Q. I’m a big Facebook fan, I use it a lot, probably too much, but it’s been really annoying me lately. They’ve changed some things and I can’t figure out how to change them back.
Three things really bug me:
1. My friends keep inviting me to play Candy Crush and I really, really don’t want to. Do I have to unfriend them to make them stop or can I just block their invitations?
2. Videos on Facebook now play automatically, even if I do nothing. If I want to watch them, I can just hit the play button, no big deal. But now they play right away without me doing anything. How can I change this?
3. Lately my Facebook iPhone app makes clicking noises when I use it which is really annoying. I don’t want it to make any sounds, sometimes I check it when I don’t want anyone knowing what I’m doing. I could mute my phone or turn the sound down but then I might miss a call.
I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to get on Facebook, but I also don’t want to miss out on my friends’ posts. Can you help me make Facebook less annoying?
A. Great questions! Yes, Facebook is fun but some annoying features may be driving you away. By taking just a few minutes to tweak some settings you can make it much more enjoyable for you!
When you use Facebook then your goal is probably to interact with friends, see their posts and share your stuff with others. But a lot of annoying features can intrude on your enjoyment, making you less likely to go on Facebook.
Take back Facebook by making it your own again. In just a few minutes you can adjust your Facebook settings to make sharing with others much more pleasant. Learn how to block app invitations, stop auto-play for videos and silence the Facebook app in just a few easy steps.
Block App Invitations
If you’re overwhelmed by Candy Crush Saga notices, Candy Crush Soda invitations and other game updates, no worries, you can block these app invitations from your Facebook account. By blocking them you won’t see the app invitations or notices and you can stay friends with your BFF’s who are gamers.
Most Facebook games give bonuses to players who invite their friends to join in the fun. The temptation of extra points, coins, tokens, energy, etc. may be too much for your friends who are trying to level-up in their games. They may send app invitations to all of their Facebook friends in the hope that they will have new people to play with and earn bonuses for their efforts.
To block games, go to Facebook on your computer and:
1. Click on the down arrow ∨ in the upper right corner of the blue toolbar.
2. Click Settings.
3. In the left menu sidebar, click Blocking.
From the Blocking page you can block people from sending you invitation to apps and block apps from accessing your Facebook account.
Blocking Invitations from Friends
You can block all invitations to apps from specific Facebook friends. For example, let’s say you have a friend who is always playing the latest game and sending you invitations to play. You don’t want to unfriend the person, just stop the game invitations.
1. On the Blocking page of Settings, go to Block App Invites and type the name of your friend in the box.
2. Hit Enter.
Your friend will no longer be able to send you invitations to apps. If you change your mind later, you can always to back to the Blocking page and click Unblock next to your friend’s name.
You can also block all notices from apps. If you know you don’t want any invitations to join a game, you can block all notices from that app so none of your friends can send you an invitation from that game.
1. Go to Block Apps on the Blocking page and enter the name of the app in the box.
2. Hit Enter.
You can change your mind later by clicking Unblock next to the name of the app.
For more information about blocking apps, see the Facebook Blocking Help Page.
Stop Auto-play Videos
Facebook has enabled auto-play for videos that people share in their posts. If you’re annoyed by auto-play, on a limited data plan or don’t want your battery drained by streaming videos, you can turn off this feature so that videos only play in Facebook posts when you tap the Play button.
1. Click on the down arrow ∨ in the upper right corner of the blue toolbar.
2. Click Settings.
3. Click Videos.
4. Under Auto-Play Videos, click the drop-down menu and choose Off.
1. Open the Facebook app.
2. Tap the three stacked lines icon.
3. Tap Settings.
4. Tap Videos and Photos.
5. Tap Auto-play.
6. Choose the setting of your desire:
- Use Cellular Data and Wi-Fi
- Use Wi-Fi Only
- Never Play Videos Automatically
If you choose the first setting, you can enable Smart Auto-play that lets Facebook try to optimize videos for “your country, mobile carrier, battery life and data usage.”
