Popup Opt-in Forms: Case Studies, WordPress Plugins, and Alternatives

It’s been almost three years since I first wrote about popup opt-in forms on Kikolani. Back then, I was definitely not a fan. The times have changed though. Popup opt-in forms are no longer just for internet marketers and the make money online niche. They are everywhere, from new blogs to some of the most respected blogs in the industry. In this post, I’m going to share my research into popup opt-in forms: who’s using them, case studies, WordPress plugins, and the alternatives for building your mailing list.

Who is Using Popup Opt-In Forms Today

The list of website’s and blogs using popup opt-in forms today include some of the most respected, well-known in the industry. We’re talking blogs and people that make the Technorati Top 100, Adage Power 150, Forbes Social Influencers, and other prestigious lists in the marketing world.

Popup Opt-In Form Case Studies

All of the case studies about popups thus far show positive results. Here are just a few for your reading pleasure.

Popup Opt-In Forms for WordPress

Curious what the above sites are using for their popups opt-in forms? Here are my two favorites (aka, ones I’ve tried).


Pippity is becoming a popular WordPress popup opt-in form plugin. You can see it in the above examples for Convince & Convert, Content Marketing Institute, Duct Tape Marketing, and The Sales Lion. Features for Pippity include:

  • Multiple templates to choose from.
  • Customization of colors, text, and cover images.
  • Targeting popups at the page, post category, specific post, referral URL, and other levels.
  • Specify time before popup appears and number of days until it appears again.
  • Set popup to appear at ends of posts.
  • A/B testing.
  • Analytics.

Pippity supports Aweber, InfusionSoft, OfficeAutopliot/SendPepper, MadMimi, MailChimp, iContact, GetResponse, 1ShoppingCart, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Feedburner, Silverpop, DadaMail, Vertical Response, Interspire, Active Campaign, Email Broadcast, HubSpot, Ymlp, Gravity Forms and Tribulant. Pricing is $49 for one website, $87 for five websites, and $164 for unlimited websites. Each plan has one year support and updates with a 30 day money back guarantee.

Popup Domination

Popup Domination is a popular WordPress popup opt-in form plugin used by many Internet marketers. You can see it in the above examples for Chris Brogan, Pushing Social, and Lewis Howes. Features for Popup Domination include:

  • Multiple templates to choose from.
  • Customization of colors, text, and cover images.
  • Targeting popups at the page and post category level.
  • Specify time before popup appears and time until it appears again.
  • A/B testing.
  • Analytics.

Popup Domination supports Aweber, iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Get Response. You can also enter code from other mailing service providers. Pricing is currently $77 with a 60 day money back guarantee.

More Popup Opt-In Plugins for WordPress

The following are some additional plugins you might want to consider.

  • WP Subscribers – This plugin comes with several opt-in form options including a lightbox popup. It works with Aweber, GetResponse, Mailchimp, Turbo AutoResponder, Google Feedburner, and other mailing list service providers. Pricing is $47 for installation on three WordPress sites or $97 for installation on unlimited WordPress sites with a 60 day money back guarantee.
  • Optin Revolution – Claims to be the best way for you to create unblockable popups to grow your list of subscribers! It works with Aweber, iContact, MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact and Wysija Newsletters. Pricing is $97 for a personal multi-site license with a 30 day money back guarantee. You can also try the free Optin Revolution Lite if you just want basic features without analytics.
  • Action Popup – Looks more like straight up Internet marketing style popups than the fancier lightboxes. It works with any mailing list service code. Pricing is $47 with a 60 day money back guarantee.

You can also refer to your mailing list service for popup optin form code. Some services that provide it include Aweber and Mailchimp (they call it evil though).

Alternatives to Popup Opt-In Forms for WordPress

Still not a fan of popups, but want to increase your mailing list subscribers? Here are some plugins that offer alternative opt-in options.

  • OptinMonster – OptinMonster lets you place opt-in forms in a variety of places on your blog including floating footer bars, slide in sidebars, and soon to be full page covers.
  • OptinSkin – OptinSkin gives you the fancy design options similar to those from Popup Domination, but you can use place them anywhere on your blog instead of just in a popup. It works with Google Feedburner, Aweber, MailChimp, iContact, InfusionSoft, GetResponse, Contact Contact and dozens more. Pricing is $67 with a 60 day money back guarantee.
  • WP Optins – Simple plugin that allows you to create nice squeeze pages without a lot of other options. It works with any mailing list service. Pricing is $17 for unlimited use on your own websites or $27 for unlimited uses on client sites with a 30 day money back guarantee. You can see a quick example squeeze page I created here.
  • Subscribers Magnet – This plugin offers multiple options to place opt-ins including within posts, the sidebar, popups, a checkbox in the comment form (as seen on the comment form here), Facebook, and many other locations. It works with any mailing list service. Pricing is $37 for one site or $97 for unlimited sites with a 60 day money back guarantee.
  • Viper Bar – This free plugin lets you add a opt-in form bar at the top of your WordPress site. It works with any mailing list service.
  • Hellobar – This plugin will allow you to add a bar at the top of your website with an opt-in form or a link to your squeeze page. Pricing is $4.95 per month.
  • Aweber Web Form Widget – This free plugin for Aweber users will allow you to install web forms easily on your blog, including as a checkbox in your comment form.

