People who visit your site have the attention span of a 5-year-old in a room full of puppies with a bagful of candy. You need to get their attention right away or you may lose them forever. To focus their attention on the right bit of information, try using a notification bar.
Hosted WordPress site owners have a lot of notification bar choices. Most are plugins, but some themes even come with this option. A notification bar is an attention getter, but not as annoying as pop up windows.
1. Foo bar ($14)
Foo bar is a really popular notification bar choice for self-hosted WordPress sites. Actually, Foo bar is one of the only brandable notification bars out there. This means it will integrate a lot better with your site and not look like a generic add-on or an after thought. By adding your social icons, RSS and other generic text into your Foo bar, you can save space in your sidebar or header.
When creating your notification bars, you don’t need to stop at just one. You can create an unlimited number of Foo bars. Having different bars can be super useful because it also gives you the choice to add different Foo bars to different pages on your site. Think about being able to direct people visiting different landing pages or blog posts to a specific product or page on your site.
2. Fading Menu ($12)
Fading Menu is a different kind of notification bar. While it does give you a notification bar to spread whatever message you’d like, Fading Menu is also a separate navigation bar. The new notification/navigation bar will stay at the top of the screen while the visitor scrolls down the page. The notification bar is not one of those that stalks your visitor as they read your page, it is actually useful.
Having a navigation bar following your site visitor as they scroll saves them from needing to go all the way to the top of the page to subscribe to your RSS feed or like your page on Facebook. You can add your social network icons and links to Fading Menu. You can have a totally different navigation bar following the visitor down then you have static on your page. Having a secondary navigation bar means you could direct someone to your most popular posts in certain categories if you so choose.
3. Hello Bar
Hello Bar is a free clean and simple notification bar. When setting up Hello Bar, you have a bunch of neat options. For starters, if you prefer not to have a plugin on your WordPress site or aren’t running the WordPress platform, you can add the custom code to the site instead.
The notification bar can show up after a set amount of time, kind of like the pop up windows, but less obtrusive. This is a great way to ask them if they have followed you on your social site of choice. You could even have it show up after 1 minute so you know they are not just a random person who came across your site from an incorrect Google search.
Out of all the notification bars listed, Hello Bar is the only one with movement. What I mean is, you can have the notification bar try to get the visitor’s attention just in case they didn’t notice. This is great for newsletter sign ups or special event notifications.
4. Easy Heads Up Bar
Heads Up Bar is a simple notification bar with a simple setup. While Heads Up Bar isn’t as elaborate as some of the paid options, you can still create an unlimited number of notification bars. These notification bars can have expiration dates attached to them. Again this is ideal for letting visitors know of a promotion or an event.
Heads Up Bar lets you choose where you want the bar to display. This comes in handy because you might have a different notification bar on your homepage than you do on your interior pages/blog posts.
5. Notification Toolbar
Out of this group, Notification Toolbar is the only notification bar strictly meant for the footer of your site. You are given very basic settings to change the color of the bar and font and the opacity of the whole bar. When you need a quick little notification, Notification Toolbar will do the trick.
6. Quick Notice Bar (Free or $10)
Quick Notice Bar has a free and a paid version. While the default Quick Notice Bars look the same, the free basic plugin is pretty limited in comparison. The bar and font colors can be modified. So can the size and the weight of the font.
Adding a link is easy in Quick Notice Bar. There is a separate box for the link and link label. When you have these adjustments made, you can access the CSS styling code for the Quick Notice Bar.
If you choose to pay the minimal $10, you get several very useful features. The first feature being custom positioning. The bar can be set at the top, bottom, floating or wherever. The paid Quick Notice Bars can be scheduled to start showing up on a Monday and end that Friday night. How great would it be to not need to remember to take down the notification bar when your promotion ends at midnight?
A feature unique to Quick Notice Bar is traffic stats. You will know how effective your notification bar actually is. You could also A/B different notification bars by scheduling them on and off to see what works best. And while you’re at it, what about being able to add custom code? Well you can do so with the paid version! Add an affiliate link or other money makers at the top of the screen.
Site owners and designers are always looking for innovative ways to lead site visitors down the funnel towards an end result, be it buying something or signing up for a newsletter or something else. A notification bar is a simple and effective way to grab some attention in a way that isn’t that annoying for most visitors.
What are your tips for getting the attention of your visitors and leading them in a certain direction? Feel free to share with us in comments.
Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, he is a mobile productivity trainer for the busiest of all mobile users, working women.