Category Archives: Conversion Rate Optimization

Adding Code-Splitting Capabilities To A WordPress Website Through PoP

Speed is among the top priorities for any website nowadays. One way to make a website load faster is by code-splitting: splitting an application into chunks that can be loaded on demand — loading only the required JavaScript that is needed and nothing else. Websites based on JavaScript frameworks can immediately implement code-splitting through Webpack, the popular JavaScript bundler. For WordPress websites, though, it is not so easy. First, Webpack was not intentionally built to work with WordPress, so setting it up will require quite some workaround; secondly, no tools seem to be available that provide native on-demand asset-loading capabilities for WordPress.

Originally posted here – 

Adding Code-Splitting Capabilities To A WordPress Website Through PoP

Styling Empty Cells With Generated Content And CSS Grid Layout

A common Grid Layout gotcha is when a newcomer to the layout method wonders how to style a grid cell which doesn’t contain any content. In the current Level 1 specification, this isn’t possible since there is no way to target an empty Grid Cell or Grid Area and apply styling. This means that to apply styling, you need to insert an element.
In this article, I am going to take a look at how to use CSS Generated Content to achieve styling of empty cells without adding redundant empty elements and show some use cases where this technique makes sense.

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Styling Empty Cells With Generated Content And CSS Grid Layout

What the Google Chrome Ad Blocker Means for Your Website Popups (Plus 8 Really Smart Targeting Tips)

Last week you likely saw a ton of news about Google Chrome’s Ad Blocker going into effect Feb 15, 2018. And nobody could blame you if you took one look at some of the reports and thought, “Oh no! Popups are dead. Google just outlawed them, and I have to take down the 35 I’m using across my web properties that are generating 12,000 leads per month”.

Well, fortunately, after combing through the details, I’m happy to tell you that — from our early interpretation — this doesn’t seem to be true.

You can still confidently use popups and sticky bars on your website and landing pages, and today I’ll take you through the news with a bit more nuance to explain why (and how to do so without compromising your user experience).

As I wrote in Technology isn’t the Problem, We Are. An Essay on Popups there’s a reason why bad marketing practices exist (spoiler alert, it’s bad marketers), and we all need to play a part in reversing these bad practices because frankly, we all deserve a better internet.

Here at Unbounce, we welcome this defense of higher internet standards by Google. But we do need to unpack the announcement to see what the potential impact could be on your marketing activities.

What is the Google Chrome Ad Blocker and Why Are We Talking About It?

On February 15th 2018, Google officially introduced an ad blocker to the Google Chrome browser that will screen for (and eventually block) what they deem to be “intrusive” ad experiences. This is further to Google’s partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads they announced previously with the January 10th 2017 change re: Mobile ad experiences.

In short, while it seemed like news last week, it’s an initiative that’s been in the works for some time.

The Coalition for Better Ad Standards

The Coalition for Better Ad Standards (CBA) is a group made up of trade associations and companies involved in online media. Their mission is to improve consumers’ experiences with online advertising and includes a set of global standards that address consumer expectations with online advertising.

As part of this mission, they performed a research study of 25,000 consumers to identify the ad experiences most likely to make those consumers install ad blocking software.

The study presents a range of user experience factors to discover which ones ranked worst. But before we get into the ads raising concerns, we should first address what constitutes an ad.

What is an Ad (In the Eyes of The Better Ad Standards Coalition)?

This is where things start to get a little vague. As per the Better Ads Standards website:

An “ad” is promotional content displayed on the web as the result of a commercial transaction with a third party.

In our interpretation, the above refers to a paid ad (such as Google AdSense) that appears on your website, not a popup containing your own marketing materials such as an e-commerce discount, a newsletter subscription, or a time-sensitive offer. The third party being an ad network and the ad being what’s delivered to the website.

If this is the correct interpretation it makes sense, because ads such as this are not related to the marketing efforts of the host website. They’re the result of the host website trying to generate ad revenue and presenting incongruent and somewhat random display ads.

