Adding text-to-speech functionality to your website can provide greater accessibility and boost user experience. Visitors who can’t read the screen or would rather listen to the content can do so easily. Plus, this feature is easy to set up with the right text-to-speech WordPress plugin.
In this article, we’ll talk about why you might want to use a text-to-speech WordPress plugin. Then we’ll introduce you to the best text-to-voice tools for your site. Let’s get to it!
What Are Text-to-Speech WordPress Plugins?
Put simply, a text-to-speech WordPress plugin reads your content aloud. This feature can increase your site’s accessibility. Making your website as accessible as possible can be highly rewarding since it opens up your content to an even broader audience.
While some users with disabilities might have access to screen-reader software, not all of them will. In that scenario, having built-in text-to-speech functionality will ensure more visitors can benefit from this accessibility.
Plus, some visitors simply prefer to listen to content versus reading it. They might like to listen to posts during their commute or while they cook. Therefore, offering them that option on your site can be highly attractive.
If you work with WordPress, you have the advantage of being able to use text-to-speech plugins. Implementing the text-to-speech feature can be as simple as installing the right tool, which may only take minutes.
3 Best Text to Speech WordPress Plugins
This section will introduce you to a handpicked list of text-to-speech WordPress plugins and discuss what sets them apart. We’ll explore features, prices, and who should consider using each tool!
1. ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech
ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech’s main selling point is that it’s straightforward to set up. After activating the plugin, you get access to two types of shortcodes. One adds a play button that automatically reads all text on a page. The second only reads the text that you place within the shortcode.
With this plugin, you can choose from 168 voices in over 50 languages. By default, ResponsiveVoice uses a female voice in English with a UK accent. To get access to the other voices, you need to register a free ResponsiveVoice account to use its API.
The free version of the plugin doesn’t have any significant restrictions. However, the developers mention that high-traffic websites may need a license to use the service.
Key Features for ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech:
- Use shortcodes to add text-to-speech buttons in WordPress.
- Get access to 168 voices in over 50 languages.
- Choose which text to convert into voice format or select the entire page.
- Choose between multiple languages and voices.
If you’re using the free version of the plugin, it doesn’t require any additional configuration after activating it. You can start using shortcodes immediately to add text-to-voice buttons anywhere on your site.
ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech is for you if…
- You want to use a plugin that doesn’t require complex configuration.
- The default UK English accent isn’t a dealbreaker for your audience (if you use the free version).
Pricing: The core plugin is free. ResponsiveVoice Pro costs from $39 per month. | Learn More About ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech.
BeyondWords automatically adds a text-to-voice player to posts and pages (you can customize this setup). The player is also available for forms and WooCommerce products.
You need to register for a free BeyondWords account to enable the plugin. The platform will provide you with a project ID and an API key for WordPress. Armed with these, you’ll be able to choose from over 720 voices in 64 languages.
The BeyondWords plugin is free. However, if you want to voice over 30,000 characters monthly, you’ll need to sign up for a premium monthly plan through the platform. To give you an estimate, 30,000 characters should be about 5,000 words.
On top of text-to-voice functionality, the plugin can help you automatically publish posts as podcasts. BeyondWords can connect with Apple Podcasts and Spotify, making it a great option if you’re into podcasting.
Key Features for BeyondWords:
- Automatically add text-to-voice options for posts, pages, forms, and products.
- Choose from over 720 voices in 64 languages.
- Convert up to 30,000 characters to audio for free each month.
- Convert your posts to podcasts and auto-publish them on third-party platforms.
BeyondWords offers a lot of functionality beyond text-to-voice. Its podcasting tools make it a versatile plugin. However, the free version of the tool severely restricts how many words you can voice.
BeyondWords is for you if…
- You want to use a single plugin for text-to-voice and publishing podcasts.
- You don’t mind paying for a premium month-to-month service.
Pricing: The core plugin is free. BeyondWords premium costs from $25 per month. | Learn More About BeyondWords.
Play.ht uses a similar model to the other two plugins we’ve covered in this review guide. The plugin is free, but you’ll need to pay for a premium subscription to access a full suite of voices and languages.
What sets Play.ht apart is that the service gives you more control over the voice you use. You can go beyond gender and accents to choose formal, casual, and even “customer service” voices for text-to-speech.
The plugin lets you choose what content to convert to voice and where to add play buttons on your website. Users can download the audio, speed it up, and even share it via social media. Visitors can also subscribe for new audio posts if you enable that functionality.
The significant limiting factor with Play.ht is that the free version is basically only for testing purposes. It only enables you to convert a small amount of text. If you want to convert entire posts, you’ll need to pay for a month-to-month subscription to the Play.ht service.
Key Features for Play.ht:
- Convert text-to-speech with a massive range of voices to choose from.
- Choose what content to convert to speech and where to place audio players.
- Enable users to download audio, speed it up, and subscribe to new audio posts.
Play.ht offers many configuration options for personalizing the text-to-speech experience on your website. To get access to all settings, you’ll need to register for a Play.ht account and connect it to WordPress.
Play.ht is for you if…
- You want access to a massive library of voices (that don’t sound robotic).
- You don’t mind paying for a monthly subscription.
Pricing: The core plugin is free. Play.ht premium plans start at $14.25 per month. | Learn More About Play.ht.
Final Thoughts on Text-to-Speech WordPress Plugins
The best text-to-voice plugins add an accessibility feature that most modern Content Management Systems (CMS) are missing. The right tools can make it easier for users who need audio or prefer to listen to all of your content on the go. Plus, you can achieve text-to-speech functionality without recording yourself reading aloud for hours.
If you’re not sure which WordPress text-to-speech plugin to choose, here are our top three picks:
- ResponsiveVoice Text to Speech: This plugin offers the best deal if you want a free text-to-speech solution.
- BeyondWords: With this plugin, you can automatically convert posts and pages to audio. The tool can also generate podcasts from your content and publish them for you.
- Play.ht: This plugin offers the most voice options, but it requires a premium subscription.
Do you have any questions about using text-to-speech WordPress plugins? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
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