Website popups gone wrong: A mistake to avoid

By Renae Gregoire | Annoying websites

Apr 19
Website popups work, but are you using them wrong?

Here at The Write Idea, I'm all about helping you make life easier for the people who visit your website and read your content -- including content on your website popups.

To that end, here's a lesson learned straight from this morning's browsing session.

The problem: Vague website popups

So ... I'm about to embark on a passion project, something I've always wanted to do but haven't for lack of time, money, whatever.

As a first step, I opened Google and typed in a query on how to do the thing I want to do.

Without giving it away (it's a surprise!), this thing I want to do is something specific, as specific as, say, "How to care for bamboo." (My passion project has nothing to do with bamboo.)

Then, after I entered the query, I began a "new tab opening" spree as I worked through the search results, 

  • Right click. Open in new tab. Read a little. Nope -- not what I'm looking for. "X."
  • Right click. Open in new tab. Read a little. Nope -- not what I'm looking for. "X."
  • Right click. Open in new tab. Read a little. Maybe -- keep this page open to look at later. Back to the search results.
  • Right click. Open in new tab. Start to read. Enter gigantic, annoying website popup.
How not to use entry pop-ups

First, can you "feel" how the popup totally interrupted the flow of your reading?

Yeah. It did that to me, too.

Second, as I said, I was searching for a specific thing. Something way more specific than what is offered in the popup.

  • 8 profit-packed video tutorials

Who said I was looking to profit? This has nothing to do with my search!

Why did you interrupt me with this nonsense?

<Take screenshot. Write blog post about incident.>

And now, here we are.

The solution: On-topic website popups that match the content on the page

Look, I understand that website popups work. They work bigly.

But to avoid annoying the people who visit your site, especially people who visit your site through back doors, like search results on long-tail phrases, consider popups directly related to that topic -- the topic of the page the reader just clicked into.

I clicked into a page that talked about a specific "how-to" topic -- a topic totally unrelated to profiting. But the popup offered some nebulous tutorials in a lame attempt to capture my email address.

Sorry, Charlie. 

If you want my email address, you'll have to do better than that.

And you, dear reader, will have to do better to create an exceptional experience for the people who visit YOUR website.


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About the Author

Renae Gregoire is a marketing writer, editor, critical thinker, obsessive questioner, and excellent-results deliverer. Although writing is her talent, empathy is her Super Power; she combines both into a potent formula for creating content experiences that lead more people to YES!

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