How to Build Your Blog’s Email List (Everything You Need to Know)
by Tom Ewer on
If I had to distill key advice to any beginner blogger into its purest form, I would suggest just two actions:
- Create unique and outstanding content
- Capture your readers’ email addresses
I don’t care a great deal about your design (as long as it doesn’t distract from the reading experience or make navigation difficult). I’m not interested in whether you have a Facebook and/or Twitter account. I certainly have no interest in your search engine optimization efforts at this stage. All I want you to do is create exceptional content and keep hold of the people who read it. Everything else should follow in the wake of those two key actions.
In this guide I am going to cover everything you need to know about building an email list for your blog. We’ll cut out all of the complexities and get you up and running before you know it.
Why You Should Capture Readers’ Email Addresses
You may be wondering why emails are so valuable. After all, isn’t everyone on social media these days? You’ve probably heard that any blogger worth his salt should be active on Facebook, Twitter and so on.
That may be true, but email is still the most valuable form of communication you can have with your readers, for more reasons than I have room to reveal here. If you’re not yet sold on the value of email subscribers, click here to find out exactly why they are so important.
How to Capture Your Blog Readers’ Email Addresses
On a fundamental level, capturing email addresses is no more complicated than making a list. People enter their email into a form on your site, hit a button, and their address is added to your list.
It does however get a little more complicated than that. You need to create that form and ensure that it does its job in recording email addresses. Then you need a viable means of sending messages to every single subscriber at the same time, and perhaps even a means to send them pre-written emails automatically.
Broadly speaking, you’ve got two options: free or premium. I’ve outlined next steps for both options below, but if you’d like to know more about the pros and cons of free versus premium email marketing services, click here.
How to Capture Email Addresses (The Free Option)
It is possible to setup email subscription options without it costing you a penny.
There are (as you would expect) many limitations to this, but if you’re not yet fully committed to blogging, going the free route can be a good way to get started.
Check out our tutorial on the best free solution for blog email subscription and decide whether the free route is right for you: How to Set Up Email Subscriptions For Your Blog With Jetpack.
I’ll be waiting here if you decide to explore the premium option, covered below. For what it’s worth, I started using a premium service from day one, and that was definitely the right decision for me.
How to Capture Email Addresses (The Premium Option)
To create a fully-functional email list, you’ll need an email marketing service provider. These providers offer web-based software that enable you to store email addresses on different lists, send emails out to your lists, and much more.
This is one of those areas of blogging in which I’m not really comfortable to compromise – I’ve used AWeber, a premium provider, since before I earned a single penny as a blogger. They are the provider that I wholeheartedly recommend. Best of all, the first month’s subscription is just $1.
If you’re ready to take on the premium option and want to know what to do next, we’ve got you covered. Our tutorials will take you through the process from beginning to end:
- How to Signup to AWeber and Create Your First Email List
- How to Add a Sidebar Signup Form to Your Blog With AWeber
- How to Send a Broadcast Email in AWeber
- How to Setup an Autoresponder Series in AWeber
The biggest issue you’ll come up against in the above process will be creating a signup form that works with your blog’s design. That’s why I created our sidebar signup form design and installation service.
We will design and install a sidebar signup form for your blog that melts into your design seamlessly. You choose the fields and text to include and we’ll create a design that matches the color scheme and fonts of your blog’s theme, then install it on your blog for you. Click here to find out more.
Alternatively, you can use check out OptinMonster below, which is by far my favourite option for creating signup forms in WordPress.
Converting More Visitors Into Subscribers With OptinMonster
I like to couple AWeber with an awesome premium plugin available for WordPress: OptinMonster.
In a nutshell, OptinMonster enables you to easily create beautiful signup forms and place them in some really inventive places on your site (like sliding up in the bottom right of the screen and appearing as a box in the center of the screen) that are proven to lead to more signups. It is designed to work seamlessly with WordPress and is both easier to use and more effective (in terms of converting visitors into subscribers) than AWeber’s signup form functionality.
In case you were wondering, I use AWeber’s service and OptinMonster forms on this site – you may well have already signed up to my AWeber email list using an OptinMonster form! I practice what I preach here 🙂
This is one instance where I don’t need to write a tutorial – OptinMonster’s developers have done a fantastic job with their user guide and supporting documentation, and they offer fantastic support to boot. They give you everything you need to create beautiful signup forms for your website.
What Are You Waiting For?
Including email subscription options on your site is an absolute must as far as I am concerned. And when you have, at the very least, a completely free option to choose from, there really is nothing to hold you back!
If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them below 🙂
Photo Credit: Bob Shrader