The need to achieve a competitive advantage in the business world has contributed to constant technological advancement. Creating a website is among the many options for building a brand’s online presence. Companies that have made their website on WordPress now use WordPress VR plugins to integrate virtual reality tours into their website.
The virtual reality feature in WordPress allows businesses to provide a comprehensive view of their products & services to all customers. If you also have a WordPress website, you can quickly walk potential clients through a realistic and 360-degree view of venues, apartments, galleries, gardens, and more.
In this guide, we will explain how VR in WordPress boosts engagement in the real-estate industry and provide a step-by-step guide on successful WordPress VR plugin integration. Before we look into that, we will go through some basics of VR and popular WordPress VR plugins.
So, let us start.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality enables users to explore and interact with virtual surroundings in a simulated 3D environment. It does so in a way that approximates reality when interpreted through the users’ senses. You might need to wear devices like goggles or VR helmets to interact with the virtual environment created using computer hardware and software. The deeper you immerse yourself in a VR environment, the more you suspend reality and accept it as real.
There are different virtual reality systems available, each with unique features. They vary depending on the technology used and its purpose. Here are popular VR types:
The most basic virtual reality is non-immersive VR, which involves accessing the 3D simulated environment through a computer screen. Some programs create a more immersive environment by generating sound. The keyboard or mouse controls the domain, but deeper interactions are limited. Practical examples of non-immersive VR are video games or virtual tours on real estate websites.
The semi-immersive virtual reality provides users with a partial virtual experience accessed through a computer screen, glasses, or headset. It focuses on the visual 3D aspect but fails to include the physical movement feature in fully immersive VR. A good example is the flight simulators used by airlines and the military for enhanced training sessions.
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You will achieve the most incredible virtual reality level by experiencing a fully immersive virtual reality program. It immerses the user in a simulated 3D world incorporating sound, sight, and touch. Users need to wear special VR equipment like helmets and gloves to interact with their surroundings fully.
Equipment like treadmills and stationary bikes help create a more realistic environment by allowing users to move in the 3D space. Although this VR type is still young, it has proved crucial in improving healthcare and enhancing gaming.
Users from different regions can gather in a virtual space and interact with one another through Collaborative VR. There are 3D characters to represent each individual, and communication is through microphones and headsets.
This type of virtual reality is slightly more complex. It involves overlaying virtual simulations onto real-world environments to enhance them. A good example is a furniture retailer who has developed an app for users to visualize how a chair or table would look by pointing their phones at a room.
Why Use Virtual Reality Content on WordPress?
Virtual reality is still in the development stage despite it having a tremendous impact on entertainment and business. WordPress allows users to include 360-degree images and videos on their websites to enhance and encourage client interaction.
Although not everybody will have their HTC Vive VR headset while viewing space, shopping, learning, etc., people with these devices will enjoy an immersive experience.
Virtual reality also makes marketing your WordPress website more effective. You can use the feature to display specific products from different angles or even provide clients with a virtual tour of your store.
To integrate VR into your WordPress website, you will require some plugins. To make your task easy, we have curated several popular WordPress virtual tour plugins. Before we look into the plugins, we will look at which industries where it is already popular.
Which Industries Can Leverage Virtual Reality on WordPress?
Gaming is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about virtual reality. However, technology serves essential purposes in other industries also. Some popular areas where you can use VR include:
- Real estate
- Hotels & Resorts
- Art Galleries
- Bars & Pubs, and many more.
Best Virtual Reality Plugins for WordPress
Here are the 5 best WordPress VR plugins you can consider integrating into your WordPress website.
1. WP VR Plugin
WP VR is one of the excellent plugins created by Rextheme. It enables you to create a stunning virtual view of any space on your WordPress website. It allows your clients to take a virtual tour of the space and increase engagement.
In addition, the plugin allows you to showcase 360 panoramic views of the space to your clients, providing them with a complete highlight of how space looks in reality. To achieve this, you need to upload a panoramic image and convert it to a highly-interactive & realistic experience.
WP VR plugin is available in two versions: Free & Pro. Moreover, the pro version is available via annual and lifetime plans. The pricing for the lifetime plan starts at $250 and goes up to $650.
Let us check some of the best features of WP VR.
- Utilize engaging hotspots like text, images, URLs, GIFs, videos, buttons, etc., to view on-click or on-hover content. Besides this, you also get 900+ custom icons for hotspots.
- Integrate multiple panoramic images using hotspots & scenes to provide a realistic interactive tour.
- Upload videos on YouTube, videos, or your WordPress website, and then embed them on your desired page using WP VR.
- Enable the auto-resize feature to make your virtual tour mobile-friendly.
- Use Gutenberg or well-known page builders to embed virtual tours on the website.
2. Panoramic Viewer
It is a 360 Degree image view plugin developed by bPlugins LLC. The plugin lets you integrate videos & images on websites efficiently.
