As part of our series of review on the Web and interesting software, we have done a series of reviews on finding out the Best WordPress Plugins out there. We have started with reviews to find out which plugin is the best in terms of lead generation for the mailing list, especially via Optin Forms (or properly spelt as Opt-in forms).
Previously we have covered a number of major brands in the WordPress industry, including OptinMonster and Ninja Popups. Read on to find out more on SumoMe
If you haven’t read them, just click on the link to see which one suits you best
For this article, we will be covering SumoMe, the free but rapidly popular plugin by Noah Kagan, the guy behind AppSumo.
Update: As of the date of this update (November 2017), Sumo no longer offers a free tier for their optin forms. Because of that, we recommend that you consider one of the alternatives
SumoMe Review: Background
SumoMe is a product by Noah Kagan and his team at the wildly popular AppSumo website. According to Sumome’s website, the Appsumo team had received one million subscribers ever since they started four years ago. Admittedly, Appsumo is a popular website and they had some mind-blowing deals early on.
SumoMe isn’t just an ordinary WordPress lightbox Popup plugin but encompasses a powerful suite of products, available to you for free. That’s correct, free without a single ringgit. Unless of course, you would like to remove the SumoMe logo, which would cost you a small fee of USD 10 per website. We will get more into that below.
SumoMe Review : Price
As above, SumoMe is free for most of the add-ons, except for the List Builder and extra themes. Otherwise, the suite of apps is an interesting one. And crafting similar features for your own site might cause way more, especially if you are in Malaysia, as the fees for a good PHP programmer can cost a fair bit. The last time around, I asked for quotations for an ecommerce website and the quotation came in the region of RM 80k. That is a crazy amount of money for an intermediate shopping cart, which won’t be updated by the developer on a regular basis.
Of the entire SumoMe suite, only Leads costs USD 100 per year as of the time of writing. However, with the rest of the suite being given as a freemium platform, I would say that you have nothing to lose trying out SumoMe.
SumoMe Review: Features
As a lightbox popup optin form, SumoMe is rather basic. While the template is responsive and there is a redirect option after signing up, there are not many options on how to style the lightbox Popup. As such, if you like the granular control provided by OptinMonster, the Facebook connect button provided by Hybrid Connect or the various beautiful templates provided by Ninja Popups, you would be advised to search somewhere else.
For us who have used OptinMonster for awhile, granular control is definitely a must. After all, you might want a different popup to appear on different pages or specific posts. Or if you run an ecommerce store, to have a different offer for products.
Also Canvas, the extension for OptinMonster enables you to custom build your own Optin form, which isn’t available on SumoMe. This might be crucial for business websites or people concerned about branding. After all, you don’t want your popup box to look like a few hundred thousand websites out there, no?
Another lacking aspect of SumoMe’s List Builder is A/B testing. While you might feel that you write really well, A/B testing enables you to try out different converting sentences or designs, to see whichever works best for your site.
Don’t be dismayed, as SumoMe features a number of strong points too. SumoMe features various ways to lead generation, namely the
- Scroll Box – The scroll box slides in when your readers scroll all the way down when reading articles. We still prefer OptinMonster’s
- Smart Bar – A smart bar that sits on the top of your blog/site, that helps with signups. Something like Hello Bar, but with a simple, flat template
- List Builder – Lightbox Optin Form – A free and simple lightbox based optin form
- Leads – Something like a Content Locker, Leads enables you to embed pdf files or some ebook and let the readers subscribe in order to get the book.
Overall, in terms of features, SumoMe lacks behind its premium plugin competitors. However, if you are cash-strapped and need some basic features, SumoMe works great.
SumoMe Review: Aesthetics
Looks wise, SumoMe looks decent but plain. They follow the flat design, which is awesome, but I bet there are a lot of sites using the same template, which attests to its popularity (do make more SumoMe!) The lack of templates for the popup and the other apps within the SumoMe suite would be disappointing to some. Also, purchasing the theme pack for List Builder sets you back $15 for only three templates. And these three templates are only for one site, not unlimited sites. As such, if you were to remove the SumoMe logo and purchased the three templates, SumoMe’s cost would have risen to $25 per site. If you run a number of sites, you might be wise to consider something else.
On the backend portion, SumoMe comes with a peculiar upper right-hand side button on the front end of your WordPress site, which is generally hidden until you move your pointer over. If you have purchased the premium version, you can lock this and then press some keys to unlock it and gain access to SumoMe’s settings. You cannot, however, make changes to the settings via your WordPress admin backend, which might frustrate some.
The backend of SumoMe is easy to understand, and you’ll get used to SumoMe’s way to adding and deleting extensions/apps after a while. Overall, SumoMe looks great and is easy to navigate. But if you need more templates for your optin form, be prepared to pay some money.
SumoMe Review : Code Quality & Updates
I was personally surprised to see SumoMe doing better than Hybrid Connect (0.0032 seconds vs 0.051 seconds load time) on P3 Profiler. The code loaded fast and effectively. As SumoMe is made by Noah and his AppSumo team, you can be assured of long-term updates as AppSumo moves into the world of WordPress plugins. This doesn’t surprise us, as we at TechGarage feels Noah and the AppSumo team are making the right decision, as WordPress powers almost a quarter of all websites worldwide (effectively 150 out of 600 million websites), and the number is increasing steadily.
While personal blogging is waning in popularity, WordPress enables businesses to easily setup an easily customisable website with minimal cost. As such, do not be surprised if AppSumo releases more WordPress plugins, both free and premium.
We also tested the plugin with the debugging tool turned on and there were no coding errors. It is well coded. Trying it out with New Relic’s monitoring tool also brought no discernible issues with CPU usage nor memory. As such, we would say it is well coded.
SumoMe Review: Conclusion
While SumoMe is a great product, it still lacks the functionality of premium plugins like OptinMonster and to a lesser extent, Ninja Popups. However, as you could get most of the extensions on SumoMe free, if you are not picky about the template and are on a budget, SumoMe is definitely a great plugin to have.
But if you would like more functionality or if you run multiple sites, perhaps then OptinMonster is the way to go. Or if you like both, why not have them all on your installation? After all, SumoMe isn’t just a lead generation plugin, but a suite of extensions.