When it comes to feature-packed WordPress plugins for displaying popup and optin email signup forms on your site, there are two particularly noteworthy front frontrunners: the ever-popular OptinMonster and newcomer Bloom, from Elegant Themes.
As regular readers will know, we’ve already looked at these plugins in detail in two previous posts: OptinMonster Review: Exploring the New Features of this Optin Form Plugin for WordPress and our more recent Bloom Review: A Brand New Email-Optin Form Plugin from Elegant Themes. However, while those reviews go into considerable depth, they don’t try to help you answer the all-important question: which is the better option for your site?
To help you decide, let’s compare the two.
We’ll look at their features, assess how easy they are to use, and try to determine which offers the best value for money. Let’s get started.
The most important features of an email optin plugin are the form types on offer. Both Bloom and OptinMonster go far beyond being just popup/optin form plugins. Both include useful form types that will help you grow your email list.
Bloom lists six form types: lightbox popup, fly-in/slide-in, widget, below post, in-content shortcodes, and locked content.
With OptinMonster, you get access to up to eight form types: lightbox popup, after post/in-line, floating bar (fixed to top or bottom of the screen), fly-in/slide-in, mobile optimised, sidebar widget, canvas (custom content), and fullscreen. However, like many other aspects of this plugin, the exact form types you get access to will depend on which pricing plan you end up choosing.
The main difference here is that Bloom offers a locked content form, while OptinMonster gives you a floating bar, a canvas popup, a fullscreen takeover option, and a mobile-only popup form.
The Bloom locked content form would be useful if you wanted to use high-value content — such as a file download — to entice visitors to join your list. What’s more, being able to insert forms into content using a shortcode could also provide you with an opportunity to get reader sign-ups midway through a post or page.
With OptinMonster, the canvas form allows you to display any custom you like within the popup window. This content could be product links, social media profiles, and shareable links, or anything appropriate to your content. In short: the endless possibilities presented by the canvas form make it a very interesting feature.
The OptinMonster floating bar is another potentially handy form type. This is because the optin form is always on display — either at the top or bottom of the window — wherever your visitors are on your page. In addition, if a sizeable number of your visitors are accessing your site on mobile devices, then the specific mobile-only popup will definitely be appealing.
OptinMonster’s recently added fullscreen takeover form is also a winner. When displayed, this option covers the whole browser window, and can be launched when a visitor arrives on your site or is about to leave. If you really want to grab the attention of your visitors, this could well be the best option.
Both plugins also give you a selection of animation effects to apply to the forms to catch the attention of your readers. While OptinMonster has more animation effects, the difference between the two isn’t that substantial.
Verdict: OptinMonster wins on this point because it has more form types. This includes some useful options (such as the canvas popup) that just aren’t available with Bloom. The catch is that it requires a paid upgrade to get these additional form types.
Bloom ships with an impressive number of prebuilt form templates, which can be applied to all the form types on offer. On closer inspection, though, many of these form templates are actually only slight variations on the core set of designs. Despite that, there are still a good number of significantly different designs on offer.
The OptinMonster form templates are divided across the different form types available. While you get a decent amount of lightbox popup form templates, you only get three footer bar templates to choose from. The trade-off is that each template has been created specifically for the position on your website in which it gets displayed.
Overall, while OptinMonster has fewer form templates, they are, for the most part, distinctly different from each other — and both plugins allow you to customize templates in great detail.
Bloom gives you a vast array of settings to work with when customizing your form design, but OptinMonster makes it particularly easy to customize the forms, thanks to its user-friendly interface.
Verdict: Comparing the quality of the designs is a tough call. Bloom does make your life easier by including multiple prebuilt variations on each of the core form designs, while OptinMonster gives a smaller selection of distinctly different designs from which to choose. In the end, though, Bloom wins here as it includes more high-quality and attractive form designs than OptinMonster.
Triggers let you control when your forms are displayed, so your readers have enough time to form an opinion of your website and its content first.
The delay to trigger your form could simply be time-based, or it could be more complicated, such as employing a mechanism that triggers your form when a visitor scrolls to a certain point in the page, or when they’ve reached the end of a post — or even when they’ve been inactive for a set amount of time.
With Bloom, you get access to some very interesting triggers, such as time delays, after commenting, after a WooCommerce purchase has been made, page scrolling triggers, idle time triggers, and when a user clicks on a button or link.
OptinMonster has slightly fewer options, although, thanks to a recent update, it does now include a scrolling-based trigger (but still no after action-based triggers). It does offer both an exit intent trigger and a time-based trigger, though.
The exit intent trigger can detect when a visitor is about to leave your site. This is done by tracking the mouse cursor movement to detect when it leaves the browser window, which gives a good indication that the visitor is about to click the back or exit button. As the cursor leaves the window, the form is displayed. The benefit of this is that your popup form is only displayed when a visitor is about to leave your site, thereby removing the risk of annoying readers as they’re looking through your content.
Verdict: While the triggers of Bloom are very useful, OptinMonster wins here, thanks to the inclusion of an exit intent trigger.
Both Bloom and OptinMonster give you lots of control over where the forms are displayed — whether across the entire site, on posts from individual categories and tags, or on specific pages. Both also allow you to exclude individual posts and pages from featuring the forms.