However, at this time, it’s admittedly difficult to determine exactly what the coalition is considering an ad. To ensure we get you the best answer possible, we contacted Better Ad Standards directly to clarify whether our early interpretation of their definition is correct.

My main question is concerned with how the two parties will be evaluating the ads. Is it the content or is it the delivery mechanism? In other words, are Chrome and the Better Ad Standards coalition concerned with the interaction method of the message delivery? Or the content of the message? Or a combination of both?

My gut says it’s a combination, where the content must be considered an “ad” and the delivery mechanism falls into a few specific categories of interaction that are deemed as bad experiences.

Update from the Coalition for Better Ads

We got a response back from the CBA pretty quickly which was awesome. Unfortunately, the response didn’t really add any extra clarity to the original definition.

Here’s a portion of my question:

Are you able to confirm whether an ad in this instance includes website popups (or sticky bars) for our own business, placed on our own website? For example a newsletter subscription popup on our blog, or a discount popup on our pricing page.

Or are you referring to paid ads from an ad service such as Google AdSense that appear on a website, but are not part of that website’s business? For example, an ad for hair products that shows up on the New York Times.

And a portion of their response:

You should direct any questions about the Chrome browser and its plans to Google.

The Coalition does not currently provide specific evaluative guidance on questions of interpretation relating to the current Better Ads Standards. However, in conjunction with the Better Ads Experience Program, this service may be offered to participating companies in the future.

The Coalition for Better Ads plans to release additional details about its Better Ads Experience Program in the coming months. The Program will certify web publishers that agree not to use the most disruptive ads identified in the Better Ads Standards and will accredit browsers and other advertising technology companies that will assess publishers’ compliance with the Standards and filter digital ads based on the Standards. If compliance issues arise, certified companies will be notified and have an opportunity to address violations or to pursue review by an independent dispute resolution mechanism available through the Program.

The opening of enrollment for publishers that wish to certify their compliance with the Better Ads Standards and participate in the Program’s register was recently announced. Interested publishers can follow this link to learn more about the Program and the registration process. The Program expects to introduce an independent dispute resolution mechanism in the second quarter of this year.

Further updates on the Better Ads Experience Program are forthcoming, so please continue to monitor the Coalition for Better Ads’ blog and press releases page for updates. All Coalition initiatives and authoritative guidance are first published on the CBA website.

Based on this, I’m still not entirely sure if our interpretation is right or wrong.

If we are wrong, then it’s more important than ever to be creating the best possible experiences, and the easiest way for you to do that is with advanced targeting and triggers. You will find 8 examples of proactive great experience creation at the end of the post.

Here are some smart ways to do the right thing if you want to skip ahead to some implementation ideas:

  1. Campaign Scheduling
  2. Cookie Targeting
  3. Referrer URL Targeting
  4. Location Targeting
  5. Click Triggers
  6. Mobile Scroll Up Trigger
  7. Frequency
  8. Super Advanced Multi-Option Targeting

Which types of ad experience are raising a concern?

On desktop they refer to the following four ad experiences:

And mobile has an even larger set:

Again, while the images above could be alarming to anyone running popups, based on our early interpretation of the definition above I don’t think these are popups or sticky bars that you place on your own website with your own marketing content in them. I think we’ll end up finding as time goes on that the standards are targeting at neutralizing bad behavior with respect to third-party ads.

Does this mean you should ignore these guidelines if you’re not using third-party ads?

Not entirely, no. Conscientious targeting and triggering still reign supreme. You can continue to present popups and sticky bars to visitors on your website, but you should use the guidelines to do everything you can to deliver great experiences.

To help avoid getting warnings now that the standards are in place, Google offers a tool which can help you to determine if they consider your website to be infringing on the guidelines or not.

How to Check Your Website For Adherence Using The Google Ad Experience Report

The Ad Experience Report is designed to identify ad experiences that violate the Better Ads Standards, and you can check it for both desktop and mobile inside Webmaster Tools (now simply called Web Tools).

You can find the Google Ad Experience Report here.

