10+ Best Countdown Timers for Wordpress (and how to use them)

10+ Best Countdown Timers for WordPress (and how to use them)

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What are countdown timers

Countdown timers can be used for many things, including boosting your sales through scarcity marketing by visually displaying the time remaining before they can get your free offer (or the number of items in your ecommerce store).|

Using scarcity psychology is one of the best hacks to boost your revenue. Click here to learn more about how to sell more using scarcity.

Why countdown timers work so well

Of all things on the internet, your visitor’s attention is the most scare (and valuable) resource you can have.

And countdown timers are amazing tools for attracting attention because they have an advantage that’s never talked about.

The ticking timer itself …

It’s a fact that human eyes are attracted to movement.

This phenomenon developed during the hunter gatherer times, when the human brain evolved to focus our attention on movement. This helped us spot dangers (and animals to hunt) in the forest.

images that move are impossible to ignore

So as the seconds timers counts down, it attracts your visitor’s eyes bringing the timer into sharp focus and letting them know that time is running out.

872
Days
23
Hours
29
Minutes
02
Seconds

see how the movement attracts attention?

Of course, you can take this attention-grabbing effect to the next level by using bright colors which are in contrast with the main colors of your page.

Another thing that makes timers so great is that: we don’t think in words, we think in pictures.

So on your website, you can write: The sale ends at midnight of May 31st

And it won’t work

But if you present the deadline in form a countdown timer, your visitors can literally see the clock ticking away.

872
Days
23
Hours
29
Minutes
02
Seconds

the timer makes the deadline real

And that’s what makes your visitor realize that they need to buy now, before the timer hits zero.

add countdown timer

a timer in this promo would skyrocket sales

Where to place countdown timers

Countdown timers have many different uses, from counting down to salary day to countdown to Christmas and to the day you’ll start running the next promotion on your site.

But the most powerful use of countdown timers is using them to create scarcity which encourages your customers to buy from you now, rather than later.

And here are some more uses of countdown timers:

  • One-time sales (individual product or storewide sales)
  • Recurring sales (end of year or end of month sales)
  • Evergreen scarcity (special offers for new newsletter subscribers only)
  • Trial expiration dates
  • Order shipping and delivery dates
  • Coming soon pages (website launch, product release etc)
  • Customer’s birthday, anniversary etc (send best wishes with or without discounts)
  • Webinar date and time notifications
  • Abandoned shopping cart expiry
  • Upcoming Hotel Stays or Flight Times
  • Contest end dates (encourage existing customer to bring in new customers and win prizes)
  • Online and offline event dates (real life meetups, sports events, online group conference etc)
  • Survey end dates
  • Website maintenance ends in …

You can also countdown limited quantity items to create scarcity and urgency (only 100 books for sale or first 50 customers get discounts)

Countdown timers can make a big difference to your sales numbers when they’re used to create scarcity or urgency in your customer’s mind.

When your customers know that time is running out and they must hurry to buy your product, your sales can literally take off.

But, scarcity needs to be real.

If your customers can simply reset the timer by refreshing the page or by visiting the URL in incognito mode or by signing up again using a different email address, the scarcity is not real.

In fact, using the scarcity principle in this way can harm your business instead of helping you sell more.

Difference between fixed, recurring and evergreen countdowns

If you run a one-time special promotion with a fixed end date, you’ll need a fixed countdown timer.

This timer will end for everyone on the same date and time.

Recurring countdowns are useful when you run the same sale, with the same products (or storewide) on the same dates every year (or every month or every week … you get the idea).

You can setup these countdowns to automatically run on the schedule you want and softwares like Deadline Funnel or Thrive Ultimatum will automatically display the countdowns on these dates.


Evergreen countdowns are specific to each new subscriber on your email list and run for a specific duration (which you can specify)

For example: you want each new newsletter subscriber to get 10% off on your book for the first week after they signup.

Or you want each person who visits a specific URL (like the sales page for your book) to get a discount if they buy within 10 days.

But if someone can simply signup with a new email address and reset the timer, then they can buy anytime and still get a discount. That defeats the whole purpose of the evergreen timer.