Find out more about video auto-play on Facebook from the Video Auto-Play Help Page.
Turn Off Sounds in the Facebook App
Many times when you’re using Facebook you want to be extra quiet. No need to alert people that you’re perusing posts instead of doing whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing.
If you want the Facebook app to make responsive sounds every time you tap the app, then you can have the app make sounds. But if you want your Facebook app to be as quiet as the moon on a wintry evening, then you can turn off sounds.
To control sounds within the Facebook app:
1. Tap the three stacked lines icon.
2. Tap Settings.
3. Tap Sounds.
4. Turn In-App Sounds Off.
Have you been annoyed by any of these issues on Facebook? Have you ever unfriended anyone for too many game requests? Do you like auto-play for Facebook videos? Do you like the Facebook app to make sounds? Let us know in the Comments section below!
*Facial animation image (edited) courtesy of David Pickett via Flickr and Creative Commons
Facebook has become a must-use service for a lot of people. Unfortunately, Facebook has some annoying quirks, not the least of which is how it handles your news feed. Here’s how to make it better.
There are many reasons to use Facebook that aren’t tied to the whole News Feed, article sharing, and Friend tagging stuff with which it’s most commonly associated. Lots of clubs use Facebook Groups to communicate with members. You may need administer your company’s Facebook page, and you’ll need your own profile for that. If you travel a lot, you may need Messenger to communicate with friends and family who use Facebook. This means that lots of people who would sooner not use Facebook are forced to, either by their family, boss, or just general societal pressure. Here are some things you can do make your experience less awful.
Remove the Bad From Your News Feed
The News Feed is the absolute worst thing about Facebook. This constantly updating stream of outrage, baby pictures, and lifestyle bragging almost never shows you anything you actually want to see. Instead, you get whatever Facebook’s algorithm thinks will keep you clicking and scrolling.
The first step to making Facebook a more pleasant place is to aggressively take back control of your News Feed. This means unfollowing anyone who’s posting stuff that annoys you, whether that be politics, bad jokes, Fake News, conspiracy theories, or anything else that wastes your mental energy.
I have about 1,500 Facebook friends, personally, but I only follow a small fraction of them. When ever you see a post from someone that annoys you, click or tap the three little dots in the top right corner of the post and select Unfollow to stop seeing their posts in your News Feed. You’ll keep them as friends, and they won’t get any kind of notification that you’re not following them. Their stuff just stops showing up in your feed.
If you want to take a more instant approach, Facebook also has a built in tool that makes it super easy to unfollow loads of people at once. Just go to Settings > News Feed Preferences and follow the instructions.
If you would rather try a trial separation, you can also Snooze someone for 30 days, rather than cutting them out indefinitely. Snoozing is particularly useful if you have a friend that you generally like following, but they’re posting a lot about some temporary thing you’re not interested in.
And you should also take time to evaluate whether all those people you’ve friended really add anything to your day. If not, you can simply unfriend them. It can be a daunting task to tackle your friends list all at once, though. One popular option is to watch for those birthday notifications. When they pop up, just ask yourself if you really need that person on your friends list at all, or if you want to keep them around but unfollow them. Over time, your news feed will get better and better.
Add More Good To Your News Feed
Getting rid of the bad is only the start of making your News Feed better. You can also follow more people and pages that actually interest you, and make sure their content shows up at the top.
Start by just liking a few Pages you know are just going to post nice, positive content. My preference is for photography pages, although The Geek has gone with Simpsons and Futurama meme pages.
You can also make new posts from your close friends and family show up at the top of your News Feed. Visit the Facebook Profile of someone who’s posts you want to see first, click or tap the “Following” icon, and then select the “See First” option.
Now their posts will normally show up before you see any others. You can also do a similar thing with Pages.
