5 Places to Build Your Blog’s Email List
By Justin Premick December 16, 2011
This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti, an AWeber user who blogs about WordPress marketing at Sparring Mind.
The simple truth when it comes to collecting more email subscribers for your AWeber email campaign is this: Add more web forms to give people more chances to join your list.
But over-used and badly placed web forms can leave your readers feeling bombarded and annoyed, while ruining your site’s layout and crowding out your content.
There are, however, a few spots on your blog that readers will be primed to opt-in. These locations are great because they are inviting to readers and stand out, but aren’t intrusive to their enjoyment of your content.
So where are they?
From my experience and through numerous split-testing experiments, I’ve identified what I believe to be the 5 best places to put your web forms.
You don’t necessarily need to use all 5 at once. Decide for yourself how many feels right and what is best for your readers, using the feedback that you get from them.
Readers are generally most ready to submit their email address in these locations, so take a look below and see if you can implement your AWeber opt-ins in these spots on your blog.
Above The Fold Feature Box
This may seem to be a bit confusing, but hear me out.
The feature box is a large box above the fold near the header of your website.
You can see one featured on my site, Sparring Mind, or on Derek Halpern’s site SocialTriggers, as he is one of the bloggers who first suggested the feature box strategy.
Generally speaking, your feature box should be right below your logo and should include a title and a brief description (think 3-4 bullet points) of what your blog is and why a reader would benefit from getting your updates.
DIYThemes (makers of the Thesis Theme for WordPress) implemented this and saw subscription rates go through the roof. This is something that people will definitely notice, yet it is not annoying like some other methods to grab potential subscribers’ attention.
The Classic: Top Of The Sidebar
You’ve definitely seen this one before as it is used on most blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.
You might think people would be blind to this location, but it simply isn’t true. People have a tendency to opt-in at a higher rate on sidebar web forms — as long as they are at the top of the sidebar.
This is most likely due to familiarity: They’ve seen these opt-ins before, and aren’t as hesitant to put in their email address if they see your form in this comfortably familiar location.
Make sure that your form stands out, but in a good way!
It helps to use a color that contrasts with your site’s background. You can use AWeber’s web form generator to do this or use these forms created by graphic designer Alex, built specifically for AWeber.
At The End Of Each Post
This is the most underrated location in my opinion.
Say someone reads your 1000+ word post, each and every line.
I’d say that they really enjoyed your writing if they are willing stick around that long, to the very bottom of the post.
So why not politely ask them if they’d like to get updates?
The point is, a reader who is inclined to finish your whole post is generally very engaged in your content and primed to get updates when you post again. So make it easy for them and include an web form at the end of each post.
Your “About Me” Page
This location works for the same reason as the last one. If a reader is going to read all about you and you make your “About Me” page a really compelling and interesting one, then they certainly might opt-in.
Other “resource” pages are also great for a web form.
Think “Start Here” pages, or pages where you list all of a certain type of post, or long resource pages that were too important for a blog post so you made them a page.
Generally speaking, any links on your homepage are going to get clicked a lot in comparison to other parts on your site, so make them count with an AWeber web form and you’ll find your list growing faster in no time.
A Dedicated Subscription Page
You might think that having a feature box and a sidebar opt-in would be enough, but then you’d be greatly underestimating the value of a dedicated subscription page.
While offering a “freebie” for your opt-ins using an AWeber autoresponder is great for any form, it works especially well on subscription landing pages that promise a free e-Book or other gift in return for the visitor’s email.
This page is also going to specifically highlight the benefits of opting in and since it’s a separate page, it can include a lengthy description rather than short bits of information to truly convince people who may me holding out.
It is wise to link to this page from your homepage and really sit down to explain why a visitor will benefit from your newsletter, making sure you put the emphasis on what they will be getting from you that they simply cannot find elsewhere.
Are you a WordPress user? Want to see how you can get the most out of the amazing AWeber + WordPress combination? Head on over to Sparring Mind to see how you can build your AWeber list with quality content on WordPress.
Tim12/16/2011 10:45 am
These are good suggestions. I would add
* having a checkbox when the person leaves a comment
* When someone registers on your blog
* On your facebook fan page
It seems like a lot of people are just asking for e-mail address now, not name and e-mail address.
Has this increased conversions?
Angela Wills12/16/2011 5:16 pm
Thanks for these tips and reminders. I’ve some of the locations but one I’ve not tried is the ‘About Me’ page – meant to but never did get it on my ‘to-do’ list!
I’ve had the most success with having a dedicated, separate page and then driving targeted traffic to it not only from my own website, but through partner sites and advertising.
Great post 🙂
Gregory Ciotti12/17/2011 10:11 am
@Tim – For me, it certainly has.
The obvious downsides to this of course is that having a name in the “To” field seems to improve open rates.
It’s too bad we can’t have the best of both worlds, but this is what I’ve seen (and heard from others) pretty consistently.
Soumitra Ghotikar12/19/2011 9:09 am
Above the fold is a very important concept , even in case of squeeze pages.
Tim12/19/2011 10:21 am
Thanks Gregory, I will try this!
I don’t do a lot of “Firstname”, type stuff anyway in my e-mails anyway, so this would not be a big loss.
I started an “About” page myself after reading this article 🙂
Marc Marseille12/20/2011 2:45 pm
Great post..I just curious of whether having an optin form on the bottom of every post would be overkill. Also does Aweber offer custom bottom of post forms that are wider in length like a 468×60 banner?
ANDy12/20/2011 7:29 pm
Great Post ! thanks for the tips.
Gregory Ciotti12/21/2011 10:14 am
@Marc: From what I’ve seen, it’s one of the best spots on your blog and it is most certainly not overkill.
Here’s why – if people are going to read the entirety of your article, they are obviously really engaged with your content, and that is the best time to ask them to subscribe!
Also, it lets you avoid the use of things like pop-ups (*shudder*) and not interfere with the reading experience.
@Andy: Thanks bud, glad you enjoyed the post!
@Angela: I 100% agree, I also like to use dedicated subscription pages on my sites, especially for guest posts (I link to those landing pages rather than the homepage)
Justice Wordlaw IV12/21/2011 6:30 pm
Really great spots to have your email list. I know that with my new blog I’m created I purchased a theme that has the feature box right above the fold and excited to see how well it converts. One thing that I know I was thinking is that having a feature box and also a email opt-in with the sidebar might be a bit to much with opt-in boxes on the home page.
Tim12/22/2011 10:47 am
One other thing I just did this week is to add at the bottom of each e-mail a line to encourage referrals that says:
If you know someone who could benefit from this, please feel free to forward it to them!
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Top 2011 Blog Promotion Tips | @PushingSocial12/27/2011 9:31 am
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EAA1/23/2012 9:07 am
As much as like the end of each post option, because it means that who ever subscribe is actually reading it also means that some will never subscribe.
Isaiah Jackson4/21/2012 2:04 am
Take a guess at what I’m about to go do?
Yeah you guessed it about to apply these 5 tips, I never even thought about the “About Me” page definitely going to do that
Gian Cruz9/22/2012 12:17 am
Very informative! thanks for this post, my company will benefit on this
Jemma Taylor4/1/2013 4:53 am
I really enjoyed learning about the importance of using your blog to build your email list. This is so very useful to bloggers and or business owners just starting out and wanting to build a list!