My Plan

Right now, list building is a priority, so I’m throwing the kitchen sink at it. I’m using Pippity to show a popup on blog posts in specific categories, Subscribers Magnet for the checkbox in my comment form, and am in the process of working on some squeeze pages for other various purposes.

I plan to analyze signups for a month without a free content download, then add in a free download to see the difference. Time permitting, I will publish the results in my own case study. :)

Your Favorite List Building Tools

Now, it’s your turn to voice your opinions about popups and what you use to grow your mailing list! Remember, it’s ok to disagree, but let’s do it in a good conversational way.

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  1. says

    I think the best tool is Hybrid Connect. You get the power of Regular optin forms as OptinSkin and you also get the power of popups all in one plugin + You can add the Facebook button.

    I don’t know why you didn’t mention it, but for me, it’s the best solution to try, even if you’ve a lot of money.

    Thanks for this great post, but you didn’t say, will you use PopUps or no?

  2. says

    Hi Kristi,

    Thanks for the very informative article. It was just what I needed, because I’m about to try to add a popout to my blog. I think I’ll try Pippity :-)

    Thanks once again,
    ~ Frederik Jorgensen ~

    • says

      You’re welcome Frederik! I was using Popup Domination until I found out about the extra settings that Pippity has to offer. Being able to set a popup custom to someone’s referral URL is going to be really, really helpful! :)

  3. says

    It’s not about the technology…it’s all about the tonality and the message.
    Those hard-selling ones which require compulsory actions are annoying, otherwise these dim-the-background pop-up forms are ok to me.

    • says

      That’s why I wanted to share the alternatives. Just because others are using the popups doesn’t mean it’s the only way to go. :)

  4. says

    Great and timely article Kristi, thanks. I’ve always heard that pop-ups are great at dramatically increasing opt-ins, but have refused to use them because I find them annoying. BUT, I’ve been rethinking my position lately, since they seem to be what people expect these days. I own Pippity, and you’ve inspired me to give it a try. I can always take it down, right?!

    Looking forward to hearing about your experience, hope you have time to share!
    Jennifer just posted Why I Bought Jay Baer’s Book (and Why You Should Care)

    • says

      You’re welcome Jennifer! I eased into popups by just adding them to my older posts. But now I’m thinking to spread it on all of them. If you just test it on one category, it kind of gives you a feel for how they will do without unleashing it on the areas that get the most traffic. Of course, when you do put them on areas with the most traffic, you will see the most results.

    • says

      That does look pretty good! I’m actually quite jealous of some of the custom ones like Derek’s on Social Triggers and Amy Porterfield’s.

  5. says

    Yikes. I can’t stand those pop-ups. I always just hit escape. It’s always a shock to me that they convert so well. I think the polite sign-up form at the bottom of your blog post and the subscription checkbox here in your comments page are far more effective–they don’t interrupt me, they aren’t obnoxious, and they’re not inconvenient.

    • says

      I kind of feel like the subtle ones encourage people who love your content to sign up. The people who are most likely to buy your products down the road will be the ones who subscribe to the popup though. Not sure why I think that, but it’s just the feeling I get.

  6. says

    I appreciate your candid assessment and recommendations. I just can’t help it! I absolutely dislike the experience of being hit by a pop-up form on any blog. And, because i have a roving IP, it happens to me all the time. I can’t argue the evidence that pop ups get you more sign ups, but are they really dedicated readers? That’s the most important question in my mind. As always, this is a great resource, but not a direction I will take.
    Sandra Pawula just posted Three Essential Elements of Personal Power

    • says

      I think it depends on what you do with your list after you capture the email that makes the difference. I’ve noticed that since I started using my mailing list to share my main posts each week that I get more traffic, comments, and social engagement. I also notice that for the mailing lists I have signed up to, I tend to visit their posts more often because they hit my inbox vs. the people who I just have in my RSS. So I think it can have a positive affect on your readership if that’s how you use it. :)

  7. says

    Thanks for this extraordinarily thorough look at popups. I’ve thought about looking into them, but you did it all.

