To Pop-Up Or Not To Pop-Up?

Love them or hate them, pop-ups are still a commonly used tool for gathering new opt-ins on many websites. But how effective are they? Should we all be using them or are they ‘old’ technology now?

The pop-up is somewhat controversial in that you will get a different answer depending on which online marketing expert you talk to. So, without a definitive yes or no answer, you may want to consider a few of the pros and cons to determine whether pop-ups are a good idea for your website…

pop up

The Pros

No matter what your opinion is of them, pop-ups undeniably get results. If you are using them well to give away something of value to your visitors, then often you will see an increase in sign-ups with the pop-up. Pop-ups are a good way of ensuring that your visitors can’t miss your offer, the key being that you must have a good, relevant, benefit-driven offer.

The Cons

Pop-ups tend to annoy many website visitors, who view them with the same level of distaste as they would a telemarketer who calls at dinner time. Many people report that they will close out of a website if they are hit too often with a pop-up (think sites where it may pop up on every new page!), some say that pop-ups come off as a ‘desperate’ plea for conversions and many mobile device users state that they close out of the website when they are not able to close the pop-up on their device. Prominent travel site TripAdvisor recently apologized to users and disabled pop-ups from their site. That being said, they formerly used multiple pop-ups when visitors created a search so we are not talking about one or two pop-ups inviting visitors to take up a free offer.

So, what about your website?

In deciding whether or not to use pop-ups on your site, you may want to think about the following points;

  • Why not test it out? If you have your analytics set up you can track sign-ups and bounce rate both with and without a pop-up enabled.
  • If you go with using a pop-up, try setting it up so that it comes up a couple of minutes after visitors have started reading your blog etc (they probably came to your site in the first place due to your content so try not to put them off in the first few seconds!).
  • Make sure that the offer you make on your pop-up is compelling and delivers value to your visitors.
  • Consider mobile device users, is your pop-up going to mess with their ability to see your site? If you have a lot of mobile traffic and can’t achieve a mobile-friendly pop-up, it’s probably better not to have it.
  • Consider your current visitors; do you have a good relationship with a regular following? Is a pop-up likely to annoy them?

You could also;

  • Have a prominent opt-in box elsewhere on your page.
  • Focus on delivering great content – this will generate organic traffic and be favorable to search engines. If you are delivering regular, quality content, your audience will be drawn to signing up with you anyway.

What’s your view? To pop-up or not to pop-up? Please share your ideas below…



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