Turning WordPress into a Sales-Machine – OptimizePress and Alternatives
OptimizePress is a very popular theme that transforms a WordPress website into something like a Swiss army knife for marketers. With it, you can easily create sales-pages, launch-pages and lead capture pages.
However, it is not the only theme of this kind and neither is it the newest. Is OptimizePress 2.0 the best option, or is there an alternative that’s better suited to your business?
Read this review to find out which of the following solutions takes the crown: 10 Minute Pages, Authority Pro 3, FlexSqueeze, InstaBuilder, OptimizePress 2.0, Premise, ProAffiliate Theme, ProfitsTheme, PT Instant, SalesPress Pro or WP Enlighten.
First, here’s a feature comparison for all the products in this review:
Glossary (Click to Expand)
Type: most of the products are themes, but two of them are plugins that you can add to your site, in addition to whatever theme you run. The advantage of a plugin is that you can have your regular site or blog as it is and add landing pages, opt-in pages and more to the mix, without having to install a different instance of WordPress, with a new theme.
Sales-Pages: you can jury-rig something resembling a sales-page using any WordPress theme. This criteria is about whether there’s a feature dedicated for making sales-pages only and making them easy to create.
Opt-in Pages: to get a green tick here, the product needs to have dedicated lead-generation page templates and some form of autoresponder integration.
Launch Pages: this is about whether a product comes with dedicated features for creating a launch event. This typically consists of a series of videos, comments, very simple navigation and social media sharing options.
Evergreen Launch: an evergreen launch is a launch event that starts individually for each new visitor. Each new visitor sees the first video in the launch sequence and the others as locked or not yet published. The locked items then become unlocked for that user, after a specified amount of time. This can make a launch seem like it’s happening right now, even though it’s actually already wrapped up.
Member’s Area: does the theme or plugin come with templates for creating a member’s area or download area for your customers? If so, it earns a green tick, here.
Membership Feature: it’s one thing to offer a design template for customers, but another to actually integrate with payment processors and affiliate systems, so that you can create basic memberships and make sure only paying customers get access.
Number of Templates: I added this to give some measure of the variety in a product. The problem is that different templates in a theme or plugin can be dramatically different or very similar. I only counted templates that are at least somewhat distinct from each other (e.g. template with header and the same template without a header count as one).
Responsive: are the pages created by the theme or plugin mobile-friendly? Do they automatically scale for smaller screens or are they one-size-only rigid designs?
Test Page Load Time: I created a dummy sales page with some typical elements such as images, headings, content boxes, bullet lists and guarantee boxes (the one shown in the screenshots below). I converted this page as best I could for each of the products tested. I then ran it through GTmetrix, to test the performance. It’s not a comprehensive test, but gives a rough idea. Note that since it’s a relatively short page, the times are all quite similar.
PageSpeed/YSlow Scores: Also from the GTmetrix test, these are the scores that the test page received from PageSpeed and YSlow. The numbers give some indication of how well optimized the pages are for fast loading times. These are the results with just the theme/plugin installed and no further plugins added or optimization steps taken.
10 Minute Pages
10 Minute Pages is different from the other candidates in this roundup. While it can be used in the form of a WordPress plugin, it’s also available as a standalone version. In addition, when using 10 Minute Pages, you won’t be looking at the WordPress interface that you’re used to, as this app does everything in its own way.
The Good Stuff
10 Minute Pages is loaded with an impressive amount of page templates that you can work with. Although the volume can be deceptive: there is dummy content for many different types of pages like legal pages, confirmation pages, article pages and sales pages, but the actual page templates are always the same. There is a good collection of different squeeze page templates, though.
The most impressive thing about this product is the editor. 10 Minute Pages offers a true front end editor, where you make changes to your actual page and you see exactly what the end result will look like. It’s a far cry from messing around with short codes and countless options menus in the regular WordPress editor. At least it seems so at first…
The Bad Stuff
Unfortunately, my excitement about the visual editor quickly wore off, once I spent some more time actually building pages with it. In practice, too many things about the editor are just awkward. For example, trying to select some text is quite tricky: you need to double click into a text element to enter editing mode, then you need to double click again and start dragging your cursor, to select. Sometimes it will work and sometimes you’ll suddenly find yourself back in drag and drop mode again.