OptinMonster lets you redirect visitors to a specific URL after a form submission. The plugin also includes the ability to hide forms from logged-in users, and only display the form on a reader’s second visit to the site, rather than their first.
Verdict: OptinMonster clearly wins this one, as it gives you more control over what happens after a form submission, and additional options for showing and hiding forms.
Both plugins integrate with all the leading email marketing services, and the process for connecting the plugin to your email list management service is equally straightforward with both options. Be that as it may, OptinMonster has the edge because it supports a wider range of services. However, Bloom has been adding support for more services with each update, so may well catch up soon.
Verdict: OptinMonster wins based on the larger number of email marketing services currently supported.
Creating, configuring, and managing your email optin forms is actually very straightforward with both options.
Bloom uses a custom-designed control panel that’s accessed through your WordPress admin area, while, thanks to a recent update, OptinMonster is now a hosted service.
OptinMonster’s move to a hosted service may mean that creating and managing your OptinMonster forms takes places outside your WordPress dashboard, but the user interface should be familiar to just about all WordPress users. Moving to a hosted service has its pros and cons, though. On one hand, it means you have an extra site to log in to in order to manage your forms; on the other hand, you can now manage forms for multiple websites through a central dashboard. Furthermore, it also allows you to use OptinMonster on any website, not just those powered by WordPress.
While each user interface is different, they both work very well. However, OptinMonster — featuring a side panel of settings next to a large main panel with a live preview of your form design — makes it slightly easier and faster to build your forms. The fact that OptinMonster is now hosted outside your WordPress website however, may put you off.
Verdict: OptinMonster wins here, thanks to a user-friendly interface with a large live preview and click-to-edit customization options.
Both plugins are packed with useful features, but there are a few points of difference.
Bloom has a large number of form templates, and the level at which these can be customized is very impressive — there’s even a form type that lets you lock your content. While Bloom doesn’t have the exit intent trigger option, the scrolling and time-based triggers are a good compromise.
There are a few areas where OptinMonster offers more than Bloom, such as the form designer interface, which gives a live preview of your work. The canvas form that allows you to add any content to your popup (instead of an optin form) is also a useful tool to have access to — not to mention the fullscreen takeover option. The exit intent form display trigger also can’t be overlooked.
Although different, neither plugin is lacking in features, which means deciding which one has the best feature set for your own project depends on how much you value exit intent, and the canvas and locked content forms. Additionally, the set of form template designs you prefer will also help you decide which plugin to go for.
Verdict: Both plugins cover all the essential features while offering their own set of distinct extras, which makes this one a draw. It’s essentially going to come down to personal preference and requirements.
Bloom has just one price point. With that, you get all features and use on unlimited websites.
OptinMonster, on the other hand, is available on three pricing plans. These are based on the number of sites the plugin can be used on, and dictate which features you get access to.
This makes it difficult to compare Bloom and OptinMonster on value for money — and the fact that the price of Bloom also includes access to all the other plugins and themes available from Elegant Themes makes it even tougher still to make a direct comparison.
The best value will depend largely on which features you need to access, as well as the number of sites on which you plan to use the plugin.
To help you establish which offers the best value for your own needs, here are the pricing options:
OptinMonster is available from $49 a year or $9 a month. If, however, you want access to all the features, you could end up paying as much as $199 a year.
Here’s a quick overview of the OptinMonster pricing options:
You can view the full details of the OptinMonster pricing plans and exactly which features you get access to here.
Bloom is priced at $89 and is available in just one configuration. This price also gives you access to all the other WordPress themes and plugins from Elegant Themes, which includes its flagship Divi WordPress Theme, the ever-popular Monarch Social Sharing Plugin and the relatively new Divi Page Builder plugin.
You can also use Bloom on an unlimited number of websites. At this price, access to support and updates lasts for a year (should you want it for longer, it also has a lifetime access plan, which is available for a one-off fee of $249).
While you do have to pay extra to get access to the exit intent, canvas, and mobile-only popup features with OptinMonster, none of those are available in Bloom.
Up against Bloom’s $89 price point, the closest comparable OptinMonster pricing plan is the $199 Pro option. At these prices, both options can be used on an unlimited number of sites and come packed with all available features.
Verdict: When comparing value for money, I’d say Bloom is the better option.
While OptinMonster has won the most rounds, there is actually little to separate these two plugins. Both are very easy to use, and include all the features you’ll need to rapidly grow your email list.
Each option has a handful of unique features not found in the other. These points of difference will appeal to slightly different types of users, making it difficult (if not impossible) to pick an outright winner for all cases.
If budget is a key factor, it’s perhaps worth spending the extra money on Bloom, when compared with the entry-level $49 OptinMonster package. If you’re in the market for one or more new WordPress themes, joining the Elegant Themes club represents great value for money (it offers access to all 87 themes and plugins for $89).
On the other hand, if you can afford the fully-spec’d Pro plan from OptinMonster, you’ll end up with access to a plugin with arguably more useful features and form types.
At the end of the day, the features you value the most and how much you’re willing to spend will determine which is the best WordPress optin form plugin for your website. When it comes to deciding between Bloom and OptinMonster, it’s really all up to you to make the final call.
Using either Bloom or OptinMonster? Thoughts?