When you choose your web property from the drop-down on that page, you will see this:

The video explains how it all works, and if you click desktop or mobile in the left navigation, you’ll instantly get a report like this one for unbounce.com:

If you receive any warnings you can make changes and request a fresh site review.

From Google:
Violations of the Standards are reported to sites via the Ad Experience Report, and site owners can submit their site for re-review once the violations have been fixed. Starting on February 15, in line with the Coalition’s guidelines, Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. All of this information can be found in the Ad Experience Report Help Center, and our product forums are available to help address any questions or feedback.

What Else Can You Do to Create Better Popup Experiences?

I fully embrace this news and the mission of the Coalition for Better Ads because it gives me the opportunity to broach the topic of popup misuse. As a platform offering popups, sticky bars (and landing pages of course) it’s incumbent upon Unbounce to take a stance and work hard to help marketers deliver especially respectful and responsible web experiences.

Popup misuse typically falls into the following categories:

  1. Interaction modes that prevent control of the experience by the visitor (such as easy and obvious close and bypass mechanisms).
  2. Manipulative copywriting that uses psychological means to coerce visitors into taking an action, such as the manipulative confirm shaming styles like this: [ Get Your Ebook ] [ No ebook for me. I prefer to kill kittens! ]
  3. Overly persistent frequency rules where you show the popup every time someone arrives.
  4. Multiple popups on the same page, at the same time.

To provide a method of evaluating popup experiences and to help combat bad behavior I created The Popup Delight Equation.

Essentially the equation reverse engineers an excellent popup experience and allows you to generate a percentage score by analyzing seven principles: clarity, control, creativity, relevance, charm, value, and respect.

I’d also recommend you read Stop Making These Common Mistakes with Your Website Popups (Includes Examples and Quick Fixes) which has some great ideas on the topic.

What is Unbounce Doing to Help Customers Avoid Ad Blocker Warnings?

Fabulous question! I asked Cole Derochie, one of Unbounce’s product owners, to elaborate on how we’re approaching the news and what it means for our customers.

“Unbounce respects this policy, and shares Google’s concern for ensuring users are able to easily access content — regardless of device.

Our goal with popups and sticky bars is to help our customers make offers that are relevant and valuable, and thereby increase their conversion rates, without harming the user experience.”

As I mentioned earlier, it does seem the news pertains to third-party ads, but having said that, we are determined to help marketers adhere to great internet standards. One way we’re doing that is by creating tips and warnings inside the Unbounce builder to help prevent some of the design methods that Google considers bothersome, in particular for the mobile experience.

For instance, in the screenshot below, a warning appears if you try to increase the height of the sticky bar beyond 100px:

Despite our belief that this announcement (and the general concerns of Google and the Coalition for Better Ads) isn’t specifically directed at regular popups and sticky bars, it does still represent an opportunity to take an honest look at the ways we’re all presenting our marketing, and step away from some of the more blatant behaviors mentioned in the research.

One of the best ways to ensure a quality experience is to use some of the more advanced targeting, trigger, and frequency settings that Unbounce provides to give your visitors a respectful interaction that’s as relevant as possible.

Using Targeting, Triggers, and Frequency to Improve Popup and Sticky Bar Experiences

From a high-level philosophical perspective, we should be thinking beyond surface level conversion metrics to focus on quality rather than quantity. I’m referring to tactics like showing popups on every visit, which in my mind is just a little desperate, and destined to not be delightful.

Here are some ways you can deliver a better user experience and stay on Google’s good side:

Method #1 – Campaign Scheduling

If you’re running a time-sensitive campaign, it’s important to only show your offer when it’s actually valid. I’m sure you’ve seen those “live” chat windows that tell you nobody is home. If nobody is home, don’t show the live chat box dummies! Similarly, you don’t want to show a discount or special offer when it’s already expired.

In Unbounce you can set your campaign schedule down to the minute.


Method #2 – Cookie Targeting

Cookies are a great way to create more personalized experiences, basing the display of you offer on previous visitation or behavior tracking. But they are equally as powerful when you use them as an exclusion mechanism.

