If you have a WordPress website or blog, notify visitors with popup messages, offers, newsletter subscriptions and more. This easy guide shows how to create popups that appear to visitors.
As you browse the web, you will no doubt have noticed that many sites show a popup of some sort when you visit them. They may show time-limited offers of products or services, they might ask if you want to subscribe to a newsletter, then there are cookie and privacy notices, and so on.
Popups can be irritating when there are too many or if they get in the way of what the visitor wants to do or see on a site. However, they are the best way to make sure that a visitor sees something important and they produce a greater response than links elsewhere. Newsletter signups are much greater with a popup than a link or button in the sidebar or foot of a page for example.
You must strike a balance between annoying visitors with a popup and increasing your newsletter signups or promoting a product or service. One popup, occasionally and only after the visitor has been on the site for a while (don’t hit them with it the second they visit your site), is acceptable to many people. However, you must bear in mind that some visitors flat-out don’t like popups. Dare you risk annoying them?
How do you create popups on your blog or website? With a WordPress plugin of course. There is a plugin for pretty much everything. Let’s see how they work.
1 Find and install a popup plugin
Click Plugins in the sidebar in WordPress and then click the Add New button at the top. Type popup into the search box to see several plugins that can create popups. There are two in the screenshot above, but there are several more. For this guide I will choose the first one, Popup Builder – Responsive WordPress Pop-up – Subscription & Newsletter. Install it and then activate it.
2 Create a new popup
Select Popup Builder in the WordPress sidebar and the All Popups page appears with an Add New button at the top. You can see that I have already created a few popups and they are listed on this page
A switch on the right of each popup is to enable or disable it and there is a Views column that shows the number of times a popup has been displayed. Click Add New to continue.
3 Choose a popup type
There is a small collection of popups to choose from at the top of the page, but these are just the free ones. There are many more further down the page for users that have purchased the Pro version of the plugin. They perform special functions and some are linked to services like bulk emailers, showing PDFs, countdowns, form builder plugins, and many more.
I am going to use the free HTML popup, which sounds scary, but isn’t and oddly, there is no HTML, well not unless you really want it.
4 Design the popup
What appears is the standard Gutenberg block editor (WordPress 5.5 style with the left panel). Any block can be added like a heading, paragraphs, images, quotes and so on. There is an HTML block if you really want to insert your own custom HTML, but you don’t have to use it.
It is up to you what you put in the popup and it could be a message like a special offer, a notice of an upcoming event, and buttons or links as necessary.
The popup automatically has a close button and can be dismissed by tapping Esc on the keyboard.
5 Choose where to show the popup
Where do you want the popup to appear? This might simply be everywhere and on every page and post, but do you want it to appear on your Privacy or Terms and Conditions pages? Probably not. The Display rule enables you to choose where the popup appears, such as only on posts, only on specific posts, only pages or specific pages, or even only when a post has a certain tag.
Here I will restrict the popup to appearing on Selected pages.
You can then choose which pages the popup appears on. Click in Select Your Pages and start typing to see the titles of pages or posts. I will limit this popup to the Home page, but your choice may be different.
The popup will appear only on the selected pages, the home page in my case. Notice the +Add button so you can add more pages. There are also options to add all pages, all posts and so on.
6 Set the popup trigger
A popup can appear straight away as soon as the visitor arrives on the site and an example of this is the cookie notice that is required for visitors from some parts of the world (mainly Europe). That is OK, but you might not want to put a ‘Subcribe to my newsletter’ popup in people faces the second they visit your site. It is best to wait a while and if they stick around, then maybe ask if they would like to subscribe or show them a special offer like a money-saving deal.
A popup can be shown immediately or it can be triggered by an event. The options are limited in the free version of this plugin, but the On load event is the most commonly used anyway. This is triggered when a page is loaded in the visitor’s web browser.
After selecting On load, there is an option to set a delay, so you could have the popup appear after 10 seconds, 30 seconds or whatever you want. You might even want multiple triggers and there is an +Add button to add more.
7 Configure the popup settings
There are many options that can be enabled and the screenshot shows just a few of them. There are many more. For example, there can be opening and closing animations, a sound, an action on clicking the popup, the popup location, and so on.
8 See your new popup
When you are done configuring the popup and have saved it, visit your site and see it in action. Here is my very simple popup that contains some text, an image and a link that takes them elsewhere on the site. The close button lets them dismiss it.
Don’t overdo popups because although they can be helpful and can drive sales, subscriptions and other things, they are also an irritation.