CopyBlogger released a major update of their landing page plugin Premise last week. Brian Gardner was kind enough to send me a review copy of the product in order to review it for WP Mods readers. I’ve been playing around with the script over the last few days on my test blog and have been very impressed.
Although I haven’t used Premise on a live website as yet, I can comfortably say that Premise is the best landing page script I have ever used. It’s arguably the best solution available online for bloggers and marketers, whether you use the WordPress platform to build your sites or not, particularly with the introduction of a new membership module in 2.0.
Premise is little overwhelming in the first 10 minutes due to the vast number of features it has. In addition to all the options you have for creating your landing page, you are also presented with a settings area and massive style area too.
The plugin comes with great support and there are tips throughout the plugin to help you along the way too though I found it easier to just learn through trial and error. I recommend creating a few test landing pages first before even looking at the settings or style areas. This will familiarise you with the process of creating landing pages and after you have learned how it works, you can tweak your settings and style. Don’t worry, after 30 minutes or so you should be able to create beautiful landing pages in minutes rather than hours.
Premise supports 8 different types of landing pages: sales page, content landing page, pricing table page, opt in page, video page, tab scroller page with multiple tabs, thank you page and a social sharing page that forces users to share the page before they can access the page content.
The plugin uses custom post types so the post editor will be familiar to WordPress users. There are slight differences to the landing page screen depending on which type of landing page you chose. For example, the video option gives an option of whether your video is placed at the left or right or above your copy.
Let’s look at the options available for a sales landing page (as that’s one of the most common landing pages that are used on the web). One of the first things you will notice is that there is not one page title but two. The additional title field is for your landing page sub heading. Copy is added the same way that posts or pages are added in WordPress.
At the right hand side of the editor is a landing page assistant that gives copywriting advice. Clicking on the assistant will bring up a drop down menu with 18 help topics in total. There are no other boxes or options at the right hand side of the page. This is no bad thing in my opinion as all options are placed in the main content area. This is in contrast to many premium plugins that crowd the centre and right hand side of the page.
You can apply a different style to each of your landing pages. This is useful for creating landing pages for different products or for split testing your landing pages. A different favicon can be applied to each page too.
The page header image can be set here or through the main WordPress appearance section. The header image and the main headlines area can be removed if you wish as well.
A tagline or copyright notice can be added to the footer of your page. Like the header sections, this section can also be removed. Marketers are known for being stat junkies therefore the all important header and footer boxes are included. This allows you to insert custom CSS code for styling your page or for adding tracking code for services such as Google Analytics.
SEO is a huge part of marketing landing pages. In the SEO settings area you can set the page title, description, keywords, canonical URL and robots meta settings (noindex, nofollow, noarchive). Auto detection of your feed can be disabled if it is interfering with any of your other scripts.
In order to test the performance of your landing pages, they can easily be duplicated for split testing. You can then customise the duplicated page accordingly and change the tracking code in your links. Additional testing can be made through Google Website Optimizer and the Visual Website Optmizer service if you have accounts.
There is no limit to what you can create with Premise as you create your content using the regular WordPress editor. By using content shortcodes, plugins and other solutions you will be able to add columns, sliders, galleries and more to your landing page if you wish. Premise also adds some useful functionality to the editor to help you during the creation process.
One of which is the ‘Sample Content’ button. Clicking on the button will add a long detailed landing page with quotes, lists and testimonials to your content area in order to illustrate what type of landing pages work well. It’s a great starting point and will help speed up the creation of your landing pages.
The ‘Graphic Library’ button brings up over 1,000 stock images including arrows, badges, buttons, hand drawn images and icons. The images are all of a high quality and will help bring your landing page to life.
The ‘Opt In Code’ button lets you easily insert a newsletter opt in form directly into your page. The form can be aligned left, right or in the centre.
Last but not least is the ‘Custom Buttons’ option that lets you insert created buttons into your page. There are no default buttons available when you first launch this option so you will have to create your own using the button creation option.
From the main settings you can configure global settings. Most of these settings can be changed individually from the landing page editor.