To make sure no one can cheat, you need the lockdown feature

Lockdown feature explained

The lockdown feature is a complicated piece of tech that makes sure that no one can beat the timer by signing up from a new email or by visiting the URL in incognito, or clearing cookies or changing their IP address.

Basically, with lockdown, every person is uniquely identified by the software and once the deadline has passed, there’s no way anyone can claim the discount, no matter what trick they pull.

So if you want to use the incredible power of scarcity marketing, you NEED to have the lockdown feature.

Note: Of all the plugins mentioned in this post, lockdown feature is only available with Deadline Funnel and Thrive Ultimatum

How long should the countdown be?

For countdowns to be effective, the visitor needs to realize that the offer might go away soon.

That’s what gets them to take action.

This is why you see that the maximum sales for any scarcity marketing campaign happening on the last day of the sale.

sales skyrocket on the last day of the deadline

sales shoot up on the last day of the deadline
Learn more: How avoid burnout during launch

So should you make the countdown as short as possible?

Simple answer: No

See if you make your countdown really short, potential customers won’t have the time to check out your sales page or read reviews about your product to decide if they really want what you’re offering.

You need to give them enough time to research your product otherwise you’re putting them in a tight spot where they have to make the decision RIGHT NOW or lose out.

In this situation, most people would feel that they are being pressured to buy now.

And that means they have to drop whatever they’re doing and start researching your product immediately.

So if they don’t know about your product and aren’t ALREADY CONVINCED about buying your product, they’ll simply choose to move on.

So should the timer be really long?

Again, no.

If the timer is long, like a month, then your visitors will put off researching your offer till later.

And as they days go by, they’ll start to lose the initial excitement for the offer and that’s where the leads go cold


The ideal countdown timer length actually depends on how long it takes customers to research your product but the ideal time is between 3-7 days.

If your product is easy to understand and research, use 3-5 days.

If it’s not, use 5-7 days but never go more than 7 days.

Also, make sure you email your contacts regularly during the offer period, telling them how much time remains.

And make sure you mention the days/hours remaining in the subject line of the email.

ramit sethi sales emails

Ramit Sethi adds scarcity marketing deadlines to his emails as the final date approaches
Learn more: How Ramit Sethi uses scarcity marketing to sell more

How to design and display timers

Use more than 1 timer

For the max effect place more than 1 timer on your sales page, ideally just above or below the price list and money back guarantee sections.

If you have a long sales page, you should place these elements near the top of the page and near the bottom.

For really long sales pages, use place them once again in the middle of the page, if possible, near the testimonials.

On the rest of your site, countdown timers should appear either on top or on the bottom of the page, but not both, as floating elements which stay in position as the page is scrolled.

And you should also place a timer in the widget area of your WordPress site to get the offer noticed.

Keep things in balance though. Too many countdown timers will make you seem like an untrustworthy, pushy used car salesman.

pushy used car salesman

don’t be this guy

Designing the countdown timer

For the best results, follow these 3 rules when designing your countdown timer(s):

  1. The timer should have contrasting color to the page so it gets noticed easily and doesn’t blend into the page
  2. Next to the timer, place a big, bold call to action button
  3. There should also be a short, easily understood and precise benefit for the visitor so they can easily understand “What’s In It For Me”

Best WordPress countdown timers & widgets

There are many tools you can use to add a countdown timer to your WordPress site.

While choosing the plugins to be added to this list, I looked at the ratings of the plugins and how frequently they are updated. Plugins which have been abandoned by their developers didn’t make it to this list.


Also, this isn’t a complete list and you can suggest plugins for me to take a look at using the contact form.
However, I can’t guarantee when I’ll look at the plugins or if I’ll include them in this list at all.
Please do not make plugin review requests in the comments.

Such comments will be deleted to allow conversations to stay on track.

