WordPress Plugins – Pop Up Window, Help or Hinderance?

I was recently asked by 2 clients to install a wordpress plugin that could enable a pop up window and I agreed, all be it kicking and screaming.  But now, having installed a pop up with the help of a wordpress plugin, I’m actually really liking it.  So I thought I’d share what plugin to use, and how to use it effectively, without being annoying!

I always get worried that a pop up is just an annoying diversion.  I used to treat them like those pesky survey people on the street, who get in your face, and you do everything you can to get past them.  But I’ve changed my opinion.

Today I installed two pop up windows using a wordpress plugin called WP Super Popup.

One of my clients wanted to celebrate a new announcement, and in so doing wanted to offer a free song as a download.  Of course you have to sign up to the mailing list to get that download, but still it’s something for nothing.

The other client wanted to help the user navigate to the 3 different websites that she has within her portfolio.  Of course they are all similiar in name, so having a pop up helps people navigate to their right site should they arrive via one site or another.

So in putting together a nice pop up experience, here are some absolute fundamentals that I believe must be adhered to:

1) Limit the number of times it pops up to once or twice! 

The last thing you want to do is to navigate to every page and have a pop up window appear each time.  Thankfully their are some great wordpress plugins, like WP Super Popup that allow you to limit the number of times the window appears.  You can limit by days, i.e only show the pop up window once in the next 20 days,  or you can limit it by session.

For instance, only show the window to a single user once or twice.  Once the person clicks the close button the pop up is banished for good.  Even if you try and navigate back to the site after you’ve closed the window it will remember you.  Pretty cool hey.

It’s worth checking your Google stats to see how many returning visitors you have.  If you want to keep them coming back make sure you use a plugin that lets you limit the plugin appearing to often.

2) Turn pop ups off for mobile users

The pop up window would be bigger than the mobile phones actual viewing screen, as such we highly recommend that you turn it off for mobile users.  Again the plugin we used above WP Super Popup, allows you to turn it on or off for mobile users

3) Make it an appealing offer

Keep your pop up short and sweet.  You will expect people to react like a fly has just landed on their eyeball when they see a pop up.  We are tuned to swat it away, but if you can quickly grab their attention with some sort of offer then you are in business.  It might be a free download, a free song, an offer to attend a free course.  Just make it relevant and something that people might actually want.

4) Customise depending on the page they are on

You might want to offer people the opportunity to download a free ebook, or get a free subscription to your newsletter on the blog page. Or perhaps they land on your music page, and you can have a pop up saying – ‘hey don’t leave just yet, why not download one of my songs and see if you like it’.   At the end of the day it’s really important to be relevant if you are going to get people to act.

5) Size the pop up window so it’s easy to exit!

Some pop up windows don’t have a scroll bar, like the WordPress Plugin Simple Popup.  We found out today that the window worked nicely on my big 24inch monitor, but on a small 13inch Mac, we couldn’t close the window which meant the screen was effectively stuck.  Next step of course is to jump off the site, and let’s be honest, you’ll probably never go back either.  So having a pop up window that can be customised to fit, or adjustable with navigation sliders is an absolute must.

So there you have it.  A pop up window strategy isn’t such a bad one after all, and is relatively easy to implement if you use a plugin like WP Super Pop.  If you want to see it in action head over to www.david-harris.com.au

If you are interested in getting your own pop up window, then please drop us a note.  We can whip something up for as little as $50.

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