All landing pages can have a keyword placed before the page title if you wish. This can be switched off though I imagine this would be useful if you have dozens or hundreds of landing pages and you want to keep the URLs different from your main website.
The favicon, header image, header image link and default footer text can be modified here. As I showed earlier, these settings can be overridden for each individual landing page if you wish.
Default SEO settings can also be applied from the main settings area and for your opt in pages you can enter your newsletter API or login details.
Facebook and Twitter sharing settings can be configured from the bottom of the main settings page. Default testing and header and footer scripts can be entered here too.
Once you are ready to start developing your landing pages you should complete the main settings area as this will reduce the options you need to set each time.
Premise really comes into its own in the style area. Put simply, the number of style options is huge. This can be a little overwhelming at first as there are 17 different areas to style.
For each section you can style the background colours, font colours, size and family. You can also set border sizes, padding and margins. Essentially the style editor is a user friendly replacement for the stylesheet. This is a welcome addition to the plugin as it allows non-designers to get the most from their landing pages.
New Membership Features
The biggest addition to Premise is the addition of a fully functional membership module. I must admit I was initially unsure as to whether I had the right version of the plugin as I couldn’t see the membership option anywhere. I then noticed that the membership feature is not enabled by default. You need to go into the main settings area and enable membership functionality.
From what I’ve read on CopyBlogger, many other people were confused about this too, though I think they have done the right thing by disabling it by default as there is no point adding so much functionality to a website if it isn’t going to get used. Perhaps the membership module will prove so popular that they will add an option to disable the landing pages feature too!
In addition to building membership sites with WordPress, the module also allows you to create products and drip feed content to members. It can also be used to sell digital products such as ebooks, software, designs etc.
Via the membership settings area you can define the checkout, login page and member home page. The default country for payments can be changed too.
At the moment the plugin only works with PayPal and Authorize.net for payments though I am sure that we will see additional gateways supported in the future.
The name and address of the person sending the confirmation to new members can be changed. The email itself is configured separately for each product you create.
One of the best features of the membership area is the vBulletin bridge that allows you to automatically assign premium members to a specific forum usergroup. Hopefully we will see bridges for other forums being added in the future as in my opinion vBulletin is a rather bloated script (I used the old version of the script for 10 years and that rocked!).
Premise is by no means a replacement for a fully functional eCommerce store as you can only define a few basic settings for your products. This shouldn’t be a major problem for most users as it was designed specifically for digital products. You can give your product a name and description and define the price. The product duration can be set in days if you want to offer different packages to visitors e.g. 30 days access, 100 days access etc. I’d like to see the option to define product duration in months and years too.
Access levels that the customer will acquire after purchasing can be defined at the right hand side of the product editor.
The membership link manager allows you to control what user groups can access a file. Access can be delayed for a set period of days if you wish.
I was really impressed with the membership module. It does not boast as many features as some member plugins such as Wishlist Member though this shouldn’t be an issue for most of you (I found Wishlist to overcomplicate many things when I used it for a member site a few years ago).
It’s clear that the membership module was created specifically for selling digital products and in that respect it’s perfect. You can drip feed content, restrict access to files, create multiple levels of users and give premium access to members in your vBulletin forum.
Premise was already a fantastic product though they have improved it greatly with the introduction of the membership module. It’s one of the most complete products available for WordPress and I highly recommend it to anyone who is needs a feature rich landing page manager or those of you who are considering selling a digital product or premium content.
An unlimited license for Premise retails for $165. The license grants you usage on an unlimited number of websites and domains and updates and support for life. It also comes with a 30 day risk free promise that if it isn’t suitable for you, they will give you a full refund.
Here’s the best part. Since they hadn’t finished the redesign of the Premise 2.0 website, they have reduced the price of the unlimited license by $70 to only $95. The bad news is, this deal is only valid until tomorrow (8 March 2012) at 5pm Pacific time. I encourage you to check Premise out and if you are considering buying it, I recommend doing so now because the price increases.
* Thanks to the CopyBlogger team for providing a test copy of Premise for the purpose of this review.