Pop Up Forms: How to set them up to be effective

Let’s get something out of the way right now. Yes, the elephant in the room…

Do they work? Are they worth the trouble?

I didn’t use them for a long time, until I did. I’m going to answer the question with a simple chart. Here it is:

Popup form performance

Do we need to continue having this conversation? Or should we move on to how they work?

In this lesson, we don’t talk about the actual offer, we already did that in a previous lesson.

Instead, we cover how to set up a popup form to accomplish 2 things:

  • You want it to be very effective and get a high conversion rate
  • You don’t want to upset your visitors

The difference between regular signup forms like the sidebar or the bottom of the post and the popup form is that you can control how the pop up behaves on your site.

You have to pay close attention to 2 things:

  • Behavior: When/where/why is your form triggered
  • Frequency: And how often do you want people to see it

No matter which plugin or tool you decide to use, you need to make sure you have the option to control those 2 things.


The most common triggers for a popup are:

  • Time after the page loaded
  • Scrolling

But some plugins also have options like:

  • Exit intent
  • Inactivity
  • Clicking on a specific item
  • Include/exclude specific pages, posts, categories, etc.

Tips to consider when setting up behavior:

  • Do not display immediately or too soon, let people experience your site for a little bit before you throw a form on their faces
  • Consider the average time per visit on your site so you’re not trying to trigger too late either
  • Consider the average read per post on your site so you’re not trying to trigger too late (SumoMe “Content Analytics” can help you figure this out)


Frequency is simply how often you want people to see the form. This is controlled by a cookie placed on your visitor and you get to decide when that person should see the popup again.

If you set the cookie to last for 15 days, this person will not see the popoup until day 16.

Epic fail

Failure to configure these setting could result in triggering the popup every single visit, or on every single page, even during the same session.

That can upset some people.

Now they’re thinking how to get that annoying thing out of the way rather than what you have to offer…

List of Popup Form plugins


Install your first popup form.

If you want to start with something very simple try SumoMe, the only thing you need to set up is how many seconds after the page loads. It’s a good place to start and it’s free.

Now, if you’re ready to get a bit more sophisticated and aim to get better results, my strong recommendation today is Bloom. For $89 you get access to all their themes and very powerful plugins.

  1. Decide which tool to use
  2. Install it and connect your email service provider
  3. Design your offer (Remember the anatomy of the perfect signup form)
  4. Set up behavior
  5. Set up frequency
  6. Go live

Once you’ve set up your popup, I want you to come back and share a link in the comments below so I can see it and maybe give you some pointers.

  • I added a new service to the list above, it’s called Sleeknote, and it offers all kinds of signup forms (not just popups), but the main thing is that it works with all kinds of platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Prestashop, Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Volusion, Joomla. It’s not just a WordPress plugin.

    It’s not free, but it’s worth checking out. 😉

  • Charly Suter

    Francisco, do you know any popup tool which can show the popup, when the courser gets out of the page? I believe it could make sense for a blog or newssite, to show the popup at the moment when the user navigates the courser out of the site (to type in a new url, close browser …) and then show him the popup. What do you think and do you know any such tool?