Avoid the News Feed Entirely
Removing everyone annoying and making sure you see posts you like should make Facebook a whole lot less draining to use. But if that’s not enough, there are a few ways you can avoid the News Feed and the main Facebook site entirely.
While we don’t really like to recommend browser extensions for privacy reasons, there are a few out there that totally hide the News Feed on Facebook. Here are some options for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. If you want to take the risk, it’s up to you.
You can also just avoid the News Feed by using Facebook’s other apps. If you uninstall the Facebook app from your smartphone, you can still use the mobile site if you need to, as well as the Facebook Messenger app for chatting and the Facebook Pages Manager app for managing any pages you need to.
On your computer, it’s a little harder, but there is a Facebook Messenger web app available at www.Messenger.com.
Turn Off All Notifications
Facebook’s business model relies on people spending time just scrolling through the News Feed so that they see ads. Obviously, they want to encourage people to log in as often as possible. One of the ways they do this is by notifying you whenever the smallest thing happens. There’s no point going to all this effort to make Facebook a more pleasant place, if your smartphone is going to light up every 30 minutes with another notification.
Fortunately for you, we’ve got a full guide that covers how to disable or customize Facebook’s push, text, and email notifications. Take the five minutes to dig through the many (many) different toggles and options, and turn off as many notifications as you can live without.
Facebook provides a useful service, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun to use. If you take some of the advice in this article to heart though, it should be a lot less annoying.
The iPhone offers a highly polished user experience, but iOS does have some quirks that you might find irritating. Our quick tips can help you shut down some of the biggest culprits.
My partner had a very important question for me recently. “How do you turn off that annoying message on iPhone to update iOS?”
“Any time I’m trying to do something quick and urgent on my phone, this message pops up telling me to update the operating system.” He paused. “That doesn’t happen to you?”
“No. It’s probably a setting that I turned off,” I said. And so began a game of “does this happen to you?” about our iPhones.
I customize the hell out of my settings. Excessive badge notifications? I don’t have them. Can anyone see my incoming text messages on my lock screen? Nope. After a little brainstorming, here are five suggestions I came up with for making your iPhone less annoying.
1. Stop Getting Urgent ‘Update’ Requests
Do you frequently see pop-up messages to update your operating system? To stop them, you have to turn off automatic updates in the settings. Go to:
Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates = Off
Pro: You won’t see the annoying notifications anymore. Con: You won’t necessarily know right away when an update to your operating system is available. In a perfect world, you would see a badge notification appear on your Settings icon when a new system is available to download and install. In reality, the badge usually only shows up days after the release (I’m not sure why this is the case). If you get wind that there’s a new update available, you’ll see it when you open Settings > General > Software Update.
2. Hide the Text of Incoming Messages
When someone sends you a text over Apple Messages, their message appears on your lock screen by default as part of the notification. You can change it so that you get the notification but the message itself is hidden. That’s way less annoying than worrying about who might be peeping on your incoming messages. To change it, go to:
Settings > Notifications > Messages > Show Previews and change to Never.
Now, no one can see the text of the incoming messages until the phone is unlocked. See the before and after images above.
3. Disable or Adjust Banners and Badges
I can’t stand clutter, and an unread badge count is—to me—utter clutter. If I have a badge count on an iphone app, it’s there to alert me of something important. So I should theoretically check those urgent notifications, clear the badge count, and be on my merry way. If there isn’t anything so important, why have the badge count at all? As a result, I disable the badge count and notifications for the majority of apps on my phone.
Here’s how you can turn off badge counts and notifications, too. Go to:
Settings > Notifications > and choose the app you want to adjust.
Notice that there are three options with images: Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Banners. Lock Screen refers to the messages that appear on your lock screen (like the full text of incoming Messages, unless you change the default setting). Notification Center is the screen you get when you drag your finger down from the top of the screen. Banners are the pop-up notifications you see while you’re using your phone.
