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6 Pro Blog Tweaks to Get More E-mail Subscriptions

by Joseph Putnam

Everyone knows that getting more e-mail subscriptions is every serious blogger’s number one goal. If you’re looking to grow your blog, getting more subscribers by e-mail is the way to go.

So how can you optimize your site to get more subscribers? How can you tweak your design to get a greater percentage of visitors to subscribe?

The answer to those questions is different for every website, but this post will show you six tweaks the pros use to get more e-mail subscriptions.

Tweak #1: The sidebar opt-in box

get email updates

Many bloggers make the mistake of placing their e-mail opt-in box in the middle of the right-hand sidebar. For some reason they think that categories or calendars are more important than getting more people to sign up. That’s just not true.

Instead, you should follow this rule of thumb: the sidebar element that is the most important should be at the top and everything else should follow in descending order based on priority.

For example, if the About the Author section is the most important to you, like it is to Brian Gardner, then that should be in the first place in the sidebar. But if collecting e-mail addresses is the most important, which it should be for 99% of blogs, then the e-mail subscription should be in the first space.

E-mail addresses are the lifeblood of blogs. If you’re looking to grow your audience, getting more subscribers is the starting point, and placing your opt-in form at the top of the sidebar is the place to begin.

Tweak #2: The e-mail feature box

Feature Box

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers recently developed what he calls the “feature box” as a way to get new subscribers on a blog. It’s a box that sits above the main blog feed and collects e-mail addresses from site visitors. Due to the prominent placement, it’s an excellent way to get more subscriptions, and it’s becoming more and more popular as a way to increase e-mail subscriptions for blogs.

If you’re interested in a feature box for your site, there are a number of new themes where you can find one. The list includes the Generate theme and Balance theme from Studiopress and the Tribe theme and Conversion theme from Two Hour Blogger.

Tweak #3: The about page

about sign up

Another place to get more subscribers is on your About page. Most people limit the About page to content that only talks about how awesome their site is, ignoring any opportunities for conversion. This doesn’t have to be the case. Not only is the About page a great place to tell your blog or businesses story, but it’s also a great place to convince more people to subscribe.

To do so, it’s best to write the page in a way that provides a benefit to visitors. Tell them about what you do in a way that shows the benefit your business or blog will provide. After doing so, ask visitors if they’d like to sign up for e-mail updates to get the latest and greatest posts as soon as they’re published. If you’ve painted a picture of the benefit your site will provide, there’s a good chance they’ll subscribe.

Copyblogger and Social Triggers both provide great examples of how to convert visitors into e-mail subscribers on the About page.

Tweak #4: End of posts

end of post sign up

Yet another great place to get more e-mail subscriptions is with an opt-in box at the end of blog posts. Picture this: your reader is visiting your site for the first time. They love the post so much that they’ve made it all the way to the bottom, reading every word and soaking up every thought.

Since they’ve made it to the end of the post, they’ve proven that they’re interested in the content. This is exactly the point you want to ask them to subscribe. An opt-in form at the end of posts such as the one Brian Gardner uses on his personal site is a great way to get more subscribers.

Tweak #5: Footer forms

footer emails

Whether or not you’ll want to use an opt-in form in the footer depends on how many of the previously listed opt-in forms you decide to use. If you have a feature box, a form at the top of the sidebar, another form after posts, and still another form on the About page, you may not want to add a fifth form in the footer since that will be a bit much.

If on the other hand you only have a subscription form in the sidebar and on your About page, then there’s no reason you couldn’t add a third opt-in form in the footer. It may not become the highest converting form on your webpage, but it does provide another option for people who want to subscribe. Brian Gardner and Derek Halpern both provide excellent examples of using opt-in forms in footers.

Tweak #6: Pop up forms

pop up form

Last but not least are pop up forms for e-mail subscriptions, and one of the best plugins that can be used to capture e-mail subscriptions with a pop up is the Pop-Up Domination plugin.

Essentially with a pop-up plugin, the goal is to provide a way to subscribe in a way that visitors absolutely can’t miss. If the subscription form is in the top of the sidebar, it can get ignored. But if it’s directly in front of visitors faces, there’s no way it can be missed.

A lot of people, including Neil Patel at Quick Sprout, use a pop up form to capture e-mail addresses because they’ve found it to be the most effective way to capture e-mail addresses. Others don’t use it because they feel like it’s too intrusive to visitors. The decision is totally up to you, but pop-up forms have definitely been proven as an effective means for capturing e-mail addresses.

Now that you know of these six effective ways to capture more e-mail subscribers, which will you choose to use? Leave a comment and let us know.



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Joseph Putnam

Joe Putnam is the Director of Marketing at iSpionage, a competitive intelligence tool that makes it easy for PPC advertisers to download their competitors’ top keywords, ads, and landing pages. He also recently wrote a free guide titled The Top 10 PPC Mistakes and How to Fix Them.


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  1. Navigator Multimedia says:
    March 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for highlighting at the end of the article that these are options for garnering more email subscriptions, from which to choose to best fit one’s blog. It’s a matter of what angle you decide to pursue, not “how am I going to fit all of these onto the page, with which to maximize my email subscription potential?” No need to bog readers down and annoy them with multiple email address requests or suggestions!
    Great article, Thank you.
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

    • Joseph Putnam says:
      March 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      HI Sarah, great comment. If someone tried to use all of these forms, they would overwhelm their readers. It’s definitely important to find what works best for you and the goals for your blog.

  2. Vivien says:
    March 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Personally, I’ve always seen the Pop up forms as a very “spammy looking” option.

    Do you happen to have statistics showing how much extra subscriptions vs. bounce it causes ?

    Great article nonetheless 🙂

    • Joseph Putnam says:
      March 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Vivien, I also view them as spammy, but all of the effective internet marketers I know swear by them as the most effective way to get more subscribers. Unfortunately I don’t have any stats written down to back up the claim.

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