Obviously one of the things you want most as a blogger is a large audience of readers. One of the best ways to build and maintain that audience is to keep in touch with them, and notify them of new content. One of the nice things about WordPress is that it automatically generates and RSS feed for your readers to subscribe to, but not everyone who comes to your blog uses RSS or is guaranteed to think of it while they’re there. The good news is, there is a better way!
Using an opt-in form (like the one on this page) can greatly increase subscription to you blog, especially if it’s done right. It enables your readers to easily sign up for email updates when you post new content, which is something that almost everyone is comfortable with.
What Makes A Good Opt-In Form?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different parts of a good form, and some of the things you should consider for each.
Introduce your form with something that will get your reader’s attention.
Let your readers know what you want them to do, and why they should do it. If you’re offering content updates, tell them in the most exciting terms possible. If you have additional content or gifts you offer to your subscribers, this is the place to let them know. Between your this and the headline you should have a pretty clear “call to action” in place.
- Input Fields
Obvious, but worth mentioning. This is where your readers enter their information. At a minimum, you want name and email address. You can also ask for more information depending on your situation. Maybe you want to ask your readers a question about what they’d like to read more content about, or what interests them most about your blog. That way you know exactly what they’re looking for and can tailor your content to match those needs.
- Submit Button
Again, this one’s obvious, but keep in mind that you can control what that button says. A basic “Submit” isn’t very compelling or encouraging. Try changing the button text to something that encourages your readers to use it!
- Footer (Optional)
How To Create A Form
Setting up a basic opt-in form is pretty easy. First off, you’ll need an account with an autoresponder, like AWeber. This will allow you to easily collect and organize your subscribers addresses, and easily communicate with them. You can use AWeber’s “Blog Broadcast” feature to grab any new content from your RSS feed and send it out to your list automatically.
Most autoresponders include web form generators that will let you set up a basic form, and then just copy and paste the code onto your site (in the case of WordPress, that code usually goes into a text widget in your sidebar). AWeber recently updated their web form system, which means you can use their new templates to create some nice looking forms with cool background images and colors. Other autoresponders can generate code for forms, but making your opt-in form look nice is something that we’ll cover in a day or two.
Don’t Forget To Experiment
Above all else, don’t forget to experiment! Keep track of how effective your blog is in terms of conversions, and consider altering the design or offer on your opt-in to see what converts best! Sometimes the smallest detail can have the biggest impact, so don’t be afraid to test everything!
That’s all for now. Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting an article on how to add your own custom background to your form so it stands out and matches your blog at the same time. If you have any other tips on good subscription forms, I’d love to hear them in the comments!