My Experience with OptimizePress: Hitting a Wall, Giving In and Finding Zen

While my loyal readers and newsletter subscribers are probably aware that I have spent a great deal of the past 6 months working on a website/product/startup called Knowledge Land, it may be new to some of you. The vision behind Knowledge Land is to provide experience, training, coaching and inspiration to anyone who is interested in becoming a more valuable in their digital marketing career.

The website is a natural extension of the classroom teaching that I have been offering for the past several years, only in a format that is more accessible to my global audience of interested marketers (believe it or not, it’s not easy for most of my readers to attend courses spread out over the course of several weeks in the state of Minnesota).

Because I want to keep the business expenses manageable for now, I have placed much of the responsibility for web development, product development, content strategy/execution, technology selection and just about everything in between on my own shoulders.

There is a nice benefit to having the skill set necessary to build websites and produce content, but it is also a huge limiting factor to getting the website launched in a reasonable timeframe, because it takes a different side of the brain to develop a website than it does to produce content. Those of you who maintain their own websites can surely feel my pain. You either focus on creating great content on an ugly website, or you have a pretty website with no updates.

Or, like me, you fall somewhere in the middle. Letting a quest for perfection get in the way of speedy delivery.

While it’s easy to tell myself that people will want to grow their skills whenever I get the site ready, eventually you start to realize that you continue to hit a wall if you don’t seek help.

Hitting a wall developing pages on my own

About two weeks ago I was banging my head against the wall, trying to figure out the best method for setting up a landing page where attendees to my speech in Copenhagen, Denmark could download the materials for my presentation.

Here I was, sitting in a hotel room in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, trying to figure out the best way to develop a landing page for the downloadable content. I was probably wearing a t-shirt and athletic shorts. You know, the glamorous side of business travel.

I didn’t want to be sitting in a hotel; I wanted to be out exploring. But first work needed to be done. I told myself that I could not go outside until the landing page was up and running, and budgeted 6 hours to get the job done.

Why so much time? Because at first I thought I would be developing the landing page from scratch, since as I have the skills needed to develop a landing page from top to bottom, why not use them?

Giving in to exploring alternatives

You can probably see where this is going by now. I budgeted 6 hours in a hotel room to write code and produce what would probably be a mediocre landing page. I wanted those 6 hours back, so I started looking for some ways to get it done quickly.

The first place I looked was at LeadPages, a software company that I have come to respect immensely over the past year as I have gotten to know the Co-Founder Clay Collins. It’s tough to go anywhere without hearing about the greatness of the LeadPages software. Literally. (When I was in Hungary this January and mentioned that I was from Minnesota, the first question I received was “do you know Clay at LeadPages?”).

I am also a customer of LeadPages, although I have not used the software to its fullest during my subscription period. This was the perfect opportunity to get involved with the software, so I started looking at the templates available and saw many viable options for the book I was giving away.

LeadPages Sales Templates

After creating some content to fit the templates, the page was starting to come together. The next step was looking at integrations for the product to make sure that when someone entered their email address that it could be captured by my email and membership systems.

Email was not a problem, because LeadPages integrates with just about everyone you could imagine, including AWeber, which I use for my auto responder software at the moment.

LeadPages Integrations

The other step was integrating with MemberMouse, the membership software that I use to power Knowledge Land. MemberMouse is a software that works directly within WordPress, my platform of choice for building websites.

There is no official integration between LeadPages and MemberMouse, and frankly there are very few search results of the two products mentioned together on Google. While I’m sure I could have figured out the integration had I worked at it long enough, it was looking like this was a deal breaker with using LeadPages for this landing page.

So it was back to the drawing board looking for an option for developing a landing page. I had already killed 1 of my 6 hours looking by this point, so I was starting to get desperate.

Finding zen with OptimizePress for WordPress

A weird thing happened when I was searching for LeadPages and MemberMouse integrations. Almost every search result mentioned LeadPages and something called OptimizePress in the same sentence.