    Not a popup, but I am using Gravity Forms in a sidebar signup widget on one of my sites.

    As you say, there was a time when everyone hated pop-up forms. That said, if people say they work – and I know that good ones work on me – then maybe I have to try them.

    But not something like I see on some sites where I won’t even be able to read what the page says because it is covered in a pop-up as soon as I arrive. That is the quick turn-off for me.
    David Bennett just posted Puffins And Razorbills

    • says

      There’s good and bad popup practices. One thing I like about Pippity is it has a setting to where it doesn’t pop up until someone gets to the end of a blog post. This way, it doesn’t hit you the second you open the site, it doesn’t interrupt your reading, and it has given you time to get to know the content.

  8. says

    I think most of us would agree that we are just blind towards the popups and advertisements. Some niches has better conversions but technical niches don’t convert well.

    I myself use footer slider to just slide up a small bar that would allow them to subscribe if they wish to.
    Keral Patel just posted 6 Smart Tips to Blogging That Works

  9. says

    1. Popup opt in forms? I’m not a fan.
    I will talk now with the hat of a normal user. Whenever I land on a blog, I want to read the post first. It is very embarrassing when a popup appears and I constantly reject them. You need to study the blog first to see if you like and trust it. Then, it’s just a matter of time until you will opt in. And when I want to opt in I am not interested about the way the opt in form looks like. I just opt in. So I won’t use popup opt in forms.

    2. Why should I pay a monthly fee for a popup opt in form or even for an opt in form?
    I want it for free. I have Flexsqueeze theme (paid version) and Aweber. I think this is more than enough to create a kind of static popup that will appear anywhere I want and collect subscribers.

    3. Why should I install ANOTHER plugin on my blog? It will make things even harder for me, increasing the loading time. So, if there are free alternatives that do not increase the load time, I won’t use those plugins and popup opt in forms. Ever.

    4. As for those giant sites that reported that it works and “don’t hurt” I will never model my actions according to what they say. Why?
    Because a huge site like Social Media Examiner, Convince and convert etc. is very different from a normal site or blog. The simple fact that the site is huge and very reputable creates special circumstances that are not present on normal sites and blogs.

    5. Experiments
    There is no doubt in my mind that those sites experimented with the popup opt in forms and got beautiful results. However, there is a very important factor that simply distorts the results.
    This factor is “the author of the experiment”.
    When you find out about an experiment online you should ask yourself the following question: “Who is the author of the experiment?”
    Is it a powerful site, internet marketer, entrepreneur or social media expert? Then you must be very careful.
    In most cases the beautiful results came because people knew who is the author of the experiment. They knew it is about Mashable, Neil Patel or Amy Porterfield.
    The only way to find out the real value of a conversion technique is to make a somehow blind experiment. Use a site that nobody knows and an obscure name. You will get REAL results and you will know the real value of a technique.

    Have a nice day
    Silviu just posted Social Media Automation Tools: Is Twitterfeed Good or Bad?

    • says

      Hi Silviu,

      1. That’s why I like Pippity – you can time it to only show up when a visitor reaches the end of the post. You can even time it to wait after visitors see a few pages so they will be familiar with you and your content before being approached.

      2. Most of the prices are one-time, with exception to HelloBar. You can use HelloBar for free, but the best features are in the monthly plan. If you have other things like FlexSqueeze, you’re probably fine if you can drive traffic to those squeeze pages.

      3. All plugins increase load time. Some just on the admin end, but anything that runs for visitors will increase load time for them with exception to WP Super Cache and other caching plugins.

      4. One of the case studies is from Dan Zarrella. Traffic wise, his site is no where near Social Media Examiner or Convince & Convert. But he is well respected in the online marketing industry. So maybe it has nothing to do with huge so much as building yourself as an authority as to how your popup is received?

      5. The only way to get a real result that matters to you is to experiment with it yourself. I will have different results from Amy Porterfield, and someone just getting started in the blogging world will have different results from me. :)

      Thanks for leaving such a detailed comment! :)

  10. says

    Hello Kristi,
    I’m agree with you, most of the E-commerce portal is also using Pop-up form to maintain data base for sales team by which they follow up their clients and getting much better response in terms of ROI. :)

    • says

      Optin Revolution Lite is a free version of Optin Revolution. It just gives you the popup ability without the extra functionality like analytics. :)

  11. says

    This was an awesome case study and demonstrations of almost all popup plugins.

    My favorite ones are popup domination and subscribers magnet. I am using subscribers magnet from last 2 months on my site (actually I haven’t start using popup feature till now) and this have increase my subscribers at very good level.

