As part of INN's support for the 2017 News Match campaign, we've released two WordPress plugins to help sites convert readers. News Match Popup Basics provides a little guidance and some useful tools for using popups in your campaigns.
Prefer a video walk through? Watch this tutorial on youtube.
News Match Popup Basics does the following:
- Creates a new popup with our recommended default settings, using the free Popup Maker plugin
- Provides a way to disable popups on your donation pages
- Provides a way to disable popups when readers click a link in your Mailchimp-powered newsletter
Let's walk you through installing the plugin and getting it set up.
Installing the plugin
News Match Popup Basics requires the Popup Maker plugin, so first we need to install that.
On your WordPress site, click on "Plugins" in the Dashboard menu. If you see an "Add New" button at the top of the page, click that.
If you don't see the "Add New" button or the "Plugins" menu, your user might not have permission to manage plugins on the site; you should contact your technical support and ask them to install News Match Popup Basics for you. Your site might require downloading the plugin ZIPs and uploading them via FTP instead of using WordPress' built-in plugin installation tools.
After clicking "Add New" you should be on the "Add Plugins" page. In the "Search plugins..." box, enter "popup maker" — you should see an entry named "Popup Maker™ – Best Rated" appear, by "WP Popup Maker." Click "Install Now" to install the plugin, and then click "Activate". You'll be sent to a page asking you to allow sending certain information to a third party. You can press the "Skip" button without any negative effects. Whether you choose to skip or accept, you'll be taken to the list of Popup Maker popups: none yet exist, and that's okay.
Go back to the "Plugins" page, and inn the "Search plugins..." box, enter "news match popup basics innlabs" and choose the presented popup named "News Match Popup Basics" by "innlabs" — that's our plugin. Install and activate it.
In the Dashboard menu, choose the "Popup Maker" item. This will take you back to the "Popups" page you saw earlier, but there should now be a draft popup named "News Match Default Popup." Click on it.
You'll see an editor page that looks rather like the default WordPress post editor, but with a number of exciting new boxes. You can read more about those boxes at the Popup Maker plugin documentation, which is thorough and well-illustrated.
Our default settings for the popup are these:
- is not published by default, but requires you to publish it before it becomes active on your site
- is the size “Large” from Popup Maker’s settings
- appears at the center of the bottom of the reader’s screen
- appears by sliding up from the bottom of the screen, over 350 milliseconds
- has a “Close” button
- does not prevent readers from interacting with the page by means of an overlay
- does not have a title
- automatically opens after 25 seconds on the page, because immediate popup appearances can be jarring
- once dismissed by a reader, does not appear again for a year or until the reader clears their browser’s cookies, whichever comes first
- appears on the front page of your site
- uses Popup Maker’s default theme
You'll need to configure which pages the popup appears on, using the built-in conditionals feature. For disabling the popup on certain pages or in certain cases, read on in this blog post, or check out Popup Maker's paid extensions.
You'll also probably want to review the Popup Maker themes available and modify them to suit your own site's appearances. Once you've modified or created a theme, edit your popup to make it use your theme.
In addition to using Popup Maker themes, you can style popups using your site's WordPress theme's CSS, Jetpack’s Custom CSS Editor, or any other tool that allows you to define custom styles on your site.
What goes in a popup?
We recommend donation forms or newsletter signup forms. For a simple donation form that integrates with the News Match campaign, check out News Match Donation Shortcode.
Finding the News Match Popup Basics settings
From the WordPress Dashboard menu, under Popup Maker, choose "News Match Popup Basics." This is where you configure whether the plugin disables certain popups.
Disabling popups on certain pages
Donation pages should help people give you money, and should have as few obstacles to that goal as possible. Likewise, newsletter signup pages. Strip out ads, remove unnecessary headers, maybe even clean up your footer on these pages. Donation and signup pages should do one thing and do that well.
Popup Maker's free version includes a simple yet powerful Boolean conditionals system that determines on what pages popups appear, but that system only works on a per-popup basis. Preventing popups from appearing on a particular page requires checking every single popup on your site, and modifying their conditions. We've endeavored to make the process simpler.
In the News Match Popup Basics settings, check the box to enable donation page popup prevention, and add some URLs to the box. Each URL must be on its own line. You should remove the protocol from the start of the URL, so that
https://example.org/ is entered as
When a visitor goes to a page the URL of which matches one of the entered URLs, News Match Popup Basics will prevent Popup Maker from displaying any popups on that page. You can include URL fragments as well, so if you want to prevent popups on pages that have a common URL name, like every page that has
donate in its URL.
Be careful with how general your URL fragments are. By "match" we mean that if the entire text on the line in the box can be found in the URL, it will match:
example.org/meow/will only match
/meow/will only match
We named this feature "donation page popup prevention," but in reality it can be used to exclude popups on all sorts of pages.
If you'd like the ability to programmatically exclude popups on arbitrary pages, let us know on this feature proposal on GitHub.
Disabling popups from Mailchimp visitors
In the WordPress Dashboard, under the “Popup Maker” menu item, on the “News Match Popup Basics” page, there is a checkbox that enables MailChimp suppression. There is also a text box to set the
utm_source parameter. MailChimp automatically appends this URL parameter to outbound links in your emails if you have click tracking set up.
From one of the emails you have sent, find a link that contains a
utm_source= parameter and copy the following argument text, up until any
& character, into the text box. For example, a Nerd Alert newsletter sent by INN Labs contained a link that looked like this:
https://example.org/?utm_source=Nerd+Alert&utm_campaign=4d4ecd9f68-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_06&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1476113985-4d4ecd9f68-421742753. From that URL, you would copy
Nerd+Alert into the text box.
Once you have provided a
utm_source parameter, checked the checkbox, and saved the settings, any popup that contains an HTML element with an
id attribute equal to
mc_embed_signup, or a CSS selector equal to
If you have multiple MailChimp signup forms on your site, suppression based on the HTML ID of the form will not work for you. You should add a class to all MailChimp forms in popups, and use that as the selector. For more details about this process, see the FAQ entry "Why does MailChimp popup suppression use
#mc_embed_signup" at the plugin's WordPress.org entry.
If you'd like better tracking of MailChimp form sign-ups, we recommend that you follow MailChimp's guide on editing forms for better analytics to track popup conversions.