Whatever your personal view of those annoying little windows - one thing is certain, they actually work.

For some years now I’ve been hosting and managing a site for an International Dance School - and part of the brief is to collect data from visitors. This is a process that’s been ongoing for 7 years now - so we’ve managed to accumulate quite a bit of information about the topic!

In the beginning, we started out by asking people to sign up for the monthly newsletter, using a standard sign up form on the page - results were a bit discouraging - so we then changed tack and offered a Free Info Pack - using the same sign-up form on the page. Results improved, the free offer definitely helped to increase sign ups. During our next round of changes, we reduced the number of form fields from three down to two, this appeared to produce no significant change in the number of signups.

During our next round of changes, we reduced the number of form fields from three down to two, this appeared to produce no significant change in the number of signups.

Then we introduced a popup form with 2 fields that offered a free Info pack. Almost instantly the sign-ups more than doubled in number - In a split test the pop-up form outperformed a standard on-page sign up form by more than 300%. That’s a massive change - and it helps to explain why the popup continues to be favoured by a lot of site owners.

However, that enthusiasm is not completely shared by a large number of surfers who find them annoying in the extreme. So the wise website owner will look to achieve some sort of balance between getting people to sign up and upsetting large numbers of visitors who may just ‘click and go’ at the sight of another pop up! These days the software that we use to create these little boxes is much more sophisticated than it used to be.

These days the software that we use to create these little boxes is much more sophisticated than it used to be - for example, you can select which pages and posts you want them to pop up on. You can decide how long they will remain in view and indeed with some packages, you can alter the size of the close cross on the top right of the box. With all these options then, When using popups to collect information my preferred settings would normally be the software to display across the site - for one view per session - with a clear close option and for a limited display time of around 20 seconds.

When using popups to collect information my preferred settings would normally be:

  • Set the software to display across the site.
  • For one view per session.
  • Have a clear close option.
  • Have a limited display time of around 20 seconds.
  • Do not use the popups on sign up pages or where other data entry options are expected - That’s asking for confusion
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Steve Elliott

Owner | Proprietor at ThriftySites
Getting to know about you and your business is an integral part of any successful project – and you’re part of that process. No two firms are the same and frankly, the person who knows best about your business is you. That’s why we work in partnership with clients. We want you to be successful online and we need you to tell your friends and business contacts how great the experience has been for you. Because that’s how we get 90% of new clients, by word of mouth and referral.

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