OptimizePress Review

If you’re launching a course on your WordPress website, you’ve probably come across a least a mention or two of OptimizePress. The OptimizePress theme along with the OptimizeMember plugin functionality gives you a way to restrict your course or other paid content. It also comes with an amazing drag and drop builder interface that I find extremely easy to use with an end result that is polished and professional.

I build the DIY SEO for Small Business Course using Optimiz Press, but when it came time to do a review I reached out to Genevieve Mari. She works with OptimizePress on a daily basis and loves it so much, she’s created her own OptimizePress training course and free Facebook group to help others use the tool even better. Here’s the honest take with both the good and the bad on OptimizePress from Genevieve. ~Kelly


OptimizePress Review

by Genevieve Mari

I’m not going to lie; I am a huge fan of OptimizePress. In fact, it is the platform and plugin I recommend most and it is the only platform I work with.

Why? Because, 99% of the time, it is the perfect answer to ALL of my clients needs.

But despite my love affair with OptimizePress, I am still very well aware of where it could be improved and why some might shy away from it.

OptimizePress is Different

First things first, I want to make sure you really get what you get when you chose to work with OptimizePress.

See while most people speak of it as a membership plugin, it is so much more then that. In fact, OptimizePress is NOT a membership plugin, it is a theme (with a plugin version of it’s theme) that COME WITH it’s own membership plugin called OptimizeMember.

So many are unclear on that and this is where it really stands alone to most other “membership” type plugins. Not only can you lock and load your content, you can fully build your site (as well as specific type pages) with the OptimizePress Theme. In fact, you can even build a blog site and never even use it’s membership capabilities.

So let’s go over all the WHYs OptimizePress has won me over.

1. It’s affordable!!!! Who doesn’t want to save money right??

At its lowest price point, you get 3 API keys, which is the equivalent of three separate sites. And that includes over 30 templates for you to use to build your site should you not feel brave enough to start with a blank page. I especially enjoy these templates when looking for inspiration!

2. It comes with over 30 templates.

Seriously, who can’t manage to build a site with over 30 template to chose from? And I’m talking about all sorts of templates; Landing and optin pages, sales pages, course/membership pages, webinar pages, Thank You pages, etc.

Best of all, all these templates are 100% customizable so that you can give every page you build the exact look and feel that you want. Your branding will following you with this platform!

Optimize Press Options

3. You can build your pages/site from a blank canvas!

While daunting for some, many enjoy the freedom of creativity that a blank page can offer. So if you are bold and design-inclined, you have the power to create anything you want when using the blank page as your starting point.


4. It comes with it’s own membership plugin

This is actually an incredible partnership of theme and plugin, meaning that your membership plugin integrates seamlessly with your site. And this plugin is fairly straightforward to configure, although I would say that most of the “user” errors happen in this part of the set up. After comparing it to other membership plugin, I feel it is the most user-friendly plugin in town.

Optimize Press Options

Moreover, it integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and many more shopping carts as well as a variety of email marketing services such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Infusionsoft and Ontraport, just to name a few.

Optimize Press PayPal Options

5. It has a lot of advanced features.

Like the overlay optimizer (think two step opt-in boxes) and launch funnel set up. And if the nitty-gritty is what you are after, you can really get it completely customized to your needs. Whether you are setting up one or many courses on the same platform, OptimizePress’s advanced capabilities mean that there is very little stepping in the way of you have the exact site you want.

What You Should Watch Out For

Now, despite my love affair of OptimizePress, I am well aware that there are reasons for some to be less then thrilled with it.

First of all, if you already have a theme installed and set up on your own site and want to use OptimizePress, then you need to use the OptimizePress plugin. This is where problems can happen. OptimizePress is a very robust and big theme/plugin, and therefore can sometimes clashes with other themes and plugins. So before installing OptimizePress plugin, it is highly recommended to verify the compatibility of your theme with the OptimizePress plugin. You can do so here (https://optimizepress.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/200553686-Incompatible-Themes-Plugins).

Fortunately, the work around to this incompatibility issue is to create a sub-domain or sub-folder and house your OptimizePress install (it would be the theme at this point) there instead.

Secondly, and speaking of it being such a huge theme and plugin, it also requires a good hosting package to support it. The basic hosting requirements can be found on OptimizePress’ support site as well. For some, this might present an issue but for most entrepreneurs running a business, you basic hosting package should be just fine.

I won’t lie, there is definitely a learning curve to using OptimizePress and most of my clients will hire me to set up their membership while they build their pages. But it’s not impossible and with some guidance and support, I’ve seen some really nice sites come from some of the members in my OP support group.

My OptimizePress Wish List

Now here is what I would change.

I hate the drip content featured in OptimizePress. It is set up to work based on when someone signs up to your course/membership site, and not to a date you set in the system. Which means that if you want the content to drip over a weekly period, the startup date of each sequence will be set up based on when each user purchases registration to your site. This is less then ideal for entrepreneurs selling packages where they want to follow their group through the program.

What I would love to see incorporated within OptimizePress is an affiliate plugin or structure embedded into the OptimizeMember plugin. Because OptimizePress doesn’t always play well with other plugins, this would fulfill a need that many course builders have.

Also, an easier integration of other shopping cart systems, like SamCart, I feel would be appreciated by those trying to move away from PayPal.

But all and all, as a “full package” platform, with a theme, membership plugin, templates, and more…all for less then $100, OptimizePress is pretty hard to beat!

Zippy Courses Review

I’ve asked some of the best WordPress gurus I know to review their favorite plugin and tell us why they love it so much. And since reviews are only valuable if they’re balanced, I also asked them to be brutally honest about anything they might NOT love quite so much. My friend Kimberly Gosney of KimberlyGosney.com has been raving about Zippy Courses for awhile now, so I asked her to give us the low down. I’d also like to point out that there are no affiliate links in this review, her positivity is all for the plugin!

Why you’ll fall in love with Zippy Courses

In August of 2014 I sat refreshing the screen on my internet browser eagerly anticipating the cart opening for the first launch of Zippy Courses. I found the sales page by accident about 20 minutes before the launch officially started and I felt a little bit like a crazy plugin stalker.

Finally it was go time and I was lucky enough to snap up one of the first 25 beta test spots for Zippy Courses.

Within a few minutes I had my download and I was all raring to go. I had tried a few membership plugin options for WordPress that had left me irritated in the past and pondering why it has to be so hard to create a course area with a separate password for each participant that doesn’t become a nightmare of “how do I login-ness.”

It’s really easy to create a course using a system of password protected pages for free on WordPress, but I was at the point in my business where I wanted my more premium courses locked up like Fort Knox.

In the past nine months I’ve seen Zippy Courses become the easiest way for the newbie course creator to take their business to the next level while not breaking the piggy bank. I’m going to share Five Reasons Why You’ll Fall In Love With Zippy Courses.


Reason 1: Zippy Courses is very budget friendly.

It’ll cost you $199 for your first year including support and updates. That’s less than $17 bucks a month to secure your courses and memberships. Each year after that is $99. You just won’t find anything out there that’s this affordable and does so much!


Reason 2: Your video courses get served up like WOW.

There’s no other way I can say it. If you’re running an online video based course with tutorials or any kind of video component to your video course. Zippy Courses takes your video lessons and gives them style! You can add a welcome video and inside your courses you get a cool menu bar on the right hand side that links to the next video so your participants can start on one lesson and easily move to the next one.

Zippy Courses Screenshot

Screenshot of a very basic course layout with a video on the page.

 Zippy Courses Screenshot

Screenshot of my favorite feature the video player with sidebar video menu area.


Reason 3: Zippy Courses is fast as all get out to set up.

When you use the Zippy Courses Theme or the Social Triggers Theme you get a well thought out design that’s structured to save you time. You can set it up in as little as 1 to 2 hours and you can customize it to match your brand colors. You can even add in your own logo to personalize the design.


Reason 4: Zippy Courses lets you create and control your courses.

You can have courses that get delivered all at once, dripped out slowly, go evergreen. You can release one course or a hundred courses quickly and easily. You get to add images or videos to your courses and you can even add quizzes to see how engaged your course participants are.

Reason 5: Jonathan Wondrusch.

Who’s Jonathan? He’s the Zippy Courses co-founder. When I was setting up Zippy Courses I had a question or two and a little hiccup here and there and Jonathan was on it! He was fast to return emails and that kind of support is really important when you’re using something new to run your business.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for an easy way to start delivering your courses and classes that won’t break the piggy bank, Zippy courses is the perfect starting point.

Now that I’ve given you my top five favorites I want to share with you the one little thing that didn’t light me up because it’s something you’ll need to workaround if you’re offering any high dollar multiple payment plans or monthly subscriptions when using Zippy Courses and PayPal.

With Zippy Courses and PayPal you have to make sure you’ve got Enhanced Recurring Payments for PayPal Payments Standard and you’ll only be able to create a plan with four payments including the first payment they make to get started.

You can make this work for you by turning your monthly subscription into a quarterly subscription or by sending out an email autoresponder at the end of every four months with a link to the course and getting your members to re-purchase.This is only for payment plan based courses or memberships with PayPal and Zippy Courses.

Today’s Guest Star Poster:

Genevieve Mari

Geneviève Mari is a Digital Learning Strategist and OptimizePress Expert for bright but busy entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their next big ecourse or membership site, but have no clue how to get it off the ground or are tired of winging it. She helps her clients bridge the tech knowledge gap, so they can create the business—and lifestyle—of their dreams. With over 17 years of techie experience and a degree in microcomputer programming, Geneviève loves being a figure-outer, fixer and soothing balm for entrepreneurial tech woes. When she’s not building profitable platforms for purposeful entrepreneurs, she can usually be found reading historical fiction, hitting up a CrossFit class, or hanging out with her two kiddos and over-demanding cats.

Latest posts by Genevieve Mari (see all)

Insert Headers and Footers Plugin Review

“Where do I put code in the header in WordPress?”

I get this question almost every week! There are quite a few common marketing tools that make you paste code in the header of your page or your website. Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Amazon Affiliates just to name a few. If you’re not a very techie person, this point in your process can throw you for a serious loop. Some WordPress themes have a place in the theme options marked for header code. But your theme doesn’t have it, you might need a plugin.


Insert Headers and Footers plugin by WP Beginner

This is a very light plugin that just does one thing. Download it from the WordPress.org repository and install it through your WordPress dashboard. Under Settings>Insert Headers and Footers you’ll find two entry fields. The header field is for code that should be loaded as soon as the page begins to load. The Footer field is for code that should be loaded last on the page.

Most of the time you’ll put the code from your tool in the Header field so it’s loaded first when the page comes up in the reader’s browser.

Insert Headers and Footers Plugin

Plugin or Theme Fields – Which is Better?

Some theme developers purposely don’t include the Header and Footer script fields in their themes. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, they don’t want to be responsible for code in those fields that doesn’t play nice with their theme.

A second (and better) reason, is that keeping the extra code in a plugin gives you more flexibility to change your theme. If all of the code were entered through your theme, it would disappear when you redesigned your site. And since some of us (yes, I admit it) tend to redesign our websites multiple times a year… well, you can see the issue. Having the code in the plugin means it will stay in place and working no matter how many times I change my theme.


WordPress Mobile Plugins for Better SEO

Google is penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly. If you’re site isn’t mobile friendly, you may never show up in a Google search done on a mobile device again.

That’s pretty much the situation in a nutshell. Oh – and they say this change will have “significant” impact. The last time they said a change would have significant impact, entire business were wiped off the search results. (This is why SEO pros cringe and surface facial tics when they hear the words Panda or Penguin – code names for those algorhythm changes.)

As a small business owner or solopreneur, you NEED to address this situation with your website. Now. Even if you don’t get a ton of mobile traffic right now (here’s how to check that in Google Analytics), I predict that this is just Google’s first move toward a 100% mobile friendly web.

Hey, you can’t blame Google. We’re the ones who are married to our phones and tablets. Google is just trying to keep up with us.

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?

To see if your website is mobile friendly, use the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool. Just type your website URL in and click Analyze. Google will display your results in just a few minutes. Here’s the before and after results of the website I was working on while writing this post.

Test for a WordPress Mobile Friendly Website

Red means you have problem, green means you’re good. If you don’t pass the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, here’s what to do next.


How Do I Make WordPress Mobile Friendly?

You’re a business owner, not a website designer and you need an easy way to make your website mobile friendly. My best recommendation is to upgrade your theme to one that is responsive. A responsive theme detects the screen size of the visitor’s device and automatically arranges the webpage to fit the screen. But if you don’t have the skill, time, or money to change your theme right now, there is an easy to use WordPress mobile plugin that might do the trick for you.

My New Favorite WordPress Mobile Plugin: WPTouch

One of my clients, a professional group for Mompreneurs called Vend Raleigh, needed a mobile friendly website, but didn’t have the time to deal with a complete theme overhaul. I installed the WP Touch free plugin and within ten minutes they passed the Google Mobile Friendly Test with flying colors!

The WPTouch Mobile Plugin has both a free and paid version. The free version does the job very well, and the free mobile theme is one of the best I’ve seen.

WordPress Mobile Plugin WP Touch page

Before you install any plugin, be sure to make a fresh backup of your website in case things go wrong. Because trust me, things will go wrong when you least expect it!

Once you install the plugin, you can tweak the theme settings, upload your logo and you’re ready. There are some additional features, but that’s the basics.

After you’ve implemented the plugin, check your site on several mobile devices to be sure you like what you see. And lastly, run the site back through the Google Mobile Friendly testing tool to be sure that it passes the test.

Voila! Your website is mobile friendly. Give it try and let me know if the comments if this works for your website.

Is SEO Dead?

“Is SEO Dead?” Well, that depends on how you look at it. Search Engine Optimization has changed a lot since the last few Google algorhythm updates. You see, Google is trying to refine the way the SEO game is played. They don’t want it to even BE a game. They want to reward websites with good, high quality content and the trustworthy experts that are creating that content. And, they want to make it more difficult for people to game the system and get ranked for things they don’t deserve to rank for.

So in a sense, SEO is dead.

It’s dead from the viewpoint of needing some high-tech SEO expert to get your website ranked for the things it truly and honestly deserves to rank for. So for the high-priced SEO firms who were charging thousands of dollars a month to get you up in the search engines, well yeah. SEO is kind of dead for them. Because it’s not about gaming the system anymore. It’s about creating really good content for readers. And you don’t need an SEO expert to do that.

SEO is now within YOUR reach.

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur who is simply wanting to be matched up with the people who are looking for your products and services – SEO is very much alive and well. The first thing you need to do is create high-quality content that is useful for your website visitors. The next thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving Google the information it needs to understand what your content is about.

Since I launched the Do-It-Yourself SEO for Small Business course, I’ve talked to a LOT of small business owners about SEO. So many of them aren’t sure exactly what SEO means, or how it might be worth their time. So I’ve started a new free Facebook group just for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are beginners with SEO. Come on over and learn about what SEO is, and how easy it is to implement the basic pieces. If you’re not using SEO, you’re missing out on huge amounts of free traffic to your website. Why not join the group and see what happens?

Webinar Ignition LIVE WordPress Plugin Review

Webinar software can be really pricey and unreliable. But webinars are a great way to reach out to your followers and make a real connection with them. I recently did a live review of Webinar Ignition – a WordPress Webinar Plugin that wraps management features around a Google Hangout on Air.

I’ve been using Webinar Ignition for a few months now to host my own webinars and while it hasn’t been completely snaffu-free, I’ve had a great experience with it. In fact, I’m impressed enough with it that it’s one of only four plugins to date that I’ve become an affiliate partner for. I’ll only partner with plugins that I personally use and love – so that’s saying a lot.

You can watch the recording of the LIVE Plugin Review below, but since it’s kind of long I’ll highlight the pros and cons of this plugin first.

Webinar Ignition – The Pros

The Price is only $97 One-Time

Let’s face it – if you’re new to webinars you don’t want to spend a ton of money until you know that your followers are going to respond well to the format. Webinar Ignition has a low price point at $97 one-time fee. And, at the time I’m writing this they offer a 30-day money back guarantee (check their website to be sure that hasn’t changed). I’ll be honest – this is what clinched the sale for me. I spend a lot of money each year on WordPress plugins and so when I find a plugin with high value and a low price tag, I’m in WordPress heaven.

It all mostly happens on your domain name

First of all, Webinar Ignition is a WordPress plugin vs a webinar service. So all of the functionality happens right on your website. This is great for SEO – you’re driving traffic on to your site instead of driving it to a landing page on a different domain. That also means that you don’t have to worry about the webinar service going down – as long as your website is up everything should work fine. You do need one or two other connected services; Google Hangouts on Air and if you choose to have a love chat you’ll need to connect to a third-party service like Livefyre or Chatwing.

Landing Page Integration with Other Tools

The three webinar registration pages that come with Webinar Ignition are not the greatest, I’ll admit. They’re pretty standard along the lines of many registration pages you’ve seen before. However, this plugin integrates with other popular landing page solutions like Optimize Press and Leadpages. So if you’re savvy enough to own those tools you can create any kind of registration page your heart desires.

Easy to Use Interface

As you’ll see in the Live review, the interface is super easy to use. You can walk through each tab and complete the fields or turn off sections on the pages. If you miss a field, placeholder text is displayed that saves you from embarrassing mistakes. As with any webinar software, there are a few things you need to pay attention to during the webinar and it DOES take practice! You’ll see me struggle a little bit in the video because I forgot to log into the third-party chat before the call and I couldn’t type a comment. I also had three monitors going (you’ll see my setup when I pan the camera around). I recommend that you have at least two monitors so you can screen share and monitor the chat at the same time.

Google Hangouts on Air for the Video

Google Hangouts on Air (or HOA as we lovingly call them) is a great way to deliver a webinar on its own. Add Webinar Ignition to them and you’ve got full-service registration and reminders that will help you build your list and sell. After the webinar, you can just copy the embed code from the HOA and you have an instant replay.

Good Customer Service

I have had a couple of issues during the setup and also with the functioning of Webinar Ignition (see the cons for details). Embarrassingly, most of those issues were user error. The Webinar Ignition customer service team always responded quickly with an answer and kept me up to date when the issue was something on their end. It’s a ticketing system, not a phone number so you do have to wait for an email response.


Webinar Ignition – The Cons

Google Hangouts on Air for the Video

Yes, I’m putting HOAs in both the pro and the con section. There is about a 45 second delay when you use HOAs. That becomes an issue when you are using the live chat feature in Webinar Ignition. If you ask your audience a question, they won’t hear the question for 45 seconds – during which time you’re sitting there like an idiot because nobody is answering you. I’ve learned to get around this by asking the question first, then giving some explanation while I wait for the answers to appear in the chat.

In the video, you’ll see a “Join the Conversation” box pop up in  the Google Hangout. I’ve seen this same issue on webinars I’ve attended. My friend David Vaughn was kind enough to make us this short video to explain how to get rid of that pop-up so that your attendees don’t click on it and navigate away from your webinar screen and the live chat.

No Live Customer Service

If you have an issue right before a scheduled webinar you can’t call Webinar Ignition to get instant help. You’re kind of on your own. However, because everything is present on your actual website I don’t know that they could help you anyway. Any issue you are experiencing is likely to be user error (like mine), an issue with the third-party services, or an issue with your web host.

It’s Susceptible to Normal Plugin Issues

As with any WordPress plugin, Webinar Ignition is susceptible to the same issues as other plugins. Cross compatibility with other plugins, themes, or WordPress core could rise up and bit you. I had one experience where a bug in an update cause my countdowns to disappear. I recommend not updating the plugin the day of a webinar – always do your updates and test it when you’re not in a time crunch.

During my initial plugin setup, the webinar pages weren’t rendering properly. I’ve seen this issue on occasion with other plugins that auto generate pages. You need to set your permalinks to a certain format. Even if they are already set in the right format, be sure to click Save on the Settings>Permalinks page anyway our your pages won’t render properly.

I’m not pulling any punches – Webinar Ignition is a great plugin and at $97, you really can’t go wrong. If you want to see it in action before you buy, take a gander at the live webinar recording below.


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