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Optin Skin Plugin Review

In June, Darren shared 3 Ways to Get More Subscribers for Your Blog. In that post, he identified the area under the blog post as being one of the ‘hot zones’ for calls to subscribe.

This area is a solid location to place a call to action, but it can require some effort to style a subscribe form that fits with your theme. In this post, I will be reviewing a plugin that helps you easily create appealing opt-in forms and social share boxes to your blog.

It’s called Optin Skin (aff) and it’s pretty swanky.

I bought this product in 2011 and definitely believe that it’s worth the money. It was really easy to figure out and use. I have no statistics about whether or not it increased the size of my list as I stopped blogging shortly after I installed it. This review is primarily based on ease of use.

The features

Skin Design:

Creating a skin is simple. You simply click ‘Add New’ after hovering over the text for Optin Skin in the sidebar. This will take you to a page where you get to customize the design and skin placement.

You have the choice of about 18 skins, which may be limiting if you don’t like any of the existing options. Customizing the design elements – font, text, size – are easy. You may need to consult design palettes to find colours that complement your theme. The designs are split between being perfect for the sidebar and perfect for below a post.

There are four options for skin placement:

  • Below a post
  • Below the first paragraph
  • At the top of posts
  • Floated right of second paragraph

Once the skin is created, a widget with the skin will be available for sidebar use. You will also receive a shortcode to insert the skin. This makes it so easy for you to put the form (or forms) wherever you like.

You also have the option to redirect people to another page after they sign up, which is perfect for a thank you page.

Split Testing

Split testing is one of the features that really excited me. I’m not technical at all, so will often resort to the default opt in form. I don’t have the resources to get two forms designed to do testing and am not comfortable with the HTML.

This plugin makes split testing easy but you are limited to testing designs rather then locations. You have the options to split test a plugin in the sidebar, or within content, but the optin form has to be in the same area.

I recommend that you test this out. It is so much easier then other form of split testing and can give you lots of useful information.

Statistics

The interface allows you to easily visualize data about sign up, impressions and conversion rates. This is a really nice touch as it gives you more data points to base decisions on and means you don’t have to leave your blog.

Usability

It was pretty easy to figure out what to do – it was really user friendly. I’ve purchased a lot of products that are promoted as being easy to customize, but require a lot of HTML knowledge. The only HTML knowledge you really need is knowing where to put the shortcode if you choose custom positioning.

I really appreciated how easy it was to set up.

My recommendation:

I believe Optin Skin is great value for money. It has given me the incentive to actually test things with my mailing list rather then relying on “hope marketing”.

It removes a lot of the scary-factor that prevents people, like me, getting off their butt to implement new designs and split testing. I just don’t have the time or mental energy to add something else to my to-do list. This takes about half an hour to set up and then you can tweak as required based on the data.

Editorial Note: ProBlogger is an affiliate for this product but this review is a genuine recommendation by someone who uses the product.

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Comments

  1. Really disappointed at what Problogger has become. Several blatant spelling errors. No evidence on results. The person writing this doesn’t even blog. All you’re trying to do is make affiliate $$

    • Jade Craven says:

      I disagree.

      Darren is very particular with what he promotes on here – he rarely does affiliate promotions anymore. I used this plugin when I was actively blogging. I don’t blog regularly due to a severe anxiety disorder. Instead, I contribute to other blogs when I can.

      I’m actually impressed with the evolution of Problogger. This is coming from someone who is very picky about what she reads. The improvements by the previous editor, Georgina Laidlaw, has helped it become really useful.

      I recommend you read my previous articles on here to see that I do, in fact, blog regularly – and I test out a lot of products despite a limited income. My goal is to help bloggers even when it puts me at a disadvantage.

      - Jade

    • Darren Rowse says:

      Michael – sorry you feel that way. I managed to find one spelling mistake that slipped by our editor but if you can see more I’m all ears.

      Jade has been blogging for many years but as she’s stated she’s had to pull back on her own products due to health issues but still writes for us on a semi-regular basis. She also works for us part time as a social media consultant (mainly Pinterest) and I would consider her to be an expert on that medium.

      She’s also an incredible researcher and one of the most ‘tell it like it is’ and honest reviewers I’ve come across. As a result I trust her to write fair reviews of products that she has personally tested.

      Also to clarify – Jade has no incentive to write anything on this post other than her honest opinion as she is not the affiliate account holder (I am). Instead she’s paid on a post by post basis – regardless of whether the review is positive or whether it converts.

      With regard to affiliate promotions – we rarely do them on this blog. I can think of 4-5 affiliate posts on this blog in the last 2 months and they are all for products that I or our authors genuinely use and recommend.

      Lastly – I decided to publish this post because it is on a product that I feel would be useful to some readers (ie it is relevant). My hope is that it sheds light on a product that some readers might find useful and help them make a genuine assessment of whether it is right for them.

  2. chris says:

    As an OptinSkin user, I’ve got mixed reviews for this product.

    Pros
    1. The split-testing feature is terrific.
    2. The easy of adding different forms throughout my site is great.
    3. The tracking of impressions / clicks helps to see where people are subscribing.