    I am excited to imagine that what it will do when I will enable popup.. ha ha !! Just awesome..

    You did great job to compile all great plugin in one article.

    Bravo for your work Kristi.
    Kulwant just posted How To Find Guest Posts For Your Blog ‘Absolutely Free’

  12. says

    Great post Kristi! And this has come up at the right time since I was looking forward to setting up an opt-in form. I did like the way Neil Patel uses it and few others too where the form only comes up after you’ve spent some time on the site.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Malhar Barai just posted Top 5 Post on New Google+ – Week #21

  13. says

    In the past, I’ve also thrown “the kitchen sink” at list building — with varied results. I’ve used Pippity (worked for awhile but then something went wonky with my site); Opt-in Skin (didn’t really see a difference) as well as a few others you’ve mentioned. I’ve decided that while pop-ups may in fact garner more subscribers, I’m much happier NOT going along with the crowd. Instead, I’m using the WP Scroll Triggered box — it slides up from the right bottom corner when someone gets to the bottom of a post. And I see about a third of my subscribers come from this plugin. The rest comes via a dedicated landing page that I link to from my nav bar and a widget on the home page and side bar (respectively).
    Tea Silvestre just posted What I Wish I’d Known Then…

  14. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I think we all have sort of a love/hate relationship with popups. But I do think a lot of it is timing. When I’m trying to read a blog post and a pop up pops in right as I’m trying to read, or even before I get a chance to start reading, that can be annoying and I always just close the pop-up. I at least want to read the post or find out about the blogger before I consider signing up.

    You’ve got some great info here Kristi and I’ll be looking closer at some of these tools.

    Liz :-)
    liz just posted How We Use Keywords for Writing Copy Is Changing – What To Do

    • says

      Thanks for your feedback Liz. I think that’s the consensus – no one likes to be interrupted while reading a post or hit as soon as they get to a website with a popup. :)

  15. says

    Other sites use them and plugins exist for them — but why do YOU, Kristi, like pop ups so much? I hate them. When I see them, I click the x. You explained you used to hate them but then went into a whirlwind of today without explaining why you are changing your mind. Is it only to increase email subscribers, or something more?

    P.S. How come my comment is all greyed out and in tiny font when typing?
    Ari Herzog just posted Why Flickr Lost Me as a Pro

    • says

      It’s pretty obvious they work or people wouldn’t bother with something that could lower their conversion rates elsewhere. I wasn’t convinced back in the day when it was just the hard core Internet / affiliate marketers who were using them, but now that the more respected sites are, it just shows they are worth it for some businesses. Especially for those who are selling products (ebooks, courses, etc.).

      This post came about because I mentioned popups as one method of lead generation on a post at Social Media Examiner. Of course, the rest of the points were ignored by most because everyone was honing in on popups. So I wanted to expand upon why they are a good option if you are growing a mailing list.

      I’ve also been testing them on some of my older archive posts. While those posts don’t get a lot of traffic, I never saw mailing list signups from the little bit of traffic they did receive. With the popup, they are starting to convert. So I’m going to test them without a free offer (like I have them now) and with a free offer to see the ratio of signups, complaints, and bounce rate changes.

      Sorry about the font on the comment boxes. I just adjusted it in the CSS. Hopefully it will look better when you come back to comment again. :)

  16. says

    Good post, we use Subscribers Magnet for our optin needs and couldn’t be happier.

    Hope you post your results, would be interesting to see your results with the Free download vs. no download.

    Thanks again!
    Stephen Malan just posted TweetAdder 4.0 Update

  17. says

    Great article.

    It’s interesting how people respond so passionately about this topic. Some people absolutely loathe popups. Some people love them.

    It’s one of those topics where people are willing to ignore the data simply because of the annoyance factor.

    I do notice a lot of websites need to make better use of cookies with their popups because it is annoying to visit a site and constantly get a popup even when you’re already on their list.

    Oh well. C’est la vie.

