3 Suggestions If You Must Use Website Popup Boxes


Many websites continue to use popup boxes to build their contact lists, despite the fact that nearly everyone hates them.

Ask your average website visitor a simple yes or no question: Do you enjoy popup boxes?

What do you suppose their answers would be?

You don’t really have to waste your time asking anyone, though, because you can answer the question from your own experience: do you like them?

Of course not.

Yet more and more sites employ them and the conventional wisdom seems to be that despite the fact that they’re as universally hated as Captcha, they can be effective in building an email list.

Here, however, are three things to keep in mind if you’re seriously considering adding a popup box to your website:

1. Don’t remove my choice to subscribe.

Once in a while I visit a website that immediately loads a popup box asking for my email address. But this particular popup tactic comes with a twist: it isn’t a request but a demand. There’s no way to decline giving out your email address.

Some get around this, of course, by giving away a fake email address, which I suppose is always an option.

But I don’t do that. I’m not going to waste the time and effort of even fabricating an email address just to get to your content, because no matter how wonderful you think it must be by requiring my email address, I can promise you that as a reader, there’s almost no chance at all that I’ll feel it was that valuable after I’ve given you that piece of information.

Those mandatory signups make me close the tab that was your website, and the chances of my returning to your site are nil.

2. Give me a minute!

If I read a post or two of yours and I like what I see I wouldn’t rule out subscribing to your blog. But I can’t make that call when you only give me three seconds from the moment I land on your site to ask for my email address!

Figure out how long it takes the average person to read your average length post, add 50% more time, and then have the popup appear. If you give me that much time, chances are I’ll have been on your site that long for a reason, and I’ll be much more likely to sign up for more from you.

I’m never going to just hand over an email address before I’ve had the chance to read at least a few lines of your post. I don’t know your writing style, I don’t know your grammar, I don’t know your use of profanity, I don’t know your opinion about things, and I don’t even know what things you post your opinion about.

A near-immediate popup guarantees I’ll click the little “X” on the popup and I definitely won’t subscribe.

3. Make sure it loads correctly…and quickly!

I’ll be honest: I’m no newbie when it comes to this crazy internet. Part of my real job involves writing for the web, and that sometimes entails checking out a lot of websites. When a popup first appears, I’m conditioned to scroll for the aforementioned little “X.”

That means you have a split second for the content within the popup box to actually get there and catch me with something enticing enough to make me actually read it.

But that’s not what happens a lot of the time.

What happens often is that the webpage dims, the shape of the popup box appears with that convenient little “Close” button, and nothing else. The content of the actual popup takes an extra second to appear within the shape itself.

Guess what happens during that second!

Yep. I close the box, often before the first word of content meant for the box, something that might have prompted me to do whatever the popup was going to ask me to do appears.

If your popup can’t load all at once, I’m certainly not going to wait for it.

Do you mind popup boxes when you visit websites? How often do you actually submit your email address to one?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.