Popups are a tried-and-true way to turn your WordPress site visitors into mailing list subscribers.
In order to create email popup campaigns that help you grow your list, you’ll need to invest in a solid, reliable WordPress popup plugin.
And, while there are many reliable solutions available on the market, they’re not all created equal: Each comes with their own strengths and weaknesses that make them a viable option for some — and a rather poor solution for others.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five of the most popular WordPress popup plugins available, digging into the key things that make each tool stand out from the competition. Our list of the best WordPress popup plugins includes the following (click on any of the links to skip right to the review):
For those readers with a little more time and looking to know how to choose the best WordPress popup plugin, take a look at our discussion below which will discuss the key factors to consider when choosing the popup plugin that’s best for your business.
6 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a WordPress Popup Plugin
At first glance, choosing the right WordPress popup plugin might seem like a pretty simple task.
The truth is, though, the nuanced differences between each solution on the market are pretty significant — and can effectively be the cause of your campaigns’ successes or failures.
(In other words, just choosing any ol’ popup solution isn’t going to be good for business.)
That being the case, let’s now look at the six` key things to think about when choosing a WordPress popup plugin.
Pricing Model and Overall Costs
When it comes to business and pricing models, WordPress popup plugins typically fall into one of three categories:
- Freemium, in which a basic version of the tool is offered for free, with an unrestricted version being offered for a licensing fee
- Premium, where there is no free version of the software — just the paid version, again accessed by purchasing a software license
- SaaS, or software-as-a-service, in which the provider allows access to the software and the team’s services in exchange for a monthly fee
Now, the actual licensing or subscription fees are just the prices of these solutions.
But they aren’t the only costs associated with your popup tool of choice.
For those going the freemium/premium route, you’ll likely end up installing a number of add-ons to your popup plugin software. While these add-ons can supercharge your ability to create effective popup campaigns, they do come at a price.
For example, Popup Maker’s MailChimp add-on costs at least $25 extra per year — and the cost increases with every site your business uses popups on.
Unfortunately, you can easily end up splurging on way more add-ons than you really need — which will cut into the ROI of your popup campaigns moving forward.
Similarly, if your team is ill-equipped to use your chosen popup plugin to its highest capacity, you’ll essentially be overspending on resources you can’t even take advantage of. In this case, a simpler solution would cut down on your costs and make your team more efficient.
The point here is, while you do want to find the WordPress popup plugin that best suits your needs, you don’t want to end up spending too much to actually use it. Whether we’re talking money lost on additional apps and integrations, or time lost getting your campaigns up and running costs can easily pile up.
If money is an issue — or if it could potentially become an issue in the future — the SaaS option may be your best bet. With SaaS popup plugins, you’ll pay a monthly fee in exchange for an agreed-upon tier of service. As your business grows and needs evolve, you can increase your subscription as necessary.
Still, when choosing a tier of service, you run the risk of overspending on features you may not need at the moment. So, you’ll need to weigh your SaaS options against your premium choices accordingly.
Finding the most cost-effective option for your team, though — and having a plan for how you’ll be investing in your solution — will allow you to maximize the impact these campaigns have on your bottom line.
Most WordPress popup plugins integrate with the many other tools in your tech stack…
…but that’s not for certain.
Unfortunately, a disconnect between these tools can cause disruptions, redundancies, and other hang-ups that may be more trouble than they’re worth. At the very least, you’ll need to manually ensure this data stays up-to-date at all times — an ongoing task that will take your team away from more important processes.
With the proper integrations in place, though, you’ll be able to automate and otherwise streamline the transfer of data between tools and channels.
Above all others, there are three key integrations your popup solution should offer.
First, the tool must integrate with your email marketing solution (and any related tools). This will allow your new leads’ contact information to be pushed from your popup tool to your mailing list automatically — ensuring no email addresses get lost in the process.
You also need to be sure your popup tool connects to your CRM and other customer-related databases. This will automatically create new customer profiles for first-timers, and will also update any current profiles that match the contact info provided on the popup form.
Your analytics tools should also integrate seamlessly with your popup solution, as this will allow campaign performance data to stay synchronized throughout your tech stack.
In addition to these key integrations, you typically want to ensure the popup tool you choose works with Zapier, as well. With this integration in place, you can be almost certain that any tool you add to your stack will connect with your popup tool of choice.
Design Flexibility and Usability
When adopting a popup solution, you want to be sure that you’ll be able to do exactly what you want to do with it.
However you picture your popups appearing on your site, the tool you choose needs to allow you to make it happen. Of course, you’ll have to work within the confines of the software — which can often limit your ability to bring your vision to life.
Which is why you need to be looking for the solution that makes customization and flexibility a priority.
