The content marketer’s life is a wrestling ring.
It doesn’t matter if you manage a big team behind a big blog or you go solo like I do—you’re still a wrestler.
As the business grows, the challenge gets tougher. The competitors get bigger.
Eventually, it’s like wrestling a 600-lb sumo champion, rather than an amateur featherweight.
You need to be wrangling a million metrics at once and getting that data into submission.
You need to make sure every move is effectively bringing in the desired results rather than untargeted traffic.
That’s why the SumoMe plugin for WordPress was love at first sight for me. It’s easy to install, offers a whole suite of apps to choose from, gives you the ability to keep control of everything in one place—it all sounded too good to be true, but it’s true indeed.
No steep learning curve either. Two or three clicks and I was already using what I needed to use.
Moreover, there were two cool pretty perks I found upon installing the plugin: I could sign up to get usage tips and advice via email, and the emails linked to plenty of good content from the SumoMe blog. So this is definitely not a marketing suite you’re going alone with.
SumoMe’s Basic Plan: A Review of the Main Features
SumoMe exists to make life easier for the content marketer and blogger who has to keep an eye on several aspects of content marketing. The good news is that you don’t have to go Pro to do that.
You start with a Basic plan (free) that you can upgrade at any time. The Basic plan poses no limitations in terms of time whatsoever, but you can’t activate the Pro apps or add integrations with other software.
Here’s a screenshot of the SumoMe’s My Tools dashboard inside of my n0tSEO blog:
You click on an app to activate it. A modal dialogue will open to ask if you want to activate the app and you’ll press “Yes, activate now.” Once you’ve activated an app, click it again to open it and configure it.
As you can see from the screenshot, SumoMe doesn’t come with a million apps and options to choose from. The application is really focused on content marketing and the metrics that matter, no fluff and no irrelevant apps to clutter your site.
However, not all of SumoMe apps are essential to content marketing—some are more like bells and whistle. I review the only most helpful ones below.
The Best Apps to Integrate with SumoMe
You may already be using Google Analytics as your preferred web analytics suite as per industry standards.
In such a case, you can connect SumoMe to Google Analytics and monitor changes in traffic and conversions directly from the plugin.
Important features at a glance inside the SumoMe’s GA Dashboard:
- Overview (page views) — Gives you a glimpse of how your blog traffic is faring so you can decide whether it’s time to try something else to improve the situation or to continue on with the current content marketing strategy.
- Top Pages — Tells you which pages and posts get the most views in the given period (seven days in the example above). What kind of content is going strong?
- Top Referrals — Informs you of the sources of traffic. Do most of your readers come from search engines? Or is that social media?
- Top Searches — Tells you exactly which keywords and key phrases your content has been found for.
These data alone tell you plenty about how your content marketing strategy is working and if there are areas to improve.
SumoMe’s Content Analytics app allows marketers to monitor up to 100 readers per campaign (page) and it combines statistics with real-time information (see screenshot below).
Open the Content Analytics app and go to Campaigns on the left sidebar, then click the All Campaigns tab.
The tool displays all active campaigns and gives you a glimpse of how many readers that campaign (page) has and the percentage of average reads.
Under Settings, you can set up Page Query Strings. This very helpful if your blog depends on these because SumoMe automatically ignores query parameters. You can also decide whether to track reads from logged in users or not.
The next option, Auto Record, is Pro only and it allows you to setup auto recording rules for read tracking.
Share (Social Media)
Share is SumoMe’s social media button floating bar. You can see it in the screenshot above, on the left side.
This floating bar is interesting because, unlike other bars, it still shows tweet number (deprecated in most apps since Twitter stopped supporting the API) and it’s easily customizable.
The Share app comes with a vast number of configuration options:
- Clicks — Gives a summary of button clicks (up to last seven days with the Basic plan).
- Settings — Choose which social network and social bookmarking buttons you want to activate and how to display them, including options for mobile.
- Layout — A graphic page where you can choose which areas of your page you want to show the Share bar.
- Inline Sharing — Code generator for inline sharing buttons.
- Mobile Optimized — To create a button bar specific to mobile users (can include SMS, WhatsApp and other mobile-only services).
- Display Rules — Setup show rules and don’t show rules for your Share bar.
- Services — Connect to Facebook for SumoMe to display share counts and set your Twitter @handle to attach to shared posts. Here you can also list other Twitter accounts you suggest that sharers follow.
- Tracking (Pro-only feature) — For UTM parameters and campaign sources, as well as custom tracking.
- URL Shortener (Pro-only feature) — To set the sumo.ly shortener for your shared posts.
No blogger can go without a good social button bar. I found SumoMe’s to be more lightweight than others and smooth enough to make the experience pleasant for my readers.
This app is devoted to collecting email addresses to build your list of subscribers, or to push your visitors to act to get something (CTA).
Open the app and click the Create New Form button on the right. Now you can choose between different marketing Goals:
- Collect Emails
- Add a Call to Action
- Get Social Shares
- Collect Info with Custom Code
You can also choose among different Form Types (Popup, Scroll Box, Inline Form, Click Trigger Popup, Smart Bar), Designs, Visibility options, Success event controls (email to send upon signup, test email and redirect to freebie page for download) and you can Connect to Email Service (integrations are a Pro-only feature).
When you come back to the main app dashboard, you’ll see your new form in the list with aggregate statistics (views, conversions and conversion rates).
You can also click the Tests tab after Forms to create a test for your new form. Then click the Make Live button after you setup the test: SumoMe will automatically show you the A/B testing results.
Click the Stats tab after tests to get a glimpse of how your marketing goal is faring. The Stats show you Views, Emails Collected, Clicks, Average Conversion % and a graph of the statistics.
