In our bid to test and find out the best lead generator Optin Form Plugin for WordPress, we are reviewing Hybrid Connect as part of our series of reviews on the best WordPress plugins out there. We have previously reviewed both OptinMonster and NinjaPopups which are hugely popular, leading optin form plugins in their own right.
Read more after the break
Here are the best Optin Form WordPress plugins we have reviewed. If you haven’t read them, just click on the link to see which one suits you best. As Hybrid Connect has been replaced by a much more powerful Thrive Leads, we will redirect the link to Thrive Leads instead.
Hybrid Connect Review: Introduction
Hybrid Connect is a brainchild of Shane Melaugh, an internet marketing entrepreneur who has developed a number of WordPress plugins under the banner of IM Impact. During its time of release, Hybrid Connect was one of the first to offer a non-spammy, lightbox based, optin form for WordPress for an affordable, one-time price.
Hybrid Connect Review: Price
Hybrid Connect comes affordably priced. Though it is more expensive than Ninja Popups, its price of $47 for a single site and $67 for unlimited sites makes it a bargain, especially if you run multiple sites and would prefer something with unlimited updates.
Hybrid Connect Review: Features
The biggest feature for Hybrid Connect is its ability for you to sign up your subscribers easily via a Facebook button instead of having them to input their email address. To some people, Hybrid Connect works automagically, though testing it on TechGarage, we found not much difference in terms of sign up rates.
Hybrid Connect also has the following features
- Sidebar Widget Optin Form
- Slide-in Optin Form
- A/B Split Testing
However, compared to OptinMonster, Hybrid Connect lacks the granular control over where these Optin Forms will appear. As such, if you run a site like ours or if you would like to offer a personalised lightbox for certain content post types, you would be frustrated with Hybrid Connect.
Another thing that you need to consider is the lack of ‘Exit Intent’, which is available on both OptinMonster and Ninja Popups. While some might say it will annoy your readers, others have reported up to 600% increase in readership signup by using Exit Intent itself.
We also notice that Hybrid Connect lacks a redirect page for your readers who subscribe. A redirect page enables you to offer things like ebooks, software and even songs and movies to subscribers. If those are important for you, you will need to consider the other options available.
While it is stated that Hybrid Connect allows you to have optin forms at the end of every post, there is no easy way to automate that. As such, you might need to add these forms to the end of your post via the given short code. While it may seem easy if you don’t have many posts, it leaves a residue shortcode if you are to disable that plugin or remove the widget from Hybrid Connect. And if you say that is fine, try multiplying it by the hundreds, or worse, thousands of posts you might potentially have.
Because of that, we still recommend OptinMonster for the way they configure the plugin to have an optin form at the end of every post. It saves you valuable time. And anything that saves time, is worth the money.
Hybrid Connect Review: Aesthetics
Hybrid Connect’s popup themes do look a bit dated when compared to both OptinMonster and Ninja Popups. It also lacks the responsive themes found on Ninja Popups and the ability to have a separate mobile popup for OptinMonster.
The backend of Hybrid Connect is also confusing when compared to OptinMonster and Ninja Popups. We’re bugged with the request to create a Facebook connector via setting up a Facebook App
Overall, while Hybrid Connect’s themes looked great back in 2012, it now looks dated and spammy. IM Impact would probably do better if they include a new set of themes, or revamp the existing set.
Hybrid Connect Review: Code Quality
We tested Hybrid Connect by loading up P3 Performance Profiler and also the Debug Bar plugin. Hybrid Connect doesn’t even show up for the P3 Profiler, which is a good thing. It also does not show any errors when we ran the debugging plugin.
However, upon reviewing the changelog, we found that the plugin has not been updated much when compared to both OptinMonster and Ninja Popups. As such, using it on WordPress 4.0 and WooCommerce might not be beneficial for you as it might cause a plugin conflict, or in the worse case scenario, cause your site to hand or to be vulnerable to being hacked.
Hybrid Connect Review: Conclusion
While we would love to recommend Hybrid Connect as it was the first commercial lead generation plugin we used on TechGarage, it seems that the lack of updates and improvements are not what we expect. Though the Facebook connect capability is great, the lack of responsive themes, granular control and the messy backend takes away points from Hybrid Connect’s final score.