Does your website use pop-ups? Really?



You're scrolling through your Twitter feed. You're intrigued by a headline. You click and get redirected to the website. You get about two words into the content and suddenly the screen is overtaken by an annoying pop-up. 

"Download our free e-book!" "Learn how to get more leads!" "Register for our conference!" 

To many, a website pop-up can be as irritating as a door-to-door salesman and a telemarketing call during dinner happening at the same time. It's jarring. It's obtrusive. And after you've convinced me to click on your link, it's like a broken promise. 

Not only are pop-ups annoying, but they may actually turn consumers off of the offending company's brand. TripAdvisor recently announced via news release that it would abandon pop-ups and give their customers the respect they deserve. CEO and co-founder Steve Kaufer explained the decision: "Our bad," he said in the release. "We want to help travelers plan and have the perfect trip, not drive them crazy with endless annoying pop-ups before they've booked it. We are excited to offer real-time hotel prices and availability in one convenient display." 

But it's not just the usual suspects (gambling sites, retail chains, travel sites) employing the irritating website pop-up. There are a surprising number of well-known communicators and self-described 'content marketing experts' who use pop-ups on their sites.

We're supposed to be living in an era of 'pull' marketing, where the best content rises to the tops and gets shared based on quality. It makes you wonder when the so-called experts of modern content marketing are using this contemporary version of the dinnertime telemarketing call to shove their message in your face. 

So you wrote an ebook? Good for you!

You have a conference coming up in Orlando? Congratulations!

Convert your audience through the quality of your book or the value they'll receive at your conference. Engage them by email. Spend a few dollars and buy an ad. But don't reward a new visitor's first trip to your site or blog with an annoying pop-up.

If your content is good enough, it should be able to speak for itself. Pop-ups are a 2003 tactic in a 2013 world. It's disrespectful to your community. And it's a surefire way to get me to end my visit to your site.