Let’s take a look at the WordPress countdown timer plugins:

WordPress page builders that include countdown timers

Some WordPress page builders include countdown timers. These are:

Thrive Architect

Price

Thrive Architect (plugin only): 69 (one-time payment, single site) or
Thrive Membership: $19/month (paid annually, 25 websites)
Membership includes: Complete Thrive Themes Suite including all future products/updates, lifetime support and price guarantee

My rating :  5 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Thrive Architect includes a basic countdown timer with state-of-the-art design customization.
Scarcity timers are included in the dedicated scarcity marketing plugin, Thrive Ultimatum which is an amazing scarcity marketing tool and a part of the Thrive Themes Suite (which also includes an email opt in forms plugin, viral quiz plugin, testimonials gathering & display plugin, headline optimizer for blog posts, landing page testing plugin, comments plugin and more)

Notes

Thrive Architect is the best drag and drop page builder ever made for WordPress. It can be used to easily design professional looking landing pages and blog posts. It includes 150+ templates designed and tons of pre-designed elements.

Everything created with Architect can be fully customized. I’ve been using the Thrive Themes suite on all my sites since 2015 and have become a raving fan of their products. The products are truly world class, affordable and backed by great tutorials, marketing tips and a hard-working support team.

Thrive Ultimatum is a feature rich scarcity marketing plugin. It has an uncheatable lockdown feature which prevents people from resetting their personalized scarcity countdown. It includes simple timers, recurring timers and evergreen timers. The timers can be displayed on any combinations of posts and pages you like and can be triggered into action by date, or a new email subscriber sign up or the subscriber’s visit to a post or page. The timer can change to a different design in the last few days or hours to attract more attention and can be hidden for people who have already made the purchase.

However, Thrive Ultimatum does face competition from its rival Deadline Funnel, which includes a few more features (including personalized timers in emails and scarcity marketing based on limited availability of products in your ecommerce store).

Recommended Resources

Thrive Ultimatum

Feature packed, fast loading & easy to use. Excellent scarcity countdown timer plugin for WordPress.

Deadline Funnel

The best scarcity marketing and countdown timer tool. Timers can be placed on any site and in emails too.


Divi Builder

Price

$89/yr or $249 one time
Includes: Unlimited sites, lifetime updates & support

My rating :  4 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Doesn't include scarcity timer


Notes

Divi builder has a basic countdown timer which can be fully customized to suit your design.
It doesn’t have any scarcity marketing features, no integration with your eCommerce setup and no options for what happens when the timer hits zero.

Divi Builder is available only as part of Elegant Themes suite which also includes an email opt in forms plugin, a theme builder plugin, a WordPress theme and a social media plugin.

Divi builder is serious competition for Thrive Architect but I like Architect better.

Other WordPress page builders that include countdown timers are Beaver Builder & Elementor

Standalone WordPress countdown plugins

Note: Shortcodes generated by these plugins can be used in a widget

Countdown Timer – Widget Countdown

Price

Free (limited features). Paid $29 (single site)

My rating :  0 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Doesn't include scarcity timer


Notes

countdown timer shoing negative time remaining

I tried out this plugin on my test site and it didn’t work well. In the first test it was able to show the message I had set after the countdown expired.
In subsequent tests the countdown went to negative numbers and didn’t show the “expired” message.
But the biggest negative about this plugin is when I set it to 1 minute, the countdown started from 34 seconds remaining.
That means the timer doesn’t work properly and that’s why the plugin gets the lowest 0/5 rating.

Countdown Timer Ultimate

Price

Free. Suite starting at $69/yr

My rating :  2 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Doesn't include scarcity timer


Notes

The free version a basic countdown plugin that works well if you’re not interested in anything beyond a basic timer.
The paid version has more designs, more customization options and integration with WooCommerce & Easy Digital Downloads.
The paid version still lacks several features available with other plugins.
Paid version is a part of a plugin suite and cannot be purchased separately.

Evergreen Countdown Timer

Price

Free (with limits)
Paid version starts from $37 (single site)

My rating :  3 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Paid feature only. Easy to cheat in free version.


Notes

The free version is really only good for displaying a simple countdown but doesn’t’ seem to have any way to control the display size of the timer (which is quite large).

