What are Popups, Popunders, and Popovers?
Popups, popunders, and popovers are small windows that are generated by a web page when it is opened or closed. They are typically used to encourage visitors to return to the site, to join an email list, or to look at a special offer.
Popups, you're probably already aware, "pop up" on top of the web page you are viewing. Popups make the web surfing experience so unpleasant that a huge host of products were invented to keep them off our screens.
Popunder ads are displayed in a separate browser (similar to popup marketing),) but popunders are actually behind the main page. You see it when you exit. Popunders are meant to be a more polite variation of a popup. Because they are less intrusive, users may be a little less quick to the exit button. Pay per view advertising is often done using popups or pop-unders that users have voluntarily allowed to display, though they didn't necessarily know they were allowing it when they ordered that free game or downloaded that free toolbar. Popunders, like popups, can be blocked with blocking software.
Popovers are not the yummy bread you take out of the oven and gobble up before they can cool. No, popovers in this context are a form of popup but they differ in that they are opened as part of the web page you are viewing, rather than in a different window. This means that popup blockers don't typically work to get rid of them. Popovers are becoming the preferred method for some internet marketers to get visitor's attention. They can be just as intrusive as popups but users usually can't block them. To get rid of it the visitor has to manually close the box. However, many creators of popovers do put in controls that can limit when and how often the popover pops over. Popup Domination is one of the more popular programs available to help you create popovers (even though it's called "Popup" Domination).
Popup Domination and other programs designed to help you put a popup, popunder, or popover on your website or blog can be used to sell a product or service. But, more and more, they are being used by internet marketers to encourage visitors to opt into an email list. Some marketers or bloggers then send out a periodic newsletter to their email list with tips or other helpful information. On the other end of the spectrum, you have marketers who will email you every day (sometimes more), always telling you what great product you need to buy today. And still others, somewhere in between those extremes, will email people on their list with both helpful tips and occasional product suggestions.
Are popups, popunders, or popovers a good idea?
There is quite a strong debate over that question. Many people claim using them will cause a huge percentage of people to buy your product or sign up for your newsletter. They reason that if it works, just do it. Others claim that such tactics provide short-term benefits, at best. While some may respond to the popup, popunder, or popover, most will close the window as quickly as possible because it distracts them from looking at what they are really interested in seeing: your website. Because this results in a poorer web-browsing experience, some will go elsewhere to find what they wanted in the first place. Opponents of these tools point out that sites that offer real value don't need these tactics to retain loyal visitors. Look around at sites you value. Do they use popups, popunders, or popovers?
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I don't intend to use popups myself. I find all these devices annoying, so I won't add them to my sites to annoy you. If you're glad I made this choice, you can say thank you for signing up for my email newsletter or passing my blog along to your friends.
While I don't intend to use popups, I'm not so sure it's bad or wrong to ask people to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for some benefit they will receive. How loudly we ask will vary from blog to blog the same way it varies in life from person to person. I really think it's okay to let visitors know that you'd like to continue to communicate with them and ask them to sign up, click here, or go there. Ultimately, you'll need to decide for yourself, but please consider your visitor and not just yourself when making your decision.