    Jeff just posted Best Web Hosting – The Truth About Web Hosting Reviews

    • says

      That’s one of the tough things about the cookies and popups – it’s hard to set something that says someone is a part of your mailing list. That’s one nice part about Pippity – you can set the popups to show up based on specific referrers. So let’s say you just want popups to show to people who are coming from Google search – you can set up your popups to just work for them and hide from everyone else. It would be nice if you could set a permanent cookie for those that submit the opt-in form, but so far I don’t know of any plugin that will do that. Maybe one of them will develop an “I’m already subscribed” button and make a permanent cookie off of that. :)
      Kristi Hines just posted Popup Opt-in Forms: Case Studies, WordPress Plugins, and Alternatives

    • says

      You’re welcome Ian! Glad you agree with that point – his comment made me realize that I feel one way towards popups from people who are well known experts in their niche and completely differently towards popups from people I’ve never heard of or consider somewhat “shady” marketers. So maybe it’s not about the popup, but the reputation behind it regardless of audience size. I hope that you see good results with your trial! :)
      Kristi Hines just posted Popup Opt-in Forms: Case Studies, WordPress Plugins, and Alternatives

  18. says


    Personally, I’ve used popups for long time, had several complains, even though that wasn’t a big deal, I felt enough popups.

    Since I switched from popups to sliding forms, I am getting same results (if not better), and with zero complains so far.

    It would be interesting to read your case study!
    Hesham Zebida just posted Introducing the WordPress Reviews Plugin

  19. says

    Subscribers Magnet is a scam. Do yourself a favor and try the totally free services out there.

    Anyone who continues to post about Subscribers Magnet is probably in on the scam, too.
    You see, you can make a lot of money as an SB affiliate. They pay a huge commission. That’s why there are so many blog posts about them.
    It’s really sad.

    I had the subscriber form on my blog for about a week.
    In addition to being ugly (like straight out of 1999), it dramatically increased my server load time. That’s the sort of thing that’ll bring down your site with only a moderate spike in traffic.

    I tried to cancel before my trial ended, but I wasn’t able to. Instead I was charged the entire fee, despite having removed the plugin. I’ve contacted the company, MaxBlog Press several times, and received no response.

    As far as increasing the number of subscribers, yes, it made it much easier for spambots to subscribe to my site. Great.
    Since I’ve switched to MailChimp’s free service, I’ve had an easier time separating the real people from the bots, thanks to their verification process.

    So just don’t use Subscribers Magnet.

    • says

      I use that plugin for the checkbox in my comment form. I could probably use the free Aweber plugin, but Subscribers Magnet has some more customization options. Plus, if you don’t use Aweber, you would need another plugin for that functionality. I don’t use any of the forms though – I prefer the ones that come with my theme.

      That’s terrible about the customer service though. Have you gotten your refund since? I know one of the people with MBP – I might send them this way to your comment.
      Kristi Hines just posted Popup Opt-in Forms: Case Studies, WordPress Plugins, and Alternatives

      • says

        It’s true that juggling all the newsletter services and plugins can be a daunting task! I’m pretty happy with the opt-in form and subscription verification the MailChimp provides. Of course their service is only free up to a point.

        Thanks for the help!

        I haven’t yet heard back from Max Blog Press. Unless you count all the spam e-mails they’ve sent asking for testimonials and shilling their affiliate programs.

        Grrr. So frustrating.

        • says

          Hi Melissa,

          I’m Sanjay – Customer Support & Relationship Executive from MaxBlogPress. I’m petrified upon seeing your view regarding your experience with our company. You seemed to have some misconception. Your perception and the reality is as different as chalk and cheese.
          So allow me to clarify it…

          “MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet is a scam?” That’s the first time we’re hearing and that’s definitely Shocking! We know we can’t make everyone happy, but you seem to be on a different league.
          You can fool somebody every time, you may fool everybody sometime, but no one can fool everybody all the time. Hundreds of thousands bloggers are using and promoting it owing to our better support & services. I suppose, calling them all fraud will be just like asking a silly question and getting a silly answer.

          We’ve been on the web for more than 5 years – developing wordpress plugins and helping bloggers. That explains that we are not some sort of hit and run company with short term goals. We believe in having a long lasting relationship with our users with long term view.

          Second, Subscribers Magnet is on the web for more than 3 years. So calling us scam is just becoming unable to separate the sheep from the goats.

          As we all know that MBP Subscribers Magnet is one of the worthwhile wordpress plugin in its class developed my MaxBlogPress; which is serving the WordPress community for more than 3 years. We openly condemn the hypothetical sayings what you thought and wrote down in haste. We don’t pay commissions to anyone to publish our blog post. Rather we pay 55% commission to our Affiliates and I don’t see there is anything wrong to provide affiliate commission. Is there?

          And one more thing, If it’s a scam – why would pro bloggers use and promote it? “Think about it !”

          Regarding the cancellation request…

          We’ve clearly mentioned in the sales page and in every step during the purchase that if you’re not satisfied with the product, you’ve to cancel the subscription within 14 days of your purchase or else you will be automatically billed. I hope you read that.

