I’m sure everyone with an online presence has a love hate relationship with pop ups. I know I do. For wellness businesses pop ups can have a place and can get results. They can even create a good user experience. 

What are pop-ups

Just to make sure we are on the same page, let’s start by defining pop ups. A pop up is a small window that usually opens covering part of the website. It is usually there to promote something the business is offering. 

Types of pop-ups

There are actually many different types of pop ups so if you have come across some you find annoying, there may still be some out there that would meet your needs. OptinMonster lists 37 different types. I’m just going to summarize with a few different ideas.

I suggest taking a look at their site because not only do they do a really good job of explaing pop ups, but they also use them in several different ways on their site.

To simplify things we’ll look at pop up location and pop up triggers.

Pop-up location

The question is how intrusive do you want your pop up to be. You can use a box that covers much of the screen, the entire screen, just a corner or a bar at the top or bottom. 

The full screen or large box pop ups will definitely get more attention but you have to be careful with how you use them because it can cause users to click away from your site. Bars at the top, bottom or corner can be less intrusive. 


Pop-up triggers

The pop up trigger is one of the most important things to consider. Some options for pop up triggers include a time based trigger, a scroll based trigger or a exit intent trigger. 

Time based trigger

This triggers after the user has been on the page for a certain amount of time, which eliminates the annoying “Sign up for my email list” pop ups that you sometimes see the second you land on a new site.

Scroll based trigger

You can have your pop up appear after someone has scrolled part way down the page. This indicates that they are interested in your content and what you have to say.

Exit intent trigger

This is when a pop up comes up when the user moves the mouse to close the browser tab or move to a different tab. These are effective because they remind the user what they can get if they provide an email address.

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How can you use pop-ups

The most common use of a pop up is to promote a free offer. A simple pop up form used with one of the triggers mentioned above can be an effective use of a pop up. You can also use popups to promote workshops, social sharing, paid products (especially lower cost products),  or if you have a program closing soon, a popup can remind the user that this is happening.

Cookie notification pop ups have become popular since the EU put privacy requirements in place. This is probably one that should be a little unobtrusive if possible. Note that this type of pop up should come up immediately. 

More advanced strategies would include using pop ups for upsells after purchase, abandoned carts and time limited offers.

How to add pop-ups to your website

If you have a wordpress website then you’ll find several different pop up plugins or you can use the integrations provided by your email marketing platform. 

With Wix or Squarespace there are also options for adding pop ups to your site.

What not to do with pop ups

So far I’ve provided some tips on how to effectively use pop ups, but there are also many things that can go wrong. So many ways that a potential client or customer can be turned away by your use of pop ups. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Mobile use of pop-ups.

So many websites don’t work properly on mobile and pop ups is one of the biggest problems.  On mobile popups typically cover a large part of the screen, it not all of it. The little x that is used to close a pop can be hard to find or even impossible to use. Make sure you test your pop ups on mobile, or disable them on mobile. 

Pop-ups that appear too soon

Especially if you are getting page visits from social media, you don’t want pop ups that come up too soon. The visitor is just deciding if they are in the right place and a  pop up comes up. This can be enough to drive the visitor away. 

The advice on how soon a pop up appears varies, but in no case should the pop up appear before the page has loaded. 

Having them come up too often

Most pop up platforms will allow you to set it up so that the pop up will only come up on the first visit to the website. Or maybe they come up again after 30 days. 

Having them come up on every page

Choose the pages that pop ups come up on carefully. You never want a pop up distracting the user on a dedicated sales or landing page. And if the pop up has already appeared on one page, it shouldn’t appear on the next page. 

Pop-ups that are not relevant

Make sure that the pop ups are relevant to the page they are shown on. If you have a blog post about exercise, this would be the best place to promote your new free workout plan, not your sugar free challenge.

Sign up for my email list pop-ups

Like on your website forms and landing pages, it’s better to offer something in exchange for signing up like a checklist, guide or challenge. 


Pop ups can be annoying if they are used in the wrong way, but used in the right way they can be very effective. In this free guide I provide 12 different things you might be doing wrong on your website.

About the Author

As a personal trainer, nutrition coach and virtual assistant I know what it takes to be successful in the wellness industry.

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