Now that you signed up for an email service you need to integrate it with your website so people know they can sign up! It’s not as difficult as you may think to add a sign-up form. With the right plugins, installing forms on your blog or website is a breeze.
There are several ways I’ve incorporated email sign-ups on my own blog and it’s these methods that I detail below.
You should also note that I use Mailchimp to manage my email list. This blog post doesn’t cover the steps to integrate ConvertKit, MailerLite or other services with your website. Most of the plugins are compatible with other services but I can only demonstrate with the one I personally use.
This is the second post in a series on email marketing. If you haven’t signed up with an email service yet I recommend starting with How to Set Up Your Email List for Free (Easily).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission from any purchases made through them. For more information see my disclosure policy.
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DECIDE HOW YOU WANT VISITORS TO SIGN UP
You will need a sign-up form on your website at some point, though the sooner the better. How you choose to capture these emails is completely up to you.
There are several successful ways bloggers employ to get their readers to leave their first name and email address. Popular methods include:
- Embedding a sign-up form in the sidebar of your website.
- Creating a sign-up form in the header space (this is dependent on your theme).
- Installing a header bar at the top of your page
- Embedding sign-up forms in your blog posts
- A popup that takes over your screen when a visitor clicks to your website
- A popup that appears in the middle or side of your screen after a certain time spent on the website
- An exit popup that appears when a visitor goes to exit the screen
- Landing pages (more on that below)
There are probably more but these are the techniques I’ve used or seen for capturing emails.
Which form, or forms, you choose to use on your website is up to you. Things to consider before installing one include:
- Will they detract from the reader’s experience?
- Can you customize them to match your brand and blog theme?
- Is it free to install or do you have to pay a monthly cost?
- Will it slow down your website?
POPULAR SIGN-UP FORM PLUGINS
One of the best benefits of using self-hosted WordPress is the availability of thousands of plugins. For those of us who aren’t developers and fluent in coding…these are a lifesaver!
The plugins I recommend for adding sign-up forms to your blog or website are:
- Hello Bar for WordPress – creates a bar at the top of your website that you can use as a sign-up form. I currently use this to direct visitors to my Facebook group but you can also use it to capture emails.
- Mailchimp for WordPress – allows you to create opt-in forms on your website and integrate with forms such as your comments, contact, and checkout. I currently use the form builder in my sidebar!
- PopupAlly – has multiple options to present your sign up forms, such as embedded in posts, exit-intent, and time-delayed popups. The free version allows you to design two types of sign up forms which you can add to all the posts and pages on your website. I use this plugin for my exit-intent popups and have two separate ones depending on whether you’re browsing a lifestyle or blogging post.
- Sumo – Is similar to PopupAlly, you can embed sign-up forms in your posts or create popups. I like how you can design your forms. I don’t use this plugin right now but I still recommend them.
- Interact: Embed a Quiz on Your Site – A creative way to capture emails, Interact Quiz Collective is a platform that allows you to create Buzzfeed style quizzes that ask for visitors contact information at the end. I used this service in the past and liked how fun it was to create quizzes for my visitors. If you’re interested in learning more I wrote a post detailing the steps to create and integrate their quiz on your website.
SETTING UP YOUR SIGN-UP FORMS
I can’t show you the exact steps to install opt-in forms using all the plugins and methods I mentioned above, because that would be crazy. However, you will notice that once you install the plugin the step-by-step instructions are very straight forward. Interact Quizzes might be the exception here, but I explain that in my own post and Interact has a ton of tutorials you can use as well.
I recommend using at least two of the plugins above to get the greatest conversion rate. Sidebar forms, or if you have a theme without a sidebar then lower down the page, is the standard form that most bloggers start with.
I’ve personally found exit-intent popups to be the most effective and least annoying to my visitors.
Popups that appear right after a person clicks into your website usually get closed. This is just my opinion but I assume the reader is more interested in getting to the information they were seeking and the popup is just a nuisance. I also wouldn’t expect someone to subscribe to my website before they had a chance to look at it, which is why exit-popups make the most sense.
A NOTE ON GDPR COMPLIANCE
If you’ve been running a website longer than a year than you’re probably aware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was implemented in May last year.
Although its a law in the European Union, the new regulation affects any website who processes personal data (such as contact information) of people in the EU. When you capture emails through opt-in forms you need to be GDPR compliant.
What this means for your forms and data collection is you need to get consent to store this data from anyone inside the EU. Fortunately, email services such as Mailchimp have made it easy by including an optional checkbox for opt-in consent when a visitor signs up. You also have the option to explain how you are using their data to remain compliant with the law. For more information visit Mailchimps post on GDPR forms.
There are several ways to integrate opt-in forms on your website. Besides the classic sidebar or homepage form, the availability of WordPress plugins makes capturing emails easier. Experiment with the different methods until you find some that work for your website and audience.
Which plugin are you going to test out first? Share in the comments.