This app is rather easy to use, the learning curve is almost non-existent. However, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t integrate it with my MailChimp list until I upgrade to Sumo Pro.
Where are readers focusing most of their attention on-page? What’s the dynamics of their cursor movement and page scrolling?
Heat maps can help you analyze this type of important data for UX.
As with the Content Analytics, simply go to your post or page, click My Tools on the SumoMe floating sidebar on the right side of the screen, click the Heat Maps app and then click the Record New Campaign For This Page button.
SumoMe will start recording clicks automatically. However, you can only record up to 1,000 clicks with the Basic plan.
Campaigns monitor, Settings and Auto Record are similar to the ones already covered for the Content Analytics app.
You might have noticed a splash screen on many blogs enticing visitors to signup to get a goodie prior to getting to the homepage or content they were looking for.
This is what the Welcome Mat does.
You can create as many Mats as you wish inside the app.
When you activate the app for the first time, it gives you a sample Campaign to start working with. However, you don’t have to edit this one. You can click the Campaigns tab at the top and select New from the drop-down menu:
Once you’re inside your new Campaign window, the left sidebar menu becomes:
- Campaign Paused (Active) — A button to activate or pause your Campaign.
- General — An overview of collected email addresses and daily stats.
- Mats & A/B Tests — Here you can add a new Mat or work with existing Mats to run A/B tests.
- Display Rules — To control where the Welcome Mat shows on your website.
- Integrations — This is a pro-only feature.
Last but not least, the app to keep an eye on all the performance of the other apps at once: SumoMe’s Dashboard.
Monitor Weekly Stats and Subscriber Stats directly in the Dashboard. However, you can only view stats up to the Last Week with the Basic plan.
Other Helpful SumoMe Apps
Creates clickable buttons on your post images to make them shareable on social media (for example, your recipe photos on Yummly).
Settings are similar to the Share bar, while the Tracking feature is only available to Pro users.
Tip: Don’t activate this app unless image sharing makes sense for your blog.
This one’s just a simple app to let users highlight text in your posts and tweet it.
Add your Twitter @handle in the options, choose your Design and setup Display Rules.
URL shortener is a Pro feature here as well.
Tip: Don’t activate this app if your readers like to read your posts by highlighting text as they go. The continuous share dialogues might frustrate them. (I know I’m such a reader!)
The app adds a simple contact form for visitors to contact you. The nice thing is that you have the inbox right there in the app, as you open it!
Configure Design, Layout, Settings and Display Rules. Tracking Pixels is a Pro-only feature.
Tip: Activate only if you’re not already using another contact form plugin or application.
Going Pro with SumoMe
You already know that Basic is free.
Pricing for Sumo Pro starts at $29/mo for the Small plan. You’ll sometimes see discounted offers popping up in your SumoMe Dashboard, like the one I got recently for 25% off the monthly price as a Memorial Day Sale.
In all honesty, upgrading to Sumo Pro is a good idea if you have the necessity to integrate software
Unless you have to integrate InfusionSoft, HubSpot, SailThru, Pardot, Ontraport or Exact Target—which are only available with the Big plan, $119/mo—I suggest you only upgrade to Small and then wait for your monthly visits to go beyond 5,000 before making the switch to a bigger plan.
SumoMe doesn’t come cheap and you can do a lot with only the Basic plan until your site grows.
Areas Where SumoMe Needs Some Work
I can’t wrap up a SumoMe review without the mention of things I didn’t quite like about the software (even though I’m in love with most of its features).
The Welcome Mat Has UX Issues
Full-screen CTA forms might work for the most notorious bloggers like Neil Patel and lead to an increase in profits, but they’re likely to frustrate any user of a smaller blog with their interruption factor.
This discussion at Inbound.org brings up the problem with UX when visitors are forced to deal with this intrusive full-page form instead of getting to the content they’re looking for. Like with TV spots, the interruption is unwelcome.
One workaround is to configure Display Rules to only show Welcome Mat on the homepage and be careful not to show it to readers who come to one of your posts and need the content right now, without further delay.
Discover App Has Low Quality Ads
This app helps website owners generate earnings and free traffic by displaying network ads at the bottom of the content.
However, these ads are mostly clickbait content that can annoy your users and take away from the overall relevance of your blog, so my suggestion is to not activate this app because it might do more harm than good.
SumoMe Lacks Apps for Polls and Surveys
Polls and surveys make for an integral part of content marketing—what better way is there to entice reader feedback than a friendly, on-site poll or a subscribers-only survey?
Yet, SumoMe lacks these important features.
A workaround can be using MARE.io as an additional app just for polls and surveys.
Finally, dear SumoMe people, can’t we get at least the Dashboard statistics for free with the Basic plan? Those shouldn’t be a huge trouble to give away, right?
Final Thoughts on SumoMe
SumoMe is a powerful content marketing suite to keep handy as you use WordPress for your editorial needs.
If you run a solo blog, the Basic plan will work nicely for your needs, but as your blog expands or if you’re a content manager with marketing tasks to attend, upgrading becomes a necessity—if for nothing else, to integrate your email marketing software and unlock all the Pro features of the apps you’re using.
There’s room for improvement, but the software is good overall if you take the time to understand all its settings and only enable the tools you really need to keep track of.
I’m honestly happy with SumoMe on n0tSEO and other blogs I run, and I was inspired by these three UX case studies by Dominic at Human Proof Designs to make more out of SumoMe in the future to improve my content marketing efforts.
For sure, SumoMe makes the content wrestling life a little less sweat-heavy!