You love your little blog. It fills your life with hope – the hope that you will be noticed and that one day you will make a living from it. And so you work on it at all hours of the day and night with that hope burning bright, sustaining you when fatigue sets in, when your family complain about your lack of attention to them, when doubt creeps in as to the wisdom of chasing this dream. I might address all that at a later stage but right now I want to help you on your way towards that goal.
Let’s get this clear – a blog doesn’t make money. It can be a very handy adjunct to a business but, in and of itself, a blog does not make money. Services and products do. But who do you sell them to? You sell them to your subscribers.
How do I get readers to subscribe?
First and foremost, above all else, you supply them with brilliant, funny, intelligent articles to read. How can they then resist coming back again? But let’s capture them before they leave your blog because, in their busy lives, they will forget about you in all of five minutes and never return. What is the answer? An optin form, of course.
Where do I place these optin forms?
Top of the Sidebar
1. At the top of the sidebar is the expected place and it is not worth disappointing the expectations of viewers. In blogging, there are certain conventions like naming your About page an About page and not something obscure that means something only to you. Put the optin form where they expect to find it – at the top of the sidebar. That’s where they will go looking for it, if you have, indeed, enthralled them with your wit. Hopefully by now, you have registered with MailChimp and you have got the code you need. See my article here. Put that in a Text widget under Appearances/Widgets and the optin form will magically appear. But that’s not the only place to have one.
At the End of Each Post
2. At the end of every single post you write. If they have somehow managed to get to the end of a post, they will be far more inspired to subscribe and it’s best to grab them while they are feeling in a kindly mood towards you and your blog. How do you put it there? If you don’t wish to install any more plugins, which is not a silly idea, then get that MailChimp code you have put in your sidebar and slip it into the end of your post in the text side of the editor. And lo and behold, there it is at the end of your post. You could however get a fancy form with a plugin like Optin Forms which means you don’t have to remember to do it with each post.
At the End of Your About Page
3. One of the most read pages on a blog is the About page. If your writing has been enlightening, emphasising the benefit of the reader’s continued patronage to your blog, and they have reached the end of your page, then grab them right there and then with your strategically placed optin form. The code can be placed at the end of the page in the editor, again on the text side, and it will stay there forever.
In the Footer
4. The footer is usually wasted real estate and yet, if someone actually reaches the end of a post, and if your sidebar isn’t so foolishly long that it protrudes further down the page than your post, then the footer is right there in the viewer’s face. So doesn’t it make sense to have something clever there like an optin form? Of course it does. So go to Appearances/Widgets and place a text widget in the footer area with the MailChimp code, just as you did for the sidebar.
A popup optin form
5. Many decry popup optin forms in a loud and indignant fashion but they are supernaturally enchanted when it comes to collecting email addresses. When I first defied all those negative voices and placed one, I had around 700 subscribers on that particular blog. Within a few weeks, I was furiously deleting followers who didn’t open my emails in an attempt to stay under the 2,000 that kept my MailChimp account free. I deleted them in 100-subscriber lots but then I did a giveaway and was overwhelmed by optins and it was all over bar the shouting. I flew well above the 2,000 in a few days of distraction. There are various popups to choose from – paid and free. You can do a little homework and see what suits your needs but don’t discount them because of a few naysayers.
So, there you go – 5 different ways and places to capture email addresses. If you want to make an income one day off your blog, then the first step is to build your email list so you have someone to sell your services or products to when the time comes.