[This post was last updated: OCTOBER 2014 - updates are marked in the text below]
Last week saw one of the most anticipated product launches of 2013 – OptimizePress 2.0
If you’ve been a subscriber of mine for a while you’ll know I absolutely LOVE the first version of this software.
The websites and pages I’ve built with it over the last year or two have racked up well over 6-figures in net profit for me.
So, as you can imagine I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new version and I was also looking forward to reviewing and recommending it as well.
So I purchased my unlimited site license for OP 2.0 ($297 + VAT tax as I’m in the UK) and started experimenting with it on some test blogs I have.
If you’re in a rush then my overall conclusion is that on balance I just can’t really see myself using it going forward and therefore I won’t make a recommendation for you to do so either. The reasons for this and the alternatives that I use instead are discussed below…
What’s the difference between OptimizePress 1.0 and OptimizePress 2.0?
If you’ve read this far and are wondering what OptimizePress actually is then basically it allows you to create squeeze pages, sales pages, membership sites, blogs and launch funnels with WordPress.
OP 1.0 was a WordPress theme which gave you a the ability to create these things very quickly.
When it came out (I think around the same time I got started online approx. 3 years ago or so) it was a true “game changer” – especially given the price of just $97.
OP 2.0 which, as I mentioned above, was released last week comes in both a Theme and Plugin form.
The first thing to say is that a lot of work and development has gone into OP 2.0 and there’s no doubt that it will be considered a great product by many people out there.
…And I’m fully respectful of these views.
Perhaps the biggest difference between 1.0 and 2.0 is that the latter uses a wizard-like interface to design your pages.
So instead of adding items (shortcodes) to the standard WordPress editor you instead use something called the “LiveEditor”. When you click to fire this up it opens in a light box (a wizard drag and drop window which pops up over the standard WordPress panel).
Now this as a concept is a great idea.
However, after using it for some time last week I found it to be rather cumbersome and a bit slow.
For example, to make small adjustments to your site you might have to click on 3 or more buttons, change the information and then preview your page again. Then go back and do it all again when you decide on a further minor adjustment.
It can be argued that this is much nicer than using the shortcodes in the WordPress editor (OP 1.0) but personally I had no problems in adjusting these, hitting the WordPress Preview button and checking out the adjusted page. Waiting each time for it to bring up the relevant options panel.
There are a lot of pre-defined templates that come with OP 2.0 which you can use as they are or modify them.
The templates are very attractive but straight away I could see things that were missing or that I would have to do a lot of editing to get right.
There is an optional monthly payment upsell option when you purchase OP 2.0 which includes additional templates but to be honest I think this is a little much overall in terms of pricing when compared to competitors.
And another thing…!
When I started creating some test membership site pages it seems like there is a lack of global options. For example, if I want to change the font size of the menu items then I need to do this in each individual page, one by one. This is not the case in OP 1.0 or indeed, virtually any of the other themes that are out there.
OP 2.0 also comes with a blog (which was always the weakest part of the product and in my view that’s still the case) and also a membership site plugin which you can use to secure the pages of a site so only customers can get access.
The latter of these is potentially a good thing (and I haven’t tested this in OP 2.0 myself) but for me I’m so happy with Wishlist Member that I can’t see myself switching to another solution (I have the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude here).
I could go on but what really matters here is personal preference.
As I said above, for me, I just can’t see myself working with OP 2.0.
You, however, might feel totally different and that is totally fine. By all means try it out and see what you think.
OP 2.0 might also evolve into something that I personally like going forward as well. I won’t be requesting a refund and who knows maybe I will use it at some point – although I can’t see that as it stands.
But right now, despite all the nice advantages and features (and many things are extremely good) I just don’t like it overall, mainly because of the LiveEditor set up.
What are the alternatives to OptimizePress 2.0?
[LAST UPDATED: October 2014]
Right now my personal preferences are…
1. Thrive Content Builder
Content Builder is a WordPress plugin which is a brilliant and easy to use for creating sales pages, squeeze pages and download pages.
It’s not perfect and like anything there are some things that could be improved but one of the major plus points here is that it comes from a very good stable with an excellent track record (IMImpact/Thrive Themes).
If you are starting out on a budget then I’d definitely recommend checking it out. The video on the product page gives a really nice overview and should answer most of your questions.
My disappointment with OP 2.0 led me to sign up for this (I went for the annual option).
LeadPages has been an absolute game changer for me.
Rather like OP 2.0 it uses a graphical editor and although it certainly lacks some of the flexibility that OP has I really don’t mind that at all because the pages simply convert so well. Plus you can get brilliant looking pages up in a matter of seconds once you get used to the controls.
Part of the reason for the high conversions is basically what I’d call “crowd-sourced split testing”. In other words LeadPages gets to see the stats on all user accounts so their designs are influenced by what is working right now.
As this changes, they add new template designs and features to reflect this so we can all benefit – a unique and major advantage over any other system that is out there. On squeeze pages in particular I’ve never experienced such high conversions.
Highly recommended – and in my opinion superb value.
There are many other tools out there you can look into as well of course (e.g., ProfitsTheme) but I am not the kind of person who is keen on constantly trying out brand new tools.
Yes, it’s great to have good looking pages but the real benefit for customers and yourself is in the value you can provide.
That’s because the more value you create, the more profits you’ll make and the better results customers will get.
As I mentioned before I’ll also continue to use Wishlist Member for securing my product download/membership areas together with other themes for nice clean site layouts (I’ve particularly enjoyed using Canvas from Woothemes for this).
Finally, I’m a huge fan of Hybrid Connect (also from the creators of Content Builder). This features the best wizard type editor I’ve ever seen (really quite incredible!) and although I personally just tend to use it for optin forms on the sidebar of blogs it is definitely worth checking out.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and to reiterate all views are welcome. It’s a matter of personal preference and in this post you’ve heard mine, nothing more, nothing less… Cheers, Rob