    Cons
    1. There isn’t a standard side-bar form with email address, image, title, and secondary text. This is pretty standard on web sites and the best OptinSkin has is one with email address, image, and title.
    2. I’ve had a couple of problems with making changes to a form via the Modify Design option which then created a new copy of the form instead of modifying the existing one. Upon deactivating the plug-in and going through the proper delete sequence for the plugin, upon re-install, the old forms were still stored somewhere and my stats got screwed up. I had to delete the data using SQL on the backend of the site.
    3. You can’t control what fields are on a form. For example, if you pick a form design, you can’t pick if you display the name and the email address or just the email address field. You can, but only if you dig through the PHP code and make the changes.
    4. I lucked into some optinskin forms that were offered on another web site and felt like they were more attractive forms. So the con is the forms are basic in design.

    Bottom line
    If you want to get up and running with newsletter subscription forms on your site, then this is easy to use and configure. However, if you want to do any type of advanced modification then it’s not the right tool for that.

    • Jade Craven says:

      Agreed with your bottom line. People like myself don’t really have the need or budget for advanced modification. This is an awesome product for beginners who want to do basic experiments

      Appreciate your input; I’m sure it will help others who are considering it. Are you planning to switch to a different newsletter tool?

      • chris says:

        Jade, for now, I’m ok with it. It seems if they would make a standard set of configuration fields for all the forms, it would be a whole lot better. For example, there is one built-in form that doesn’t let you change a text color of a button but you can change the background color. Let me tell you, black text on red background doesn’t look good. Yes, I can change the CSS but looking at it from the point of a beginner user, some of this stuff just needs streamlined.

  3. Can somebody assist me and let me know how this would integrate using the Thesis Theme and their built-in Featured area.

    Many thanks!

    Simran

  4. Nikhil says:

    Its seems great…. having social engagements and subscribe options work well together…

  5. Kyle says:

    All your content is great I read one of your articles then go digging for more. Thanks a tonne for all the great post.
    Feel free to add me on google+ or email me I’d love a chance to pick your brain

    Best wishes

  6. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Heard first time about Optin Skin. Really like the features of the plugin. Surely I’ll give a try. Thanks for the share.

  7. Adeel Qamar says:

    Really nice plugin. I will give it a try. Hope it will give some boost to my social profiles.

  8. Zenelia says:

    Nice Post …helpful tips to grab the audience data and of engaging them… well I have not used Optin Skin plugin yet but after going through this post and getting to know about it surely gonna implement its application

    Thanks for sharing

    Keep Posting

  9. Stevie says:

    Well…I don’t know about anyone else, but you have surely convinced me. I’ll go look this up, I think it will fit perfectly to what I need.

  10. Harmony says:

    Thanks Jade for your article. You know, I found and started using this OPTIN SKIN a couple months ago and although I love how it looks – I am having trouble with it.
    I did have, as you have suggested the subscribe at the bottom of the blog post and that seemed to work okay, but then I switched and went for the boxes that show up on the home page and every page…that allow you to connect with different social outlets and or subscribe. My site really slowed down. It appears that they are blocking my header slider from loading properly.
    So maybe the ticket for me is to go back to the subscribe at the end of the blog and leave the rest alone.
    Have you checked out that feature I am describing?
    Thanks for your response.

  11. Manish says:

    Hi Darren, The feature i like most is share buttons beside optin form. This is best place to ask readers for sharing and get huge social traffic, also seo boost.

  12. Raghav says:

    I would surely use it and thanks very much for such detailed review on the Optin Skin .

  13. Ritugupta says:

    I am having trouble with it.
    I did have, as you have suggested the subscribe at the bottom of the blog post and that seemed to work okay, but then I switched and went for the boxes that show up on the home page and every page…that allow you to connect with different social outlets and or subscribe. My site really slowed down. It appears that they are blocking my header slider from loading properly.
    So maybe the ticket for me is to go back to the subscribe at the end of the blog and leave the rest alone.

  14. Sonics says:

    Well this one seems interesting and if the short codes works just like the short codes of Contact form 7, then it can a really helpful tool, because then your can add them where ever you want to which can lead to an increase of subscribers.

  15. Arafin Shaon says:

    Didn’t know problogger allow affiliate links into post body! But not problem optinskint is a pretty handy tool.
    Thanks for the review…

  16. Azalea Pena says:

    I’m glad I got to read this Optin Skin review. I’m really NOT a technical person at all too. If I do use tools, I just want it simple and ready-to-go with just a few tweaks. Thanks to you, I got to try out Optin Skin and I must say, it’s quite easy to use. It’s great for non-technical people like me. Although I’m still getting the hand of split testing and all…

    This free tool does help create a subscription box that is theme-related. It won’t make the box awkward or unfitting at all. So it’s really worth the try, I’m glad I did. Thanks again!

  17. B. Nuwan says:

    I have a question. But it is not related to Optin Skin Plugin. If you dont mind can you tell me a way how to create sticky widgets (Fixed Widgets) like in your blog.

    Thanks.

  18. There are many plugins and themes available. More or less they are doing the same functions. It’s good to keep innovate and improve. This is where the winners will be separated from the average.

  19. Abigail says:

    I like Optin Skin Plugin because just one click and we’ll integrate with your favourite email provider. I hope the plugin will be further improved.

  20. I simply love this plugin. The skins really attract the views and kind of forces them to share the content.
    One of the best premium sharing plugin i came across. :P

  21. Carthage says:

    I am looking for something simple but effective to encourage both subscribers and sharing. Looks like this will do the job for me.

  22. Amit says:

    Hi Darren thanks for nice information and review of this plugin this is very useful plugin.