I also encountered several glitches and bugs. From elements overlapping when certain alignment options are selected, content boxes missing margins (so you have to add dividers between them manually), to the complete lack of columns as a design/layout element, the list of annoyances I encountered is long.
I could never figure out the logic of where new elements are placed, when you add them to a page. You click on an element icon in the control bar to add that element to the page. In some cases, the element appears below the last one you were working on. But in most cases, it appears at the top of the page. That means you constantly have to scroll all the way back to the top to drag the new element back down to where you actually want it.
The final nail in the coffin is the design: almost all the templates and design elements (with the exception of some of the squeeze pages) remind me of websites I was looking at five years ago. The designs are just tacky and outdated looking and in some cases they’re simply incompetent. I would not want any of my websites to look anything like this.
I had high hopes that 10 Minute Pages could be the ultimate solution. Unfortunately, the concept is great, but the execution is severely lacking. To top it all off, the product is very expensive. $300 is a lot of money to pay for the privilege of using an awkward editor to build outdated looking pages on your websites.
Authority Pro 3
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the earlier version of this product – Authority Pro 2 – was bad. In fact, it was comically bad. Unbelievably bad. Probably the worst product I’ve ever tested. In light of that, my expectations for AP3 were very low and it had a lot of work to do, to win me over…
The Good Stuff
On the surface, Authority Pro 3 has a few similarities with OptimizePress 2.0 (see below). There’s something like a wizard setup, that allows you to create multiple pages for a sales-funnel. More notably, there’s a visual editor for creating your pages.
Unlike with the previous version, you no longer have to install several separate components to get AP3 to work, it no longer messes up your WordPress admin area and I didn’t encounter and of the design errors that were unavoidable in AP2. Also, the pricing is no longer completely absurd.
In other words, Authority Pro 3 is better than its predecessor by far.
The Bad Stuff
Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.
The visual editor initially looks pretty good, but the longer I worked with it, the more I wished I was using something else. The entire editor is very sluggish and always seems to lag behind your mouse movements and inputs. Editing elements or adding new elements takes a lot of time and you are always confronted with too many options. I’m all for flexibility and options, but AP3 doesn’t manage to present the options in a way that makes intuitive sense, so you’re always spending too much time trying to find that one setting you’re looking for. Also, there are simply too many steps involved in something as simple as adding a new text block, somewhere inside an existing page.
The bottom line is that it’s just an unpleasant editor.
I also encountered several bugs and issues like bullet-points disappearing after I saved changes, different text blocks having different line heights, changes not saving properly and more.
Finally, a big issue is that the designs in AP3 are very graphics-heavy. The plugin uses images, even when the same visual effects could be achieved using CSS. This results in longer page loading times and severely reduced customizability of the designs.
The bottom line is that Authority Pro 3 is no longer a mind-bogglingly bad product like AP2 was, but I still can’t find any reason to recommend it.
From what I can tell, FlexSqueeze was originally built as a theme for review sites and affiliate niche sites and later expanded to also support the creation of sales pages and squeeze pages.
The user interface also gives the impression of a product that has been expanded many times, with options tacked on to more options, tacked on to more options.
With this theme, you can create many visual variations of one particular kind of website: a blog that has a large featured area at the top of the main blog page and another featured area at the bottom of each post or page. This can be used for affiliate sites, to present the top rated products in an attractive way.
The Good Stuff
My favorite thing about this theme is that the content editor shows all the styles and boxes, as they will appear on the front end. Usually, you only see your short codes in the editor and you have to preview the page to see how those short codes will actually translate into boxes, dividers, headlines etc.
With FlexSqueeze, a big headline actually looks like a big headline in the editor, a content box shows up as a content box etc. Unfortunately, the styles are implemented via in-line HTML, which is not a good way to design web content.
The Bad Stuff
In stark contrast to the features of the editor, almost everything else in FlexSqueeze is done by blind editing. The main options menu features more than 350 different input fields for numbers, colors and other options. The only way to really see the changes these fields make is to save the changes and reload a page on the site. Yes, it’s nice that you can choose a font, color, size, width and drop shadow for every element on every page, but with FlexSqueeze, I think they might have gone a bit too far with the amount of options.