Let’s say you have an offer for a discount on your SaaS product to encourage people abandoning your website, but you don’t want existing customers to see it (it could make them jealous or upset that they didn’t get the discount).

If you are able to set a cookie within your app somewhere to label a customer as a customer, you can then use the “Don’t Show” cookie targeting to make sure they are not shown the offer.

Bazinga!


Method #3 – Referrer URL Targeting

Context is king when it comes to communicating your message quickly, and if you target your popups and sticky bars using the referrer URL option you can present content that’s highly relevant to where the visitor just came from. This is especially effective for co-marketing where your popup or sticky bar can showcase both brands by including the partner’s logo, creating a more powerful connection between the two experiences.

Here’s another really interesting use case that uses the “Don’t Show” setting.

I’m in the middle of a reboot of our landing page course, and I’m running some popups containing Typeform surveys for the purposes of research.

The problem though is that the homepage of the course is a landing page on a subdomain of the primary course domain – and I’m running the survey on both the homepage and the internal pages of the microsite.

Course homepage URL: do.thelandingpagecourse.com
Internal course page URLs: thelandingpagecourse.com/*

There’s a lot of organic traffic coming to the homepage and also the internal pages. But I don’t want to show it to a visitor to the homepage, and then show it again when they click through to start part one of the course.

To solve this problem, I set a “Don’t Show” setting on the Referrer targeting like this:

Which means that none of the internal course pages will show the popup if the visitor got there via the course homepage. This is a brilliantly simple way of solving what would otherwise require a bit of complex coding to resolve.

Even better is the fact that you can add as many “Show” and “Don’t Show” targeting rules as you like.


Method #4 – Location Targeting

Unbounce location targeting allows you to drill all the way down to the city level, and all the way up the the continent level. Personally, I’d be stoked if someone from the Antarctic saw one of my popups, but there are times when you do need to hide your marketing from certain locations, or target it specifically to a location or locations.

Just like in #3, the great thing is that you can add as many rules in here as you like, so you could set it up like the image below to target every major city in Texas, avoiding rural areas if that so happens to not be your target audience. Or reverse it to target all rural areas and avoid the cities. YUSS!


Method #5 – Click Trigger

Undoubtedly the best trigger type is the click trigger. Why? Because it’s entirely user-driven. A great use case for this option is two-step opt-in forms where your popup with a form only shows up when requested. The conversion rates are typically very high because the initial click declares intent making the contents of the popup desirable.

With Unbounce you can set the click trigger to work on any page element by using the CSS id, or you can even apply it to a CSS class which could make multiple page elements interactive.


Method #6 – Mobile Scroll Up Trigger

Google has expressed discontent for certain types of popup that appear on entry, on mobile devices. For this reason we created the “Scroll Up” trigger. It works a little like an “Exit Trigger” on desktop as it may signal that someone is leaving the page. If you use this, and keep the size of your Sticky Bar to 100px in height or below, you can create a nice experience that’s not too interruptive, doesn’t prevent the visitor from leaving, and lets you notify them of something important.


Method #7 – Frequency Settings

What’s the frequency, Kenneth? If you don’t get that reference then either you’re really young or I’m really old. Either way, frequency matters. And when you get it wrong it hertz. << Please tell me you got that one.

Pro tip – once and done
When in doubt, the first option (“Show once per visitor”) is the best. Show it once, and go cry in your soup if it didn’t convert. Do NOT pester people over and over again. If they want it they’ll say yes. If they don’t, well that’s a lesson (in the form of a poor conversion rate) you can use to better understand your audience.

For the other options, if you wanna be super respectful and let people check out your site without any distractions, think about using the “Show only on visit x” option. Typically the x would be the number 2. Show it the second time they are there. That way they’ve had the chance to get to know you and your offer will seem more relevant.

For example, there’s nothing more annoying on a blog than when you get an entrance popup saying “Love this content! Subscribe for more!!!!!”. No, I don’t love this content cos I just got here, dammit! Whereas if you show it on the second visit, you know they liked you enough to come back. Done.


