Should You Use a Pop-Up on Your Website?

by Diana Khoury

I often get questions from website clients about whether or not they should put a pop-up form on their site. My question back is, what’s the purpose of the pop-up?

The majority say it’s to build their email list.

I find persistent pop-ups at best challenging, and at worst annoying. So my answer is NO, you should not have a pop-up on your website, and here’s why.

Pop-ups frustrate web visitors

Do you like pop-ups? Does anyone?

Pop-ups come in all shapes and sizes and may appear from many different corners of a web page.

If a visitor to your site is looking for information, something suddenly appearing in their path creates frustration. If they have to sign up (for one more thing) or click that little window closed, you have a chance of losing them, also called a “bounce” in your analytics. You don’t want that to happen.

Think about your clients.

diana khoury alternative health marketing how pop ups can hurt your website seo

If they’re looking for a local resource, want to learn more about your practice, or simply want to get in contact, a pop-up is going to get in their way. And an aggressive pop-up is going to send them running away.

Don’t create an unnecessary barrier. If your prospective client is in pain or stressed out, they have a low tolerance for frustration. Create a path of least resistance so the information they’re looking for is easily accessible. The experience someone has on your site is a reflection of the experience they will have with your practice.

Frustration is the opposite of engagement. Is your site conveying what you want it to?

Pop-ups can hurt your SEO

You may know about SEO, aka search engine optimization. It’s how the search engines like Google find and index your site. Google’s search index is now mobile-first, meaning it puts high priority on sites that create a positive experience for mobile users.

Since over 50% of web searches occur via mobile devices, this is important. Intrusive pop-ups or ads weaken the user experience, thus are penalized and sent to the lower echelon of SEO rankings.

This applies to pop-ups of various sorts that interfere with a visitor’s ability to read content on your site.

Isn’t a pop-up necessary to drive people into your funnel? Sometimes. But the objective of email signup is not “just” to get leads, but to get high quality leads. You don’t want to have an email list filled with people who will never buy from you. That would be futile.

If you have a pop-up, how many high-quality leads are you actually getting from it? Are people just signing up to get the window out of the way? Or are they clicking away? How many of these people have actually purchased from you?

If you are getting great leads from your pop-up, then it’s up to you to decide if taking the SEO hit is worth it. If you’re web savvy, there are some strategic things you can do to protect, not diminish, your SEO ranking.

How to Get Email Signups Without a Pop-up Box

The goal of a pop-up is engagement with clients and prospects, but pop-ups aren’t the only (or the best) way to achieve it. Here are some other tactics you might try instead:

  • Add an email signup at the end of each blog post. It could simply be phrased, “Want more articles like this? Sign up for our email list.”
  • Put a list signup form in your site’s header or footer so it shows up on every page.
  • Include an email signup within the content of your site – within specific sections, or on specific pages. This can also be a good way to track what prompted the signup, if you segment your email list.

In summary, pop-ups are a common way to build an email list of prospects for your business. However, they can be annoying to website visitors and damaging to your SEO because they interrupt the user experience.

If you’re willing to take an SEO hit to get more leads, recognize that it’s a tradeoff. There are other, better, ways to build your email list without using a pop-up.

The bottom line is, make the path to your practice a seamless one. It will pay off with more authentic engagement, higher quality prospects and ultimately, more clients.


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This is an original article from Alternative Health Marketing. If you’d like to republish this article on your blog or print publication, you may do so freely with the acknowledgement, “This article is republished with permission from Alternative Health Marketing,” and provide a link back to the original article. It would also be great if you could email us and let us know where it’s being published. 

Alternative Health Marketing is committed to helping holistic practitioners and conscious business owners attract more ideal clients with a simplified marketing plan, targeted brand messaging, and a professionally designed website. Sign up for a free 30-minute consultation to learn how we can help you reach your practice goals. 
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