BUX Review: The Hello Bar

Introducing the Hello Bar

I first ran across the Hello Bar when I saw a tweet about it being bought by Crazy Egg. What really interested me about it was that somebody thought to make this a service that makes money* and then another company would want to buy that service. I could easily see this as a WordPress plugin or something similar, but a web business?

I had to check it out.

But let’s back up.

What’s the Hello Bar?

The Hello Bar is small bar with a message and a link at the top of the page.

There are a ton of settings that regulate how the bar works, from when it’s first shown to how long it stays visible. You can also determine whether it sticks to the top of the page or moves with the user as they scroll down the page.

Our Hello Bar above is showing one of five messages right now. The primary message is above.

Hello Bar lets you create several variations of your bar to see which one works best. I’ve been testing multiple versions for the last three weeks and in that time I’ve tested the following messages:

– 3 Analytics Programs You Should Be Using Right This Second
– Subscribe now to our RSS feed to get your weekly dose of UX.
– Choosing the Right User Testing Tools for the Job
– Amazing: Full list of UX Tools and Apps
– 3 Analytics Programs You Should Be Using Right This Second

Each message when to its corresponding story, with the exception of the RSS feed, which (obviously) went to our RSS feed. In the 3+ weeks we’ve used the hello bar, there have been:

If we break that down across all 5 Hello Bars, here’s what we see:

The test seems clear: folks like the UX Directory, don’t like the RSS feed and are “eh” about the rest.

There’s a stats page that also lets you see visits vs. clicks and the click-thru rate.


The default plan is free. It includes most customization options and up to 25 clicks a month. If you need more than that, you’re going to have to pay. How much? That depends on how many clicks you need. But the primary upgrade they’d like to sell you is their “Pro” package.

The other benefits besides more clicks are the ability to use the bars on your secure pages, to remove the Hello branding on your page (a small logo on the left side of the bar otherwise), and allows you to update your Hello Bar via RSS or Twitter.

Prices increase based on the number of clicks you need but top out around $49.95/mo.

* Hello Bar now offers their .js file to web developers for $29. It’s called “Hello Bar Solo”. What’s really cool is that if you’re a web developer, you can drop in the javascript, configure it and you’re done. On the down side, you don’t get any stats or A/B testing. You’ll have to set it up as an event and track it in Google Analytics instead. Which, when all is said and done, could make tracking easier.

What I Like

I like that it’s easy to setup. And I like that it’s free.

I also like how customizable the bar is and how editing it doesn’t require updating any code.

Also, there’s also something about it that just seems neat about it. Maybe it’s their website’s style. I find that really engaging too.

My Concerns

I’m honestly not convinced of its value. In my test, I had a click-thru of less than 1%, with the exception of the UX Directory bar. But the UX Directory is accessible from our main menu, so I can’t say definitively that we gained any clicks for the UX Directory as a result of the Hello Bar.

I think that if you have content that your users really want to find, this could make a lot of sense. But, I have to wonder if this is really good UX.

I’ve never really been sold on overlays. I can see the need for a chat program but all of the over and under bars I’m seeing are giving me flashbacks to the early days of toolbars on web browsers. What I really think is that if you have content that needs to be highlighted, there’s probably a better, more impactful, more graceful way to work it into your design than with a bar like this.

Hell, even Hello Bar seems to concede that people don’t really look at it. That’s what the big arrow must be for.

The Hello Bar website front page


The Hello Bar is a particular thing. If you need it, it’s priced right. It’s a cheap monthly fee or a one-time shot for under $30.

I’m not convinced of its value, but your mileage may vary.

It’s free to try, so if you’re curious, you should definitely give it a whirl.

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