          You asked for the cancellation request and got billed entire fee. That’s right! Why?
          Because you asked for the cancellation request after 17 days of your purchase !.
          “14 days is the deadline to cancel the subscription”. So you got automatically billed entire fee. But it doesn’t mean that if you’re not satisfied with the product, you have to keep it. We’ve got 60 days money back guarantee. That means even after 14 days trial period, if somehow you’re not happy with the product (within 60 days from the purchase date), we will refund all your money back.

          Well, not everyone is perfect. And I agree that we’re little late to response your support ticket. But it’s not our intention. It slipped through the cracks.

          Btw we’ve already refunded your money.

          Thank you for being our customer even just for few weeks :)

          With best regards,

          Sanjay Chhetri,

          • says

            I looked for instructions on how to cancel my service. I never found them.

            Then I asked MaxBlogPress Support for the cancellation. 3 days *before* the trial period ended, not 3 days after.

            That very simple request got nothing but an auto-response.

            I made repeated attempts to get help through MaxBlogPress, but no one assisted me.

            That is until I posted a comment here and Kristi graciously helped me out.

            So yes, any company that publicizes a trial period, but makes it near-impossible to cancel is a scam.

            And to answer your question regarding why so many pro-bloggers promote it: As I said in my original comment, MaxBlogPress pays out a large commission. Money talks.

            However I certainly don’t mean to lump Kristi in with that group! Of the several bloggers I contacted, she was the only one that helped me. So kudos to Kristi!

  20. says

    Very interesting. Yes they’ve clearly grown in popularity, but I still would have thought a standard opt-in form had higher conversions than a pop-up opt-in form…because once you close the pop-up it’s gone. But a standard form coded into the website is in front of visitors the entire time, enticing them for much longer. It must be the urgency factor of the pop-up that gets more opt-ins (act now or forever hold your peace.) I’m going to have to try them out now. Thanks for the eye-opener Kristi!
    Christopher just posted How to make money selling on eBay

  21. says

    I’m familiar with the stats on pop up forms, but honestly, that doesn’t make me hate them any less. When I visit a site and 2 seconds after I’ve landed a pop up appears I immediately click on the x to close it. If I happen to spend any time on the site and the form keeps appearing – I leave and won’t return. That said, I have Pippity Pro on my site, though it’s inactive at the moment. I ran quite a few tests and still found I got more conversions elsewhere – #2/the sidebar optin and by far the #1 converter is the link I have at the bottom of each article to my subscribe page. That’s just me. :-)
    marquita herald just posted Values: What You Do Even When Nobody’s Looking

  22. says

    I’m not a fan of popup optins. But, I am not my client either. However, I am an avid iPad user and am delighted to see so many alternatives listed here that are more subtle and that don’t cover up the whole tablet screen and are a pain to cancel, or jerk me out of reading the content. Thanks for the excellent research, and to all who commented. I look forward to your follow up of how it’s working for you, especially the difference in using a giveaway. I’m going to try one of the more subtle ones and see what happens.
    MaAnna just posted Tips Tuesday – Event Plugins and Penguin Updates

  23. says

    I too belong to the hate, hate popups and have never, ever signed up for anything via a popup. I find them just too annoying and something I have to X out regardless of where it is on a page. Most of my clients and myself get better results that lead to real paying clients (not just growing list) having a signup in a box at end of post and/or in a sidebar. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, reading the various viewpoints. In the end, do what works best for you, your niche and the type of readers you get. :)
    Cyndi Papia just posted Merchant Account Services for Small Business

  24. says

    Really Popups are everywhere and they seem to provide good results but given that I don’t like them very much I haven’t yet implemented them on my website.

    I would rather use a bar but I don’t know which is the best one between HelloBar and ViperBar. The only problem is that since I’m using the Jetpack subscription option there is no way to customize anything. Clearly though this means that only those really interested subscribe to my blog as I don’t offer free thigns for it.

    Very interesting and detailed article Kristi.
    Andrea Hypno just posted Be an Influencer: Is it What you Really Want?

  25. says

    Hi Kristi, pop-ups are without a doubt ANNOYING!

    I’m just just beginning to read the post – and WHAM – there’s that darn pop staring me square in the eyes. :)

    I’ve used Pop Up Domination. At first, my subscriber rate did decline, but once I played with the offer, headline, and graphic it slowly increased.

    What I takeaway from your article is that it’s not about the quantity of subscribers, but the quality.