What’s worse is that while there are all these options and there are also massive amounts of graphics and style elements to choose from, it doesn’t quite add up. The most difficult thing is trying to create a FlexSqueeze site that doesn’t look outdated. All the available templates look like they were designed 10+ years ago and there’s mostly too much going on: too many colors, too many gradients, too many background images and textures, and so on.
The sales-page templates are also rather strange. There are different templates for different niches, but you can’t edit them (unless you fire up Photoshop). That “guru” headline in the screenshot is a fixed part of one of the templates. You can’t edit or change it from within the theme.
After testing some of the other candidates, InstaBuilder was a breath of fresh air. It comes with many options and features, but it manages to keep everything very simple and organized in an easy to use interface.
InstaBuilder is a plugin that works with any WordPress website and you can still use your regular theme for your blog any any other pages, if you so choose. To turn any of your pages into an InstaBuilder sales page or squeeze page, you simply tick a box in the page editor. Leave it un-ticked, and the regular page (based on your Theme) will be shown.
The Good Stuff
Ease of use is a big strength of this product and with very few exceptions, you can easily get a hang of all of its features without ever needing to look at instructions. The template designs and page elements are generally well designed and all the pages created with InstaBuilder are mobile responsive.
On top of all that, the plugin comes with many nice extras, such as a feature that let’s you add a social sharing “lock” to your content (similar to WP Sharely), an animated countdown timer for time-limited offers, an exit-redirect function and a rudimentary but functional split-testing feature.
Overall, InstaBuilder makes a very good impression and it’s a joy to use.
The Bad Stuff
It’s a good thing that most users will probably not need instructions, because the tutorial videos are slow and narrated by a text-to-speech robot. They’re unbearable, quite frankly.
I was surprised to see that there are no pre-styled headlines or headline short codes, either. Instead, you have drop-down menus that let you select from a variety of fonts and font sizes. Content dividers are also missing from the picture, as are dedicated testimonial styles.
These are not catastrophic omissions, as you can still get the result you want, but they do mean that it can be a bit tricky to get the formatting and styling of a page just right, using this plugin.
In the end, these are minor issues with an otherwise very good product.
OptimizePress is the granddaddy of all the products in this review and OptimizePress 2.0 is the latest installment of this sales-page, launch funnel, squeeze page and membership page builder. In the latest version, you can get OptimizePress either as a standalone theme or as a plugin to run alongside your existing theme.
The Good Stuff
The new OptimizePress does much better job of balancing a huge array of options with good usability, than OP1 did. Don’t get me wrong: there are options for every detail on your pages and that can still be quite overwhelming. But thanks to the way everything is presented with step-by-step wizards, you’ll no longer get hit over the head with a thousand options you don’t currently need.
Thanks to the many available templates, you can also create nice looking pages without ever having to dive too deep into all the options (unless you want to).
The new visual editor is also a good step forward, for the most part. The editing process is a bit slow, since you’ll be clicking through a multi-step wizard and usually working in several pop-up boxes stacked on top of each other, for every element you want to add to a page. It’s a bit slow and clumsy, but it’s still better than working with a huge mess of short codes in the regular WP editor.
The Bad Stuff
Because of the points mentioned above, I can imagine that the visual editor is a “love it or hate it” proposition and won’t be ideal for every user.
In terms of design, OptimizePress 2.0 has made improvements over the last version. You’re no longer constrained to simple, single-column pages, which is a very good thing. Overall, the design has not moved forward as boldly as the other facets of this product, though. Some of the templates look very old-timey (at least in terms of “Internet time”) and I get the impression that much of it will start looking bit dated soon. If they keep adding new templates, this is a minor issue that could be avoided, though.
I also noticed that the page speed and speed scores were on the slower end, compared to the alternatives. Considering the sheer amount of features available, it doesn’t surprise me that OP2 is slowed down by code-bloat.
In the end, OptimizePress 2.0 is a very solid product with a large suite of advantages and only a few drawbacks. The new additions manage to set it apart from the competition and will without doubt have everyone else scrambling to catch up again.
