Landing pages are one of the best ways to sell products online and collect email leads.
But building them yourself is tough!
Especially if you are a non-techie and lack any coding or design skills.
By default, WordPress itself doesn’t offer much help for creating well-designed landing pages. The default editor is just not well suited for this.
Last updated: Feb 25, 2017
First Published on: Feb 25, 2017
Fortunately, there are several landing page services out there that make creating landing pages simple. I’ve talked about Leadpages a lot on this site, but today I want to look at another Leadpages alternative called Instapage.
In this review, I’ll walk you through creating a landing page with Instapage, and then compare it to some other landing page builders to see how it stacks up.
What is Instapage?
Instapage is a cloud service that enables you to build landing pages without knowing how to code. You can design any type of landing page you like with it, but it is definitely geared towards making creating squeeze pages, webinar pages and thank you pages.
With Instapages you get:
- 159 (and counting) nice looking pre-made templates.
- A blank page template so you can start a page from scratch.
- An easy to use drag and drop editor to customize your pages and create any design you want
- Simple integration with many popular email service providers including Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse and ActiveCampaign.
- Free hosting for your pages on Instapage servers or embed them on your WordPress blog or Facebook.
- Mobile responsive landing pages that look great on both desktop and mobile devices.
Being able to create a landing page is so critical these days. Especially if you want to collect more leads or have something to promote, like your own product, service or webinar.
It’s definitely a competitive advantage to be able to pump out landing pages quickly because this allows you to more quickly test which ones will get you a more positive ROI. This is even more important if you are testing using traffic sources like Facebook ads or Google PPC.
Building your First Landing Page
Let’s walk through how Instapage works.
When you first log in to your Instapage dashboard, you will see a list of all the landing pages you have created already.
From here, you can Create a New Page which will give you the option to create a page from a template, upload an .INSTAPAGE file or Scan an Existing Page.
Scan an Existing Page looks interesting, but it is only available to Premium members.
If you go to the Template route, you will see a list of all the available Instapage templates. There are over 150 templates available which can be a lot to go through.
Fortunately, you can use the filter options to drill down to a specific subset of templates.
Although they don’t have the name brand templates that Leadpages offers, I do like the selection of templates you get. They all look very well made, and they remind me of other marketing type landing pages designs I’ve seen elsewhere.
Once you pick your template, you get into the editor.
The Instapage Editor
I really enjoyed playing around with the Instapage editor to design my pages.
The editor is fully drag-and-drop and it allows you to add the following elements to your pages.
- Headlines & Paragraphs
- Images and Videos
- Shapes (Box, Circle, Horizontal and Vertical lines)
One of the things I like most about the editor is that it gives you pixel-perfect precision when moving elements around.
Most landing page editors allow you to place widgets in sections and then give you a few alignment options.
But with Instapage, you can move elements anywhere on the page. This gives you some amazing freedom to be very creative with your designs.
Elements can also be layered, which means you can place elements on top of each other. So for example, you could drag a text element over a circle shape element to create combination design elements.
The ability to move elements anywhere on a page is great. But it also potentially makes things difficult to get everything aligned properly. Luckily, Instapage offers a couple of ways to help manage this.
The first is that when dragging elements near other elements, it automatically displays guidelines to help you align elements to each another.
The other is that you can shift-click on multiple elements to select them together. Then use the alignment menu to align everything together horizontally (or vertically) as needed. This is super useful and I found myself using it a lot.
Every element has their own settings which you can customize. For example, here are the button settings.
You can also set click events for Buttons. This allows you to set what happens when a user clicks the button where you can choose your link to point to:
- An external url
- An Instapage landing page
- Another section on your current landing page
- A file download
- A popup (for implementing 2-step optins)
Other nice things about the editor are that you can easily toggle between Desktop and Mobile views so you can quickly see how your page looks at different screen sizes.
The editor fully supports undo and redo which I found very handy while designing my pages.
Instapage Editor Dislikes
There are few things I don’t like about the Instapage editor, though.
One annoyance I found is that you couldn’t edit properties of multiple elements at one time. On one landing page I was designing, I had several paragraph elements that I had on my canvas for a menu I was creating.
