Should you be using popups on your Squarespace website?
Why you should be using popups on your Squarespace website
Do popups suck? Are they the worst thing to happen to the internet? Are popups enough to turn you off of a website and never return?
In my experience, SOME popups suck but it’s not a universal truth.
Popups get a bad rep because in the past, they were plastered all over the place without much consideration for user experience. A popup delivered with a bad message at the wrong time is super annoying, I agree. But luckily web design has come a long way in recent years and popups are no longer the major turn off that they once were! Popups don’t have to be mismanaged, they don’t have to manipulate website visitors, and they sure as heck don’t have to look like a branding fail.
I’ve worked with several clients who initially had a lot of resistance to popups but added them to their websites anyways and were floored by the results. Because the thing is, popups work. They are the strongest call-to-action (CTA) you can add to your website, they convert like crazy, and drive traffic exactly where you want it.
If you’re on the fence about adding popups to your Squarespace website, I’m here to tell you why you should try them out starting yesterday, go over some of the pros and cons, and also point out some considerations so that you get the most value out of popups.
Shall we POP right in? <----- sorry not sorry
Popups can be used in many ways
Most people think of popups as a way to collect emails so that websites can grow their mailing list. This is the #1 reason people use popups because it’s insanely effective and converts super well. In Squarespace, the popup would be set up here with Newsletter option as the Action setting.
But it’s not the only thing you can do with popups!
Here are a few other ways to use popups:
Drive traffic to content (blog posts, videos, album, product, etc.)
Advertise or announce a promotion or sale
Offer discount code
Collect names for an event (join a waitlist)
Get visitors to verify their age before proceeding to age-restricted content
Choose a language version of the website
Answer a potential question from visitors before they ask it (e.g., Free shipping anywhere within the USA! Shop now!)
Encourage downloads of a digital product (e.g., “Download the free ebook now”)
Ask visitors a question (e.g., Help us decide on our new logo, vote now!”)
Showcase new product or product line (e.g., Christmas collection is here! Shop it now!”)
See what I mean? There are loads of different and creative ways to use popups on your website. If you go one of these routes, you'll be using the Button option as the Action setting.
A few things to consider
Check your plan : Before you race over to add a popup to your site, you must first make sure that your current Squarespace plan includes popups. Popups are a premium Squarespace feature and are not available in Personal plans. If you’re using the Business or Commercial plan, or are still playing around with a Trial account, you’ll be able to use popups no problem.
Popups and SEO : Using popups MAY affect your Squarespace website’s ranking in search engines. If SEO is a concern or a major focus, I recommend choosing a popup layout that only covers part of the screen on a desk top. As more and more people visit websites on their phones or tablets, Google and other search engines are increasingly prioritizing mobile user experience. This is why it’s so important that you choose a popup that doesn’t fill the entire page on mobile because you don’t want to prevent visitors from displaying or accessing regular web content!
SQUARESPACE SEO SERIES
This article is part of my series on Squarespace SEO. I have so many tips to share on the subject that it would have been crazy to put it all in one article! There are many misconceptions about Squarespace SEO which is why I've dedicate so many posts to this topic. Enjoy!
Click to view all posts in the Squarespace SEO Series
Visit my Squarespace SEO page for lots more resources.
Designing a popup
Content : When it comes to the content of your popup, I always suggest that you keep it short and sweet. Limit the headline text to 1 sentence and body text to 2 or 3 sentences max. You do NOT want a scroll bar situation because that is very bad for user experience, especially horrible for mobile visitors to navigate.
Images : I love adding images or a coloured background to popups. Not only are they great for branding, they also make the popup stand out on the page. You can add a single image, select multiple images to make a slideshow, or even upload a .gif file! One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you don't want to use multiple high-resolution images because the large file size can slow down popup load time. This is bad for user experience and can affect SEO. Read this post for more information on Squarespace images and photography.
Style : To make popups cohesive with your website’s branding, make sure that you tweak and customize the settings in the Style panel! You have full control over the popup’s font, colours, images, buttons, exit markers, etc.
Exit/close button : This should be clearly defined. If people don’t want to sign up, don’t force them to! You should always have a popup exit that is subtle but still visible without searching. Remember that if someone can easily exit the popup, they’ll be more inclined to keep checking out your site (as opposed to leaving because the exit was hard to find). An easy exit button means the visitor isn’t deterred by a crappy user experience, but it doesn’t mean that you’ve lost them forever!
CTA message : Providing a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA) is a major factor in your popup’s success rate. Remember that your popup should offer visitors an incentive - give them a reason to click or give you their email, and you’ll see better results.
Disclaimers : Disclaimers have been known to improve conversions so don’t skip this step! You can add something simple like “We promise to keep your information safe” or have a bit more fun with it e.g., “Spam sucks! Your info is safe with us.”
Thank you message : I always recommend adding a thank you message to popups on your website because you wan tot acknowledge the visitor’s sign up or action. Say thank you and let them know that you’ll be in touch or mention next steps.
Displaying a popup - when, where & how
In order to have a popup that gets good results, you want to be strategic about where, when and how the popups displays.
Where to display : Where you show a popup on a website is an important display considering. You can choose to show the popup on any first page, or only on certain pages. If you’re using a popup to collect emails, I’d set it to appear site wide so that you cast a wider net, but I can totally see the value in having popups that only display on certain pages if you’re using the popup for other purposes.
Timing a popup : Squarespace lets you show the popup on a timer or set scroll position, which are wonderful customization features and can have a positive influence on user experience. For example, you might want to delay the popup to appear 30-60 seconds. This gives people time to explore your site and truly determine if you’re a good fit for their needs. These people tend to be more ‘qualified leads” and you’ll get fewer unsubscribers than if you launch your popup immediately.
Popups and mobile devices
One thing I love about Squarespace is how much consideration they give to popups on mobile devices. You have the option to show or hide popups on mobile devices, and the popup display will always look different on mobile vs a desktop. Being able to customize the mobile popup appearance and size is a huge bonus for user experience.
Track popup conversions
If you’re using popups to add emails to your mailing list, you should definitely be paying attention to conversion rates. Track popup signups with the Form & Button Conversions to see how visitors engage with popups on your website. This basically looks at how many views your popup had vs how many submissions the form received. These stats show you how well the popup works and if you play around with the wording, layout or styling, you might be able to get better results over time.
Popups are a wonderful web design feature that can be added to your website if you wan tot drive traffic, improve conversion, and grow your email list. They are becoming part of the norm and people even expect to see them on many websites, so don’t worry about testing them out.
Squarespace gives you so much control over how you customize and display popups on your website so you really can play around until you’re happy with the results. Make sure that you’re adding value to visitors on your site and you will undoubtedly see great results.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out this post : How to add and style a popup on your Squarespace website - video tutorial.
Now it’s your turn to tell me, what do you think about popups? Do you have them on your website already? Any setup features that you think work particularly well? I’d love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!
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