If you’re a big fan of using pop ups on your website and feel that this was the best decision ever, you’re going to want to stop reading now. Seriously, because I’m on a rant and I just want to put it out there. But if you’re fed up and losing your mind dealing with popups everywhere, this story might be for you.
A lot of bloggers will say pop ups are essential for building your email list and bringing repeat traffic to your blog. I’m not going to argue that point since I don’t know if it’s true or not. Because I find them so incredibly obnoxious that I can’t bring myself to use them on my websites.
A couple of months ago one of my readers described those begging for attention pop ups kind of like a creepy first date. Where you arrive at the date, shake hands, and the guy asks you to marry him. Ummm….maybe we should have a drink and get to know each other first. Creepy. Stalker like. Kind of needy. Exactly!
I can’t remember when this pop up nonsense began but I can remember that it took me a long time to get over the onslaught. When I first came across these “Sign up here!” pop ups on the front page of a blog, I simply left the site without trying to find what I came for. Lately though, it seems everyone is using them and if you want to read the content you’re going to be forced to confront the onslaught of “please don’t leave”, “please like me”, “please sign up for all my future thoughts even though I don’t know what they are yet” as soon as you arrive. So I learned to find the little tiny x at the top of the box to close it out so I could browse the site.
Fine. You won that round.
But pop ups these days have taken over the universe and all manner of common sense. They’re so common place now, even on my favorite sites, that I’ve become an expert at finding the almost invisible little x to close the damn pop up so I can determine if I like what you have to say before entering into a committed relationship. Occasionally, I decide we can hang out long term and sign up for your email list.
So how come I’m still getting those damn “let’s be friends” pop ups when I come back for your next article? I thought we were friends…maybe we’re not good enough friends? Seriously though, isn’t there a way to disable those pop ups for those of us that have already signed up. So freakin’ annoying that it makes me want to unsubscribe right there. Why you gotta test my love like that?
Things have gotten completely out of hand however, in the past couple of months because the pop ups aren’t limited to the plea for e-mail addresses any longer. They’re now hanging out in the form of advertising pretty much everywhere.
I noticed it the first time when I clicked on an article I found on Pinterest from a blogger that I knew I liked. When I got to the site, I had to push through the “let’s be friends forever” pop up (already signed up, thanks), to find all of her photos now covered with advertising pop ups as well. I couldn’t actually see the bottom of her project photos for the advertising. Which sucked because she had made a DIY project that was a really great idea. I think. Because I couldn’t actually see the full photo and all. Maybe there was no bottom part to her project and the ads were hiding that.
Since I was determined to see her idea, I decided to try to figure this out. Oh! I found a tiny x to close the ad. I clicked on the x to close the ad and, wait for it….I got taken over to the ad.
Umm….was that you’re intention? To lose your traffic? Because that’s what happened. I went to the trouble of clickng the back button because I really wanted to see the DIY she’d done and was still planning to leave a positive comment, despite my growing frustration. But, Oh. My. God. The pop up was back and begging me to sign up, the photo was covered with another ad…actually all the photos were covered. And just when I was trying to see how the project turned out, I got yet another pop up down the right corner asking me to see what she was pinning.
Sorry. I’m outta here. Not commenting. Not pinning. Not sharing on Facebook. If you’re blogging and sharing your posts to get people to visit, to like and share your work, you’re doing it wrong. Not only am I not sharing, I’ve unsubscribed and I’ll remember your blog when I see your next great idea on Pinterest or Facebook. And I’ll remind myself that what I got to see the last time were some ads for things I didn’t much care about when I went to your site.
Tonight was the final straw. I got an email reminding me of one of my favorite link parties that have been a bit hit or miss for me lately since we’re in different time zones and I’m often asleep when the party goes live.
You can probably guess what happened…..
I was greeted by the pop up when I got on the site offering me a free e-book if I signed up for her email list. Ummm…..already signed up and got the e-book that I didn’t even want but whatever.
Hey, it’s cool. By now I’m used to these pop ups that are like bouncers at the door of a party. Even though we’re friends and I’ve been there a hundred times before, I gotta prove myself all over again every time I swing by. Never mind that this is a link party I’ve been invited to because of that whole e-mail list thing and all. Thanks for that.
But tonight the pop up thing climbed to a whole new level of crazy. The entire bottom of the screen, at least an inch high, was covered in an advertising pop up. I’ve now had to click twice in 4 seconds to get rid of pop ups. I finally find the link party and after clicking the “read more” link, I arrive. Oh, wait! The ad at the bottom is back. That’s 3. And then I notice that the bottom of all the feature photos are covered in pop up ads. That’s 5 more. The title of the post has a pop up ad. So now we’re up to 9.
At this point, I decided that I’m completely over this link party and the blog as well. Because I’m so crazy distracted and annoyed that I’m not even interested in reading, visiting other bloggers, or linking up any longer.
Can I just add that the actual title of one of the features was at the bottom of the picture. Guess what? The post looks great but I can’t actually read what it’s about because the title’s been covered by an ad. I’m sure the blogger that was featured must be so thrilled. And, no matter how many times I click to close it, it’s immediately replaced by another one.
Sorry, blogging friend. No more parties and definitely no more subscriptions. Consider me unsubscribed. Which sucks because I liked her and thought she had a pretty great blog with terrific ideas and projects. She probably still does but I just can’t see them for all of the pop ups and advertising.
I get the whole need to earn an income thing. I really do since I’m the single parent to two little boys with special needs. I agonized over adding advertising both on my side bar and in my posts and kind of felt like I sold out. But times have changed since I first started blogging and we’ve all had to change with it. Serious blogging isn’t a hobby any longer and, for many of us, it’s a full time job. At the very least, it’s supposed to be a secondary source of income. I get that.
For three years, I limped along without anything covering the costs of my blog and the projects I shared. Last year, I had to leave my career to take care of the boys full time which meant the blog needed to make money. Blogging isn’t free, projects are expensive, and we have families to feed. Fair enough. But I have to believe we can still share our ideas, connect with readers and make an income without being so crazy obnoxious about it.
I don’t have the biggest and best blog out there so I’m probably not in the business of telling people who make more money than I do how to go about doing that. But as a blog reader, it’s a pretty awful experience being bombarded with advertising and sign up requests when you just want to read a post and make a comment here and there. Which I thought was largely the point of blogging.
I know I’m going to get hate mail here. Lots of folks are going to email and comment to justify the need for the pop ups. Please don’t. You don’t need to do that because I get that it’s your site, we need to make an income, and you should do what ever you want to make that happen for you. Really, don’t write to justify your choices. Just move on and be okay with your decisions. (It’s not too late to quit reading this post!)
This particular rant is for the rest of us that have to fight to read your content. Personally, I’m tired of wading up river, looking for the original post, just to read ads and get free e-books or printables for signing up. E-books and printables that I don’t actually care about all that much. I just wanted to see something pretty and connect with the blogger.
And on that note, I’ll get back to the business of making pretty things. Rant officially over.