I wanted to be able to select all of these elements and change their color in one fell swoop. But unfortunately, the editor doesn’t allow this.
Another thing I didn’t like is that you can only have one font that applies to every paragraph element on your page, and one font that applies to every headline element.
While it’s not ideal to use tons of different fonts on your pages, it would be helpful to be able to choose between a couple.
Finally, I feel that Instapage lacks the ability to truly customize elements exactly how you want them. For many people that’s ok, and they are fine with the options provided.
Instapage does provide a per element CSS editor but it is only available for Premium subscribers only.
Publishing Your Page
Once you’re done with your page, you can publish it.
These are the options that Instapage gives you:
Choosing the custom domain option allows you to publish your landing page to any domain you own. No existing site required. It does take a little bit of technical knowledge to update the DNS settings for your domain, but there is a helpful video to walk you through the process.
If you use WordPress or Drupal, then you can easily publish your pages to them as well.
Publishing to WordPress requires you to install the Instapage WordPress plugin on the site you want to publish to. Once installed, enter your Instapage account details to set things up.
All your Instapage pages will then be available from within the plugin settings and you can choose the specific one to publish on to your site.
Publishing to Facebook is also very easy. Just press the button and it will publish your page to as a Page Tab. This is one of the best ways to start your own marketing funnel.
Finally, you also can publish directly to the Instapage demo domain. Choose a subdomain and your page will be published directly to subdomain.pagedemo.co.
This is a fantastic way to demo your landing pages.
Instapage has 3 pricing plans. All plans allow you to create unlimited pages and have unlimited visitors sent to them.
The Basic Plan starts at $39 a month or $29/mo when paid annually. It lacks several features including A/B split testing, custom code editing, Zapier integration.
The Professional Plan starts at $69 a month and it adds everything to the Basic Plan, plus A/B split testing and custom code editing.
Finally, the Premium Plan starts at $149 a month and gives you access to everything that Instapage offers including subaccounts, full support, and custom web fonts.
Instapage offers a full 14-day free trial, but that only gives you access to the Basic Plan features. I would like to see it offer at least the Pro plan features so you can test what the advanced features are all about.
Instapage vs LeadPages
Instapage is a lot more focused than LeadPages is. That is, it’s all about creating landing pages. Contrast this to Leadpages which besides landing pages, also allows you to create popups with LeadBoxes and get leads via SMS using LeadDigits.
So depending on your business needs this can be good or bad.
Both services have their own drag-and-drop editor. But Instapage gives you pixel precision placement of elements. Leadpages uses a system of rows and columns to place elements, so it’s not as flexible.
Both have similar widgets including useful ones like countdown timers. But Instapage does allow you to add custom shapes for additional design possibilities.
Leadpages’ drag and drop editor was also added later. So it’s in this weird state where they have one set of landing pages that can only be edited with the drag and drop editor, and another set of landing pages that can only be edited with the legacy editor.
Price wise, Instapage and LeadPages are both similarly priced across all their plans, although LeadPages is slightly cheaper. Instapage does offer a 14-day free trial which LeadPages does not.
- Intutitive drag and drop editor that provides pixel perfect placement of elements.
- Editor supports layers and grouping for additional design precision and flexibility.
- Extensive selection of pre-made beautifully designed landing page templates.
- Retrieve CSV file of all leads collected as well as receive notifications when an email address has been collected.
- Mobile friendly designs.
- 14 Day Free Trial with no credit card provided.
- Inline CSS editing only in Premium plan.
- Doesn’t directly integrate with ConvertKit and Drip.
- One font for headlines and pages.
Overall, I think Instapage stacks up really nicely to LeadPages and there’s a lot to like about it.
It’s extremely simple to pick up and I especially like the ability to place elements on my landing page exactly where I want them.
It also comes with a very nice selection of landing page templates. This is especially important for those that just want to make some quick edits and publish.
Overall, if you are looking to create landing pages, I think Instapage is a worthy Leadpages alternative. Especially since you can take their 14-day free trial and play around with it yourself.