23 Errors People Make When Making Pop-Ups: a Detailed Checklist and Tips on How to Make Effective Pop-Up Windows

23 Errors People Make When Making Pop-Ups: a Detailed Checklist and Tips on How to Make Effective Pop-Up Windows

We all know that pop-ups don’t have the best reputation. And we admit: we are annoyed by intrusive pop-ups on business websites too!

Nevertheless, common sense and tests on real traffic prove that users positively perceive well-designed pop-ups that appear after an action.

Let’s take a look at common mistakes and make a plan for creating an effective pop-up.

1. It takes a lot of time to load a website because of a third-party service connection

Loading speed affects both behavioral metrics and search engine rankings. If it takes a long time to load the script of the pop-up service, the site’s position in the search results may drop. You also risk the percentage of bounces increasing, and, as a result, the overall conversion of the website will decrease.

What’s best: measure your website loading speed before adding pop-ups using PageSpeed Insights, install the script, and re-measure it again. The less the indicators change, the better.

Test different services to find the best option.

2. A pop-up window appears immediately after entering a website

What’s best: give the user an opportunity to get to know your website better before asking for their email address or phone number. This will increase your conversion to subscriptions by 1-2%.

To choose the optimal time to display your popup, look at the average session duration (time spent on your website) in Google Analytics. Then, set up the display of the pop-up after a third or half of this time. For example, if the duration of a session on your website is 60 seconds, a person will be ready to interact with the pop-up 20-30 seconds after they open the page.

3. The pop-up is not mobile-friendly

Avoid the situation when the exit button for closing the pop-up is not visible in the mobile version, the text is not readable, or the input field is too small to avoid bounces.

What’s best:

  • Look for a service that uses a responsive pop-up layout.
  • If there are two or more fields in your form, place them in a column.
  • Field size — from 30 px, buttons — from 42 px.
  • Check that the text fits on the pop-up when displayed on small screens.

4. Mechanics overlap

Usually, in addition to pop-ups, websites use online chats and notifications: web pushes, consent to the use of cookies, age restrictions, etc. Ideally, if the windows appear at different times, it is acceptable if they are located in different parts of the window.

What’s best:

  • Set up targeting conditions for all notifications based on the behavior or actions of your website visitors.
  • Make sure that the windows do not overlap on desktop or mobile.

5. It’s impossible or difficult to close the window

It’s a gross mistake to set up an invisible or timer-based exit button for closing the pop-up. Don’t try to force users to subscribe to get access to your content, this will destroy any loyalty.

What’s best: the exit button should be visible and large enough for mobile users and accessible from the first second the pop-up appears.

6. The window pops up again after closing

What’s best:

  • If someone interacts with the active elements of the pop-up (filled in info, sent data), turn off the pop-up display for the next website visits of this person.
  • You can set up a re-display after several sessions for visitors who have closed the window by clicking on the exit button.

7. Lack of targeting

Universal pop-ups do not convert well for three reasons:

  • Untimely message: pop-up shown in the first 10-15 seconds on the page, during registration or order.
  • Banner blindness — a person evaluates the attractiveness of a message in a split second. If the pop-up window does not have time to catch their attention with its image or title, a user will close it.
  • Lack of personalization.

What’s best: make a customer journey map to understand which pop-up offers are relevant to users at different stages of interaction with your website.

8. A subscription form pops up for those who have already completed the targeted action

What’s best: exclude the display of pop-ups using UTM tags. If a person came to the website from an email campaign or logged into a personal account, you likely already have their email address and name. Of course, you can collect additional data — phone number, date of birth – but elaborate your targeting conditions in detail so as not to lose loyalty because of intrusive messages.

9. Poor design

The pop-up should stand out from other elements of the web page. However, in pursuit of users’ attention, don’t do the following:

  • Make a colorful, flashy, and, moreover, acidic banner.
  • Add animation: blinking, pulsating, and other visual effects are more likely to scare people away than arouse interest.
  • Attract attention with aggressive sound alerts.
  • Use fonts or pictures that do not correspond to the style of the brand.

What’s best: adapt your pop-up design to the corporate identity of your website and remember: a bright picture only works in conjunction with an interesting message for website visitors.

Although the GDPR regulation works within the EU, in fact, it applies to the entire Internet. To avoid a fine of €10 million and a 2% churn rate, take care of the legality of working with personal data.

What’s best: if you collect phone numbers, email addresses, usernames, and other data, add the following to the pop-up:

  • A link to your privacy policy.
  • Add not a prefilled field indicating that the person agrees with your terms of data processing and/or receiving promotional materials.

Make sure that the form is not submitted without consent to the collection and processing of data, and in the case of email collection, use a two-stage subscription (double opt-in).

11. There are more than three fields in your pop-up

The temptation to collect as much data as possible at one time pushes marketers to create long forms. But instead of providing some valuable information, visitors refuse to give any.