Below those options are two more: Sounds and Badges. Sounds are the audio tone alerts. Badges are the red circles with numbers that show up on app icons, for example, the one on your email app showing how many unread messages you have.
If an app doesn’t have a legitimate reason to interrupt your day, I recommend disabling lock screen notifications and badges at the very least. You can turn them all off by toggling Allow Notifications at the top.
How can you decide which notifications to leave enabled? Simple. Is it something you need to know about when it happens? For example, you might want alerts of new emails if you have important business. It certainly helps to get flight update alerts from certain travel apps when you’re on the go. Your food delivery app and car service apps likely give you relevant real-time information, too. Anything else that’s just not important, however, shouldn’t annoy you with its presence.
4. Disable Live Photos (Those Annoying Tiny Videos)
Have you ever taken or received a picture that turned out to be a very short video? And you didn’t mean for it to be? A few years ago, Apple introduced Live Photos, a feature that lets you capture a quick snippet of motion and audio, like a really short video. The problem is almost no one but Apple enthusiasts know what this feature is and how it works. All they know is sometimes they try to take a photo and they end up with a tiny video clip instead.
If you can’t be bothered, first open the Camera app and turn off Live Photo (top middle icon). Then go to:
Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings > and enable the button next to Live Photo.
When enabled, this button preserves your Live Photo setting. So it you switched it off, it stays off.
5. Siri, Stop!
I know a lot of people whose jobs involve dealing with sensitive information. When they ask me about my job writing about technology and whether I have any tips for them, I always say, “Make sure you disable Siri on your iPhone.”
I get that Siri is instrumental in certain contexts. It’s an amazing assistant for some accessibility needs. It’s also really helpful in getting people to not look at their phones while driving. (Please don’t text and drive. You’re going to kill someone.) That said, if you don’t regularly have a need for Siri, it’s very much in your interest to turn it off. That way, it won’t automatically trigger at odd moments, and it won’t accidentally listen to something you’d rather not have anyone else hear. (For what it’s worth, Apple has a very good policy of anonymizing requests sent via Siri to its servers, but any time you digitize and send information, there’s a risk someone could intercept it.)
To disable Siri, go to:
Settings > Siri & Search > and disable all six options (see above).
For a bonus tip if you decide to keep her on, you can make her less annoying by reading how to make sure Siri pronounces your name correctly. The same piece also tells you how to teach her your nickname.
Your Facebook feed is annoying. And you aren’t alone. It’s impossible to control the things posted by your Facebook friends and the pages you’ve Liked over the years. (And it’s not easy deleting Uncle Bob for posting what he hates, and what he just ate.) But there’s something you can do about it. By following a few actually easy steps, you can transform your news feed into something that makes Facebook worth another long scroll.
Manage the contacts and pages you follow.
If you’re sick of seeing radical political posts or updates from an ex-girlfriend on your news feed, you can unfollow anyone and their posts won’t show up in your feed anymore. Even better? They won’t know you unfollowed them, so you’re not offending anyone.
How to: In the News Feed Preferences tab, go to “Unfollow people to hide their posts,” which lists all of your friends, and click on the ones you want to stop seeing. (If you change your mind, you can follow them again.)
Choose your feed’s starting lineup.
You can choose the people you want to appear at the top of your feed. Prioritize your closest friends and favorite pages so they come up first.
How to: Similar to unfollowing people, go to the News Feed Preferences tab, then “Prioritize who to see first.” You can go through the list and select as many or as few as you wish.
Customize your news feed based on your interests.
Take advantage of your favorite brands, people, and news sources’ Facebook pages by following them. Also, this is an easy way to discover new pages you didn’t know existed.
How to: Head to the News Feed Preferences tab and go to “Discover Pages that match your interests” for a multitude of cool pages that are custom to your current news feed.
Control the auto-playing videos.