Now, this can mean different things to different teams, depending on their capacity.
For teams that have the necessary technical and design capabilities, enabling them to go full-steam-ahead is crucial.
For less tech-savvy teams, a simple drag-and-drop editor — along with helpful design templates — will be needed to get their popup campaigns off the ground.
Brandability should also be considered, here, as a lack of uniformity within your popups can be disruptive to the customer experience.
If you can’t create your popups to your liking, you might as well not make them at all. Make sure the tool you choose allows you to design your popups as needed to attract and engage your customers.
Targeting and Triggering Options
You won’t just be using your WordPress popup plugin to deliver one popup to your entire audience.
(Or, at least, you shouldn’t be…)
Rather, you’ll want to use your popup tool to reach a variety of potential customers, with a variety of offers, in a variety of places on your website.
The tool you choose should allow you to target specific consumers based on a number of criteria, such as:
- Their status with your brand (i.e., are they a new or returning customer?)
- The device they’re using to browse your site
- Their geographic location
You’ll also want to have options as far as where your popups appear on specific pages, and throughout your site.
Most WordPress popup plugins provide a number of triggering options, allowing you to target site visitors based on their on-site behavior. Your solution of choice should allow for high levels of customization in this area, as your visitors’ on-site behavior will be unique to your audience.
Instead of sending the same ol’ popup to every one of your site visitors, look for the tool that will allow you to mix it up. The right popup, with the right offer, at the right time will be irresistible to your visitors.
Reporting, Analytics, and Testing
If you’re looking to consistently improve the performance of your popup campaigns (and who isn’t?), reporting, analytics, and testing features are a must.
This is yet another area where there’s a good amount of variance from tool to tool.
It’s also another area where striking a balance between the tool’s capabilities and your team’s capacity is vital.
Basically, “better” analytics features won’t mean all that much if your team has no use for this more advanced data just yet. But, you don’t want to err on the side of simplicity only to find that the data being collected doesn’t help you improve your campaigns.
So, what you should be looking for is a popup tool that takes complex campaign performance data, and translates it into easy-to-understand, practical snippets for your team to digest.
Moreover, your tool of choice should allow for user-friendly A/B testing and the like, so you can quickly make improvements based on the data you’ve collected. Be sure your chosen plugin allows you to get granular with your popup content as you optimize your campaigns.
Maintenance and Migration
One last area of concern when choosing a WordPress popup plugin pertains to ongoing, overall maintenance.
(This brings us back to our earlier debate over whether to choose a premium WordPress-specific option or a SaaS popup tool.)
First, let’s talk about site speed.
Because SaaS tools are hosted in the cloud on the provider’s end, including popups on your site via these plugins won’t affect your site’s loading speed. However, because WordPress-specific popup plugins are installed directly within your WordPress site, the new popup elements will negatively impact how fast your site loads.
(Basically, if your site’s load times are a concern as it is, you’ll probably want to go the SaaS route.)
In looking at ongoing improvements to your popup tool of choice, WordPress-only plugins have the edge.
Since SaaS tools are designed to work with multiple CMS platforms, providers may be a bit delayed in updating their software when new versions of WordPress are released. WordPress-exclusive plugin providers, of course, will be prepared for these updates — and will always keep their tools updated as needed.
Finally — and this will require that you look a bit into the future — it’s important to know whether you’ll be sticking with WordPress as a CMS moving forward.
Obviously, a WordPress-exclusive popup plugin is just that — meaning you’ll have to choose a new tool if you decide to switch to a new CMS platform. With a SaaS popup tool, though, you’ll likely be able to migrate all of your data, content, and settings to a new CMS with relative ease.
Again, there’s no “best” option when choosing popup software; it’s all about what your team will need from the tool both now and in the future.
Before you sink a significant amount of time, money, and energy into a certain tool, make sure it’s the one that will best enable your team to accomplish your goals.
The Best WordPress Popup Plugins to Check Out
While there’s no objectively “best” WordPress popup plugin on the market, some certainly are more acclaimed than others.
Here, we’ll take a look at five of the highest-rated and most-used popup tools available today — and discuss why each may be the best choice for your business.
Okay, okay…so we’re a little biased.
But hear us out.
WisePops’ Advanced Pop-up Builder is a highly-customizable, user-friendly popup plugin that caters to organizations in all stages of growth.
WisePops’ drag-and-drop editor, along with its collection of over 30 popup templates, allows you to create your first popup in no time.
You can use WisePops to create popups for a variety of purposes, attracting specific visitors with offers created just for them. The ability to run unlimited simultaneous campaigns allows you to collect many more leads than you could with a single, generic message.
Our Pro and Expert tier software includes a number of advanced features, such as:
- Campaign Scheduling
- A/B Testing
…and much more.
