Pop Ups – The Good, The Bad And The Very Ugly


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One of the things that seems to stimulate the most debate between online business owners is pop ups.


Are you camp ‘love em’ or ‘hate em?’

Maybe I can change your mind with this article where we will be looking at some common myths about pop ups.

By the end of this article, you will have the information you need to make an informed choice about whether pop ups will be beneficial for your business.


What is a pop up?

A pop ups if an eye catching notification that shows up at an opportune moment when your audience is the most engaged. It conveys and important message – usually designed to get your audience to take action e.g. join your email list to get your related freebie.

Traditionally pop ups are used for list growth and they convert really well. An average conversion rate for a lead magnet pop up is around 10%

That means you could get 10% of your website visitors onto your email list.


And once they’re on your email list, you can get them back to your website again and again. You can also promote your own products and services or those for which you are an affiliate.

Your email list has the potential to be your most lucrative asset by a long shot!

Pop ups have actually helped me to convert 20% of my readers into subscribers!

screenshot showing 10-20% uptake for lead magnets via pop ups

What can pop ups be used for?

Traditionally online business owners and bloggers use pop ups to get a reader onto their email list.

Many marketers also use them to promote their evergreen courses and digital products.

However there are many other ways to use pop ups that most online business owners are not aware of including

  • for affiliate marketing
  • for creating evergreen funnels to sell more digital products
  • to increase purchase confidence and sell more products/services/courses
  • to reduce abandoned carts at checkout
  • to engage online students and get them to take action
  • to gather more testimonials and affiliates for more sales of digital products
  • to survey an audience
  • to gather original data – that can be used to get valuable backlinks to your site to boost your SEO
  • to create fun quizzes to grow your email list faster OR to help guide purchase decisions for your products or affiliate products

Myths about pop ups

Myth 1 – pop ups are ugly

5 years ago, maybe. Nowadays there are some great drag-and-drop tools allowing you to create beautiful pop ups – even if you don’t have any design skills. 

Myth 2 – pops ups are annoying 

Pop ups CAN be annoying.

I’m talking about pop ups that display the second you land on a blog post. Pop ups that are hard to shut down. Pop ups that overlap blog content. Pop ups that are unrelated to the content. Pop ups which annoy mobile visitors…

However, these days you have a lot of control over who sees what pop up and when.

Therefore there is ZERO need for your pop up to be annoying.

In fact, pop ups can be really helpful and improve user experience – when done right!

Myth 3 – Google hates pop ups

The reality is that Google hates SOME pop ups. Aka the type of pop ups that don’t follow the golden rules above! 

Google is all about user experience. Put your users 1st and your pop ups will actually enhance your user experience so your Google rankings will be absolutely fine!

Myth 4 – Pop ups will slow my site and reduce my RPMs 

Some pop up tools may have a small impact on site speed but there are several tools that make speed a priority and you shouldn’t see any difference in load time – or ad RPM. 

But if you are stressing about a potential tiny reduction in ad revenue, I’d urge you to see the bigger picture. 

You might make $20 per 1000 page views with ads. It’s a sloooooow route to success and it’ll take you a really long time to hit 6 figures relying on display ads alone. 

A much faster and more reliable route is via selling your own products/services and incorporating affiliate marketing. Pop ups can be super helpful for both of these passive income strategies. 

(To put things in perspective, 2 years after starting my travel blog, I earned under $1000/month with ads and yet I was making around $5000 a month with affiliate marketing.)

Golden rules to follow to avoid annoying people (or Google) with pop ups

1 – Make sure your pop up is related to your content

2- Make sure your pop up is easy to close down with an obvious X box

3 – Don’t display your pop up the second someone lands on your page. Set it to show for a minimum of 30 seconds on page 30% scroll or for exit intent.

4 – pop ups for mobile users should ALWAYS be exit intent

5 – only display one pop up per page (tough you could add a 2nd for exit intent.)

6 – use a quality pop up tool (such as Convertbox) where speed and user experience are top priorities.

7 – try to use a tool that interacts with your email service provider so that it knows when someone is a subscriber and what tags they have in your ESP. This means you can target your pop ups better and avoid sharing freebies or products with people that already have them!

The best pop up tools to use

This will depend on your goals for your pop ups and your budget.

My top recommendation is Convertbox.

  • It’s a one-time only fee so works out cost-effective in the long term.
  • It has a full suite of features allowing you complete control over your pop ups.
  • It interacts with your ESP so it’s easy to target specific groups of people with each pop up e.g. new visitors get a lead magnet, existing subscribers get an offer or affiliate recommendation etc…
  • It’s also a super easy drag-and-drop tool that allows you to create beautiful branded pop ups with zero design skills.
  • You can create fun list building quizzes with it too!

I offer a juicy bonus for anyone who uses my affiliate link to purchase Convertbox including lots of templates and tutorials – see my Convertbox Bonus here.

Here are some other pop up tools you could consider…

Converthub (free when you get Deadline Funnel) – limited pop ups beyond list growth or product sales hwoever they have a nice social proof feature. Also I LOVE deadline funnel for evergreen funnels. (I personally use both Deadline Funnel + Convertbox)

Elementor – allows you to create both list growth and call to action pop ups but there are very limited targetting features.

Thrive themes – allows you access to a suite of marketing tools but works out expensive longterm and this doesn’t interact with your ESP so use is limited. I also found it a little clunky and I’ve heard about issues with site speed for this tool

Poptin – some advanced features but it doesn’t interact with your ESP tags. Also only suitable for smaller websites as larger sites need the pro plan which has less features and costs more long term than Convertbox

OptinMonster – great A/B testing but again doesn’t interact with your ESP tags. It does have an affordable plan for smaller websites but anyone with a larger website should look at Convertbox instead.

Convertful – very similar to Convertbox but more expensive in the long run. However does have a free plan for smaller websites plus a free trial.

So in summary…

Pop ups don’t have to be ugly, or annoying, or slow… Not any more.

Instead pop ups can be beautiful, they can be branded, they can be helpful.

And they work!

Not only can you generate many many more leads and grow your email list much faster but you can also use pop ups to nurture, engage your audience.

AND you can use them to earn more passive income with digital products and affiliate sales.

So will you be giving pop ups a whirl? Let me know how you get on!

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