Method #8 – Super Advanced Multi-Option Targeting

How about this idea for some extreme relevance! You can use all four advanced targeting rules at the same time to get hyper-personalized. In the example below I’m targeting people in Vancouver, Canada who’ve got a cookie called “ILikeTurtles” who are coming from my partner’s site during the dates of my campaign. SICK!

In Conclusion: What Should You Do Now?

Well for starters I recommend that you go make 50 popups with “Every visit” targeting and a frequency of 100 times per visit.

Wait. Don’t do that.

Do what a thoughtful marketer would do and spend some time thinking about your visitors, and about the really cool things you can do when you combine triggers, frequency, scheduling, and advanced targeting rules.

The combinations are literally limitless. I’m not sure on my math there, so there may be some finite limit to what you can do, but whatever it is, it’s huge!

This is a hot and contentious topic, with much to discuss, particularly because of how hard it is to interpret some of the communications surrounding it, so please add comments with any intel or different perspectives you have.

We’re committed to staying on top of the situation as it continues to unfold, and will bring you more details and ideas as soon as they become apparent.

Here’s to better marketing standards, and better marketing in general.

Cheers
Oli Gardner

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What the Google Chrome Ad Blocker Means for Your Website Popups (Plus 8 Really Smart Targeting Tips)

Bringing Together React, D3, And Their Ecosystem

Since its creation in 2011, D3.js has become the de facto standard for building complex data visualizations on the web. React is also quickly maturing as the library of choice for creating component-based user interfaces.
Both React and D3 are two excellent tools designed with goals that sometimes collide. Both take control of user interface elements, and they do so in different ways. How can we make them work together while optimizing for their distinct advantages according to your current project?

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Bringing Together React, D3, And Their Ecosystem

A Comprehensive Guide To UI Design

(This is a sponsored article.) With the big picture established — mapping user journeys and defining your design’s look and feel — my fifth article in this series of ten articles dives into the details of designing user interface components.
UX, IA, UI: All of these abbreviations can be confusing. In reality, as designers, we’ll often be working across these different specialisms: designing the overall user experience (UX), organizing information logically as we consider information architecture (IA), and considering the granular design of the user interface (UI).

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A Comprehensive Guide To UI Design

Stop Making These Common Mistakes with Your Website Popups (Includes Examples and Quick Fixes)

Depending on who you talk to, website popups are either a godsend for list building and subsequent revenue creation, or they’re a nuclear bomb for the user experience.

Some can’t stand popups and completely disregard sites that use them (or that’s what they say, at least). And there are even entire websites dedicated to hating on especially bad popups.

However, many marketers are fully charmed to their capabilities for revenue generation, lead collection, and driving attention and conversions in general.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation, though.

You can create website popups that aren’t detrimental to the user experience; In fact, if you do it really well, you can even improve the user experience with the right offer and presentation.

We all want to be companies that care a lot about our visitors and make the best popups possible, so it goes without saying, we care about timing, targeting, and triggering (i.e. who we send offers to, when we send them, and what those offers are). After all, the main reasons visitors get annoyed by popups are 1) when they disrupt the user experience and 2) when they offer no value or help:

Fortunately, you can easily solve for these things. In this article I’ll outline common website popup mistakes with real examples, and I’ll cover a few ways to remedy these mistakes.

Mistake 1: Poor timing

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with website popups is with timing. It’s almost always the case that we trigger popups too soon (i.e. right away, no matter the context of the page or visitor).

On an Inbound.org discussion, Dustin J. Verburg had this to say:

“The most hilarious popups are the ones that say ‘LOVE THIS CONTENT? SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE’ because they assault my eyes before I even read two words of the article.

Now I guess I’ll never know if I love the content, because I close the tab immediately and never come back.”

Similar to Dustin, imagine you’re taking break from work to check out GrowthHackers. You find an article on the front page that looks interesting. You open it and immediately get this:

Woah, what’s this full screen takeover? I know this is common today, but most people are jarred by this experience.

Now you may not even remember what the article was, so you’re likely to click away and go back to actual work.

