What Is a Sidebar Popup? An Overview of This Popular Web Design Element
By Emil Kristensen CMO
@ Sleeknote

The use of sidebar popups in web design has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. These popups are designed to catch the attention of website visitors and encourage them to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what sidebar popups are, how they work, and the various pros and cons of using them on your website.

Understanding the Purpose of Sidebar Popups in Web Design

The primary purpose of sidebar popups is to grab the attention of website visitors and encourage them to take an action that leads to conversion. For example, a business might use a sidebar popup to promote a sale or encourage visitors to sign up for a newsletter. Sidebar popups are typically designed to be eye-catching and attention-grabbing, often featuring bold colors, contrasting text, and animations.

However, it is important to use sidebar popups judiciously, as they can also be seen as intrusive and annoying by some visitors. To avoid this, it is recommended to use them sparingly and only for important messages or offers. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the popup is easy to close and does not interfere with the user’s browsing experience. By using sidebar popups effectively, businesses can increase their conversion rates and improve their overall website performance.

Different Types of Sidebar Popups and How They Work

There are several different types of sidebar popups, each with its own unique design and functionality. One popular type is the exit-intent popup, which appears when the visitor is about to leave the website. Other types include timed popups, scroll-triggered popups, and click-triggered popups. Timed popups appear after a specified period of time, while scroll-triggered popups appear when the visitor scrolls to a certain point on the page. Click-triggered popups only appear when the visitor clicks on a specific element, such as a button or hyperlink.

Another type of sidebar popup is the entrance popup, which appears when the visitor first enters the website. This type of popup can be used to welcome visitors, offer a discount code, or promote a specific product or service. Entrance popups can be designed to be non-intrusive, so as not to disrupt the visitor’s browsing experience. They can also be customized to target specific audience segments, based on factors such as location, referral source, or previous browsing behavior.

The Pros and Cons of Using Sidebar Popups on Your Website

While sidebar popups can be effective at grabbing visitor attention and increasing conversions, they also have some potential drawbacks. One major con is that they can be obtrusive and annoying to some visitors, leading to a higher bounce rate. Additionally, some users may find popups to be intrusive or distracting, leading them to ignore them entirely. On the other hand, the pros of using popups include increased conversion rates, improved lead generation, and improved user engagement.

Best Practices for Designing Effective Sidebar Popups

When designing a sidebar popup, it’s important to follow some best practices to ensure that it’s both effective and user-friendly. One important tip is to make sure that your popup is visually appealing and matches your website’s overall design aesthetic. Additionally, your popup should be concise and provide a clear call-to-action, such as “Sign up now” or “Get 10% off”. Finally, consider using A/B testing to determine the most effective design and messaging for your sidebar popup.

Examples of Successful Websites That Use Sidebar Popups

Many successful websites use sidebar popups to great effect, including ecommerce sites, news outlets, and blogs. One example is ModCloth, an online clothing retailer, which uses a popup to encourage visitors to sign up for their email newsletter in exchange for a discount on their first purchase. Another example is Mashable, a popular tech news site, which uses a popup to encourage visitor to subscribe to their newsletter.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Sidebar Popups

There are several metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of your sidebar popups. One important measure is conversion rate, or the percentage of visitors who take the desired action after interacting with the popup. Additionally, you can track other metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on page, and revenue generated from popup interactions. By tracking these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your popup design and messaging.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing Sidebar Popups

While sidebar popups can be effective, there are also several common mistakes to avoid when implementing them on your website. One common mistake is using popups too frequently, which can be annoying to visitors and lead to a higher bounce rate. Additionally, popups that are poorly designed or lack a clear call-to-action can be ineffective and even harmful to your website’s overall conversion rate. Finally, be sure to test your popups across different devices and browsers to ensure that they are working as intended.

Alternatives to Sidebar Popups for User Engagement and Conversion

If you’re looking for alternatives to using sidebar popups, there are several options available. One alternative is to use inline forms or opt-in boxes, which are placed directly within the website content and are less obtrusive. Another option is to use social media buttons or share buttons to encourage visitor engagement and social sharing. Finally, consider using personalized content or product recommendations to encourage visitors to take action without using popups at all.

Future Trends in the Use of Sidebar Popups in Web Design

As technology continues to evolve, it’s likely that we will see new trends and innovations in the use of sidebar popups in web design. One potential trend is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize popup content based on the visitor’s browsing and buying habits. Additionally, we may see new types of popups that integrate with social media platforms or allow for more interactive engagement with visitors. Whatever the future holds, it’s clear that sidebar popups will continue to play an important role in web design and conversion optimization strategies.