FooBar Review: Best WordPress Notification Bar Plugin? (2021)
Searching for a plugin to help you create notification bars on your WordPress site?
FooBar is a flexible freemium notification bar plugin that helps you create email opt-ins, CTAs, countdown timers, announcements, and more. You can place your bars above or below content (or even beside it!), choose from lots of different templates/layouts, and target your notification bars to different content, dates, users, and more.
In our hands-on FooBar review, I’ll dig into this plugin and show you how it works. In general, it’s a really easy option to create good-looking WordPress notification bars, and there’s also a free version that should work for a lot of users.
Let’s get started!
FooBar Review: Exploring the Feature List
In a nutshell, FooBar helps you create notification bars that look something like these:
You can place your bars in the following high-level locations, with additional positioning options inside those broad locations:
- Top (static or sticky)
- Left or right slide-in bar
You can start your bars expanded or collapsed, animate them to grab visitors’ attention, control all the colors, and more.
You can create different types of bars including:
- Simple messages
- Messages with CTA buttons
- Email opt-in forms
- Countdown timers with CTA buttons
- Cookie consent notices
You’ll also be able to control exactly where/when your notification bars appear with advanced rules including:
- Targeting logged-in vs logged-out users
- Targeting specific content by post type, category, tag, individual posts/pages, and more
All in all, it’s a pretty flexible solution for WordPress notification bars. Keep reading to see it in action.
Hands-On With FooBar
Now, let’s go hands-on with the plugin on my test site and I’ll show you how it works. For reference, I’m using the premium version of the plugin on my site, though all of the basic core features are also available in the free version.
When you first launch FooBar, it will give you this nice getting started guide to help you learn how to get up and running.
One neat feature is the ability to create demo notification bars, which help you understand how the notification bars work by looking at some already-finished examples:
There’s also a settings area where you can configure a few basics, such as the Mailchimp integration, reCAPTCHA, CSS stylesheet behavior, and more.
With respect to CSS, FooBar will only load its styles on pages where you’re actually displaying a notification, which is good for performance. However, you can adjust this behavior if you need to in order to make it work with your theme, which might be required sometimes.
Now, let’s create a notification bar!
Create a Notification Bar
When you create a new notification bar, you can choose from five options:
- Announcement – a simple message, with or without a text link.
- Call to Action – a message with a CTA button.
- Cookie Notice – a cookie notice with an accept button.
- Sign Up – an email opt-in.
- Countdown – a call to action button with a countdown.
I’ll choose the Countdown option for this example:
Once you make your choice, you’ll expand a new set of options that are specific to that type of notification bar, divided into different tabs:
Let’s go through the tabs…
Configure General Tab
The General tab lets you control the position – you get 12+ options with the premium version:
- Top (sticky when scrolling)
- Left (slide-in bar)
The additional positioning options appear as sub-options based on the initial position you choose.
You can also choose whether your bar should push the content out of the way (like the WordPress toolbar) or sit on top of the content (which might obscure something underneath).
The Content tab lets you control all of the content in your notification bar.
For a countdown timer, you can choose between a Fixed (static) or Relative (evergreen) countdown.
You can then configure all of the other content, including the text message, button, etc.:
For a countdown timer, you’ll also get a separate area to configure the expired message, which is what displays after the countdown reaches zero. The message only displays briefly and then the notification bar will automatically dismiss.
One neat thing here is that FooBar includes a real-time preview at the top of the page. So – as you change the content, the preview will automatically update, which lets you see exactly how it will look. There’s also a button that you can click to view the preview on the front-end of your site:
The Appearance tab lets you configure everything about your notification bar’s style.
FooBar includes a bunch of pre-made color schemes, which is nice if you’re not a designer. Instead of needing to match colors, you can just pick a scheme and call it a day.
