If you are a blogger and you do not have an email list yet you want to create one. Immediately. I promise. The worst thing I ever did with this blog was delay creating an email newsletter list and relying on RSS feed only instead. Don’t make my same mistake!
What if I Don’t Have Money for an Email Service?
I really like Mailchimp (referral link) for this reason. You can get up to 2,000 subscribers free before you begin paying for your newsletter service. This gives you some time to build up your email list and leverage that into paid revenue through eBooks, courses, webinars, and so on.
Starting Your Free Email Newsletter Account
Go to Mailchimp.com and click the Sign up Free orange button. It will ask for your email address (they verify this so don’t cheat), your desired username, and your desired password. Then create your account.
After verification, login. You’ll want to fill in your profile information, including a mailing address (required for spam laws). I use a UPS box (not P.O. box) for my business address and it looks like a street address but meets all the legal requirements for my newsletter purposes.
Creating a Free Newsletter List For Your Blog
Once you’ve completed your mailchimp profile, click on Lists in the top menu bar. You will see a list of your current lists (none) with a “Create List” button on the right hand side. Click Create List. This is where you will set the default information for your list. See the screenshot below.
- This list name is PUBLICLY VISIBLE. So don’t name it something that will embarrass you later. I’ve seen this happen. Seriously.
- Default from email. This is nice if you have more than one website and more than one email. Be sure your “business email” or “blog email” address is in this space instead of your personal email address.
- Default from name. This appears as the sender in people’s email lists. Do you want your blog emails coming from your personal name? Your blog name? Personalize each one for each email list. I have one list called “Self-Publishing Help” and another that is “Untrained Housewife“. Being able to have each list unique to the audience is important. Take advantage of this feature wisely.
- PLEASE personalize this. And don’t say something like “You signed up on my blog”. Say something like “Weekly tips for intentional and self-sufficient living.” or “Making the most of every blog post to maximize profitability.” Whatever the premise or message is of your blog overall, that mission should be communicated here.
So now you’ve created your list. You should come to a Manage Subscriber screen. In that screen you’ll see a link to “Create a Signup Form.” Click That.
Creating Your Sign-Up Form and Getting it On Your Blog
There are a couple different ways to quickly get the signup on your blog that doesn’t require any plugins or coding. Those are more advanced options I will discuss later. These two methods can be done simply by any blogger who knows how to add a link or create a post.
Option 1 – A General Form You Link To
You easiest option to get started is to create a sign up form in the General Forms section. General forms is your top option – look to the far right and click “Select”.
Use the build your form interface to create the form you want. I recommend sticking with a minimum of information. At the least you need their email address. Each field you add beyond that will minimize subscribers so I don’t recommend asking for a ton of information. Get their first name and email address and that’s enough for a great start.
Add a personalized message where it says “click to add message” so you can be sure you are encouraging people to subscribe. Remind them of the benefits of being part of your newsletter – I have a whole lesson dedicated to this in Kick Your Blog in the Butt because it’s so important for bloggers to consider.
Click the “design it” tab to change the colors and fonts to better match your website design.
That eep url above the forms is a direct link to Mailchimp’s automatically generated sign up form. You can send people there from your social email icons on your blog’s sidebar, in social shares, or even in posts where you say “for more tips about recipes subscribe to the free newsletter.” at the end of your posts and link to the sign-up form. That link can be given out anywhere for people to subscribe to your blog.
Option 2 – Embeddable Form to Add to Your Blog
Click on Sign Up Forms in the second-level menu bar. (Not the top main menu bar but the secondary menu bar just above where you’ve been working.) You will be back at the Sign Up Form options screen you were at before. Now instead of click the top one, you’ll click the Select button from the second option, Embeddable Forms.
I tend to like Classic or Streamline – use your own discretion here for what will fit your blog’s style. Customize the colors as before. Add your snazzy subscribe message. When you get your (hopefully short and simple) form done, here comes the tricky part. Ready? It won’t hurt I promise.
Under the form you’ve been editing is a section that says “Copy/Paste onto your site” with a bunch of funky html code. That is going to go into your blog.
Not log into your website and create a page for Newsletters. Click over to the Text tab of your post (some blogs call this the HTML or Source tab). Now copy the code from the Mailchimp website and put it into the Text (HTML/Source) section and then SAVE your page. Now preview it and you should be able to see your beautiful form you just created.
Now add your Newsletter page to your menu bar, sidebar, etc. and people can begin subscribing to your newsletter!
Hurray! You officially have an email list!