Don’t let auto-playing videos on your news feed eat up your mobile data or distract you if you’re not interested. The auto function can be convenient if you want quick video play, but most of the time it is nice to manually decide if it is something you want to watch.
How to: On your computer, go to settings, select videos, and then turn the auto-play video on or off. For mobile devices, you determine the auto-play capability by turning on or off your WiFi settings.
Hide graphic pictures or videos. (Or don’t.)
It is inevitable that a disturbing or inappropriate picture or video will appear on your news feed eventually. You can hide or report individual pictures or videos. Or, if it’s a common occurrence, you can unfollow (see above) or unfriend that specific person.
How to: To eliminate these pictures or videos, click on the right hand corner of the post, which will lead you to a pop-up menu that allows you to hide the post, report the post, or unfollow the person who posted it.
Manage the ads you see.
You’ve probably noticed ads popping up on your screen every time you login or check your phone. You won’t be able to escape them, but luckily you can choose the types of ads you see on your news feed.
How to: Click on the arrow in the top-right corner of the ad, and select “Why am I seeing this?” This will explain why the ad is targeted at you. If you wish to stop seeing these kinds of ads, click on “Manage Your Ad Preferences.”
Follow more credible news and media sites.
One of the great things about Facebook is access to quick news that allows you to not only read, but also interact and share content you see as valuable. Plus, you’ll see more posts from these outlets instead of your wife’s cousin’s husband.
How to: Most major news organizations and media companies have a Facebook page. Make sure you see the blue checkmark next to its name, which indicates that it is a verified and professional page.
John wants to share some level seven Energizing Lotion in FarmVille! How many times have you seen a similar sentence in your Facebook News Feed and either wondered what it means, or (if you’re familiar with Farmville and other popular Facebook games) removed the message in disgust?
Facebook is aware of the problem. While some users — 200 million of them, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed at a Gaming Event in Palo Alto — enjoy playing games on the service, others aren’t interested. According to Facebook, users either “love playing games or hate them,” and the company so far didn’t have “the right tools to enable developers to grow their games while at the same time providing a great user experience for non-gamers.”
Thus, Facebook has devised a plan to make games less annoying to non-users, and more engaging to gamers at the same time. The first part is relatively easy: Facebook will only show application stories to users who are already engaging with the application, meaning that people who don’t play Farmville won’t have to endure Farmville-related posts in their feeds.
If Facebook decides you are interested in games, it will be displaying full game stories (instead of collapsed ones) in the News Feed, as well as adding prominent counts to those stories to highlight tasks that need to be completed within a game. Bookmarks will get smarter — apps will be automatically bookmarked and reordered based on actual usage. Finally, Facebook will start notifying users when their friends start playing a game (in addition to highlighting their activity within the game).
From the users’ perspective, these are welcome changes, especially for non-gamers who won’t be pestered by constant game-related notifications. From the game developers’ end, it remains to be seen whether these improvements will alleviate the fact that gaming-related notifications will now be less aggressive than before.
Facebook earns revenue from advertisements, but those ads and banners that keep popping up on your sidebar are annoying. Of course, Facebook doesn’t want those ads removed, and there is no official guide or application to remove them. To get rid of ads generated by Facebook, you can download ad-blocking programs to clean up your browser page. If you have Firefox, Safari or Chrome, you can download the Adblock Plus extension. Once installed, this popular add-on blocks the upload of ads that originate from certain advertisement sites.
When you click “like” on a product or page, Facebook can then use that information and your name and profile picture, to display targeted social ads on your friends’ pages. Using personal information from your profile to target an audience raises privacy issues. Third-party advertisers can also use Facebook to promote their products by posting auto-generated advertisements. You may have noticed this when you do a search on Google for a product and see an ad for it appear in your Facebook feed.