OptimizePress

While I had heard of OptimizePress in the past (and I have been on their website at least 5 times at various points in my journey), I never really considered them as an option for my website. The pages seemed to be too salesy for my blog based website, and I remember hearing a few friends say they were frustrated with the product.

OptimizePress

After looking around through their website and doing some searches to see how well their tool integrated with WordPress and AWeber, I decided to give it a shot, figuring the worst I can lose is a one-time fee of $97.

OptimizePress Prices

Installation was as easy as downloading the plugin zip file and uploading to WordPress. While I was worried about the software “taking over” my WordPress dashboard, it was a subtle integration. Once I authenticated my account, I started to build a landing page.

One of the key criteria for this landing page was that the site needed to load seamlessly on a mobile browser for the attendees looking to download the paper while in the room (there were 10+ signups on the spot) and also look good on a full screen laptop or tablet device for those who wrote their notes in analog form (even more signups the next day). OptimizePress claimed provides responsive templates, which I was able to experiment with and verify on my phone.

Within 10 minutes, this page was developed:

Landing Page

It took me about another 30 minutes to figure out how to hook the web form into MemberMouse, but eventually I was able to get that to work as well (a slight bug in OptimizePress working with custom forms). Then another 30 minutes to get my thank you page to properly display a link to download the PDF guide. The whole process took about 90 minutes to complete.

Future landing pages will take about 10 minutes!

If you want to see the page or download the free Strategic Web Analytics guide, please do feel free to go to the page and check it out.

Sometimes you should trust a professional, even when you are a professional

The truth is that I am a very stubborn person. I am a do-it-yourselfer with most aspects of life, because I value my self-sustainability. I am so stubborn that I would have wasted 6 hours on this project if i weren’t so set on exploring Copenhagen, and I would have spent 60 or 600 more hours developing mediocre landing pages if I did not have the time crunch to deliver the first landing page.

By finding a technology solution that allowed me to save time, I was able to explore Copenhagen on one of the most beautiful days of the entire year. Here are some of the sights:

Copenhagen 2Copenhagen 3

Copenhagen 4Copenhagen 5

Copenhagen 1

The time value of money (and the build or buy parable)

When you think about the concept of the time value of money, I was able to save myself 3+ hours of work by using a product that has a one time cost of $97.

That is a great return on investment for one days work, but the investment keeps on getting better as I start to dig into the features of the product. It turns out that I can do a lot more with OptimizePress than just create landing pages. I can also create pages for my training program that I just launched on Knowledge Land.

Again, I had been banging my head against the wall as I tried to find a proper format for distributing the training videos that I have recorded, edited and uploaded for our premium users. There are 20+ videos to see and over 12 hours of programming, so I needed a format that showcased the videos as customers watched them, but also allowed them to easily navigate between videos and discover all that was available.

I found a template that I liked in OptimizePress and within 15 minutes I had a page that looked like this:

Knowledge Land Video

While this may not be the most perfect design, it is a tremendous improvement over coding the page myself. This will probably save me another 20 hours in the end.

Add it all up and we are talking about a tremendous time savings given to an already reasonably priced tool. It will probably cost me about $1 for every hour saved.

Should I just go all OptimizePress?

Now my newest debate is whether I should just convert my entire website to OptimizePress and forego a traditional WordPress theme entirely. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I installed OptimizePress as a plugin, which allowed me to keep my current theme in place for non-OP pages.

What I did not mention is that the tool can also be installed as the primary theme on your WordPress website. This can allow you to create pages even more rapidly and have them seamlessly integrated into your entire site.

After seeing how much progress I have been able to make in the two weeks since since purchasing OptimzePress, I am starting to think that even more progress can be made by just eliminating the need to write code entirely. That would allow me to focus on creating high quality content and lessons for the site.

It seems inevitable that I will make the full switch at some point in the future.

OptimizePress vs. LeadPages: Which one is for you?

The last point I wanted to touch on in this post is my understanding of when it might be best to use OptimizePress and when it might be best to use LeadPages. By and large, both of these companies are very successful and create software that is tremendously valuable to their customers. In many cases, you can’t find one software mentioned without the other being noted as well. From my experience, here is when you should use each software.