Like InstaBuilder, Premise is a plugin rather than a theme. Once the plugin is installed, there’s a new content type you can create, called “Landing Pages”. You can create and edit different landing page styles from the options menu and create and edit as many different landing pages as you wish (which can be lead generation pages, sales pages or membership content pages).
The landing page content editor is a version of the WordPress content editor, extended with a few additional options.
The Good Stuff
Premise comes with hundreds of different graphics you can use for your pages and offers far more variety than any of the other products, in this regard. The graphics include the usual buttons and badges, but also include many hand-drawn arrows and all sorts of icons. This is a great addition for any non-designers who don’t have the budget to hire designers and/or pay for commercial use rights for various images.
While some of the graphics are a bit tacky in my opinion, for the most part, the design pre-sets and images will make your landing pages look good.
I also like the fact that they’ve built in a social share gating feature. As a further bonus, you can load example copy for your landing pages to use as a guideline and you get access to some copywriting tutorials.
The Bad Stuff
There are two main points that I disliked about Premise:
The first is that there’s too much “blind editing”. For example, when creating a landing page style, you’re simply presented with dozens upon dozens of input fields. Some of these input fields are not very well labelled either, so that it’s unclear what you’re supposed to input or what exactly is going to change when you do so. The only way to figure out is to make a change, change to a tab with a page loaded and reload it to see what the change looks like.
Trying to create a nice design using this method is not a pleasant task.
The second issue has to do with expectations vs. reality. Personally, I really like the design of the Premise product website. I assumed that Premise would allow me to create similarly stylish looking pages.
Unfortunately, this is no the case. Even if you dive deep into the customization options, I don’t see any way in which you could replicate the Premise website using the Premise plugin. And that’s a shame because what I’m saying is: pages created with Premise will never look that good. The showcase page gives you a fair idea of what can be done with the plugin, though.
I was also surprised to see that while there is a huge selection of images to choose from, other styling options such as content boxes, testimonial boxes, content dividers etc. are either very limited or completely missing.
Premise is a decent product, but it struggles to justify its steep price.
ProAffiliate 2.0 is a theme that adds options to create sales letters, squeeze pages and so-called offer pages to WordPress. The offer pages were created for affiliate promotions, where you can feature several different products and present review content and affiliate links on an appealing looking page.
Everything in ProAffiliate looks well designed and is pretty easy and straight-forward to use. There aren’t many customization options, but the upside of that is that there aren’t any complicated setup menus, either.
The Good Stuff
When you edit a page in ProAffiliate, you are presented with a drag-and-drop builder. Using the builder, you can create your pages in a modular fashion, adding headlines, boxes, testimonials and more. There’s still a feeling of blind editing, as the builder shows a very abstract representation of what the page looks like to a visitor. However, I do find that a list of modules containing your content is a lot easier to manage than a page chock-full of short codes.
For anyone who doesn’t like the drag-and-drop builder, it can easily be deactivated as well.
The page styles are all very distinct, appealing and modern looking. It’s too bad that there aren’t more templates to choose from.
The Bad Stuff
With ProAffiliate, you can create exactly one kind of sales page. It’s quite a nice looking sales page, but there are virtually no design editing choices. Short of going into the theme’s CSS files, you can’t change fonts, colors or the dimensions of anything.
The same simplicity applies everywhere: there’s one kind of testimonial box, one kind of guarantee box etc. Whereas some candidates in this review overwhelm the user with too many options in too many places, ProAffiliate 2.0 represents the other extreme and leaves you wishing for more control.
There are several squeeze page designs to choose from, but the final results don’t compare to nicer templates as provided in OptimizePress or InstaBuilder.
ProAffiliate 2.0 is neither bad nor broken. It does what it does quite well and the drag-and-drop builder is cool. It just falls a bit short in this comparison because of how inflexible it is.
ProfitsTheme has been updated and has changed significantly since the first time I reviewed it. That’s a good sign, right away: the product is under continuous development and the creators did not rest on the laurels of an already good product.
The Good Stuff
The most impressive aspect of Profits Theme can be summarized in one word: features. If there’s a feature you can think of, ProfitsTheme probably has it.
Themes loaded with features often have the problem that they are difficult to use. ProfitsTheme attempts to solve this problem with a modular page builder. You can drag and drop elements on to the page as needed. Settings and options are specific to the modules you add (for example, you integrate your autoresponder when you add an opt-in form module). This way, it’s not too difficult to navigate all the options, although it still takes some time to get used to this system.