One possible way to remedy this – just spitballing here – could be to add some copy explaining that the visitor needs to click to continue on to the article. Forbes does this (though Forbes could never claim a good user experience without a good laugh):

At least you know where you’re at (the logo is prominent) and what to do (continue to site). But, it goes without saying, Forbes’ experience is not ideal so don’t copy it.

So how do you fix poor timing?

The best possible solution for user experience is to trigger a popup at a time that actually benefits a visitor. On a long-form blog article, this is usually at some point of strong user engagement, either measured by time on site or, better, by scroll-depth and content engagement.

You can do this with an on-scroll popup created in Unbounce.

Once you’re happy with your design, simply set your trigger for when someone scrolls through a certain percentage of the page, or even after a delay you specify:

Click above for a larger, clearer image.

Overall, poor timing is a common problem, and it’s almost never intentional. We simply act hastily when setting up popups, or we spend all of our time crafting the offer and forget that when the offer is shown matters too.

I want to point out, however, that it’s not always a bad decision to throw a popup at visitors on arrival. It’s all about context.

For example, if you’re shopping for clothes, there are a million options available. Therefore, it’s imperative for ecommerce shops to grab your attention as quickly as possible with an attractive offer. This is why you see so many website popups with discounts on arrival on ecommerce sites, like this one from Candle Delirium:

As well as this one from BustedTees:

It’s a very common tactic. We’ll go over it specifically in regard to ecommerce later in section three.

In general, it’s important to analyze a visitor’s behavior and trigger the popup at the exact moment (or as close to it as possible) that someone would want to subscribe/download your offer/etc. It’s a lot of work to tease out when this may be, but the analysis is worth it as you’ll annoy fewer visitors and convert more subscribers or leads.

Fix annoying timing: Consider the user experience. Does it warrant an on-arrival popup? If not, what’s the absolute ideal timing for a popup, based on user intent, behavior, and offer?

Mistake 2: Poor targeting

Poor targeting is a broad problem that’s usually made up of a mismatch between who you’re targeting and what offer you’re sending (though, you could also add in when you’re targeting them as a variable as well).

For instance, if you’re targeting a first time organic visitor to a blog post with a popup that announces a new product feature, you may spur some confusion. Rather, you should try to target based on appropriate user attributes, as well as within the context of where they are in the user journey. A better offer for a first time blog visitor might be an ebook or email course on a topic related to the blog post.

An example of poor targeting is LawnStarter’s guide on their post about where new residents of Birmingham are moving from. It’s a cool infographic-based guide they’re offering up, but the popup is really irrelevant to the content of the post someone’s currently reading in this case:

In another, better example, Mailshake has a massive guide on cold emailing, which would be a daunting read in a single session. It’s probably appropriate, then, that they offer the book up for download via a sticky bar at the bottom of a related article:

There are ways they could improve copy, design, or the offer itself, but the core point is that their targeting is spot on (i.e. after someone’s reading something about cold emailing, and offered up as added, downloadable value).

Now, if I already visited this page and downloaded the playbook, and they still hit me with this offer, then we’d have a targeting problem. They could use the fact that I’m a repeat visitor, as well as a subscriber already, to target me with a warmer offer, such as a deeper email course, a webinar, or possibly even a consultation/demo depending on their sales cycle and buyer’s journey.

The fix for poor targeting

Remember with targeting, you’re simply trying to align your offer with your visitor and where they are in their awareness and interest of your company and product.

This is where the value of progressive profiling comes in. But if you’re not doing that, at the very least you should be aligning the offers on your page with the intent of the traffic on that page.

You can also target offers based on URLs, location, referral source, and cookies. Really think about who is receiving your offer and at what point in the customer journey before you set a popup live.

With popups created in Unbounce, for example, you can use referral source as a way to target appropriate offers to someone who’s come from social traffic, vs. someone who’s arrived via AdWords traffic:

Simply create your popup, and in advanced targeting, select which referral sources you’d like to have access to the offer:

Fix targeting the wrong people at the wrong time with the wrong offer Analyze your customer journey and intent levels on content. Craft offers according to customer journey status as well as on-site user behavior.