Use OptimizePress when

  • Your website is developed on WordPress
  • You would like to integrate your landing pages with other plugins/elements of your WordPress site
  • You would like to create simple landing pages, sales pages, membership pages, etc. on one platform
  • You have a membership site or training program

Use LeadPages when

  • You want pages that can be stored outside of your content management system (especially if you’re not on WordPress)
  • You want to get people on to your email opt in lists as soon as possible
  • You want to sell your digital/physical products using landing pages
  • You want great technology, but without having to worry about integrations

The answer became pretty obvious to me based on my website configuration, but I can see many cases where LeadPages is the clear solution for users. It really all depends on your current technology setup and where you see yourself going in the future.

Either way, I think you are in good hands if you choose one of these platforms!

Sign Up for OptimizePress

If this article helped you during your decision process, please consider using my referral link when signing up for OptimizePress. These links give me a small amount of compensation that helps me keep writing these types of guides for free. Thanks!

Do you like posts like this? Since developing an online business is a big piece of what I am doing right now, I could post more often about these topics if you find it helpful. Otherwise, we can stick with sporadic posts on Google Analytics, SEO and PPC.  Let me know! 

About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.

  • Great write-up, Jeff. I am also wondering which to go with and am probably going to get OptimizePress.

  • Thanks Jeff! I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not to go with Leadpages or OptimizePress. I think I’ve finally landed on using OP for my future membership site, courses, and landing pages. I’m currently using Michael Hyatts theme (GetNoticed), but am considering a change because so many people use his theme and all their websites look the same. I’m probably going to use Hybrid-Connect as the list builder, as it is much cheaper than Leadpages and offers much of the same features, with a little more customizability. Great photos of Copenhagen!

    • Sounds like we reached the same conclusions. This provides more future flexibility. I dig OptimizePress more every time I do something new with the platform.

  • Thanks Jeff, I get a little confused between all these tools I hear about Optimize Press, Lead Pages, Optin Skin etc. Like you I do things myself and am just adding links to my YouTube videos. I wanted them to go to a signup page rather than just my home page so went on a quest. After reading this I will go for Optimize Press as I have a video training course coming out in a few weeks so it looks like I may have solved that issue too with this same product.
    Thanks again for a very readable, informative post.

  • Robert

    Hi Jeff

    Thanks for your write up on Optimizepress, it’s a great tool. I am thinking of setting up a membership site and would like to combine optimizepress and membermouse. There seems to be little or no information on the web about combining these two great platforms and wondered how you got on with integrating them together?

    Any tips and advice on a combined optimizepress/membermouse system would be gratefully received.

    Many Thanks
    Robert

    • Sounds like a good post to write – OptimizePress interacting with Membermouse. In the meantime, here are the two main places I use it: 1) to get signups into Membermouse, I created a webform HTML in Membermouse that I then pasted into the custom HTML option in the form section in OP. 2) To choose who gets access to a page, I use the membermouse member decision tags to show/hide content. Both work really well together and allow me to easily develop a page and limit access all within the same interface.

  • This article answers most of my questions, like which platform could be more useful for my needs, or what does Copenhagen look like on a sunny day.

    I need to develop a landing page where I can include additional scripts (like Google Analytics, or Facebook remarketing pixels), so I guess Lead Pages is out of the equation for me. You’ve earned yourself your affiliate commission, thanks! 😉

    • Awesome! My affinity for OP grows every day. Not that it’s without flaws, but I can work through most of them with enough elbow grease.