This theme also comes with a built-in membership and product delivery feature, at no extra cost. While it’s not as fully featured as some dedicated solutions, it is more than adequate to get the job done.
One of the things I criticized about an earlier version of the theme was the design of the pages and elements. New designs have since been added and these enable you to create nice, clean and modern looking pages.
The Bad Stuff
If you’ve read my review of visual editors for WordPress, you know I’m not a big fan of modular editors. I’m also not 100% in love with the one in ProfitsTheme, but it does a decent job. It’s definitely a better alternative to messing around with tons of short codes.
When building example pages, I ran into some minor issues with the page elements. Elements like buttons and content boxes are visually represented in the editor, which is a big plus. However, it felt a bit glitchy to work with at times. Trying to add a new line of text between two content boxes only works by switching to the HTML view and removing elements while in the visual view also doesn’t work consistently.
What I missed most are proper options for columns and layouts. You can create pages with content in a sidebar-type column, but you don’t have tools to create truly flexible layouts, any way you want.
These are only minor complaints about a very well built and feature-rich theme, though. The bottom line is that ProfitsTheme offers incredible value for a very reasonable price. If you’re looking for an affordable, all-in-one solution for marketing and delivering products and memberships, you should definitely consider this product.
At first glance, PT Instant looks like a light version of Profits Theme (which is made by the same company). It seems to have most of the same features, minus the membership system component. Upon closer inspection, there are a few other differences as well, though.
The Good Stuff
PT Instant is a plugin rather than a theme. This means you can use whichever theme you prefer for your blog and regular pages, while using the plugin to create landing pages and sales pages.
Like ProfitsTheme, PT Instant comes with a page generator, that will create squeeze pages, sales pages, launch pages, confirmation pages and more, with just a few clicks. The pages are pre-populated with example content, which you can then replace with your own copy. Just as in ProfitsTheme, this feature is a real time saver.
PT Instant offers a few more features and elements that you can add to your landing pages, compared to Profts Theme. For example, you can create a corporate-style feature list and there’s an easy to use pricing-table builder included as well.
The Bad Stuff
The designs for the landing pages and elements are a bit of a mixed bag. Most of the design work is clean and modern, but some parts seem a bit out of place. For example, the testimonial templates are over-designed and rely too much on graphics (which is bad news for page loading times, as well).
Having tested both Profits Theme and PT Instant, I can’t help but wish the creators had built one product instead of two separate ones. Combine the responsive designs and extra features of PT Instant with the membership features of Profits Theme and you have a real winner. Of course, you can easily run both products at the same time, since one is a theme and the other is a plugin. But if you already have one of the products, spending another $97 to get just a few extra features seems a bit expensive.
The bottom line is that PT Instant is a competent product in its own right. It just can’t avoid being compared to its close sibling by the same creators.
Sales Press Pro
SalesPress Pro is a theme with many similarities to OptimizePress – both positive and negative.
After installing the theme, you also need to install a separate plugin, to make the squeeze page features work. The plugin is a free addition to the theme, so it’s just a minor inconvenience that the lead generation options are separate rather than integrated.
With SalesPress Pro and the plugin, you can create sales pages (with each template available as a video and non-video version), squeeze pages and membership content pages.
The Good Stuff
SalesPress Pro comes with many templates and styling elements as well as a wide range of graphics. Also included is a countdown timer feature, which closes or redirects a page after a countdown expires, to add some real scarcity to an offer.
SalesPress Pro pages are responsive on mobile devices, which is sadly a rare trait among the products tested here. It’s also worth noting that along with the theme, customers receive the aforementioned opt-in plugin as well as a video plugin. The plugins can be used separately, even on non-SPS sites, which is a nice bonus.
The Bad Stuff
I encountered many bugs and glitches, while working with Sales Press Pro. There are many smaller issues like misaligned graphics, which just make the sales pages and squeeze pages look a bit unprofessional. I also encountered a bug that would send the page into an endless redirect loop and I couldn’t figure out what caused it. In the end, I had to delete the page and create a new one, to make it work.
