Add Option for Commenters to Subscribe to your Newsletter

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:

  1. Login to your MailChimp account and get an API key.
  2. Create a mailing list specific to your site.
  3. 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:

  1. Head over to the settings page (Settings > Newsletter Sign-Up).
  2. Choose MailChimp as your mailing list provider.
  3. Enter both the API key and the list ID that you got from MailChimp.
  4. 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.
  5. Set the remainder of the settings as they meet your needs.
  6. Test and make sure it works.
  7. 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?

12 thoughts on “Add Option for Commenters to Subscribe to your Newsletter”

  1. Stacy says:

    Hi Dave,
    This is exactly what I have been looking for and the timing couldn’t be better as I’m looking to make the switch to MC very soon!

    Thanks again!

    1. That’s awesome Stacy. I’m glad that you found the answer that you were looking for. Let me know if you have any troubles installing it.

  2. Ellen says:

    Thanks for sharing this plugin. I’m using MailChimp and the sidebar plugin. I didn’t know this plugin existed and it’s a great way to get more subscribers. On my way to install it on our site. Oh, and I subscribed to your newsletter!

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Yes, it was only with a recent update that this plugin got working again. I’d been looking for a way to do this for a long time and finally stumbled upon this one. It’s been a godsend and has certainly resulted in an increased sig up. I appreciate you signing up to my newsletter incidentally. Hope you find it useful!



  3. I have thought of setting up a newsletter for Technology Bloggers for some time now Dave.

    The issue I have is that I wouldn’t really know what to put it in, who I would use to send it (although that’s sorted now ;-) ) and would I get the time to make it regular…

    A good article which could potentially prove to be very useful for me in the future, so thanks :-)
    Christopher – Technology Bloggers

    1. Christopher,

      You should start it now, believe me. Even if you only send it out once a month, or even less than that, that’s fine. There’s no expectations – it’s just people who want to hear more from you getting an email from you every once in a while.

      You can use it to give an idea of what is coming up on your site, expand on recent articles, provide first-look or exclusive material, run polls or do giveaways. There’s no obligation, but starting your email list, will allow you to build a base of people who have taken a keen interest in your writing.

      1. When I get some more time Dave I will definitely consider it :-)

  4. Jasmine says:

    I have not personally used MailChimp before, but I have heard a lot of good words about them. Anyway, have you used Aweber before? How do you compare the two?

    1. I’ve had a few clients who have had me do some work for them in Aweber and it too is a very fully-featured service. I’ve not worked with either intimately enough to be able to compare them, but they’re both great services. I just recommend MailChimp though, especially for beginners, because it’s free up to a certain point, whereas Aweber doesn’t have that.

  5. Tory McBroom says:

    Nice! I was using the Aweber plugin for this, but it looked messed up in IE. Hopefully this will look better. Thanks!

    1. Well it should integrate into your existing theme styling, so it should look much better.

  6. Dave, this was great advice for me. I set up a list at zero cost. My list is growing slowly, and Mail Chimp and Newsletter Sign-Up let me get into the game.

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