You can’t opt out of seeing Facebook ads completely, but you can opt out of ads based on your browsing habits. To opt out, log on to your Facebook account, and click on “Settings” at the upper right-hand corner of your homepage. It’s just above the command to log out. Then, scroll down to the section in “Settings” marked “Ads.” You’ll see a number of ad preferences. Go to “Ad Settings.” Change the settings for “Ads based on data from partners” and “Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products you see elsewhere” to “Not Allowed.” The section marked “Ads that include your social actions” (i.e. pages you have liked) can be changed from being seen by “Only Friends” to “No One” also.
In the section marked “Your Information” (above “Ad Settings”) you’ll see Facebook also serves up ads based your marital status, education, employer and job title. You can also disable those requests and/or remove that information from your profile. The profile is in the “About” tab of the Facebook page with your name.
Originally Published: May 20, 2011
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The first step to growing a good career in the face of Asperger’s Syndrome is to recognize that this is a social skills deficit, by definition, and work, by definition, is a social skills decathlon.
I have written before that for me, the biggest problem at work stems from my own sensory integration dysfunction — something that typically tags along with an Asperger’s diagnosis. But for someone with Asperger’s, it’s not enough to deal with sensory integration dysfunction; in order to succeed at the workplace, you need some guidelines for bridging the gap between other peoples’ social skills and your own.
So, based on my own experience, here are some concrete rules for doing better at work if you have Asperger’s, and maybe if you don’t.
1. Spend limited amounts of time with people.
One of the things that is alarming to non-Asperger’s people is how few friends and relationships people with Asperger’s have. But I have never heard anyone with Asperger’s lament this. (Temple Grandin is a good example.) It’s not something we feel a loss about. We only need a small amount of closeness in our life. What I do hear Asperger’s people sad about all the time is a lack of employment opportunity.
The way to improve this is to spend less time with people. We can be normal in small spurts. We can look charming and quirky in small doses but in large doses, it’s overwhelming. So go out to dinner, but then go home. Go to the company picnic, but just talk with people for a little bit. Then leave.
At work you do not need to spend tons of time with people. You can be the weird, smart one. As long as you’re not too weird. Get along with people for a little. Then go back to your cube.
2. Don’t tell your boss.
People don’t care about your random, personal crap. I know, that’s crazy to say on this blog. But I’m entertaining or useful, and when I’m at my best, I’m both. Also, your boss won’t know what to do. She can’t read 400 pages on Asperger’s.
Instead, ask your boss questions about social situations. For example, at Brazen Careerist, we just closed a small round of funding. And my boss, our new CEO, sent a thank you to the investors. I emailed him to find out: Should I send a thank you as well? And he said yes. So I did.
When you ask specific questions about social situations, your boss will appreciate that you know you don’t know. And your boss will think you’re coachable. That helps when your boss sees you being a social moron. The biggest problem with people who have poor social skills is that they don’t know what they’re missing, so they are not coachable. You will differentiate yourself from this crowd when you ask for help.
Ryan Paugh has great social skills. So I ask him a lot of questions, and I watch him. When Ryan Healy’s parents came to visit, I knew I needed to talk with them, because I was the CEO. I know that’s a social rule. But I absolutely completely could not figure out what to say. I listened to Ryan Paugh go first. He said, “What do you have planned for the weekend?”
That was a great line. I wouldn’t have thought of it. But I know for next time.
People who are typical will think this is an easy conversation to have. They’ve had it before, in another form. People with Asperger’s cannot generalize social rules. We have to learn the thing to say in every single situation.
3. Be great at what you do, and a little odd.
I write obsessively about how important it is to to be a star. It is actually more important for people with Asperger’s. This is the only way to stay employable. You will always be difficult to deal with. You need to make it worth everyone’s time.
Often, people who are really likable don’t have to be good at what they do. People just love being around them. And it’s fair, because someone who everyone likes actually does make the team more productive.
Many people who work with me know that I’m weird. The first thing Ryan and Ryan said when they got to Madison was that I am totally eccentric. They put up with it. They stayed because I have built such a good career for myself. They wanted to work with me because of that, so they excuse the poor social skills.