In some aspects, SalesPress Pro copies OptimizePress’ user interface – and that’s not a very good thing to do. In other aspects, the SPS interface is even worse than the one in OptimizePress. As an example, to set up a lead generation page, you need to:
- Create the main content in the WordPress editor.
- Scroll down several pages to find and adjust the general settings for the page.
- Open a completely different page in the menu of the necessary plugin, to set up the opt-in form part of the page.
Of course, you have to know where all these options are in the first place and you’ll be left wondering why three different options for one short page can’t just be displayed in the same place.
You’ll also find that you are limited to creating a maximum of five different opt-ins (to five different lists or autoresponders). This may be enough for most users, but it’s still strange, as there’s no technical reason to limit the number of opt-ins you can run on your site.
I could go on, but the bottom line is that while SalesPress Pro has some merits, it also has a few more weaknesses that it can get away with, in a comparison like this.
The Good Stuff
The most impressive element in this product is the user interface. The interface is very well designed, never cluttered or overwhelming and always easy to understand. Most users will be able to instantly start working with WP Enlighten, without ever having to look at any of the tutorial videos that are provided for customers.
I also like the fact that style elements such as highlight boxes, guarantee boxes, graphical bullets etc. are properly displayed in the WordPress editor, just like they appear on the front end. This way, you know what you’re working with and don’t have to decipher short codes, like in OptimizePress and many other solutions.
Guarantee boxes and a few other elements also come pre-filled with sample copy. While that’s not a feature for me personally, I can see how it can be helpful, especially for anyone new to copywriting.
The Bad Stuff
There are three main complaints that I have, with WP Enlighten. The first two both have to do with the designs you get, when using the plugin. There are many graphical elements you can use in your pages and there are 10 templates to choose from. However, all of the templates are very similar to each other and no matter what designs you use and how you compile your page, the result always looks a tad out-dated. I know as well as anyone that your sales page’s job is not to look modern or fancy, but to be effective. You can create effective pages with WP Enlighten, but I also know that those pages could be made more effective with a bit more visual polish.
Enlighten also falls a bit short in the comparison, because all of the templates are single column sales page templates. There are no templates made specifically for lead capture, or for membership or download pages.
Finally, if you take the above into account and compare prices between all the candidates in this review, WP Enlighten struggles to justify its price tag. If you want to use it on more than 3 websites, it’s the most expensive product in this roundup, but it simply isn’t as well equipped as some of its cheaper rivals.
There are very clear losers and winners in this comparison. Let’s begin with the losers:
- 10 Minute Pages looks very promising, but ends up being a huge, over-priced letdown.
- Authority Pro 3 isn’t as bad as its predecessor, but there’s still not much good I can say about it.
- FlexSqueeze is overloaded with options and looks antiquated. In addition to that, it’s one of the more expensive solutions, so I can’t see any reason to purchase this over some of the alternatives.
- Premise is decent, but in many regards it pales in comparison to the competition. In a vacuum it might be good, but compared to the alternatives, it is not worth its hefty price tag.
- ProAffiliate 2.0 is quite nice, but very limited and inflexible. Unless you want it specifically for the offer/review page feature, your money is better spent elsewhere.
- PT Instant is a good product in its own right but the very similar Profits Theme, with more features and at the same price, is the better option.
- SalesPress Pro looks like a failed cloning experiment performed on OptimizePress 1. It has some, but not all of the same features, some, but not all of the same style elements and a similarly clumsy user interface.
- WP Enlighten has a few nice features, but compared to the available alternatives, it’s simply not worth the high purchase price.
- Get OptimizePress 2.0 for the most fully-featured sales page and sales funnel builder currently available (but only if you don’t mind a sluggish editing process).
- Get InstaBuilder for a great feature set, decent design and ease of use, if you want something simpler and cheaper than OptimizePress 2.0
- Get ProfitsTheme if you’re looking for the perfect solution for anyone on a budget. If you want one theme to get your whole business off the ground and you don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg, this is it.
That’s about as to-the-point as I can make it. I hope you found this roundup useful and it helps you pick the right WordPress marketing theme or plugin for your business.
Do you have any questions or feedback? Agree or disagree with my conclusions? Let me know by leaving a comment!