Many bloggers recognize the importance of building email list. But they often procrastinate to do so due to lack of technical knowledge in creating sign-up forms, despite already created many free giveaways or even subscribed to internationally recognized email marketing tool such as Aweber,
In this post, I am going to share with you the plugin that I use to effectively create various beautifully designed sign-up forms for WordPress blogs that work so well in building email list you might think this is a cheat.
Sign up forms are commonly known as opt-in forms to most bloggers. There are dozens of plugins in the market that can create different opt-in forms that do not only spoil us with choices but also add difficulties for us to make a decision. I’ve personally tried many types of opt-in forms and group them into 6 main types.
The most common type of opt-in form is the one placed on the blog sidebar, normally via your blog sidebar widget. This is also a place where most people are expected to sign up to your list.
One example of sidebar opt-in is from jeffbullas.com
One advantage is the prominent positioning of sidebar whereby most people would not miss seeing. Many opt-in plugins support this placement and some even allow you to place different opt-in forms depending on page content. However, due to its huge visibility, visitors may form a type of “blindness” which can reduce conversion after some time.
2. FEATURE BOX
Feature boxes are placed mostly below, middle of, or after a blog post. I personally do not place feature boxes before my blog post as I find placing them after a related blog post converts better.
One example of feature box is of course from my own blog florenceki.com
Not many plugins support this type of opt-in form and some do not allow you the flexibility to place opt-in forms anywhere you like. Only a few enable you the flexibility of placement. I find feature box very effective to convert especially if the feature box placed after a blog post is used to value add to the content of the blog post. You should use this when sign-ups are priority but without affecting user experience.
Hmmn… this is an opt-in that I personally do not favor. It is really annoying to a person like me who is always on the rush to finish reading a post. As its name suggest, this form literally popover the blog when you least expected it, blocking your content and demand your attention. Despite not favoring popover, there are still many successful bloggers who find this very effective.
One example of popover opt-in form is from kimgarst.com
Compared to sidebar opt-in form, this one is highly prominent and focus 100% on capturing reader's email address. Again, I find it very intrusive and annoying. If sign-ups are your #1 priority to the extent that you are willing to compromise your visitor's experience, go for it.
Unlike popover, slide-in are less intrusive but certainly can command your reader’s attention. It is an opt-in that is initially hidden and will only slide-in after a certain time or after triggered by some action of your visitor. Many blogs placed slide-in on the bottom right or left corner of their blog.
One example of slide-in is from socialmediaexaminar.com
Plugins that support this type of opt-in is really limited but slide-in can definitely converts well, causing minimal annoyance to most readers.
5. NOTIFICATION BAR
A notification bar appears on top or bottom of a blog regardless of how your readers scrolls down the page. It is often used as a supporting opt-in to ensure optimization. Some notification bars come with vibrating animation to grab readers’ attention.
One example of notification bar is from problogger.com
Due to its limiting space for text, use it only when you wish to drive traffic to a separate landing page. Conversion can drop easily once blindness sets in.
6. LANDING PAGE
A landing page is an entire page dedicated to opt-in form and offers 100% focus on your giveaway. It is actually a separate class of opt-in form and allows more content and design flexibility.
One example of landing page is from florenceki.com/beginners-guide-to-blogging-success
Unlike other opt-in forms, landing page is more time-consuming to setup but do convert well if you can send “warm” traffic – readers who willingly reach the page by agreeing to a call to action. Content of the landing page is usually a critical factor to determine whether subscribers are willing to sign up. It is suitable if you drive traffic from external source other than from your blog or need more space to explain your offer.
I only use 3 opt-in plugins for my blog
I’ve tested many types of plugins that can offer opt-in forms mentioned above. Some require monthly subscription and some only require one-time payment. Being a cost-conscious blogger, I opt for those that are free with limited but sufficient features and those that only require one-time payment. Here's how I combine different opt-in forms on my blog which is effective to build subscriber list
Sidebar + Feature Box + Notification Bar + Landing Page
MAGIC ACTION BOX (Sidebar + Feature Boxes)
Magic Action Box is one powerful plugin that supports before post, inside post, after post, sidebar and popover opt-in forms. It comes with beautifully designed templates and mini customization to suit the feel of your blog.
It is very similar to Plugmatter Feature Box except Magic Action Box does not have the ability to target returning visitors with different content. Neither can it turn off opt-in forms for already subscribed visitors.
However, I do prefer its less-formal templates compared to those offered by Plugmatter Feature Box which is too professionally designed. This is in fact the main reason why I decided to use Magic Action Box. Both comes with 30-day money back guarantee, support most mailing list providers and include A/B split testing and analytics.
HELLO BAR (Notification Bar)
I use the free version of Hello Bar that allows me to create highly-visible notification bars placed on top of my blog. My intention is to use it to support other opt-in forms in my blog and enhance visibility. It is advisable to use it as a call to action, driving traffic to a landing page. The setup process is really easy using a customized wordpress plugin. The paid version allows split testing and analytics, unbranded content, unlimited bars, custom thank you message and behavior activate content.
WP PROFIT BUILDER (Landing Page)
It is never been more than frustrating to spend hundreds of hours and dollars to design, testing and tweaking a single landing page in order to boost conversion rates. Further not all of us can afford spending so much of our resources optimizing a single page.
WP Profit Builder is a WordPress plugin for creating not only landing pages but also sales, affiliate, FAQ, home, testimonial and other pages including member portals.
It includes professional designed and proven landing page templates that can improve conversion. Its drag and drop editor allows you to easily build layouts and customize any of the included templates into beautifully designed pages.
It is much less expensive compared to the more established plugin like OptimizePress that charges yearly fees if you want continued updates and support. Again, being cost-conscious I chose WP Profit Builder. Here's one landing page created using WP Profit Builder to download free 55-page eBook on “Beginner's Guide To Blogging Success” written by me.
Are You Ready To Get Serious About Building Your List?
“It is always best to start building your email list the first day you start blogging”. Does this sounds familiar to you? I’ve heard this numerous times from experienced bloggers but as usual, never heed their advice. For those who are not aware, I only start getting serious about building my email list 1 year after starting my blog. To my surprise, list-building is just so easy. Imagine how many subscribers slipped through my fingers for the lost 12 months!
Stop making the mistakes that I did. If you have been thinking to start blogging but have yet to start, then you might be interested to start one for free here.
But remember, do get serious with list building the very moment you start your blog. Lack of technical know-how is definitely not a valid reason for not starting list building. There are just too many choices of opt-in plugins available for you to choose from.
If you think my formula of opt-in plugin combination is doable, then TAKE ACTION now. You can do it. And trust me, you will sure thank me for that pretty soon. Do post a comment below if there's anything I can help to make your opt-in forms convert better.