Popups are everywhere on the internet.
They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Chances are you're using them on your website too.
But are you using them correctly?
There's no doubt that popups can be extremely useful in getting your website visitors to take certain desired actions.
However, despite being one of the most commonly used website elements, a lot of businesses go wrong with their popups, and lose a ton of conversions in the process.
Let's look at some of the biggest mistakes you can make with your popups and how to avoid them:
Costly popup mistakes you should avoid (and what to do instead):
1. Loading popups too soon
People come to your website learn more about a topic or your products/services.
If your popup loads the minute they lands on your site, they are going to be annoyed AF! Why?
Because the popup acts as an interruption to what they came to your site to do.
In fact, statistically, the sooner your popup loads, the more likely people are to close it without taking the desired action.
What you should do instead: Give people some time to absorb the content on your site before asking something of them. Once they've had time to check out what you have to offer, they'll be far more likely to take action on your popup.
As a thumb rule, we recommend a delay of at least 30 seconds. (if people aren't sticking on your site for that long, you've got another problem altogether!)
Alternatively, you can use a scroll trigger of say around 40%. This means that the popup will load when somebody scrolls down to about 40% on a given page.
2. Impossible close buttons
We're talking about those tiny, almost invisible close buttons that are painfully hard to click.
The only thing worse is not having them at all!
Both will frustrate the hell out of your visitors and get them to drop off.
What you should do instead: Make sure the close button is large enough, especially on mobile.
Ideal spot: Top right-hand corner.
Also, allow users to close popups when they click anywhere outside them.
3. Unclear value proposition
Why should the user take the action that you want them to take?
Whether it's subscribing to your newsletter, downloading an ebook/checklist or taking up an offer, your popup needs to have a compelling offer for the visitor.
If they doesn't see value in your offer within seconds, they'll hit that close button.
Eg. Avoid having a popup that simply says: "Join our mailing list".
In all likelihood, people landing on your site are already on multiple mailing lists. Why should they be on one more? What special benefits will they get by being on yours?
What you should do instead: Use specific headlines and highlight the value of signing up through your popup messaging and CTA. Add social proof if possible. It could be the number of people that have signed up, or a user testimonial.
This goes back to really understanding your audience and what matters to them.
4. Too many input fields
How would you feel about a popup that has a ton of fields? Would you enter all that information? Probably not, right?
The fact is, whether it's inquiry forms or popups, if you ask for too much information, people won't take action.
What you should do instead: Ask only what you really need.
In most cases, name and email address are sufficient.
5. Not putting a frequency cap
Another mistake a lot of websites make is with their popup frequency. This includes loading the popup on every page, or every time someone visits your site, even if their sessions are just a few hours apart.
No matter how relevant your popup or how compelling your offer, nobody likes to see a popup again and again.
What you should do instead: Configure an appropriate frequency cap for your popups so as to not annoy the hell out of your users. If you have an in-house web developer, they can easily configure it from the back-end. If you're using a trusted third-party popup tool like optinmonster or wisepops, they allow you to set up the frequency through settings.
6. Using Intrusive Interstitials
In case you're wondering what interstitials are, they're basically popups that cover the entire window, and you should absolutely avoid them.
They are interruptive, deceptive, and just terrible from a user experience perspective overall.
They're bad from an SEO standpoint too.
As per Google's page experience update that came out in 2021, interstitials are one of the key signals Google takes into account when assessing your website experience.
This means that intrusive interstitials can actually hurt your rankings, especially on mobile.
What you should do instead: Use regular popups that cover only a small area of the window. Darken the background so that the focus remains on the popup, but as we mentioned earlier, make sure it's easily dismissible.