Mailing lists are a key tool to help any author build an audience, and for fans of the author’s work to have access to exclusive content and information about new releases before anyone else. These are not to be confused by your blog sign-up, which informs those signed up of new blog posts.
At the end of last week I announced to the world that I’d set up a mailing list to inform people about any future releases. While the mailing list has proved popular (getting a free book may have helped) by far the biggest question I was asked was: how did you set up your mailing list?
Sadly, unlike on wordpress.org self-hosted blogs, there isn’t a specific widget available to link to a mailing list service. However, there is a workaround you can use. I set my mailing list up with MailChimp, an excellent free-to-use service. There are many other services available but this example is specific to MailChimp.
Before you start you will need to:
1. Register on MailChimp and set up a mailing list
2. Upload an image you want to use to promote your mailing list into your media library (I used the MailChimp icon but you may wish to create something more specific).
Step 1 Login to MailChimp and select Lists from the left hand Menu
Step 2 Click on the drop down arrow on the left hand side and select sign up forms
Step 3 Click on General Forms
Step 4 You need to either copy or note down the sign up form URL.
This sign up is one of a number of form that come as standard for any MailChimp user (you can click on the down arrow when on site to see them all). They are unique to you and can be amended as you see fit. The pages themselves are hosted by MailChimp and therefore separate from your WordPress blog.
**At this point I would recommend you go through the MailChimp sign up forms and amend them to however you want them to appear. To find out how to do this, click here**
Step 5 Go to your WordPress.com dashboard and select appearance – widgets
Step 6 Select an Image widget and drag it to your sidebar
Step 7 Complete your widget form.
Widget Title should be the text you wish to see above the image
Image URL: This is the URL for the image you previously uploaded to promote your mailing list. You can find this URL by clicking media and selecting the appropriate image. The URL will be on the right hand side of the page.
Link URL is the URL you either copied or noted down from your MailChimp sign up page.
Then press save.
You should now have a working sign up image on your blog!
If you found this blog helpful, you can always sign up to my mailing list by either clicking here or on the image at the top right hand side of my blog. In return, you will receive one of my e-books, of your choice, absolutely free! I promise not to spam you or pass on your details to anyone else.