Using this plugin, you can add a wide range of panoramic files to your WordPress website, such as PNG, JPEG, MP4, and more. The best thing is the plugin is user-friendly, and you don’t need any technical expertise.
You can leverage this plugin to embed 360-degree photos and videos in posts, pages, widget areas, and WooCommerce product pages.
Here are some of the essential features of this plugin.
- Create a comprehensive gallery of 360-degree photos.
- Embed 360-degree images and videos into Google Street View.
- It allows you to store external links to your panoramic files.
- The plugin works absolutely well with the Elementor page builder.
- Integrate images or videos anywhere on your website using the shortcode.
3. iPanorama 360 WordPress Plugin
The WordPress plugin enables you to leverage markers to offer any specific information related to the scene and navigate between them easily. Besides this, you can include pop-over windows which provide a particular detail about any scene.
The plugin also offers a tooltip system to modify any scene with text, images, or related media. It also gives you the ability to build highly interactive & virtual tours, maps, and presentations.
Like the above two plugins, it also enables you to add 360 panoramic photos & videos and turn them into a realistic virtual tour using Gutenberg’s block editor. Lastly, the plugin is available in two versions: free & premium.
Let us quickly go through the essential features of this plugin.
- It offers a modern web interface through which you can build a virtual tour in a few seconds.
- Build multiple scenes using 360-degree images and connect these using the hotspots. Further, you can enable users to switch between the scenes and integrate a transition effect for smooth switching.
- Share your tour on multiple websites by embedding the iframe code.
- The plugin enables you to create scenes of different types, such as cubes, spheres, and cylinders.
4. Flat 360° Panoramic Image Viewer
The panoramic image viewer plugin accepts flat rectilinear and equirectangular panorama photos. The plugin supports the new Gutenberg or any other editor with shortcode support and provides users with an excellent realistic viewing experience.
You can quickly get started with this plugin even if you don’t have any coding language. The reason is you get a simple & easy-to-use interface to create highly-interactive virtual tours.
It also offers a TinyMCE editor to generate shortcode. Moreover, the custom blocks from Gutenberg make it easy to build a website as per the latest WordPress standards.
You can add a 360-degree panoramic viewer on any page, post, widget, and custom shortcode-based plugin section. Moreover, you can also have various instances of the panoramic viewer on one page.
The WordPress virtual tour plugin supports leading browsers on the web, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc. Moreover, it is available at the affordable cost of $25 with 6-month support.
Here are several great features of Flat 360° Panoramic Image Viewer.
- It comes with extensive documentation along with some examples. Hence, you can easily get started with the plugin.
- Include hotspots via the map tag and integrate them with the help of the responsive lightbox plugin.
- The plugin is entirely responsive and optimized well for all sizes of devices, such as tablets, desktops, and laptops.
5. Magic 360 for WordPress
Magic 360 is a well-known WordPress VR plugin that lets you showcase 360-degree photos, videos, and 3D images on your WordPress website or WooCommerce store. It is trusted by leading brands worldwide, like Google, Coca-Cola, AVON, Lufthansa, etc.
The robust and next-gen WordPress plugin turns a series of images into a 360 panoramic view. Moreover, it is quite suitable to present 3D CAD images fetched from any third-party modeling software and showcase single-axis or multiple-axis spins.
With the WordPress shortcodes, the plugin gives you a chance to embed 360-degree images into the site without doing any coding. Here, you need to choose images and decide on a shortcode, and the plugin will embed itself.
The plugin comes with full-fledged documentation at just $99 per year. It also offers 24 hours support. Let us go through the key features of the Magic 360 WordPress plugin.
- The plugin allows displaying images in 3D or a 360-degree view.
- You can protect your photos by adding a watermark using the watermark tool.
- It uses SEO-friendly URLs and ALT tags in the images to ensure your site gets indexed quickly in the search engines.
- The virtual tour created using the plugin will function appropriately regardless of the device & browser.
How to Integrate a Virtual Experience in WordPress? (WP-VR)
It will help if you consider a virtual tour creator when planning to integrate VR into your WordPress website. The plugin makes the process easier and more effective for several industries and different purposes.
WP VR is among the best prospects to consider when creating virtual tours on your website. You don’t need any high-end equipment; manipulation is through your WordPress dashboard. Once activated, it allows site visitors to navigate a 360-degree view of the location. It also supports switching between scenes, provides more information, and supports zooming in and out for a better view.
You only need to upload a panoramic image to the plugin, and it will develop a realistic virtual tour for your site. The plugin remains lightweight despite the many built-in features available and is compatible with other high-end plugins.
Here is a guide on adding virtual tours using WP-VR;
1. Install & Activate the Plugin
Installing and activating the WP VR plugin is the first step. The best download location would be from the plugins page on your admin site dashboard. You can search for the plugin by name on the search field and install and activate it.
