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Why Should You Use a Popups Plugin on Your Website?

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Popping up a window on your website can add a good user experience and doesn’t have to interfere with your site visitors’ journey. It’s true: popups have gotten a pretty bad rap over the years. With so many websites using them poorly, they’ve become known for being irritating – at best. When used wrongly, popups interfere with site visitors’ experience and can make a bad impression.

If you’re in the camp of associating the idea of popups with negative experiences, we get it. This article will show you the other side of popups and why you should use a popups plugin on your website. We’ll helpfully help you leverage popups and recognize the value they add for both you and your visitors.

Popups don’t have to be annoying or distracting. Well-coded pop-ups that are relevant to your audience will capture attention and generate the outcome you want – whether it’s email signups, discount codes, ebook or document downloads, or a host of other objectives.

What are Popups?

Who can forget the early days of popups? We were all today’s “Lucky Winner!” with offers coming at us from seemingly every direction. Rest assured, that’s only one type of popup. (One that, hopefully, is a thing of the past.)

Let’s start with the basics. A popup is a window that pops up in the foreground of your website. As part of your digital marketing strategy, popups are used for advertising, promoting content or products, or initiating action from your site visitors.

These windows come in different shapes and sizes. They can be full-screen, sidebars, or banners. Popups are typically generated using JavaScript code that is inserted into the HTML of your website. A WordPress popups plugin can help make this process easy.

In January 2017, Google announced that it would penalize websites using popups on mobile SERPs. This was an effort to discredit popups that made content less available to mobile users, and for good reason. There were some exceptions: popups that required users to confirm their age or other legal requirements, notifications about the use of cookies, login panels, and easily-dismissable banners were exempt.

An SEO-compatible popup does not disturb your users’ experience or lower your site’s ranking on Google. The impact on Google’s algorithms is not to dissuade businesses from using popups, but to prompt them to ensure they’re using them well.

Uses for Popups

There are many uses for popups that can be tailor-fit to your business objectives. The below list is not exhaustive, and rather covers the types that perform the best. They also carry a minimal amount of risk, allowing you to implement them for testing to see what best suits you.

Exit-Intent popups

Exit-intent popups are based on an analysis of visitor behavior. Start by determining which pages get the most views, and when your users are most likely to make a purchase. By reviewing these visitor actions, you can get a pretty clear picture of when a potential customer is about to leave your website.

To be effective with exit-intent popups, look at factors such as:

  • How far users scroll through your page
  • Where users move their cursor within the page
  • How long visitors to your site remain idle
  • Previous activity and history on your site

By taking the time to understand visitor activity, you can ensure your popups are useful and effective. Exit-intent popups can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • Discount codes or coupon offers
  • Encouraging participation in a survey or providing feedback
  • Displaying cart items
  • Directing visitors to reviews or testimonials
  • Offering an eBook or guide download
  • Driving traffic to a site tool
  • Opt-ins for emailing lists

Click-Activated popups

A less obtrusive approach, click-activated popups are activated when users click on the text or image for your campaign. As your customer has already expressed interest, click-activated popups have a high conversion rate.

Having clear and accurate imagery and text displays for your campaign is crucial for success. Ensure the anchor text and surrounding paragraph are relevant to your offer. This ensures that the clicks that you get are relevant, and your popup doesn’t feel like a nuisance to your potential customer.

Click-activated popups can be used for showcasing products. You can create a slider or a video to share more information about a product your visitor is viewing.

Opt-In Bars popups

A subtle embed popup option is the opt-in bar. They are hard to miss but unobtrusive to the browsing experience. Opt-in bars are often used to drive attention to offers. Displaying at the top or bottom of the page, they can be made sticky – that means they remain in view even as your customer scrolls.

Opt-in bars can be used for a variety of purposes, but are particularly effective for:

  • Signups to your newsletter
  • GDPR statements, user agreements, and other information that would be useful and relevant for a new visitor
  • Participation in contests, sign-ups for webinars and online events, or other ongoing offers such as displaying a countdown timer

Bear in mind that user experience is paramount. Be careful not to make your pop-up bar too thick or it will obstruct the user’s experience on your page. The ability to close the bar should be visible so that users can choose to hide the bar. Test for smaller-screened devices such as mobile phones.

Pop-up bars are effective for the type of offer that can be passed in a single line with a button. If that isn’t enough for your message, consider another type of popup.

Interactive popups

While every popup is interactive to some degree – after all, you’re trying to entice the user to input information or take further action – interactive popups go one step further.

This is a relatively underused type of popup, meaning you will capture the attention of your visitors with an interesting new design. The most popular interactive popup is a virtual wheel. Think “Wheel of Fortune” style. When the window pops up, it prompts your user to initiate a virtual spin.

With a wheel on display, these interactive popups also include space for a form requesting customer information. Once they spin, they earn the prize of the space they land on. When designing a wheel popup, you can adjust the percentages for the spaces designated for each prize to control the probability of the giveaway.

Other layouts with the same objective are grids with each square offering a different reward. Some companies have also used a line of images (for example, icons of gift boxes) that are nondescript, prompting the user to select one and win. Since you can control percentages, you can add a variety of enticing offers to your interactive popups.

Pros and Cons

As with anything, there are pros and cons to using a popups plugin. Now that we’ve covered some approaches, let’s take an objective view of the pros and cons of using popup apps on your website.

Pros 

There are several advantages to using popups:

  • Attract visitors’ attention
  • Increase engagement and encourage interaction
  • Hold visitors on your page longer
  • Share reminders of important, urgent, or legal information
  • Increase conversions
  • Gather information and sign-ups to supplement marketing efforts
  • There is big ROI potential

Cons

There are also some potential downsides to be aware of, and to workaround:

  • Some visitors may find them annoying
  • They can create a distraction or, if not done clearly, confusion
  • A possibility of lowering your UX and SEO rankings
  • If you’re not careful, they can block content
  • At worst, they could damage your brand reputation

As you can see, all of the potential cons are not insurmountable. With attention and best practices, your popups can be all “pros”.

Best Practices

Popups have the power to take your marketing and customer engagement strategies to the next level. By creating effective, high-converting popups you can build your email list, promote products, drive sales, and more.

We’ve compiled a list of best practices to keep in mind when determining your popup strategy.

  • Disable them for mobile devices
  • Ensure they’re relevant to the content on the page
  • Be selective about where you place them – there’s no need for popups on every page
  • Give users a chance to view your content before triggering popups
  • Don’t use popups for the sake of popups – ensure you’re adding value
  • Make sure users can easily see where to close the popup if they choose to
  • Know that you may not get it right the first time; test variations and fine-tune