For evergreen countdowns you’re limited to only cookie based tracking OR IP based tracking in the free version, which are inadequate for preventing timer cheats (when used separately).
To get both you’ll need the paid version. 

However the implementation of the lockdown feature is quite weak.
Timers have to be inserted manually into each page using shortcodes so there’s no way to display a sitewide timer without having to edit a whole bunch of content.

The paid version does have ability to display limited availability of products in your shopping cart (example: hurry up only 2 units remaining) but doesn’t have any info about which shopping carts are supported.

Lastly, the documentation of this plugin contains only 1 basic article and doesn’t cover anything beyond the basics which doesn’t lend the developer much credibility.
Getting support might be an issue.

Conclusion: The free version is too limited to perform well and the paid version competes with Deadline Funnel (read review), which is a much better choice if you’re going to buy a paid product.

T(-) Countdown

Price

Free (with limits)
Paid version starts from $45.95 for single site

My rating :  1 / 5

Scarcity Timer

The plugin is too complex to figure it out.


Notes

This plugin is quite complicated for beginners, especially those who aren’t familiar with extended shortcode options.
You’ll need to visit their documentation page and spend some time figuring out how to customize your countdown to match your preferences.
The widget element is quite sophisticated, but again, not very user friendly.

The paid version allows you to schedule recurring countdowns (instead of having to do it manually) but doesn’t seem to offer anything else.
Not recommended.

WordPress Countdown Widget

Price

Free

My rating :  1 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Don’t know. Don’t care. The plugin is too complex to figure it out.


Notes

Another very basic timer which is quite complicated to use for beginners who’re unfamiliar with customizing shortcodes.
You’ll need to visit their documentation page and spend some time figuring out how to customize your countdown to match your preferences.

Their widget element is quite sophisticated but always includes a link to the plugin’s download page, even when you check the box that says “remove link”
(why is there an option to remove the link if it doesn’t work?).

Not recommended.

Price

Free (with limits)
Paid pricing for suite from $4.99/month to $79.99/month

My rating :  3 / 5

Scarcity Timer

Paid version only


Notes

This countdown timer is part of a 50 plugin suite but can be purchased separately too. A branded version is available for free.

The timer can be customized in many ways to suit your needs and offers many features, but many features are only available in the paid versions.

Although the Powr naively integrates with just a few platforms, it can work with almost any service/platform through Zapier.

Other plugins in the Powr suite: Map, Survey, Chat, Paypal Button, Form Builder, Ecommerce, Plan Comparison, Microblog, Multi Slider, Popup, Social Feed, File Embed, Comments and more …

However, the website has 404 pages (in tutorials section) and some parts of the site aren’t designed properly, which gives the impression that the business isn’t serious about doing things with the highest standards.

This leads me to doubt the quality of the tools and the support that might be provided.
If you’ve used the paid version of Powr tools, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Countdown & Clock

Price

Free (with limits)
Paid versions from $19.99 to $39.99 (one time payment)

My rating :  3 / 5

Scarcity Timer

The free plugin includes 5 basic designs and offers a good number of design customization options.
The paid version can also display the number of items remaining in WooCommerce store and has the ability to redirect visitors after the countdown expires.
However, the paid versions do not include cookie or IP address-based lockdown abilities.
So the plugin isn’t useful for scarcity marketing.


Notes

This is a good plugin if you’re just looking for a basic timer with good design customization.
Timers can be displayed using shortcodes or by specifying the posts/pages (where timer should appear) in the admin backend.

The paid version also includes a “subscribe to the email list” option which can be displayed below the timer.
However, I couldn’t find any options to connect it to ActiveCampaign or any other email marketing services (and anyways, I can’t figure out why someone would want to force visitors to become subscribers by showing them an opt in form below a countdown. Seems like a pushy tactic to grow your list.)

Support is provided through WordPress plugin repository.
Worth taking a look.

If you have any questions about scarcity marketing or using countdown timers on your website, leave a comment below and I'll try my best to help you out.

pulkit gera

Cheers,
Pulkit Gera – Blogging Done Better

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