Or, if you do want pinpoint control, you can choose the Custom option and add your own colors:
If you do choose Custom, that will unlock a new Customizer sub-menu for you to configure every single color, including the option to use gradients. I think the gradients are a nice touch as they make for a really engaging notification bar, as you saw in some of the examples above:
In addition to colors, you can also configure effects, like having the notification bar pulse or bounce when it appears to grab visitors’ attention, as well as the icons to close/expand/collapse the notification bar:
Configure Visibility Rules
The Visibility tab is my favorite because it’s what lets you control who should see your notification bar and on what content.
Personalization is super important in marketing, so being able to target your notifications to certain content or users is very important.
First off, you can add scheduling to only run your notification bar in a certain date/time range. Or, you can disable scheduling to run it always.
Then, you also get four options to control where to display your notifications:
- Nowhere – essentially disables the bar.
- By shortcode – lets you use a shortcode to manually control which pages should show the notification.
- Everywhere – displays the bar sitewide to all users.
- Conditional – gives you a bunch of options to control exactly where to display it.
The first three options are pretty self-explanatory, but the Conditional option is the most interesting because it gives you a lot of control.
With it, you can create your own custom rules using AND or OR based on the following conditions:
- Post type – e.g. target only WooCommerce products.
- Post – specific posts.
- Category – all content in a category.
- Tag – all content with a certain tag.
- Format – all content with a certain post format.
- Page type – e.g. front page, blog archive page, search results page, etc.
- Page – specific pages
- User logged in – whether or not a user is logged in to WordPress.
You can add multiple rule groups (OR), each of which can contain multiple rules (AND). In order for the notification bar to trigger, all of the rules in at least one rule group must be met.
For example, the following settings would display the notification bar in one of two situations:
- On the homepage for anonymous visitors (not logged into WordPress)
- On the “My Account” page for registered visitors who are logged in
One option that could be useful here is the ability to target by WordPress role and not just logged-in status. This would allow membership sites and online courses to create notification bars that are targeted to specific types of members. Most people, including WooCommerce stores, should be totally fine with just logged-in status, though.
Add Custom Settings
If you want more control, the Advanced tab lets you add your own custom settings (with code). There’s also a box to add your own custom CSS to attach to this notification bar:
And that’s pretty much it – you can click the Publish button to make your notification bar live according to your visibility conditions.
Exploring the Email Opt-In Settings
While most of the settings are roughly the same for the different notification bar types, I do want to take a quick look at the email opt-in option because there are some important details there.
Currently, FooBar only supports direct integration with Mailchimp, though the developer has plans to add integrations with more providers.
However, if you’re not using Mailchimp, there’s also an option to save subscribers to the WordPress database, which would let you manually add them to any email marketing service. The subscribers will show up in a meta box when you edit the opt-in notification bar:
If you want to view a detailed comparison of the features in the FooBar free vs pro versions, you can check out the comparison table here.
In general, the Pro version gives you more advanced layouts, like email signup bars and countdown bars, more customization options, better targeting (such as scheduling or conditional visibility), and more placement options.
There are three different license options, both of which offer one-year or lifetime licenses. The only difference between the licenses is the number of sites that you can use the plugin on:
- 1 site – $29 for a one-year license or $99 for a lifetime license.
- 5 sites – $69 for a one-year license or $199 for a lifetime license.
- 25 sites – $149 for a one-year license or $499 for a lifetime license.
Final Thoughts on FooBar
Overall, I found FooBar to be an excellent solution for creating WordPress notification bars.
The bars look great and have useful settings and targeting rules, especially with the conditional visibility rules in the premium version. The plugin is also easy to use and I had no issues getting up and running.
You can also create a variety of different types of notification bars, ranging from simple messages to email opt-ins, countdown promos, and more.
For email opt-ins, I think it would be useful to have more integrations than just Mailchimp, which the developer has plans to do. A catch-all Zapier integration could be a good option to let people connect to virtually any email marketing service.
However, even if you’re not using Mailchimp, you can still make it work via the manual subscriber option.
All in all, if you’re looking for a WordPress notification bar plugin, this one is definitely a great option.
You can test it out with the free version at WordPress.org. Then, consider upgrading to the Pro version for more features: