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.