OptinMonster Review: The Best WordPress Pop-Up Plugin Around

OptinMonster
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
$49 to $499
  • 80%

  • OptinMonster
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: January 5, 2015
  • Ease of Use
    Editor: 95%
  • Functionality
    Editor: 95%
  • Value for Money
    Editor: 90%
  • Documentation and Support
    Editor: 90%

In the online world, the margins between success and failure are notoriously small.

Every tool at your disposal to boost subscriber and customer numbers should be utilized if you want your website to thrive.

This is why so many webmasters continue to use pop-ups on their website, despite knowing they are detrimental to user experience; they’re just too effective to ignore.

By grabbing a visitor’s attention, pop-ups can significantly increase the number of subscribers to your email list and the conversion rate for your website. These are both metrics that can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

As such, a number of strong solutions have – excuse the pun – popped up for WordPress users. And because business owners understand the financial implications of growing their email list and selling more products, they’re prepared to pay top dollar for the best one.

This has seen market for premium pop-up plugins become heavily congested, with a variety of big players competing for market share. However, despite the fierce competition, OptinMonster is arguably the pop-up plugin coming out on top.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster

If you’ve never heard of OptinMonster before, it was created as a collaboration between the guys behind WPBeginner and the Soliloquy slider plugin, Syed Balkhi and Thomas Griffin – both are highly regarded in the WordPress community.

Billing itself as “the best lead-generation plugin for WordPress,” OptinMonster allows you to build beautiful optin forms proven to convert visitors into subscribers and customers.

Here’s a quick look at some of the key features (which we’ll be discussing in more detail later on):

  • Easy design forms, with a number of stylish templates
  • A/B testing
  • Page level targeting – show unique pop-ups on different pages
  • Exit-intent technology – pop-ups display only when a user is about to leave the website
  • Analytics
  • Canvas – use pop-ups for more than just optins, like “buy it now” buttons and discount codes
  • Different types of “pop-ups” – including sidebar forms and footer bars.
  • 8 addons for extra functionality.

An impressive list of features, in my opinion.

Licenses start from just $49 for the Basic version, which gives you access to the core plugin only – this does not include canvas or exit-intent pop-ups. This can be used on one website and also includes one year’s support.

If you want the exit-intent technology and access to all the addons, this is available from $199 in the Pro bundle. This license allows you to use OptinMonster on an unlimited number of websites, making it ideal for developers, and includes one year’s support, too.

Today I tested out the Pro license, giving me access to the entire range of OptinMonster addons, which allowed me to test out the plugin’s true capabilities.

Getting Started

The core OptinMonster plugin is installed separately from the addons, which can be added module by module. This is good news for anyone who is concerned about their website’s speed, as it means your site does not need to carry unnecessary baggage with addons you don’t need.

However, installing the addon modules is really easy, with one-click installation available for users with a Pro license or above, available from the Addons tab.

There are currently eight addons available, all of which add an extra functionality to OptinMonster. The eight addons are:

  • Footer Bar
  • Slide In
  • Exit Intent
  • Sidebar
  • After Post
  • Canvas
  • Effects
  • Mobile Addon

I found the interface really easy to use, and the quick installation options for the addons was much appreciated – it would take much longer to upload each addon one by one.

Building My First Pop-up

After installation, it was time to dive straight in and build my first pop-up.

Getting started is easy: from the WordPress dashboard, simply head over to OptinMonster > Optins then click Add New.

Having installed all of the addons, I was able to choose which type of pop-up I wanted from seven tabs – clicking on each tab displayed all the different templates available to build from.

I decided to go for a “normal” pop-up, which was available under the Lightbox tab. There were nine templates to choose from, with each offering a very different style and appearance – whatever type of website you run, there will be a template that seamlessly fits in with your site's design.

I went with the Case Study Theme, with the demo version looking like this:

Case Study Theme

When you have selected your theme, you're taken to the OptinMonster pop-up builder. This lets you see a live preview of your pop-up in a testing environment as you make changes.

I found the interface to be really intuitive to use, though the sheer quantity of options available meant it took a few minutes for me to find my bearings. However, once you’ve got the hang of things you can see that OptinMonster really is a powerful tool.

The WYSIWYG builder gives you complete control of all aspects of your pop-up. You can add signup fields, change text, choose an image, change colors, and even set the email placeholder text.

All it took was a few minutes and I had an awesome looking pop-up. Want to see a screenshot of it? Of course you do, and here it is!

OptinMonster PopupI'm not the most creative individual in the world, but I was really pleased with how it turned out.

But it's not just the design elements of your pop-up that you customize from the OptinMonster builder screen, you can also configure how and when your pop-up appears.