As a SaaS provider, WisePops delivers laser-focused customer support to its users — with VIP service provided to its Enterprise tier customers.
But don’t just take our word for it; check out what our customers have to say:
“We have been using WisePops for a few years and love it! Popups are super easy to configure, and the options are amazing. The customer support is incredible. Our popups work seamlessly on every site we use them on. (WisePops has helped us) increase our revenue because of (their tool’s) visibility and ease of use.”
Want to learn more about how WisePops can help you grow your mailing list by 300%? Check out a product tour today!
Popup Maker is an open-source popup solution — meaning it’s highly customizable across the board.
(The caveat, as is always the case with open-source software, is that a high level of technical knowledge is needed to customize the tool to your team’s liking. In other words, this isn’t the best option for the non-tech savvy among us.)
That said, if you do have the capacity to make Popup Maker’s software your own, you’ll have a lot of options at your disposal, such as:
- A WYSIWYG popup creation interface
- Unique targeting and trigger rules
- Customizable popup placement
The downside to the open-source nature of Popup Maker is that you’ll need to customize it to actually get value from it.
In addition to the potential need to hire technical staff, you’ll also need to download a number of plugins to supercharge your popup initiatives. As we said earlier, this can easily cause your operational costs to spiral out of control.
(The alternative, of course, being to not purchase certain add-ons — and thus not gain access to features that might improve your efforts to generate leads.)
While user reviews laud Popup Maker’s customization options and depth, customers do mention that the plugin can cause a significant decrease in site speed. Again, for teams without the technical know-how to work around all this, the tool may end up causing more harm than good.
But, if you’re looking for a popup plugin that can grow with your team’s needs — as long as your team can make it happen — Popup Maker should definitely be on your shortlist.
Thrive Leads is a WordPress-exclusive tool that allows you to create mailing list forms, in popup format among others.
“ThriveBox”, as its popup plugin is called, allows for a ton of customization in terms of popup appearance, behavior, and interactivity. Forms can be presented as overlays, slide-ins, or in-line content — whichever makes the most sense for the current situation and specific audience.
Thrive Leads integrates with a number of email marketing and CRM tools — and pairs with Zapier to offer thousands of additional integrations, as well.
With Thrive Lead’s powerful and intuitive split-testing tool, you’ll easily be able to tweak your popups (and other forms) to perfection…and collect a bunch of new leads in the process.
Bloom is another option for those looking for an all-inclusive form creation tool for their WordPress site.
With Bloom, you’ll have the option of creating overlay or fly-in popups, as well as gated forms and site widgets.
With over one hundred form templates to choose from, you can quickly make the changes you need to make your forms your own before you get them live. Or, you can start from scratch, using Bloom’s intuitive form-building tool to guide you through the process.
Bloom allows you to assign a number of triggers to your popups, based on factors such as:
- Time on page
- Scrolling behavior
- Mouse click/Screen tap
- Exit intent
OptinMonster is another SaaS option for teams looking for a user-friendly way to get their first popup campaigns quickly up and running.
OptinMonster offers best-in-class popup plugin features, such as:
- Design templates and drag-and-drop editor
- Smart targeting and behavior-based personalization
- A/B testing and powerful analytics reports
OptinMonster integrates with a number of email marketing and CRM platforms as well as lead generation and ecommerce tools (such as form builders and chatbots).
While OptinMonster’s popup tool offers advanced features while also being rather user-friendly, some users report a bit of an imbalance in this regard. Some users say they “need more guidance” to get the full value out of the product, while others report being overwhelmed by the number of prompts and options they’re given at times.
WordPress Popup Plugins: The Key to a Growing Mailing List
For ecommerce businesses in any industry, an ever-growing mailing list is absolutely necessary for converting new leads, and staying in touch with your audience.
But, your site visitors have to notice your mailing list forms before they can interact with them. And, while in-line forms and the like can be effective, they’re just no match for a well-timed, well-designed popup.
With WisePops’ WordPress plugin, you’ll be able to create popups that attract, engage, and convert site visitors with ease.
Want to know more about how WisePops stacks up to other popup creation tools? Check out the many comparison guides on our blog.
What is a WordPress pop up?
Creating a good popup for your WordPress site will allow you to capture leads for your email list as well as potentially convert visitors into paying customers.
How do I add a pop up message in WordPress?
The easiest way to add popup messages in WordPress is to use a popup plugin (like WisePops’ WordPress plugin).
How do I use a pop up plugin in WordPress?
Log into your WordPress backend with your admin account and then navigate to “Plugins” and click on ”Add New”. Search for the popup plugin that you’re looking to use and click install. When the installation has been completed, you’ll want to click on “Activate Plugin”.