In "Why Pop-Ups are Pop-Bad", we looked at the pitfalls of
pop-up advertising, the most significant of them being the way
Internet surfers feel about pop-ups. As I mentioned in that
previous article, when you use pop-ups, you take the risk of
your visitor count suffering and the reputation of your site
being damaged. Despite that, many use pop-ups on their sites for
a variety of reasons and are reluctant to cease using an
advertising method they feel to be effective.
So, what is there to do? Is the only possibility to either make
your visitors feel frustrated or drop your pop-ups? While your
users would probably want to see the pop-ups disappear
completely, that is not always possible. However, by making some
slight changes to the way you use pop-ups, you can often achieve
a result that satisfies both you and your visitors.
Maximum benefit, minimum trouble
There are multiple ways to make your pop-ups more user friendly,
here are some of my favorites. Try them out and see which ones
work for you.
1. Imagine this. You arrive at a site and a pop-up ad appears.
Being a veteran web-user, you close it quickly and continue
investigating what the site has to offer. When you open the next
page, the same pop-up comes up. Again, one click from your mouse
and it is gone. On to the next page and the darn thing pops up
yet again! Now you're getting annoyed and start looking for the
OK, you probably didn't have to imagine that. If you've been on
the web for a while, you're likely to have experienced it.
Having the pop-up appear once didn't feel as bad, but when you
had already looked at it and decided that you weren't interested
in what it advertised, having it come up again and again made
the site seem very unfriendly.
and limit the amount of times the same pop-up is shown to the
same user. Although it is claimed that on average, a person has
to see the same ad several times before he'll react to it,
enough is enough.
2. Do not use more than one pop-up on a single page. Using
multiple pop-ups is unlikely to greatly increase the response
rate to your advertising, but it will ensure that the patience
of your visitors wears thin a lot faster. A horde of pop-ups
appearing at the same time may crash some browsers and slow
older computers down to a crawl.
3. Consider launching your pop-ups at the moment users exit your
site rather than when they arrive to it. This is likely to make
your advertisements seem less distracting, because at that point
your visitors have already finished using your site and found
the information they were looking for.
If you choose to use exit pop-ups, remember that they offer an
excellent opportunity to retain contact with a visitor that may
otherwise be lost in cyberspace. A pop-up to bookmark your site
or subscribe to your newsletter is likely to work better at this
stage, as the user has already seen that you run a high-quality
4. Just like all other forms of advertising you use, your
pop-ups should offer content that is relevant to the topic of
your site. For example, it's a much better idea to have a pop-up
that sells subscriptions to Sports Illustrated on your Boston
Bruins fan site than a pop-up for an Internet casino. Not only
does it get a better response rate, but it also makes your site
to look more professional.
5. Every time you add pop-up advertisements or adjust existing
ones, keep a close eye on how your audience reacts to the
changes. Your visitor count, the time an average visitor spends
on your site and the number of page views per visitor are all
important meters that will promptly notify you of any possible
About the author:
Lauri Harpf runs the A Promotion Guide website, where he offers
free information about search engines, directories and other
promotion methods. His site can be found at