Over the past few years Abby and I have started to use more landing pages in our business. At first we only used dedicated landing pages for paid digital products like Building a Framework, The Paperless Home, and other eBooks we sell. Later, we realized that using a dedicated landing page for free lead magnets or free email courses was a great way to build an email list. An opt-in form or pop-up on our blog converts anywhere from 1%-5%, whereas most dedicated landing pages convert well over 60% when offering something for free.
ConvertKit, our email marketing service, has a nice built-in landing page creator. These landing pages are effective, but the customizations are limited. In this post I want to examine some of the more powerful and flexible dedicated landing page builders.
As you look at some of the different options, please realize there is no perfect solution for everyone. Maybe you’ll find a landing page builder that you really like, but it won’t integrate with your email marketing platform. Maybe you value highly customizable landing page builders over easy-to-use builders. Everyone has different needs. The list of landing page builders in this article is a good place to start your own research.
Before we even start I want to mention that Abby and I are Instapage customers. We’ve used their landing page builder for well over a year now, and I’m very happy with the service. Later in the article I’ll link out to a number of our Instapage landing pages so you can understand what the service is capable of creating.
8 things to consider when choosing a landing page builder
What features should you look for when choosing a landing page builder? Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Email marketing integration. Does the landing page builder easily and directly integrate with your email marketing service? (ConvertKit, MailChimp, Autopilot, etc…)
- Zapier integration. Does it integrate with Zapier and allow you to connect the builder to other apps and services you use?
- Drag and drop builder. How easy is it to create a landing page? Can you simply drag and drop content blocks?
- Pricing. Does the landing page builder charge a monthly fee or is there a one-time purchase price?
- Stats. Is it easy to see how your landing page is converting? Can you select goals and view conversion statistics for your page?
- A/B testing. Is it possible to run multiple versions of the same page simultaneously and track which one performs better?
- Custom code. Is it possible to add java script snippets, tracking pixels, and custom HTML to the landing page?
- Templates. Do the packaged templates look clean and modern or are they outdated?
The best landing page builders
In no particular order, here the landing page builders that I think you should consider for your online business…
This is the service that Abby and I use for our landing pages. It comes pre-packaged with a lot of visually appealing templates as well as the option to create a landing page from scratch. Some builders seem slow, but Instapage has a drag and drop interface with almost no lag time.
The stats are top notch and it’s easy to create multiple A/B tests. With the WordPress plugin it’s easy to publish your pages to a custom URL.
The downsides to Instapage are the pricing and integrations. Most people will need to spend at least $55 per month on this service, but there is a basic plan at $29/month without the ability to add custom code or do A/B split tests.
On the integration front, you’re in luck if you use MailChimp or Autopilot. If you use ConvertKit there are a couple ways to handle the integration. You could use a free MailChimp account and then use Zapier to send the new leads to ConvertKit. We do this in some situations, and it’s a pain. It’s also possible to embed ConvertKit forms directly onto your landing page. This works well, but the ConvertKit forms look a little out of place embedded on an Instapage. (Update: Instapage now integrates with Zapier! This solves my primary problem with the service. See this article for more information on the new integration.)
From a purely design, building, and customization standpoint, Instapage is fantastic. Out of all the landing page builders I’ve used and tested, Instapage was the easiest to learn and created the best looking landing pages.
Thrive Landing Pages
This service is a bit different from others on this list. Thrive Landing Pages is a one-time fee WordPress plugin. It has over a 100 templates to customize with a drag and drop editor, right from within your WordPress dashboard.
At $67 one time, the price for this service is right. I do get nervous about the functionality of services built on top of the WordPress dashboard. To me, it seems like there are more things that could potentially break.
Thrive Landing Pages has a large library of landing page templates to start from and many of them look nice out of the box. Changing the colors, typography, and sales copy is all that many of the templates will require.
Thrive will integrate with just about any email marketing service. This article shows you how to use your email marketing service HTML form code to allow Thrive to send leads to the right place. Like LeadPages, Thrive will allow you to create two-step opt-ins using their lightbox feature on any landing page or blog post.
As a non-hosted option with tons of features, Thrive is a tremendous value for the money.
When I think of an incredibly feature-rich, pro-level landing page builder with every possible feature, I think of Unbounce. When I think of a complicated and somewhat outdated landing page builder, I think of Unbounce.
If some of the other builders just don’t have the features you need, consider Unbounce. The great thing is that it’s easy to test out the builder with a free trial.
For the power it provides, Unbounce is relatively affordable at $99/month for a pro account. The most appealing feature to me is the Zapier integration. That’s rare for hosted landing page builders.
Despite the power and features, the drag and drop editor is not fun or easy to use like Instapage. For advanced marketers (who need things like dynamic text replacement and a script manager) Unbounce may be a good solution, but it’s more than what most people need.
As a sucker for beautiful design, I love Lander. Whereas Unbounce is complicated and over-built, Lander is intuitive and easy to use.
It seems like Lander hired actual designers to make their templates, instead of conversion geeks and engineers like some of the other builders.
Besides the easy to use builder and great design, my favorite feature about Lander is the Zapier integration. This solves so many problems! ConvertKit is still not a well-known email marketing service, so direct integrations are rare. Zapier solves this issue and allows you to send Lander leads directly to ConvertKit.
The negative to Lander is the pricing. It just seems a bit out of line from other services. For example, the lowest tier package is $25/month but that doesn’t include Zapier integration and you are limited to 3,000 visits per month. Just about everyone who uses Lander will need the $99/month Professional account. But even the pro account has a 25,000 visits per month limit! During a launch, it would be easy to exceed that number, especially with multiple landing pages for multiple products.
Page Wiz has an easy to use drag and drop page builder but the pricing and lack of quality templates makes it an overall underwhelming service.
Page Wiz still uses the views-per-month pricing model. If the cumulative traffic to all your landing pages is over 10,000 views/month, the $99 per month “Plus” account will be required.
Page Wiz offers a relatively few number of direct integrations but it does appear that they have a new Zapier integration. For some reason I wasn’t able to find this from within my Zapier dashboard.
When compared to Lander and Instapage, the Page Wiz interface and templates seem a bit dated. Playing around with the drag and drop builder, everything worked fine, but it just wasn’t as smooth or intuitive as Instapage.
LeadPages is so much more than a landing page builder. It’s also a pop-up service, SMS marketing service, exit intent lead capture service, and a whole lot more.
LeadPages is so easy to use. You can tell it’s not another “me too” service, and they’ve introduced so many unique features that they are the company all the other landing page builders are looking at.
For a while I didn’t use LeadPages because the templates, despite the massive library, were too limited. That’s all changed now with their drag and drop builder. It really is so easy to quickly create and customize any type of landing page. I enjoy using their builder even more than Instapage.
The only reason why I haven’t switched is the lack of Autopilot integration. For most of you, that won’t be an issue. LeadPages does offer a direct ConvertKit integration.
The “Pro” plan is $79/month, and in my opinion it’s a tremendous value. If you use ConvertKit or MailChimp for your email marketing, I would start your landing page builder search with LeadPages. There are so many features to help turn a blog into a lead capture powerhouse.
Final landing page thoughts
Hopefully you’ve learned about a new service or two! Everyone’s needs will differ, but in my opinion, Instapage and LeadPages are at the top of the class for landing page builders. My guess is that for most people, the decision will come down to one of those two services.
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