By the time you get to the mid-point in your career, it’s clear that the people who stand out as great at what they do are also weird, and they are thinking in odd ways. It’s what makes them stand out. So the more successful you are in your career, the more okay it is, and the more expected it should be, for you to be odd.
4. Do office politics by being totally direct.
There is office politics in every office. Because office politics is about how people get along. If you have Asperger’s, there is not a good way for you to know all the nuances—we don’t understand mean, vindictive, passive aggressive, these are all way too complicated. So we don’t do them. This should make people like us, if we do it right. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that much of how I act comes off as mean, even if this is not my intention.
So you need to really look at peoples’ faces. And if you get a bad reaction when you say something, even if you think it’s not a bad thing to say, you need to stop and ask if you hurt someone’s feelings. I ask this four or five times in any given day. “Are you angry?” Most of the time people are surprised that I don’t know. But I keep asking. There is no other way to find out.
5. Don’t get frustrated by the rules.
Recently, I’ve been reminded about how hard it was to learn business rules because I had to learn dating rules. I got frustrated about dating. Like I’ll never learn. For four dates I didn’t understand why people drink on a date. I don’t understand why you don’t say at the beginning of the date if you want to have sex at the end, so you know what you’re leading to. But I tried to just do what other people are doing. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I just try to fit in.
There are rules like this for the office, as well. Just follow them. Don’t ask for any rationale. It won’t make sense. That’s okay.
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Poor pop-ups. Everybody calls them annoying, bad and spammy. But they don’t have to be. Pop-ups don’t have to be bad. They are actually a list-builder’s secret weapon. But when they’re used the wrong way, pop-ups can get pretty annoying. Yours don’t have to be.
Pop-ups (also called “pop-overs” or “interstitials”) work so well that even if you tone them down a bit, they work better than almost any other list-building tactic.
30-100% Increase in opt-ins
You can realistically expect that adding a pop-up will increase your opt-in rate by 30-100%. That not hype: That’s normal. There are reports of pop-ups increasing opt-in rates by 1000% or more, but those are unusually good results. Let’s stick with what you can realistically expect.
You, right now – today – can get 30-100% more email subscribers if you add a pop-up to your site. This is especially easy for you to do, because GetResponse gives you a way to shift any opt-in box into a pop-up (or lightbox) with just a few clicks. You don’t need to install any plugins or to spend any money. You’ve already got everything you need.
How to create a pop-up in your GetResponse account
To do this, log into your account, and go to “Web Forms” in the top navigation bar. Find the web form you want to convert into a pop-up and click “Edit”.
Once you’re in the editing view, make sure “Form type” is selected in the left pull-down menu, then click on the “type” pull-down menu to choose whether you want a pop-over or a lightbox.
Pop-overs and lightboxes are basically the same thing – they’ll both make an opt-in box come up in front of the rest of your website. The only difference is the background behind pop-ups is clear, so you can see the rest of your website as usual. With a lightbox, the rest of your website – the rest of what you can see in the browser – is darkened.
Personally, I like lightboxes better than pop-ups because they make a visitor focus more on the opt-in form, but you should test which one works best for you.
The real reason people don’t use pop-ups
So now you know how easy it is to create a pop-up in your GetResponse account.
Know what, though? I bet a lot of you already knew that. And I bet you already knew pop-ups work. I bet a bunch of you don’t care.
You don’t care because you already know pop-ups work, but you think your visitors will hate you if you use them. You’re just not willing to sell out like that – you’re not going to have your site be one of those spammy, pushy sites everybody hates. Fair enough. I have good news for you. Pop-ups don’t have to be annoying. You can have a pop-up, and still keep your website visitors happy. Here’s how:
1. Delay the pop-up
Let’s start with the most annoying aspect of pop-ups first: They come up right as you land on the page, clamoring for you to enter your email address to get some report that’s way too much like every other free report you’ve seen.