You can set when the pop-up is displayed by specifying a time delay, or turning on Exit Intent – your pop-up will only display when a visitor is about to leave your website.

You can also set where the pop-up is displayed, whether you want it on every page of your website (globally), or only on pages/posts in specific categories.

All of this was really easy to do, and took no more than a few seconds.

Next, you can integrate your pop-up with your email service provider. OptinMonster gives you plenty of flexibility, with 18 providers supported. As you’d expect, all the major ones are supported – including AWeber, MailChimp, and Constant Contact. This means that anyone submitting your form will automatically be added to your email list.

The final step was to choose my effect (only available with the OptinMonster Effects addon). There are 26 animation effects to pick from, and you can preview what each one looks like in the live previewer – the animation is displayed automatically. There are some really cool looking effects in there, which will really grab your visitors’ attention.

And that was it, my first pop-up was created! I found the process really easy from start to finish, and even as a first-time user I was able to get the pop-up exactly as I wanted it.

Finished Pop-up Impressions

Having configured my pop-up to display globally using the Exit Intent technology, the pop-ups would appear on any page if a visitor was about to leave my site – no extra configuration necessary.

Without doubt, OptinMonster works incredibly well – the pop-ups integrated into my website seamlessly, the moment I had saved the file down.

Putting aside the pop-up builder capabilities for one moment, first and foremost you want your pop-up plugin to, well, work. I had no problems whatsoever with OptinMonster, and it didn’t take me an eternity to configure it correctly. Straight out-the-box, everything was working exactly as it should.

My finished product looked fantastic on my website, with the template I chose supporting a clean, stylish pop-up. The animation looked great, and certainly made the pop-up look more professional and polished.

The much-publicized Exit Intent Technology worked exceptionally well, too. As soon as I moved my cursor with an intent to close the window, the pop-up appeared, complete with animation.

OptinMonster claims Exit Intent uses a sophisticated software to track the cursor and detect the exact moment a visitor decides to leave – I tested this out a few times to see how this worked. In reality, it simply detects when your cursor leaves the main window and enters the tab area at the top of the browser. Still, this does the job, as if you try to close your website the pop-up will display, which is exactly the point of Exit Intent.

All really good so far.

Advanced Pop-up Settings

Having set up my first simple lightbox pop-up, I wanted to see how the OptinMonster analytics function worked, as well as trying out some of the more advanced options.

From the WordPress dashboard, if you head over to OptinMonster you can see a snapshot of your key metrics – namely, the number of impressions for each pop-up, conversions, and the conversion rate.

If you go to the far right and click on the Settings option you can also configure a split test to help you optimize your pop-up to maximize conversions.

After clicking to Add a New Split Test you will be asked to name your split test and add a description – this will help you remember which aspect of your pop-up you were testing.

OptinMonster split test

When you’ve created your split test, simply head into Settings then hit Modify. This will take you to a duplicate version of your parent pop-up, which you can edit. When you’re happy with the changes you’ve made, save it, then click to change the status of the new pop-up and make it Go Live.

That’s all there was to it, and again I was impressed by how quick and easy this was to set up. When a visitor visits my site, they are now shown one of the two live pop-ups being tested.

The performance of each can be tracked just as easily by clicking OptinMonster then Split Tests from the WordPress dashboard, and this will display the metrics of the two (or more) pop-ups you are comparing.

The entire process was intuitive to set up, and displayed only the important metrics I needed to know – great for avoiding confusion.

Other Pop-ups

As well as creating your classic lightbox pop-up, OptinMonster can be used to create different types of optin forms to help you build your email list.

There are six other types of forms you can build, and each is fully customizable using the same OptinMonster builder interface.

The different options vary in their effectiveness at driving conversions; however this is because some are more user-friendly than others. For those of you who feel a standard pop-up is too imposing, you could use one of the more subtle varieties.

I tested out each style of pop-ups to see what I thought.

1. Sidebar

This optin form can be added to any widget area, though it's most suited to a sidebar. There are four templates to choose from, with each looking bright and stylish — perfect for grabbing attention.

The sidebar form is a great alternative to a pop-up as it can be used on every page to gain maximum visibility without hurting user experience – it’s tucked safely away to the side, where it doesn’t impact visitors reading your content.

To see the type of sidebar form OptinMonster creates, here is the one I created.

OptinMonster sidebar

2. Footer Bar

Least imposing of all, the footer bar simply sits at the bottom of the window. This means it can be used on every page of your website to give it maximum exposure, without impacting visitor experience.

There are three footer bar templates to choose from, and they are all fully customizable using the OptinMonster visual builder. To see the footer bar form I created, see the screenshot below.

OptinMonster footer bar

3. Mobile

Next up, a simplified optin form, suitable for visitors on mobile device. There is just one template theme to choose from, which is a result of the simplified design of the form.

However, despite a relatively basic form, you are still able to customize the text, background, and button color.

OptinMonster mobile popup

4. After Post

If a visitor reads an entire article on your website, there’s a good chance they like what you have to say – this means they are more likely to sign up for your email list.

Placing a signup form below your content is another unimposing way to attract subscribers. It might lack the visibility of some of the other signup forms, however it is likely to get the attention of your most engaged visitors – therefore expect a strong conversion rate.

There are five stylish templates to choose from. To give you an idea of what the after post form looks like, here is my creation.

OptinMonster below content

5. Slide-In

Next we have the slide-in, which works like a pop-up – in that it is not visible at all times – but in a much less imposing way. This is because the slide-in form is much smaller and is confined to the bottom right-hand corner.

Despite this, it is still a great way to catch a visitor’s eye, but without distracting them from your content.

There is only one theme, but it is fully customizable to get your slide-in form exactly to your liking.

OptinMonster Slide-In

6. Canvas

The final “type” of pop-up you can build is called a Canvas form. This essentially gives you a blank canvas from which to build from, but with no template you will require a knowledge of HTML or CSS to build something meaningful.

However, the blank canvas does create some exciting possibilities — namely, the ability to create a pop-up for other purposes. This means you aren't confined to using OptinMonster solely to build your email list; you can use pop-ups to draw attention to anything you like on your website — you could use a pop-up to highlight a sale that is currently ongoing, to encourage social media shares, or to display a Buy It Now button to boost conversions.

This is certainly a more advanced feature: if you don't know CSS, you won't get much out of this function, unfortunately. However, it's definitely a worthwhile addition, and will benefit more specialist types of websites, like eCommerce stores.

If you want an idea of what the Canvas feature is capable of, see the screenshot below, with social sharing buttons added to it.

OptinMonster canvas

In my opinion, it is these six extra styles of optin forms where OptinMonster really excels.

Some webmasters will resolutely refuse to use pop-ups on their site – despite their effectiveness – simply because they don’t want to annoy their visitors. That's fair enough, but with OptinMonster, they still have a variety of solutions for growing their subscriber list and their business, without the need for imposing pop-ups.

It also gives those of you already using pop-ups the option of utilizing the sidebar area or the space below content to grow your subscriber list, or to drive conversions for other areas of your business outside of your email list.

The Verdict

I've been lucky enough to test out a wide range of premium WordPress plugins, and I have to say: OptinMonster is one of my favorites.

If you're looking to add pop-ups to your websites to grow your email list, it really does do everything you could possibly want from a pop-up plugin. Everything worked as it was supposed to, with minimal fuss, and building, customizing, and configuring pop-ups was easy thanks to the user friendly visual builder — you have full control of what your pop-ups look like, where they appear on your website, and when.

I'll be honest: I've always had a mixed opinion of pop-ups, largely because so many websites overdo them.

But this is where OptinMonster's innovative technologies like Exit Intent show their value. By only displaying the pop-up when a visitor is about to leave, disruption is kept to a minimum — and nobody can object to that. From a website owner's perspective, with statistics showing that a good chunk of visitors will never return beyond a first visit, anything you can do to retain these visitors before they leave is a plus.

This also means that the Pro license is, in my opinion, worth the extra investment as this gives you the entire range of OptinMonster addons, and this gives you the complete functionality. This extends OptinMonster's use beyond pop-ups, and into different varieties of optin forms. If you think pop-ups are too imposing for your website, you can still grow your email list using a different type of optin form.

And, the crux of the matter is, as I'm sure you've been told countless times before, the money is in the list. There are very few things you can do for your business that will have a bigger impact on your overall success than growing your list of subscribers — an email list allows you to build a long-term, sustainable, and, most of all, profitable website.

With this in mind, you shouldn't underestimate the impact a great pop-up plugin can have on your business. And that is exactly what OptinMonster is: a great pop-up plugin, and one that I would highly recommend.

Pros

– Loads of different templates enable you to make great looking popups
– Intuitive builder makes it easy to use
– Quick analytics and a/b testing functions
– Different optin forms for those of you who dislike popups

Cons

– Some of the top functions excluded from the basic license
– Using the canvas feature requires an understanding of CSS

OptinMonster

Summary: OptinMonster is one of the top premium popup plugins available for WordPress. With a huge range of styles and templates, it has everything you could possibly need to start building an email list for your website.

$49 to $499
Rating
Rated 4.5 stars

Shaun Quarton

Shaun Quarton is a freelance blogger from the UK, with a passion for online entrepreneurship, content marketing, and all things WordPress.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on one of the links and purchase an item, we may receive a commission. All opinions however are our own and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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