Today’s guest blog post was written by Nathan Oulman. Nathan owns DailyHosting.net, where he shares web hosting reviews and tools. Nathan decided to share his knowledge of WordPress announcements with our readers. We hope you find his instructions helpful.
Why would you need to make an announcement on your website? Well, because your visitors want you to. That’s why.
Here’s the thing though: while your visitors want to hear about special discounts, new products, relevant news, free e-book giveaways and more, they want it to happen in a non-intrusive and user-friendly way. So, how do you accomplish this without going overboard and pushing away the visitors you were trying to impress in the first place?
There are a few ways you can achieve the desired effect within WordPress. Hello bars, popup messages, and sliding widgets are the most commonly used today and for good reasons:
- They’re typically placed outside of the main site content: tops or sides of pages or they float in from the outside.
- There’s just enough room for one message at a time, making the call-to-action clear.
- Your visitors have full control over whether or not they want to engage.
If your visitors want to know what more you can do for them, displaying announcements on your WordPress website is a good idea. The following tutorial will provide you with tips and tools for giving your visitors what they want while increasing their trust and loyalty (and your conversions) in the process.
Choosing an Announcement
Getting down to brass tacks, let’s take a look at some examples of website announcements in action:
In each of the examples above, something different is offered. Gap provides visitors with a special discount code. BarkBox advertises a Valentine’s Day deal. And Feedback Lite uses their own tool to demonstrate how it works while soliciting feedback.
However, announcements don’t always need to fall into the “we have a discount for you!” category. This is especially true if you’re a new shop owner and can’t afford to give anything away for free just yet. That being said, creating special and timely announcements can work for just about every business model. You’ve just need to find an intriguing tidbit worth sharing with your audience.
In addition to finding an announcement that works for you, it’s important to keep the following tips in mind:
- Use strong colors to draw attention to your announcement.
- Keep the font simple, but large enough to read.
- Use clear, actionable messaging. Check out these tips from Business Insider.
- Include an easy way to dismiss the special announcement (like an “X” in the top-right corner).
- Consider only sharing announcements on desktop. Mobile devices may be too small to effectively use them.
Remember: these announcements exist to benefit your visitors. You don’t want to disrupt their experience. Give them the choice to engage with you by creating an eye-catching and undeniably clickable choice.
WordPress Announcement Plugins
The Icegram plugin is an incredible plugin for when you want to ramp up lead generation efforts. For the specific purpose of building website notifications, however, Icegram has a lot of options for you to work with, including:
- Popup notifications which can be set on a time release.
- Hello bars that can be placed in the header or footer.
- Toast notifications which are super brief notifications that disappear just as quickly as they arrive.
- Slide-in messages that can share targeted notifications, welcome messages, or specific content or product recommendations.
How you use this plugin is up to you, but if you want the flexibility to change your mind down the road, this will enable you to do that with ease.
This Free Tools plugin by Sumo is another one of those do-it-all lead generation plugins that WordPress users love. In terms of helping you provide notifications to your visitors, this plugin includes popups and “smart” hello bar features.
Their popup solution can be used for a variety of uses, though the real strength of using it with this tool is in getting people to sign up for your newsletter or blog. The hello bar feature can be embedded at the top of your website and follow visitors even as they scroll down the page. Again, the main focus for Sumo is in helping users collect email information, so that’s what you’d probably use this for as well.
As a bonus, if what you end up using on your site doesn’t seem to be generating enough attention or leads, you can always use their built-in A/B testing tool to try something else out.
If you were to ask any marketing expert what their preferred WordPress lead generation plugin is, a good majority of them would probably give a shout-out to OptinMonster. Here’s what this plugin can do for your website notifications:
- Popup forms
- Slide-in notifications
- Mobile-only popup notifications
- Exit-intent popup notifications to prevent visitors from leaving too soon
- Popups with animations
- Floating (hello) bars for the header or footer
For anyone simply looking for a reliable popup plugin solution without excessive options to sift through, take a look at this Popup Builder. The standard form of this plugin offers a variety of options and settings control over popup creation, including color, content, responsiveness, social promotions, and more.
The pro version of this plugin, however, offers a multitude of options, giving users much more flexibility in what sort of announcements they can make with their popup. Here are some of the things you can do with this plugin:
- Embed an informational video.
- Notify users about an age restriction.
- Create a countdown to a special event.
- Advertise a new subscription offering.
- Request contact information in exchange for a free gift.
Unfortunately, there aren’t too many sliding widget plugins available for free in WordPress. The ones that are don’t actually allow you to create notifications within them (they only offer a click-through tab or button), so they won’t work for the purposes of this tutorial. What you’ll want instead is something like the PullOut Widgets for WordPress plugin.
If you like the idea of having a small, eye-catching button that follows users along a page—but that remains completely out of the way—then you can use this plugin. It provides options for page positioning, pullout trigger actions, colors, widget content types, animation effects, and more.
WP Notification Bars
If you don’t want to invest in a comprehensive lead generation plugin simply to create a hello bar for your website (which doesn’t always have to say “hello”, by the way), then WP Notification Bars should serve you just fine.
As with the other single solution plugins on this list, this one offers many more options since the sole focus is on the notification bar. This one, in particular, enables you to set the movement of the bar, create a call-to-action button, update the font, assign to a specific page, translate into other languages, and more.
WordPress website announcements are an excellent way to gain visitors’ attention and attempt to convert more of them into customers. Just be sure you have something valuable to say with them and use a high-quality plugin to deliver the message in a smart, eye-catching and unobtrusive way.