  • Marquesa Pettway Csp

    Jeff, a well written article, I have another point of view. I use Infusionsoft (the big mama that does it all), it integrates with Leadpages and I use customer hub (a subproduct of Infusionsoft for membership). I should also mention that I’ve been a big time user of Optimize Press (now 2.0) since 2012 and created hundreds of pages for my membership site with wishlist. Plus, optin, landing, webinar, sales pages, etc. Then in January 2014, I got hacked and lost the majority of my webpages. This hurt bad! I had to make a choice, do I start over with the latest version of OP or move to another platform, I do have members. I so happen to have been a customer of Leadpages for about six months and was able to create a quick landing page and bring back my main site but my membership site was gone! I then created my membership site via customerhub and although it did not offer all the pretty bells that OP and wishlist offered, I loved how easy it was to create and for my members to navigate, plus it connects with IS. I planned to rebuild on OP2 but kept procrastinating. I then gave it a try and after using LP for so long found it a bit complicated, I got spoiled. Now, I’ve made the big decision to build the majority of my landing, sales and website pages via LP (they have so many amazing templates) and maintain my customerhub and one wordpress hosting account. Bottom line, I think it really depends on what you use and what works for you!

    • Absolutely. There is not a perfect platform out there for all needs. In fact, each platform has a few pretty fatal flaws that makes development of a perfect course difficult. I spend a lot of my time integrating platforms to fit my needs, when sometimes I wish I just had chosen a simple platform.

      With that said, since I am a developer by nature, I definitely like being able to hack together the code I need to do the job. OP allows me to do that since it sits on top of WordPress.

      Appreciate you sharing your experiences. Hopefully someone will be able to read it and understand whether they want simplicity or control.

  • roy

    Is it possible to setup a website (as an agency) and build landing pages using OP for more than one client. Each client having their own page ?

    So, for example:

    landingpage.mydomain.com/clientA

    landngpage.mydomain.com/clientB

    • I think that should work. Their license keys should work per domain. I know that the standard license I bought allowed 3 combinations of domains, and I later upgraded to the 10 license pack.

  • Paul

    Thank you Jeff, this really helped me!
    I will purchase through your link as the real and proper way of saying thanks!
    Can you help me with this question please:
    I have an existing WordPress page that I intended to use as a sales page. Optimimize Press would make it look more professional in page display because currently on my WP site the header is wider when you first land on the page.
    As I need to attract CB affiliates I do not want the first impression to have a negative aspect from get go.
    Can I install the Optimize Press (plugin or whatever – hey I’m old plus it’s all new to me!) onto this existing website or will I have to rebuild with Optimize Press and a new domain name?
    Thanks again for a really interesting insight 🙂
    Regards
    Paul

    • If you install the optimizepress plugin, it only applies to the pages that are built on OP. That means the rest of your site can exist as-is and you can choose to only use OP for certain pages. Matching your header between both your existing site and OP is not exactly easy, though.

      Most users understand when a landing page has less navigation than the actual site, so maybe matching isn’t that important for you.

      I did not use OptimizePress for the entire site, though, because I did not like the blog templates.

  • somraj

    Hi Jeff,
    I have a website with hueman theme free. Can I easily convert to optimizepress cause i don’t know any coding at all. I also want to start courses on my website and for that I was thinking about learn dash. After purchasing optimizepress wont i need learndash as in optimize press there is written free training and courses. Can I deliver multiple paid courses. I will be really thankful if you guide me with this.

    • I think you are going to have a tough time using OP for your online course to be honest. I found that it was better for landing pages than a full-fledged course platform.

      • Somraj

        Thank you for replying Jeff. i have a fitness website and I am planning to sell ebooks and courses through my website. But I am really confused between which wordpress theme and learning software should I use for my website. I was searching for genesis vs thesis theme and i found your article. For Learning software I was looking for learndash. Can you help me choose a theme and learning software or help me suggesting someone or website who can guide a newbie like me. I dont mind to pay a small fee for the consulting. I will be really greatful. Thanks.

  • Hi Jeff, I use X theme. Is there any reason that I can’t have leadpages and optimize press running at the same time?

    • Do you mean the OptimizePress plugin and LeadPages plugin for WordPress? I guess that might work for individual pages. Not sure why you would need both of them, though. For A/B Split testing or just to see what you like best?

