Growing your revenue is just as much doing great things, as not doing dumb things.

Today I’ll show a few examples of dumb things. Six really bad popup examples.

Once you understand what not to do, you’ll default to starting your own popup designs from a better baseline.

And if that’s not enough, tomorrow I’ll have more examples. This time with good popup examples!

The following popup examples, each make a number of critical errors in their design decisions. Take a look, and learn what not to do.

1. Weather Channel


Okay, I get it, ads are one of, or your only, revenue stream. There are plenty of sites which ask you to turn off an ad blocker to read the full article. I don’t have a problem with it, and the main paragraph of text here is okay.

What I do have a problem with is the copy on the CTA. “Turn off your ad blocker.”

Really? You can’t even say please? That’s just obnoxious.

2. Mashable


If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert.” I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

The green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.

Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.

Also, the background is just ugly.

3. KAM Motorsports Revolution!


The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.

Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.

4. Upworthy


I have no earthly clue what’s going on here. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.

After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button.

It ends with “Do Better.” I agree. They need to do a lot better.

5. Purple


“Good Cop / Bad Cop.” Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.

6. Hello BC


Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

The site is, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia,” and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list,” stop saying “list.” It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence, it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s four different concepts at play here.

Also, it’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.

Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant f💣 you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text, before I’ve even seen any content?

Stay tuned for tomorrow. After learning what not to do, you’ll see some good examples in action. You’ll be able to create beautiful and useful popups after this weekend 😄

6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

PS. I don’t have any popups on At the moment, just a slide-in with a helpful Facebook Messenger bot. Sorry… I guess? 🤷‍♂️