You don’t want this report. You just landed on this site, and you don’t even know if you like this place yet. You definitely aren’t ready to just hand over your email address… because if they’re this pushy now, what will they be like in your inbox?
Solution: Delay the pop-up so it doesn’t show when people first land on the page.
This is really easy in your GetResponse account. There’s a setting to do it right next to where you selected either a pop-over or a lightbox.
I recommend you set this to the maximum, so it shows 20 seconds after people have been on your site. With that one setting, you’ve swept away much of the annoyance factor with your pop-up. Pretty simple, eh?
If that’s still too invasive for you, I’ve got another trick for you.
2.Don’t show the pop-up on every page
Don’t you hate it when every single page you go to on a site results in a pop-up? You’re not alone. Showing pop-ups more than once per visit is probably the second best way to annoy your visitors, right after showing the pop-up immediately.
And again, there is a solution. If you’re still in your GetResponse account, looking at the web form editor, you’ve probably noticed the “After every X days” setting just to the right of the seconds delay setting. That’s where you can control how many days pass between when your subscribers see your pop-up.
Changing this to 3, 7, 14 or even 30, 60 or 90 days will show your pop-up only that often. So changing this setting to 7 means your visitors will see this pop-up once every 7 days.
I don’t know about you, but when something happens every minute or so, it’s FAR more annoying than when it happens only once a week. Setting your pop-ups to show every few days means you’ve once again made them far less annoying than those other bad, pushy pop-ups no one likes.
3. Don’t use a pop-up at all
If you still can’t abide by pop-ups, even if they only show only once a week, there is another alternative: A scroll triggered box.
Usually, people scroll down a page as they read, so to have an opt-in box appear after someone has scrolled down 60, 70 or 80% of a page usually means it will show after someone has had a chance to read, watch or see some of the content on the page. That usually means they’re interested in the content. And if they’re interested in the content, they might be interested in signing up for your list.
My favorite scroll triggered box plugin at the moment is Dreamgrow’s Scroll Triggered Box. It’s a free plugin you can download from the WordPress.org site. It integrates with GetResponse.
This plugin shows the opt-in box in the bottom right hand corner of pages, which is much less invasive than showing it in the middle of the screen. I’ve had excellent results using this plugin on websites where the client just could not accept a pop-up, but realized they needed something more active than the standard static opt-in box.
You could actually use the scroll box to promote anything –you could add a Facebook like box, a video… whatever you want. You can also control where the slider shows – say, when people are 60% down the page, or 80% down the page.
4. Don’t offer weak content
The last big reason pop-ups are annoying is that they’re usually not worth the interruption they cause. They’re “just ads”. You want your pop-ups to offer something that’s perceived as far more valuable than that. Offer content that’s worth the interruption.
A pop-up that offers the same boring generic diet report that’s on a thousand other sites is always somewhat annoying, even if it is shown at a delay and only once per visit. But (for example) a week’s shopping list for a diet targeted perfectly for your ideal audience, that only costs $15 per day – that might be interesting enough to be worth the interruption. And that’s what would make it less annoying.
PSA: Facebook is spamming some people with unwanted popups nagging them to “Turn on Facebook Notifications”. It just wont go away. It only gives you 2 options, and if you click the “Not Now” button, the popup will return every time you log-in.
This post explains how to turn off the “Turn on Facebook notifications” popups:
1) Click the green “Turn on” button in the popup window.
2) If you havent already turned off “off site” notifications in the browser, a browser dialog should then pop up asking whether you want to allow notifications from facebook.com. Select the “Always block on this site” or “Never Allo w” options (or equivalent). If you have already turned off browser notifications via the padlock icon at the left of the address bar, then you are already sorted and this step is not necessary.
L i k e and S h a r e this with your friends who may also suffering from this issue,
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