This is Day 10 of the 30 Days, 30 Killer WordPress Plug-ins Series.
Putting opt-in forms on a blog is one of those classic things that many struggle with. You know you need to build a list… you know you need opt-in forms… but how?
I can usually tell in two seconds if somebody doesn’t know how to do it – just by looking. In many cases they’ve simply dumped the default opt-in form code that their email provider (i.e. Aweber) gave them right into a text widget in WordPress. The result? A very default-looking opt-in form smashed into your blog’s sidebar.
Very… unsexy. Often, no opt-in offer at all… and often because they don’t know how to modify the form in order to make it happen.
So, as you might expect, the world of opt-in form creation has seen a lot of WordPress plug-ins over the last few years.
One of the first I saw was Popup Domination. It is still used in many places, although it isn’t talked about as much. It performed well for awhile – and still does in many places – however it got to the point where so many people were using it that people were going blind to it.
There was another one put out by the folks of Headway Themes, called Pippity. It is still out there and was indeed a very nicely built option. My only problem with it was that the built-in designs were…. not so good. Good thing you can make your own.
There are a number of others as well, but one that I think strikes a good balance is OptinSkin. It has a number of great features, including:
- 18 built-in template designs, all fully customizable. You can even build your own.
- Performance tracking
- Split testing
- Ability to place opt-in forms anywhere you want easily – no special coding required.
One of the cool features I liked was the ability to have an opt-in form fade into view as the reader scrolled past it. What this does is catches the reader’s eye and thus draw more attention to the opt-in form. Result = higher opt-in rate.
If you have an astute eye, you may notice that I am no longer using OptinSkin personally, though. Why is this?
I used to use it here at the Academy, but I was using a fully custom design of my own. I was only using OptinSkin for the fade effect. But, later, I converted to Genesis Framework and decided to go back to fully custom on the opt-in forms. I happen to have the coding skills to do it.
On my tech site, I was using OptinSkin for awhile as well. However, when I discovered Magic Action Box, I switched to that. It isn’t that MAB does a better job. Actually, OptinSkin is better suited for opt-in forms. But, MAB did call to action boxes AND opt-in forms, and it didn’t make sense to use an entirely different plug-in for each. For my fairly simple needs over on that site, MAB fits the bill just fine.
For most of my readers who don’t have the technical background to tweak and hack your opt-in forms, I would highly recommend OptinSkin.
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