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Top 6 Paywall Mistakes to Avoid

Updated: Mar 16

If you have just implemented a paywall on your website, or you have been using one for a while, we here at Pelcro are happy to help you avoid the 6 top mistakes when using a paywall.

Previously, we have spoken about the usefulness of using a soft paywall over a hard paywall, as it results in a higher retention rate and a higher number of clicks for your site.

If you are still deciding on what paywall method to use, please check out our article on soft paywalls and the ways to utilize it properly.

The top 6 Paywall Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Not enough subscription options:

When creating your paywall, make sure that there are enough subscription options. Not too many, however, as it can make your website look overcrowded and messy. Remember that your audience all come from different economic backgrounds and will feel comfortable spending differing amounts.

A good choice between 2-4 options is enough. Make sure that there is a monthly subscription, so readers will have the option of paying monthly and canceling before the end of the year. Also ensure that there is a yearly option with a discount as an incentive.


When creating a paywall, make sure that unsubscribing is easy on your readers.

When creating a paywall, make sure that you include many subscription options for ranging budgets. Source.


2. No sign-up prompts:

A common mistake that many users do when using a paywall is forgetting to use a sign up prompt. This prompt can be highly efficient in converting traffic into subscribers. Previously we have covered the time in which a pop-up should appear. We at Pelcro believe that 30 seconds to a minute is a perfect time for readers to be met with a sign-up. If you use our ML/AI module, we can help you optimize that based on region, device, user frequency and more.

By ensuring that the sign-up prompt is after the reader has been on the site for some time, reading and consuming your content, they are more likely to sign up right there on the spot. You do not want any less than 30 seconds or more than 1 minute as you may instead drive traffic away.

When creating your sign-up prompt for your paywall, make sure that it is pleasing to the eye and not over-crowded with visuals. Instead, focus on a clean look with enough information for the reader to understand. Also, include an email field for the reader to fill in. Pelcro also allows you to provide an additional X amount of free articles to those who enter their email. That allows you to create a lead generation funnel that you can then use in email marketing.


3. Have content that is exclusive to your subscribers:

If you want to ensure that your website retains many of its readers, if not most, make sure your premium content is exclusive to only subscribed users.

When writing for your audience, always strive to find an angle that is different from other articles on your website. Make sure that you reference all your sources, and correctly, and that you ensure that each piece you write is professional.

Having a paywall can be a gamble but it can be highly profitable if successful. By ensuring that your content is purely exclusive to your subscribers and cannot be found elsewhere, you will drive lots of traffic to your site.

The strategy should be to create free content as your lead generation strategy and then promote your premium content that is only available to subscribed users. Pelcro provides you with all the tools to implement such strategy and more. If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?


4. Choosing to use a hard paywall rather than a soft paywall:

Hard paywalls are hard to effectively use if you do not already have a dedicated and loyal audience.

The Times, a UK newspaper lost 90% of its audience after going to a pure hard paywall. This resulted in most of its audience choosing to go elsewhere.


UK newspaper, The Times. lost 90% of its reader base after going hard paywall rather than soft.

UK newspaper, The Times. lost 90% of its reader base after going hard paywall rather than soft. Source.


However, choosing to use a soft paywall can be an easier and less frightening choice to make.

Soft paywalls allow readers to view more of your content before being prompted to subscribe. This can make readers feel more comfortable, allowing them to decide whether they like your content enough to subscribe.


5. Making it difficult for subscribers to cancel:

If you want to retain your audience and keep them loyal, you must give them confidence in your service. By making it difficult to unsubscribe, you are causing your audience to distrust your service. You can lose many subscribers this way.

When it comes to subscribing and costs, people want to feel like they can unsubscribe at any time without hassle.

As a creator, you must remember that each reader is in a different situation financially. By making it easy for readers to unsubscribe, they will feel more confident with your service.

Websites like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are known as having a difficult way to unsubscribe and will cause distrust.

Ensure that you keep your website easy to use and honest. You will create confidence in your viewer base as well as loyalty to your brand.


The New York Times has a difficult system in place to make it hard for users to unsubscribe.

The New York Times has a difficult system in place to make it hard for users to unsubscribe. Source.


Creating a paywall for your website can be overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing.

We believe that a soft paywall is the best way to retain your audience and get new subscribers as it promotes confidence in your service. Readers will know exactly what they are signing up for!

By following these 6 steps, you can ensure that your paywall will succeed. You will be getting subscribers in no time!

We at Pelcro strive to help website owners succeed and drive traffic to your website. If you have any questions, please contact us here.

Do you know of any mistakes to avoid that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!

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