Mistake 3: Offers with no obvious value

How many times have you been on a blog that simply wants you to sign up for a mailing list, no value promised or given? Like this:

If you’re an active reader of the blog, maybe this works. After all, you already know the value of the content and simply want to sign up for updates. Makes sense. But I’d wager this type of active reader is a small percentage of traffic, and these people will sign up however they can. Thereby the popup isn’t useful for everyone else.

As we covered before, a much better way to capture attention is with a discount, like Allen Edmonds offers here as soon as I land on the site (on another note, this is a great use of an immediate triggering. It’s not an annoying popup when it delivers me a discount).

This is a super common ecommerce tactic.

It’s a competitive world out there, and giving an immediate hit in the form of a discount is a good way to capture some of that oh so valuable attention. It’s especially common when used on first time visitors to the homepage, as a homepage visitor’s experience is generally more variable and less intent-based (if they land on a product page from a search ad, it’s a bit of a different story).

Here’s an example from Levi’s:

The fact that most ecommerce sites have similar messages nowadays is indicative of a creativity problem, one that presents itself to marketers in any industry. We look to competitors and to the consensus and think that we can’t fall behind, so we replicate tactics.

However, I’m more interested in sites, like Four Sigmatic, that push beyond and implement a creative offer, like their lottery style subscription featured below. (This is one of the only popups I’ve signed up for in months, by the way):

Offering up poor or no value is really the least forgivable mistake if you’re a marketer. Crafting offers that align to your buyer persona is your job. Also, it’s fun. If you have a bland offer, this could easily be the biggest opportunity for lifting conversions, as well as improving the user experience (no one is complaining about awesome offers).

Foot Cardigan does a really good job of offering value and conveying it in a fun way too:

Triggering popups with zero value? Think about ways you can give massive value to your site visitors, so much that they really want to give you their email, and create an offer for this.

Mistake 4: Poor design

If you use Unbounce Popups, it’s almost hard to create an ugly one. Still though, the internet is filled with eye-sore examples:

Design matters. A poorly designed website element can throw off your whole brand perception, which is important in creating trust, value, and in easing friction.

As Ott Niggulis put it in a ConversionXL article:

“Success in business online is all down to trust. You either see something that makes you trust a vendor or you don’t. Trust is also directly linked to conversions – if people leave your website because it’s so badly designed that it makes you seem untrustworthy then you’re missing out on lost prospects, customers, sales, and profits.

Good design = trust = more conversions = more money in your pocket. It’s as easy as that.”

That same article cites a study where 15 participants were directed to Google health information that was relevant to them, then they were asked about their first impressions of the sites.

Out of all the factors mentioned for distrusting a website, 94% were design related. Crazy!

So don’t just put up a poorly designed popup thinking the message will be the focus. Put some effort into it.

Of course, you don’t always need to look like a luxury brand. If cheap spartan is your schtick, then it can work for you. After all, Paul Graham’s site isn’t pretty but it’s so, so valuable:

Image of Paul Graham’s site.

As Aurora Bedford from NN/g explains it, it’s more about matching design to your brand values and objectives:

“The most important thing to remember is that the initial perception of the site must actually match the business — not every website needs to strive to create a perception of luxury and sophistication, as what is valuable to one user may be at complete odds with another.”

No matter what your brand positioning may be, however, make sure you clean up obvious design mistakes before hitting publish.

Fix up bad design: Spend a few hours longer designing your popup, hire a designer, or use a tool like Unbounce with a template.

Mistake 5: Poor Copy

Presenting your offers with clear copy is huge. Most copywriting, not just on popups but online in general, is:

  • Boring
  • Vague
  • Confusing
  • Cringe-inducing

…in that order, I’d wager. Not often do you find crisp, clear, and compelling copy (unless it was whipped up by a professional, of course).

