Email lists are a great way for you to stay in touch with your readers who have expressed an interest in your site’s content. You can keep them informed of your upcoming posts, provide exclusive or advanced access to your content or deliver a targeted sales pitch to potential customers who have voiced an interest in your niche. (Incidentally, if you haven’t already, you might consider signing up to Do More With WordPress, my email newsletter for WordPress tutorials and news.)
Once you start building your list, visits to your site and your site’s presence on the web will increase as your hardcore readership get more engaged with your site and its content.
Start your list
If you don’t yet have a list, there’s no better time to start than now; you’ll never reach a certain point at which people will start wanting to sign up, so start your list immediately and though growth made be slow to begin with, you’ll have fans who want to hear more from you.
There are many great email services out there, but I personally use and recommend MailChimp; you can send up to 12,000 emails per month to a maximum of 2,000 subscribers completely free. After that, the pricing is still very reasonable and the feature set that MailChimp provides is excellent.
Install the plugin
The code involved in adding the checkbox to your comment form and forwarding that information to MailChimp is quite involved, so you’re much better off using a plugin for this. The plugin that will help you accomplish this is Newsletter Sign-Up, by Danny van Kooten.
Install the plugin and activate it.
Setting up the connection
What you need from MailChimp:
- Login to your MailChimp account and get an API key.
- Create a mailing list specific to your site.
- Once you have created your mailing list, get its list ID (go to Lists in MailChimp, then choose List Settings and Unique ID from the Settings menu).
Connect Newsletter Sign-up and MailChimp:
- Head over to the settings page (Settings > Newsletter Sign-Up).
- Choose MailChimp as your mailing list provider.
- Enter both the API key and the list ID that you got from MailChimp.
- Choose whether you want to pass the reader’s name to MailChimp – if so, you’ll need to find the identifier that MailChimp uses to store the name. By default it is usually NAME or FNAME.
- Set the remainder of the settings as they meet your needs.
- Test and make sure it works.
- Enjoy building your list and building your reader base.
Did you install this on your site? Have you noticed an increase in sign-ups? Do you perhaps use a different mailing list service? How do you rate it?