    In other words… most of the people who get annoyed probably aren’t going to subscribe anyway, AND those who do are probably seriously interested in what you have to offer.
    Glen just posted How to Be Productive

  26. says

    Hi Kristi,
    I used to be skeptical about using pop ups because lots of people used to complain about it but I think that Era is gone.
    These days lots of blogs and websites out there are using pop ups and they have been getting great result and so I thought there is nothing bad if I give it a try.
    So I installed a Facebook Fanpage pop up plugin on my blog and believe me my Facebook Fanpage likes grew by over 100%. I now have more fans within a short period of time.
    Personally, I will say pop ups are good, but they should be delayed for atleast 2 minutes before they pop out.
    I use hybrid connect plugin for my list building and the plugin is quite good and it has a slide out feature. ..
    Joseph Adediji just posted How to Instantly Convert a New Visitor into a Subscriber

  27. says

    Hey Kristi,

    I came here thinking about getting a pop up opt in form but your post made me think otherwise. What do you think about a pop up opt in form that doesn’t pop up again after you’ve subscribed once?

    These new pop ups are annoying. I’ve never been able to understand the success some people report from these pop over email opt in forms. Nothing puts me off a site quicker than something like that, if I want to subscribe I will, so for that reason I’ve never been near them.
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  28. says

    This is a great post and I’ll be sharing with my business buds on FB for sure. But despite all the evidence I’m still on the “no popups” side of the argument. Why? Because they are effective but they annoy people. My goal is to have people like me and WANT to hear from me. I’m working on what will be (fingers crossed) a killer incentive. After that? Eh….we’ll see. I think the core issue is that there are many techniques (telesales, bait and switch sale tactics, popups) that work like gangbusters but are fundamentally annoying. So while I don’t judge anybody else for using these techniques, I want to steer clear 😛
    Alexis just posted Eat Play Sleep Fail

  29. says

    I go back and forth on these pop-ups. I have never once opted into one that popped up in front of me I know that. I doubt anyone does when it’s their first visit to a site. Maybe the 2nd or 3rd time.

  30. says

    Hey Kristi,
    These great blogs and more use pop ups though some bloggers still think it’s a way of interrupting user experience and could lead to high bounce rate. When I got it on my blog, there was an increase in list signups.

    I love what you mentioned about pippity. It will be good thing to delay the popup and call it on specific categories in a way that does not piss the readers off.

    Happy weekend
    Enstine Muki just posted Adsense Revenue Increase ~ How I double CTR with no traffic change!

  31. says


    Great post. I use Pop Up Domination, but will check out some of the others you have suggested now.

    Out of interest, which plugin do you use for your subscriber box in your right widget are and under your post? And do those ones integrate with Infusionsoft? I quite like the design of them.

    Loren just posted Twitter For Business – A Complete Tweetorial

  32. says

    Thx Kristi! What a fantastic list! We’ve looked at some of the opt-in we found by just searching the WP plugin database and didn’t find what we wanted.

    We are VERY happy to see this list!!

  33. says

    Hi Kristi,
    Not at all a fan of pop ups, however I do use Hello Bar as it’s an extra opportunity to capture my readers details or tell them about a new tool I’m currently using.

    I believe that my content is good quality and worth reading and would prefer my readers take in the content with little or no distractions. A solid call to action and / or a clear precise optin on the side bar should be enough to gain your clients emails without adding extra pressure of a pop up.

    If you engage positively with your reader I see no reason to beg for their name and email…. pop ups are simply a form of begging online.

    P.S. I subscribed to your updates Kristi and didn’t need a pop up to encourage me. lol
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  34. says

    Hey Kristi,

    Well, I really hate popups because it literally distracts me or my vision to be exact. I really thought of it as a mere decoration which fails to amuse someone like me. But then again, it’s an effective way to boost one site. I may opt to use popups in the future..but until I’m still annoyed with it, it’s a less of a possibility. Thanks for sharing this information Kristi.
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  35. says

    Thank you for great analysis and review of the top plugins, but I personally would use only alternatives to popup opt-in forms -as I really hate pop-us, as I think most visitors do and plus with pop-up, there’s a risk of increasing your bounce rate -because if people don;t like your pop-up, or just hate such windows, they can close the site without even looking on it. And it can hurt your traffic and Google rankings. SO, I would suggest using other opt-in forms that do no prevent visitors from reading the content they were looking for
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  36. says


    THANKS for this informative article. I “usedta” not be a fan as well, but have been swinging over to the side of wanting to again use a popup. This post confirms what I’ve been suspecting of late… it just doesn’t hurt anymore to use them.

    One question, and I don’t mean to seem indelicate: do you get an affiliate commish for any of the above services? If so, I would love to get my popup thru YOUR link in order to repay you in some small way for the info and inspiration I’ve gotten here…

    Looking at a lot but Pippity seems like my fave, and not just because you are using it. You know my site… do you have any other sage observations/recommendations for me?