As with the example below, you’re more likely to find copy that’s vague (how many ebooks, which ones, etc.) and cringe-inducing (Rocking with a capital R is pretty goofy):

The copy you write for your popup may be the most effective mechanism you have for converting visitors (outside of the targeting rules). Here’s how Talia Wolf, founder of GetUplift, put it in an Inbound.org comment:

“Many people are trying to capture your customer’s attention too so you need to give them a good reason for subscribing/not leaving.

It’s not enough to talk about yourself, you need to address the customer’s needs: one way is by highlighting the value your customer gains. The other, highlighting what they might lose. (Example: “Join thousands of happy customers” vs. “Don’t lose this unique content we’re giving our subscribers only”

Her website has a solid example of a popup with great copywriting, by the way:

Sometimes, all you need to do is pull your message to the top and make it prominent. Often we try to write clever copy instead of clear copy, but clear always beats clever.

For example, if the following popup led with the money offered for the account, it’d probably be more compelling than their current vague headline:

Mistake 6: Overload

Sometimes websites can get pretty aggressive. Here’s an experience I ran into on Brooks Brothers’ website:

One (pretty value-less) popup that I click out of, only to be followed by another one:

Now, there’s just a lot of clutter going on here. Different colors, different offers, different banners. As a first time visitor, I’m not sure what’s going on. Plus, they have animated snowfall, which adds to the clutter.

This is quite extreme, but it’s not uncommon for marketers to see some results with a popup and go overboard, triggering two, three, even four in a single session. When all of this occurs within 10 seconds of being on the site, things get annoying quickly.

Take down too many popups: Simplify and strategically target any popups on your site. They shouldn’t appear everywhere for everyone, your targeting is key.

The lesson

Popups don’t need to be annoying. Rather, they can actually add to the user experience if you put a little time and effort into analysis and creative targeting and triggering.

If you avoid the mistakes here, not only will your popups be less likely to feel intrusive, but they’ll convert better and they’ll convert the types of subscribers and leads you actually want.

Run a popup experiment of your own See Unbounce templates you can get up and running today.

Link: 

Stop Making These Common Mistakes with Your Website Popups (Includes Examples and Quick Fixes)

A Comprehensive Website Planning Guide (Part 1)

As a veteran designer, developer and project manager on more sites than I can count, I’ve identified a common problem with many web projects: failure to plan. As the same issues come up repeatedly in my work, I’ve written this guide in order to help our clients, other designers, businesses and organizations plan and realize successful websites.
Who This Guide Is For Written in relatively non-technical language, this guide provides a broad overview of the process of developing a website, from the initial needs assessment through site launch, maintenance and follow up.

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A Comprehensive Website Planning Guide (Part 1)

Designing A Perfect Responsive Configurator

Here’s a little challenge for you. How would you design a responsive interface for a custom car configurator? The customer should be able to adjust colors, wheels, exterior details, interior details and perhaps accessories — on small and large screens. Doesn’t sound that difficult, does it? In fact, we have all seen such interfaces before. Essentially, they are just a combination of some navigation, iconography, buttons, accordions and a real-time 3D preview.

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Designing A Perfect Responsive Configurator

Getting Started In Public Speaking: Global Diversity CFP Day

A CFP, or Call For Proposals (sometimes also known as a Call For Papers), is a request for speakers to send their proposed talk ideas to a conference. The conference will review the proposals and decide who to ask to speak. Popular conferences can receive hundreds of proposals for a handful of speaking slots, therefore creating a great proposal is an important skill to learn as a speaker. To help encourage people to write and submit to CFPs, Global Diversity CFP Day aims to help underrepresented people submit proposals to speak at conferences.

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Getting Started In Public Speaking: Global Diversity CFP Day

Monthly Web Development Update 2/2018: The Grown-Up Web, Branding Details, And Browser Fast Forward

Every profession is a wide field where many people find their very own, custom niches. So are design and web development today. I started building my first website with framesets and HTML4.0, images and a super limited set of CSS, and — oh so fancy — GIFs and inline JavaScript (remember the onclick=”” attribute?) about one and a half decades ago. It took me four days to learn the initial, necessary skills for that.

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Monthly Web Development Update 2/2018: The Grown-Up Web, Branding Details, And Browser Fast Forward