      • Yes – plugins. Actually we’re at the beginning of this process and trying (like hell) to make the right choices. Right now:

        wp – xtheme
        optin monster (which I see you use)
        mailchimp
        createspace
        payloadz

        Looking to build out: from top to bottom for hypnotherapy products audio and book, individual sessions, variety of seminars, consulting and content creation so we’re researching:

        1. Landing pages / funnels
        Looking at Optimize Press, Landing Pages, Clickfunnels, Unbounce

        2. Webinar software
        Clickfunnels says they have this

        3. CRM / automation
        Looking at Infusionsoft, Ontraport, Hatchbuck

        4. Shopping cart / checkout
        Woo, paypal, clickbank, braintree

        There is a lot to choose from, really want to make the smartest decisions. And that’s proving difficult.

        • That makes sense. Honestly, I think that whatever you choose you will find there are issues. It’s often about finding what you can work with and prioritizing features that are important.

          As I dig deeper into OptimizePress, I realize it’s good for landing pages, but not a whole site. I’m now considering other options. I launched an online course on the Rainmaker platform from Copyblogger. I love it for 90% of what it does, but find there are some flaws as well.

          Outside of developing your own system, you often have to try many things to see what works best for your company/situation/environment/ambition.

          That’s not much of a help, I’m sure, but that’s what I’ve determined as I work on finding an “ideal” solution.

          For what it’s worth, the Rainmaker platform has been invaluable in allowing me to concentrate on creating content vs. working on the platform itself.

          • I ran across rainmaker last night so will dig in there. One thing all this sherlocking does is point that one really needs clarity on exactly, exactly what you’re selling.

          • Yes ­ most of these sites do a terrible job of answering true user concerns. That’s how most people end up on my blog. I act as a crash test dummy with software and share the experience to pay it forward.

          • Crash test dummy – made me smile

  • Hi Jeff – awesome articles. I have a bunch of content (videos, text, resources, etc…) in Membergate (high-end membership CMS) that is getting too unruly. Going to clean that up and bring the best stuff over the wp.

    I use OP 2 for landing pages and sales pages on a couple of my sites today – use the full theme version as these are sales sites rather than blogs.

    Question really is OP2 enough on its own for Membership site, if not, I do like the look of Member Mouse but not sure how they integrate with OP2 theme. For example,

    1. Could I create several membership content pages with embedded videos in OP2 (Ex like the page you show above) and then protect those under Membermouse to control access?

    2. If the overall theme is OP2, will the Membermouse content pages automatically show up formatted as to that theme? Ex – the default pages they ship for signup, member access, etc…

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    • Hi Jeff – For 1) I am not sure of the additional OptimizeMember plugin that OP offers and if it’s worthwhile. I like Membermouse for the most part, but find that it makes me use a lot of development time to get it running. I have been considering moving away lately, but not sure I can stomach it. You can easily integrate MM and OP using shortcodes to show/hide sections in OP. My biggest issue is that say you build out 10 pages with OP and then decide to change access? You have to modify all 10 pages.

      For 2) If you use OP2 as a theme, each of the default Membermouse pages will have the same styling as the rest of OP.

      • Thanks – don’t really want to get myself into a bunch of extra development – want to focus mainly on content. Think I will try the OP member plugin and see where that gets me (or doesn’t get me 🙂 then go from there. Drives me crazy that nobody has really put together a good package that pre-integrates a marketing front-end (landing pages, sales pages, upsells, downsells) smartly with robust membership back-end – seems like the only option is gluing things together which is not only extra work – makes it tough to upgrade, change or move away from in future. I’m sure I’m just preaching to the choir though…

        • I am using rainmaker by copy blogger for a new site and it’s the closest so far. 90% of what I need

          • Looks interesting – as SaaS service that makes mods to WP I would certainly want to make sure the mods don’t mess things up if you were to no longer use Rainmaker and transfer to another domain/host. Is that something you checked? Also – would be ideal if they had a “starter pack” for something like $39/mo until you get your first 100 members or so – I have a few dozen on a current site, but basically will be starting this greenfield.

            Jeff

          • Yeah, I agree they could rework some pricing options for ease of trial. I know there is 14 days free, no questions asked. That at least will let you see if you like the platform.

  • CR

    What about OptimizePress vs. Genesis Framework + HTML5 Theme ?

    • I use the Genesis framework for many sites, but I don’t think it is great for landing pages. You could use Genesis for homepage/blog and OP for landing pages. Doesn’t have to be one vs. the other.

  • Colin Sheen

    Jeff, thanks so much for this post! i was about to sign up for leadpages bu worried about integration with membermouse. now seems optimizepress is the solution. is it hard to integrate membermouse an optimizepress?

  • Lisa

    Hi Jeff. Nice article! I use the Nectar Theme by Bottomless Designs for my WP.org website. I’ve been using LeadPages for the last couple of months, but decided to purchase OptimizePress for my landing, opt-in, and sales pages – and for its membership/content delivery templates. I’m a little frustrated though because OP isn’t working smoothly. The live editor isn’t fully functioning and then it freezes before I can save my changes.
    I’ve searched the support Knowledge Base and think it could be that something is interfering with OP’s integration… It could be my theme, an activated plugin, or the fact that LeadPages is currently running. I don’t want to disable my LeadPages until I have my OptimizePress squeeze pages in place. Do you (or any other commenters) have any insight or suggestions about this?? Thanks! -Lisa

    • I have had speed problems too. It’s almost always multiple instances of jquery running in conflict. I have fixed the problem manually in the past after reading support forums, but I don’t remember how to do it off the top of my head. I would file a support request to see what they can do.
      They will probably say to disable other plugins to see if it works, which is a standard response. Might need to do that late at night sometime or something?

  • Hi Jeff. Very helpful article. Thank you very much. I use Optimizepress because i find it much cheaper. Both companies are very good as you said, but if somebody wants to pay less money, Optimizepress is a better value for money solution.

  • Amber Rose

    All of the suggestions so far are fantastic. Also the FrontMeter.com is pretty cool, maybe you should add to the list because of its very powerful ProScanner feature that allows you to copy any page design you like by just entering its URL.

    If someone is looking for the best, then try FrontMeter or Optimizepress – Rest is the noise

  • Rhea Jackson

    After the purchase of the one time fee, will I always be able to have access to creating new landing pages, etc.? The only thing disappearing after the year, is the support, correct? Thanks.

    • From my understanding, yes. Have used it 2 years and only paid once.

  • Sless

    Thanks for this post brother! I’ve been trying to decide if I wanted to keep leadpages or try optimize and this article really helped me out!!

  • Rachel Smets

    Hi Jeff,
    Thank you for writing this post.
    I just read this now and am hesitating between LeadPages and OptmizePress.
    And even after reading, I still doubt.
    I’m NOT a technie and hate wasting time, but also learn everything myself, …stubborn….(sound familiar?:))

    My question is:
    With the OP, do you need a membership site or training programm SEPERATELY, or can you use OP to create this? (it’s not clear what you wrote)
    And yes, I do want to grow my email list with a digital product, but isn’t that the same for both LeadP and OP?
    Basically, I want to add digital products and opt ins, AND I want it quick and easy 🙂
    But I also want people to be able to purchase either a program or product on the website.
    What would you recommend I do?
    Thanks so much

    Rachel

    • I would choose LeadPages… my opinions have changed slightly since I wrote this post. I loved OptimizePress, but then I found it too slow and hard to update.

    • Ramakrishna Reddy

      Interesting post. thought I’ll help out. Optimize press can help you create sell digital products easily. They also have a optimize member which is a free membership software. trust me – I banged my head going around the web to find a perfect membership plugin and later came back to optimize member. I think optimizepress/optimizemember is professional yet economical solution as of now.

      • NameSource

        Good feedback. I’ve been using WP-eMember on my WordPress site and so far so good. I’ve been on the fence for too long about OptimizePress but I’m ready to give it a try.

  • RB

    Hi, why do you think leadpages is better for selling physica products compared to optimizepress?

  • Paul Nicholson

    Great post Jeff I’m going to give optimize press a try. I never fully get along with Lead Pages it just seems to have something missing for me. And the monthly fee is excessive I think. But like you say if you have a wordpress blog and want to use that then this may be the way forward. Thanks again! Paul