of features, the Music Player for WooCommerce is perfect for customization, sales, and having a very distinctive player.
It’s regularly updated, and works well with any device or theme. Some of the main features of this plugin are:
- Google Analytics integration
- Supports OGA, MP3, WAV, and WMA formats
- Includes multiple skins for designing the music player
- Includes a sidebar widget
- Features a block to insert a playlist on pages using Gutenberg
- Ability to purchase audio files
There are some premium features as well that can allow playing the audio files in a secure mode to prevent unauthorized downloads, and allow a certain percent of the audio file’s size to be played in the secure mode.
In terms of being a functional, customizable, and up-to-date player, this one Woo-ed us over.
How’s That Sound?
With all of the examples we covered in this article, hopefully now you have a good idea of what might work best for you. As you can see, adding a free audio plugin can be a fantastic way to help tune-up the audio on your website. Or, if you want to keep it simple, there are easier ways of embedding audio, as mentioned at the beginning of the article.
And hopefully, Bob’s Spaghetti Palace will delete the autoplay and instead include a playlist that you can decide to listen to, a welcome introduction (from Bob himself), or an audio clip of the latest menu items that can be read off the menu with one click.