    Thanks Kristi. Keep Stepping,


  37. says

    I’ve slowly become a fan of optin popups. I originally found them to be quite annoying but now that I’ve incorporated them into my own marketing, I’ve found that they’re quite powerful.
    Susan just posted How To Draw With A Tablet

  38. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I have always wondered why you don’t use popups. I’d really like to see your popup in action. If possible, kindly give me a link to one of your pages where I can view it.

    I personally use AffiloTheme which come with its own popup generator. It works great but I’d like to try out some of the ones you’ve mentioned soon.

    Quick one, which one does Neil Patel use in QuickSprout?

    Walter just posted How I Survived a Computer Crash Last Week

  39. says

    What about pop-ups on exit? I feel that when someone has finished reading your article, they might be ready to subscribe. Also, they are in the process of navigating, so a pop-up might be less annoying.

    Do you know whether people have any success applying pop-ups to inviting visitors to become facebook fans / twitter followers?
    Steve Morris just posted Panasonic Viera TX-P42X60B review at S21 (3 stars)

    • says

      From what I’ve read, those popups do well too. But at the same time, I feel like they are similar to a salesperson trying to grab you as you exit a store. Maybe it works though.

      One of the other commenters mentioned that they had good results with the Facebook become a fan popup on their site. I think one of these plugins has options to put your social following buttons on the popup as well. :)
      Kristi Hines just posted 10 Ways Strengthen Your Twitter Community with Commun.it

    • says

      Yes, Steve!
      You are right. They work great on exit…

      When you come to think of it, it makes perfect sense, just like you said…

      a) Visitor finished reading content, likes it is willing to subscribe
      b) Visitor finished or partially read content, tries to leave, but gets some sort of exit offer/reminder/etc.. when they were already in click mood… a bit annoying, but much less than getting the popup when landing, first.

      However, repeated tests are showing that WE may not like them, but THEY perform!

      Like anything else in marketing, it is a matter of testing (too many variables at play to be able to ‘predict’ accurately what the general sentiment would be, otherwise)

      Steve ✉ Master eMailSmith ✉ Lorenzo # Chief Editor #
      eMail Tips Daily Newsletter ✉ http://eMailTipsDaily.com
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  40. says

    I am all for pop-ups, Kristi; I’ve learned to ignore them on other blogs when I need to and they do wonders for conversions.

    I love it how you included dates with the additional resources; interesting to see that some 4 years later, we are still talking about the issue. lol

    And thanks a bunch for adding Traffic Generation Café pop-up to the post!
    Ana just posted Increase Website Traffic: The Ultimate Blueprint to More Profitable Web Traffic

  41. says

    A lot of people are annoyed by a pop up box. However I don’t mind them. As long as they are well organized and if they don’t use flash. I really like Pop Up Domination aswell because it is real easy to use and it’s real clearly for website visitors.
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  42. says

    Thanks Kristi for the great summary article on popups – certainly the most complete I have seen anywhere! Do you know if many / any of these services have the ability to target visitors based on them “leaving” or “closing” the browser?

  43. says

    These popup subscription forms are the powerful way to earn subscribers, I must say we should invest in these kinds of forms if we want to build our list in speed, otherwise your list will grow slowly, which is equal to nothing..

    I am using subscriber magnet on my blog and I have developed a code for my website because I cant use plugin there, but both are working perfectly for me.
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  44. says

    Hi Kristi,
    Unfortunately, I am still receiving popup of all varieties, it’s irritating and distracting when I read an article and it comes up new all the time. I usually leave the page and might not come back more.

  45. says

    Hey Kristi,

    What a large and informative resource on list building from you!

    I am not a fan of pop-ups, and never will be. I have always joined and liked subscriber boxes that have been added right to the website, via the sidebar or content.

    There is so much to learn from this article and I want to thank you for your hard work all the time! :)

    Samuel from internetdreams.com

  46. says

    How do you read and research so much. I have seen your Photography portfolio and it is rare combination of genius and beauty. Thanks for such a detailed write-up on pop up opt in forms though I am not a fan of them , The alternates you have given will be very handy

  47. says

    I’m just about to put ViperBar on my site, after reading a few positive reviews. I’ll most likely compare the results to a popup afterwards. Hopefully I might be able to convince myself that they aren’t evil!
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  48. says

    Wow…!!! it’s an awesome resource for popup option forms. I am exactly looking for this because I wanted to build a custom popup for subscribing to my mailing list.

    Some months ago, I heard that mailing list has great importance on a blog promotion. So, thanks a lot for a deep analyzed post on these.

    Finally I am able to make a form through Action Popup plugin for WordPress.
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