Some people love them, others hate them….but there’s one thing most people can agree on:
Done right, popups are a smart marketing tactic that can boost your opt-in conversion rate, get you more social shares, help you promote an offer, and just generally, well, get your visitors’ attention.
But if you want to create a popup on WordPress, you’re going to need a popup plugin.
In this post, we’ll tell you the features that you should look for in a popup plugin, then we’ll show you step-by-step how to create a popup on your very own WordPress site using the free Popups plugin.
Finally, we’ll end with some tips on how to use some of the Popup plugin targeting and trigger features to avoid annoying your visitors with your popups!
What To Look For In A WordPress Popup Plugin
Because popups can be such a divisive topic, it’s important that you go about displaying popups in the right way.
That means, rather than just blasting every single visitor in the face with a popup each time they load the page, you want a popup plugin with a bit more finesse.
Basically, you want to be able to control exactly where your popup displays, which means options that let you:
- Target popups to specific content
- Only show popups to visitors that meet certain criteria
Beyond targeting, you’ll also want control over when your popup displays, in the form of triggers. This lets you do cool things like:
- Display the popup only after a visitor starts scrolling down the page
- Show a popup after a certain amount of time
- Require a visitor to click a button before you show the popup (like a two-step opt-in)
And finally, depending on how you’ll use popups, you might also want to look for:
- Integrations with popular email marketing services
- A/B testing to optimize your popups
- Different popup display locations
The Popup plugin gives you access to all those important features, as well as other smaller features. It comes in both a free and premium version, so you can choose the version which best fits your needs.
How To Create A WordPress Popup For Free With The Popups Plugin
Popups is a free WordPress popup plugin that’s listed at WordPress.org.
To get started, you can install it right from your WordPress dashboard by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for “popups by damian”:
Once you install and activate the plugin, you’re ready to jump into the tutorial.
Step 1: Create A New Popup
To create your first popup, go to Popups → Add New in your WordPress dashboard sidebar.
You should then see an interface that’s similar to the regular WordPress editor:
Step 2: Add Content To Your Popup
To add content to your popup, all you need to do is click into the box and type. It’s just like the regular WordPress editor – the only difference is that you see everything on a live preview of your popup instead of an abstract text box.
- Add text
- Insert images
- Include other content via shortcode
The shortcodes are especially helpful because they allow you to include forms, social media like icons, and other more advanced content in your popup.
Popups even includes some its own shortcodes for popular social networks, as well as a shortcode to include a Close button in the body of your popup. You can find these shortcodes at the bottom of the popup editor:
Step 3: Configure Your Popup’s Style And Sizing
Once you’ve finished adding content to your popup, you can scroll down the page to configure the style of your popup in the PopUp Appearance section.
You have a number of different options, each divided into different sections that tell you what that specific section applies to:
As you make style changes, the live preview of your popup will automatically update to reflect those changes.
For example, if you make the Background color neon green (bear with me, I just want to make the difference clear!):
Then you’ll see that same neon green on the live preview where you added your content.
If you’re code savvy, you can also add your own Custom CSS for even more control over how your popup looks:
Step 4: Configure When Your Popup Displays
Once you have your popup’s style and content, it’s time for a very important step:
Choosing when your popup displays.
This allows you to only display your popup on specific pieces of content or to specific visitors (or a combination of both).
To configure this, you’ll use a series of AND/OR rules:
- AND – both conditions must be met for the popup to display
- OR – as long as one set of conditions is met, the popup will display
For example, to only display your popup on the frontpage of your site, you could set it so that:
- Page Type – is equal to – Front Page
Another popular rule you might want to take advantage of is the various device option rules. With these rules, you can choose to only display popups on certain types of devices.
For example, this configuration would ensure that your popup displays on desktops but not smartphones or tablets:
And finally, you can also choose to only display the popup to users who click a link or a button, which is helpful for creating two-step opt-ins.
Step 5: Configure Other Display Options
Finally, to finish up your popup, scroll down a little further and configure the Display Options settings.
Here, you can set up:
- Box Position – the location of your popup box on the user’s screen
- Trigger action – this controls the actual timing of when your popup displays. For example, you could have the popup display 5 seconds after the page loads, after a visitor scrolls down 50% of the page, or more.
- Cookies – cookies help prevent you from annoying visitors by showing the popup multiple times. They let you hide the popup for a certain time period after the visitor either completes an action or closes the popup.
There are also some other smaller settings you might want to investigate in this section.
Step 6: Publish Your Popup
Once you’ve configured all of the settings, all you need to do to make your popup live is click Publish, just like a regular WordPress post:
Once you publish your plugin, it will start working according to the display rules and trigger options that you set.
Congratulations! You just made a wordpress popup.
What You Can Do With Popups Premium
If you need more functionality, WordPress Popup Premium plugin adds a bunch of helpful features like:
- 5 new trigger options, including exit-intent triggers
- More advanced display rules, like only displaying popups during certain times or after a visitor has seen X number of pages
- Geotargeting rules using Geotargeting WP plugins
- Detailed in-dashboard analytics to see how your popups are performing
- Built-in A/B testing to improve your popups
- Email integrations with popular providers
- Built-in opt-in forms to match those integrations
- Additional display positions
Best Practices For Not Annoying Your Visitors With Popups
Popups is built to give you all the tools you need to display popups responsibly. So before we close out this article, we want to give you a few best practices for using these features:
- Don’t annoy visitors by showing the same popup after they close it. Cookie rules let you hide a popup for a certain time period after a visitor closes it (or completes the desired action).
- Remember the Google Mobile Popup Penalty. Since 2017, Google has punished sites that display aggressive popups on mobile. By using Display Rules, you can easily exclude mobile traffic from seeing your automatic popups. Popup plugins is 100% responsive, just be sure to not cover all your content.
- Only show popups to the right people. For example, don’t show a popup asking someone to sign up if that person is already logged-in to your site. Again, Display Rules can help you implement these types of conditions.
Now, get out there and boost your marketing efforts with quality popups!
Jonet Wooten says
Hi Colin, Great post. However, I am really struggling to create a popup with subscribe button. I like one of the premium templates (yes, I upgraded) but have absolutely no idea how to find the templates.
Please say you can help,
Frustrated In South Carolina
Damian Logghe says
please open a support ticket so the team can assist you.