Sumo is a suite of apps that help you with email capture, conversions, and a host of other website and growth-related actions. It’s quick and easy to sign up for a free account, you just need to visit their site and click the “sign up free” button. It’ll ask you for your site URL, your email address, and a password. Alternatively, you can simply sign in using a Google account.
The interesting thing about Sumo is how many different tools they have available, for both the free and pro levels.
Sumo has other features, like some integrated contact forms and a dashboard, as well. Frankly, you can’t quite tell how deep their feature list is until you’ve actually subscribed.
I haven’t seen much information or discussion about the different pricing tiers for Sumo. In part this is because of a branding change; Sumo used to be SumoMe, but when they expanded their offerings they simplified their brand to just Sumo. It’s also because their pricing structure has changed. I’ve found this discussion from a year ago, but it talks about monthly pricing that seems to not be available any more.
The current pricing structure for Sumo looks like this:
It should be noted that the pricing on the pricing page shows a per-month rate, but they all have a footnote saying it’s billed annually. There appears to be no way to actually do a monthly billing schedule. You may be able to talk to their support directly for such a plan, but I wouldn’t count on it.
It’s also worth noting that for Sumo, a “visit” is not a pageview. A visit is every action a single user takes in a single session. Specifically, they say this:
“A visit is a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. A single visit can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, and ecommerce transactions. A visit ends after 30 minutes of inactivity or at midnight.”
So it’s more like the number of unique sessions on your site in a given month. If your site has 15,000 pageviews, but an average of 5 pages viewed per user session, you could get away with the Small plan with some room to spare. Granted, those kind of statistics are pretty good, and not every site is going to reach them, so you’ll have to monitor that yourself.
So the question you’re here for, and the question that bugs so many of us when we’re researching new tools, is “is it worth the price of admission?”
In general, I’m going to say no. Most of you, the people reading this blog, are running relatively small sites. You probably wouldn’t need the Medium plan, let alone the Big plan. At the Small plan, you’re paying roughly $350 a year for access to a bunch of tools. Those tools, though, aren’t really all that unique. What do they offer?
In fact, if you want a more complete list of free alternatives to the various features Sumo offers, we put together exactly that right over here. Check it out; you might be surprised.
Basically, there’s not actually anything all that unique or powerful about Sumo. Their idea of what constitutes a “visit” is more flexible than some other programs, but the thing is, who cares? If one plan has you paying $350 a year for something, and another setup is completely free, which is better for you?
Every feature Sumo offers is something you can get in a free tool somewhere else. The only things Sumo brings to the table are cross-tool integration, since they’re all operating under the same umbrella, and email support. Support is possibly the biggest benefit, since free tools tend to have little in the way of support and rely on community assistance or your own ingenuity to fix issues as they come up.
On the other hand, when you use a selection of free tools, you don’t need to worry if one element of it doesn’t work the way you want it to. If you buy into Sumo and decide you don’t like their heat map, you still have to implement another tool for a better heat map. If you decide three different Sumo features can be better replaced with other alternatives, you can do that, but then you’re cutting out the one major benefit of using Sumo in the first place.
Yes, it can be a pain in the ass to set up a bunch of free tools and get them all working nicely with one another. And, to be fair, Sumo is designed to work together under one set of code, so it’s probably faster for your site than a handful of other plugins. If site speed down to the millisecond is of serious concern for you, it might be worthwhile to opt into Sumo instead of a DIY Sumo clone.
I will say that there’s one area where Sumo is actually worthwhile, and that’s for a very large site. If you’re running a top of the line website with hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, you don’t want to spend a lot of time messing around with free tools that could break under the stress or that don’t give you some serious control options. With Sumo, you get a lot of customization and you can do split testing quite easily. It might not be the equivalent of a dozen different high-tier paid tools, but it’s better than a selection of free tools.
That said, if you’re going to be paying over a thousand bucks a year for this kind of setup, you can probably just figure out which features you want and go for the industry best tools for those features. Crazy Egg for heat maps, Optin Monster for overlays, or even custom developed solutions can all be better and suit your site more closely than the umbrella banner of Sumo.
Sumo is generally ideal for a mid-level site, I would say. When you’re willing to pay for some tools, but you don’t have the budget for high-end tools or for custom solutions, an umbrella solution like Sumo works well. You can get more out of it than you can with a selection of free tools, and you don’t have to worry as much about keeping everything up to date and working together.
Small businesses don’t have the budget, large businesses want something more robust, and mid-sized businesses might just find it Just Right. Is Sumo your goldilocks app suite, or do you prefer something different?
James is a content marketing professional who enjoys writing useful content for bloggers. He’s a contributing writer at Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and Business Insider.