2. Open the Get Started Page
After a successful install, you’ll need to access the Get Started page to configure plugin settings. Click on the WP VR icon and choose the Get Started tab on the left side menu.
The option should be available if the plugin is active. It will help to repeat the installation process if you don’t see it.
3. Configure the Plugin Settings
The Get Started page features all the main settings for the WP VR plugin.
There are four primary tabs;
- Info- it provides more information on the plugin and has supporting links and other documentation.
- Video tutorials- in case you need help troubleshooting, several video tutorials are available on this tab.
- Free vs. Pro- here is where you get all the information on the benefits of upgrading to a pro-version.
- Settings- it is where you configure basic settings for the plugin.
4. Click on “Add New Tour”
Creating your virtual tour is the most crucial step when integrating VR into your WordPress website. Click on the “Add New Tour” on the left side menu after confirming your settings.
5. Add a Tour Name
You will observe an empty box at the top of the WP VR editor to enter a tour name. A Tour Preview section under the “Add Title” box previews the in-progress tour to help you see how it looks before publishing.
6. Add General Options and Settings
There is a setup area if you scroll down the WP VR editor. It allows you to set all other basic settings to your preference when uploading an image.
It would help to note that the advanced controls and control button options are grayed out. Upgrading to the plugin’s premium version will give you access to these features.
7. Add Scenes and Hotspots
Scenes and hotspots help create a more immersive and interactive virtual experience. You can add either from their respective tabs if you need them.
8. Enable or Disable Video
You can enable video functionality or disable it on the setup page. Your decision depends on your site preferences. Click on “Publish” to perform the tour live.
9. Place the Shortcode on a Page or Post
WP VR will provide you with a Shortcode for the tour once it goes live. Paste the shortcode into the page or post on which you want it to feature and update the entries.
Creating virtual tours with WP VR is easier than most assume. There is no limit to the tours you can create or publish on your website.
Are There Any Benefits to Integrating Virtual Tours into Real Estate Websites?
The real estate industry is among the few ventures benefitting tremendously from virtual tours. The tours help create a more immersive house shopping and viewing experience from their websites. With the dozens of plugins available, it is easy to build virtual tours in WordPress.
This section highlights the benefits of using virtual tours on your real estate business website;
It does not take hours for buyers to decide whether they’re interested in a house. According to the founder of The Corcoran Group, Barbara Corcoran, it only takes eight seconds to see a home for a buyer to decide. Using standard images is insufficient to trigger such interest, even if they are high-quality.
You could consider creating virtual tours to boost visitor engagement. Virtual tours increase your chances of grabbing the visitor’s attention for up to five minutes while increasing your brand’s reputation.
The ideal tour should highlight all the rooms and spaces in the house. The visitors can navigate from one room to another and access every detail alone. You also get insights and details into which points they clicked and how long they spent in each room.
Increases Closing Rate
Most real estate websites have the standard layout. This layout mainly focuses on functionality rather than enhancing the customer’s shopping experience. The structure and images provided do not accurately describe what is on offer. Although they’ll call and visit, they might find the prospect not attractive.
Virtual tours on real estate websites help provide a practical idea of the property before contacting you. The virtual visualizations show the property’s structure and organization. It increases your closing rate since most buyers who get to you will have found their perfect match and are willing to start negotiations.
Instead of wasting hours giving physical tours to mildly interested individuals, you’ll find ready buyers. It would be wise to include a map showing the site to make it easy for potential buyers to find the property.
Easy to Use and Cost-Effective
A common misconception about virtual tours on websites is that they are expensive to create. It is the main reason discouraging realtors from implementing this innovation. If you own a WordPress site, there are several plugins you can consider for hassle-free VR integration.
The WP VR plugin allows you to include 360-degree panorama images in your posts. The plugin also helps you link and convert them into a converting virtual tour. You do not need much money to create a virtual tour; have your panoramic images ready to upload.
Increases Visitor Reliability
A real estate website that includes virtual tours is more reliable than one without. The tours provide buyers with a comprehensive view of the property, eliminating the need for several visits. It is only until they find a properly built and organized house that they’ll make physical visits.
Most realtor websites provide several pictures of the house. Although these pictures help paint a grim picture, they lack enough detail to create a visual image. Buyers are more likely to develop a genuine interest in your property if you integrate virtual tours.
Increases Web Traffic
Virtual reality provides a competitive advantage since only a few realtors understand its benefits. Including them in your property site will prove more effective in grabbing the attention of buyers. Visitors will find choosing properties on your website effortless instead of looking at flat images on competing sites.
Your website’s traffic will increase as it includes unique elements. Most realtors consider virtual tours as a strategy to get you more business by attracting more clients.
The impact of virtual reality on bridging the gap between traditional retail and e-commerce is tremendous. WordPress website owners can now add virtual reality content to their pages to provide visitors with an immersive experience. Businesses should understand that VR is exponentially growing as the price of VR systems becomes more affordable.