Like many sites, this one uses popups (overlay may be a better way to describe them) to capture email addresses for people interested in learning how to build their own online business and live a life they can love.
In order to do this I spend some time researching various providers and plugins to try and figure out which one would do the best job for me at a reasonable cost (I ruled out a few based purely on cost alone!
So I eventually settled on a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider who had a good pricing structure and great support for a range of email marketing services providers (I had a very specific provider I wanted support for).
Some of my requirements included:
So I went ahead and updated my site to make use of the new supplier and although there were some teething issues, I was eventually pretty happy with how things were working.
Well, to be honest things started off okay.
The popup / overlay worked pretty well, the integration with the email marketing service was fine and generally it did what it was supposed to do.
But I did notice a few things that weren't ideal...
The email marketing integration only worked (well) through using the API option, rather than using a custom form and unfortunately the form style I choose did not work if I wanted to capture a first name too.
There were a few performance issues I noticed, the popup wasn't exactly lightening fast which meant if a user had clicked on a link to activate it they sat there for a split second before it appeared.
None of these issues were really show stoppers and on balance the solution gave me what I wanted so I was happy to stick with it, however it didn't take long before I regretted that decision.
I tend to test my sites quite regularly and as such I click about and make sure that things are working as expected, and on one occasion things were not looking good.
Basically, the domain that served up the JS code which ran all of my popups / overlays went down (and it was for hours not minutes), meaning that nobody could enter their details on any of the sites that used this service.
So while I was making an effort to drive traffic to this site (and others), even if people successfully got there, they were not able to enter their details and be added to my email list, even if they were desperate for it.
So my hard work was going to waste... and it was through no fault of my own (other than potentially making a poor decision in the first place).
And let's face it people weren't going to come back to try again, all I'd successfully done for those people was to right royally annoy them, which is not a good look at all!
So what was the solution?
Well, I very quickly decided to bin that solution, after all who knows how often this issue could occur in the future and I didn't want to be at the mercy of a third party supplier.
And now I am using a dedicated popup plugin that runs locally on my website, so if a user can reach my site they will always be able to invoke the popup / overlay to enter their details.
I've also found that the performance is way better, I have more control over how the plugin behaves and I'm also happier with the overall design of the pop ups I am choosing to use (across all the sites in question).
I will admit that it's taken a bit more technical nous to get the popup working exactly how I wanted it, so anyone looking for a "push button" solution may not have the same freedom I do to make the change.
But overall, the security I have in knowing that if the site is up, the popup will also work, makes me sleep much better at night.
Anyway, I hope that this has been useful and fell free to share your thoughts in the comments - have you had the same issue or are worried about this?
Let me know.