What’s best: one pop-up — one action. Up to three fields are allowed for a subscription form: for example, ask for a name, email, and phone number.

To increase conversion, it is acceptable to make the key field mandatory, and the rest can be filled in at the user’s choice.

12. Fields without placeholders, validation, and a phone number request form

What’s best:

  • In each field add a hint for the field that disappears when being clicked on. For example, “example@gmail.com” in the case of an email request.
  • Validate email according to RFC 2821 standard.
  • In the phone number field, add input masks for all countries from which traffic can presumably come.

13. Generic error messages

Fill-in hints and validation do not prevent errors. If the data is incorrect, avoid using “Error 548” or “Something went wrong” messages — they confuse users.

What’s best:

  • Display the error message beside the field that caused the error.
  • Explain in clear and human language what the system or person did wrong and how to fix it. For example, “Email should not contain Russian letters” if the user entered the email in Cyrillic.

14. Errors clear all of the fields

What’s best: 

  • Two-step validation — immediately validate the data on the client side after a user fills out the form, and then on the server when the form is submitted. This will reduce the error rate.
  • If a mistake is made, make it possible to correct a specific field, keeping the correct information filled in.

15. The offer has no value for your website visitors

Discounts and promotions warm the soul, but it’s not easy for every business to “buy” prospects.

What’s best: as a part of your A/B testing, check the reaction of users to material benefits (discounts) and motivational ones (research results, checklists, guides, selections of tools). Try gamification: add an opportunity to get a secret prize or prediction.

16. The benefit is unclear

People are not ready to waste time to delve into the essence of an incorrectly composed sentence or understand the meaning of words they do not know. The offer should be simple and extremely clear so that the user does not close the pop-up.

What’s best: describe the benefits users will receive in exchange for contact information or a subscription to a chatbot clearly and succinctly. For example, “Subscribe to our Telegram bot to find out about discounts an hour earlier than others.”

17. The offer lacks value

A person appreciates what they have to invest their resources in: time, effort, or attention. For example, lots of users will not even open a checklist that can be downloaded from an open source, but they will click on the link to the file that comes in the inbox after a subscription.

What’s best: share the benefits in exchange for personal data or a subscription. And don’t forget to weed out freeloaders: if it’s possible to get a big discount in exchange for an email address, people will start entering fake emails. To avoid collecting a low-quality database, set up a double opt-in or request a phone number.

18. Lots of text

What’s best: Limit yourself to a headline and one or two sentences that clearly show the essence of the offer.

19. No CTA

If your offer is useful to a user, clearly explain what needs to be done to get it.

What’s best: Make the call-to-action stand out and highlight it with color and differentiate it in size from other visuals in the pop-up. The text should contain short verbs: “Grab my checklist,” not “Checklist download.”

20. No onboarding email

If the pop-up does not lead to a landing or a chatbot, think about what the user sees after completing the targeted action.

What’s best:

  • If you asked for a phone number in exchange for a promo code, remind new subscribers about checking the incoming SMS on the “thank you” page.
  • If you are collecting email addresses, ask to check the inbox and confirm the address.

21. Not collecting statistics on each individual pop-up

The marketer must understand how many chats, subscriptions, and leads each pop-up brings in order to remove ineffective ones and improve those that work.

What’s best: connect services that make it possible to evaluate the effectiveness of pop-ups.

For example, with 13Chatsthe following data is displayed for each new pop-up:

  • Views of the widget.
  • Visitors involved in the chat.
  • Chats.
  • Chatbot subscribers collected by a specific script.

22. The pop-up is made once and used forever

What’s best: implement pop-ups using a plugin or an online service that allows you to change the appearance, calls to action, and targeting conditions without a programmer. We recommend testing hypotheses several times a month, choosing the best solutions, and improving your pop-up conversion rate.

23. The data received using the form must be manually copied to transfer it to your CRM or marketing platform

What’s best: to reduce the amount of routine, use CSV upload or automatic transfer to the mailing service, CRM, and company databases. For example, at 13Chats, we have an integration with SendPulse for marketing automation services.

Some inside information: We have native integrations of 13Chats with AmoCRM and Bitrix24 for those who value automation and end-to-end analytics in development.


Pop-ups are a useful service for lead generation, collecting a base for mailing, increasing website conversion, and receiving feedback. A conversion rate of 1-2% is considered normal, but the correct settings can increase the effectiveness of the pop-up by up to 10-20%.

5 secrets of an effective pop-up:

  1. targeting and technical customization;
  2. catchy visual;
  3. relevant and concise offer;
  4. value for your target audience;
  5. a call to action for the benefit.

We will help you create effective pop-ups and test them together! If you are interested — book a demo and meet our expert for an online walkthrough of our service.

It’s free and doesn’t bind you to anything. 😉

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
Average Rating: 5/5
Total Votes: 29

Read also: