If you followed our advice in the last post then you should be well on your way to adding a newsletter to your site. The next step is to add an easy-to-use signup form to your WordPress site, to allow your readers to join your newsletter. Here is a step by step guide to doing so with MailChimp.
Create a New List in MailChimp
If you are new to MailChimp then the first step is to create a new list. Anyone who signs up to your newsletter from your site will be automatically added to this list. The list can be segmented at a later date.
If you haven’t signed up with MailChimp yet you can do so for free here. Once signed up and logged in, click on the “Create A List” button in the top left corner on the dashboard page and then fill out the form.
Now your first list has been setup, you can create a signup form for your WordPress site. While you can create a signup form for your site within the MailChimp dashboard, the easiest way is to use a WordPress plugin.
Installing the MailChimp Plugin
To make it very easy to add a newsletter signup form to your WordPress site, MailChimp have created a free plugin just for this purpose.
To install the plugin, login to your WordPress site and from the left-hand side menu to go to “Plugins” > “Add New”. In the search filed enter “MailChimp List Subscribe Form” and then click on “Install Now” under the first search result that is displayed.
Once the plugin has been installed and activated, it’s time to link it with your MailChimp account. To do this, simply locate the “Settings’ menu on the left-hand side menu and then click on “MailChimp Setup” from the available options.
The next step is to click on “Connect”. This will open a small popup browser window. If this window isn’t displayed, ensure your browser is not blocking the new window (configuration guide here). Once you’ve logged in via the popup window, you can create your sign up form.
Creating the Signup Form
In the content option section, it’s important to add some compelling text to the form fields to help persuade your readers to sign up. Keep the header and sub-header labels short and snappy and make sure you explain the benefits the reader will get from signing up, such as free advice to help their business grow or something relevant to your website and business.
The other options allow you to set the border, text and background colors and can be customized by entering the hex color code, the index of which can be found here.
These settings are optional and they can all be returned to later if you want to change them. Once you are ready, click on the “Update Subscribe Form Settings” to save your changes.
Adding the Signup Form to Your Site
The next step is to add your form to the sidebar of your site as a widget. To do so, it’s just a case of finding “Appearance” on the left-hand side menu of your WordPress admin dashboard, and then clicking on “Widgets”. This will list all the widgets or elements that can be added to the sidebar or other widget areas on your WordPress site.
Locate the widget entitled “MailChimp Widget” and then click on it and holding the mouse button down, drag it on to the sidebar on the right. Depending on your WordPress theme and how your site is configured, the names of the sidebar areas can vary. However, look for one titled something like “Main Sidebar” and drop the MailChimp widget onto it.
If your sidebar contains other widgets, you can change the order by dragging them around to find the order that best suits your site. Now when you view your site, each page should now display the signup form for your newsletter in the sidebar, offering your readers an easy way to join your email list.
Depending on how you have configured your MailChimp account you should get an email notification once your first, and each successive, reader has signed up to your newsletter.