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8 ways to build an email list for your blog

This post was most recently updated on November 30th, 2020

Build An Email List for Your BlogThere are many ways to build an email list for your blog.

I’ve listed 8 of them below.

Any one of these methods will help you build an email list for your blog.

Of course, you could put all of them to work.

But I don’t recommend it.

I think you should implement just one or two of these.

If you’re not getting the results you want, then replace them with some of the other methods.

And if you are getting good results, that’s great.

Maybe you could start adding some of the other methods at that point.

Over time, you will have a blog that is primed for continually building an email list.

Why does a blogger need an email list?

There are many reasons why you need an email list for your blog.

Here are the ones I think are most important.

Develop blogger outreach

You go through a lot of work to create top content on your blog.

But how do you get readers to it?

Or more readers?

Well, you have to reach out to them.

Let them know you just wrote a new blog post.

Tell them what it’s about, and why they need to read it.

To do that, you want your regular readers to be within reach.

That’s why you get them onto your email list.

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So that every time something is going on with your blog, they get the heads up.

If you fail to get your readers onto an email list, you just have to hope they think to check into your blog from time to time.

Otherwise, you’ve pretty much lost them from your audience.

Maintain a target audience

Your email list is a database of your readers.

But more than that, it’s a database of your target audience.

People will only sign up for you email list if they are really interested in your niche.

If somebody casually finds their way onto an article you wrote about “how to bake a cake,” two things can happen.

First, if they just wanted a quick recipe for baking a cake, but are not generally interested in the “baking” niche, they will not sign up to get emails from you.

That’s perfect.

Because you don’t want just anybody on your email list.

You only want people who will be interested in reading more of your baking articles.

And some of them will be interested enough in your niche to buy baking tools, recipes and whatever else you sell on your blog.

Second, if they really are interest in your niche, and actually subscribe to your email list, they are truly part of your target audience.

In other words, they will open your emails.

And they will click on links to your blog posts when you send them out.

You will be building, not just an email list, but a highly targeted audience for your blog.

Make your blog profitable

People ask me all the time… “how do I make money with my blog?”

The very first thing I tell them to do, is to build an email list.

That way, when you want people to buy something, you have an eager, highly engaged target audience standing by.

Just send them an email and make your pitch.

Better yet, make it a two-step process.

Don’t ask them to buy something in your email.

Link, instead, to a blog post you wrote that contains a link to your offer.

That way, people will understand that you are not just selling them something, you are helping them solve a problem.

And part of that solution is to purchase the product or service described in your blog post.

How do I make my blog email list grow?

Okay, so you can see why you should should build an email list for your blog.

But HOW do you build that list, and more importantly… how do you make it grow steadily?

The best way to make your blog email list grow is to invite your readers to sign up.

And you can do that in many ways.

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If you’re not doing any of these things now, then choose one today.

Put it into motion and you can start building your email list right away.

If you’re already doing some of these things, then consider adding another method to your blogging strategy.

Monitor it to see if it helps you build your list even better.

Now, take a look at these 8 ways to build an email list for your blog.

1. Welcome mat

If you’re like most of my blogging students, you’re primarily interested in using a “welcome mat” to build an email list for your blog.

A welcome mat is a full page pop-up, often referred to as a splash page.

It’s pretty simple to create.

Here’s how it gets done with Optin Monster.

Optin Monster Welcome MatYou can read the full instructions for creating a welcome mat at WP Beginner, How to Create a Welcome Mat for Your WordPress Site (+ Examples).

Welcome Mat blogNow here’s the thing about welcome mats.

Lots of bloggers love them because they do get good conversion rates.

That means, lots of people tend to subscribe because they are a form of interruption advertising.

People click on a link to go to your blog, but before they can see any content, they are interrupted, and forced to subscribe.

Or, they can click away from the pop-up screen.

It’s pretty effective, it seems.

There are some big drawbacks to this method, though.

First, Google can penalize your site for using this kind of “interstitial,” as you can see here from Google’s interstitial ad guidelines…Google interstitial guidelines

Read more in the Yeildify article,
“Email List Building: 8 Best List Building Strategies for 2021.”

An interstitial is simply an ad, splash page or pop-up that you are forced to see before you get to the content on somebody’s blog or website.

The second big drawback to using a welcome mat is that your readers are quite likely get put off by it.

After all, they want to see your content or, at least, your blog site home page.

Not an ad to join your email list.

So I would use this method with great caution.

2. Embedded signup forms

A far safer and less distracting way to get readers to subscribe is to embed your signup form within your blog post.

Most of the big autoresponder services let you do this by copying their form code on your blog, wherever you want it to appear.

It might look something like this…

embedded form

3. Sidebar forms

A sidebar opt-in form is good when you display more than one column on your blog.

It looks like this…

sidebar formNow, many bloggers don’t like sidebar forms because they think people pay no attention to them, because they look like ads.

But they are still effective.

I use them on the sidebar to my main blog site, but usually don’t display the sidebar on my individual blog posts.

4. Pop-ups

Pop-up forms are just what they sound like… opt-in forms that pop-up while your readers are on your blog site.

There are many types of pop-up forms you can use to build an email list for your blog.

Exit pop-ups

These are opt-in forms that pop up when someone goes to exit your blog post.

Slide-in pop-ups

While your visitor is reading your article, a pop-up form can slide onto the screen, grabbing their attention.

Promotional pop-ups

If you are promoting something, you could use a pop-up as an enticement to sign up for information about it.

These are just a few of the pop-ups that can help you build an email list for your blog.

You can build pop-ups and lots of other opt-in forms with Thrive LeadsThrive Leads

The Thrive Leads link above is an affiliate link, meaning I may earn a commission if you purchase from the link.
It does not, of course, effect your cost in any way.

5. Content upgrade

Content upgrades are simply offers to get more information about your article.

So if you are telling people 5 ways to use images on their websites, for instance, you might offer a free list of image sources.

That would be a content upgrade.

You can build content upgrades easily with Thrive Architect…

Sponsored Ad

Build “Content Upgrades” + “Landing Pages” Into Your Blog Posts, Seamlessly & Fast

6. Check-out opt-ins

This is a really great, but seldom mentioned way to build an email list for your blog.

You create a free, or very cheap, training that helps solve a common problem in your niche.

Then, put the training on an affiliate sales platform like Warrior Plus, JV Zoo or something similar.

When people click on your “buy now” button (it can be for a small price, or a zero dollar amount), they go through a check-out process.

They can be asked to join your email list at that point.

It’s very likely they will, since they just asked for your training, and will want to be sure to see updates to it, as well as similar offers from you.

7. Survey or poll

Bloggers often poll or survey their readers.

Here’s a common looking format…

blog surveyLearn more about survey tools for bloggers on the ProBlogger article,
10 Cheap Survey Tools for Bloggers Who Want Answers

Simply embed a survey, poll or quiz like the one above on your blog.

Your blog visitor filling out the survey will be asked to subscribe to your email list in order to “view the results.”

This is a really simple, yet highly effective way to build an email list for your blog.

8. Landing page (inline text links, banners)

If you put a banner or image on your blog post, you can link a landing page to it.

The landing page to get people to subscribe to your email list is called a “squeeze page.”

When someone clicks on the image, they go directly to your squeeze page.

On your squeeze page, they are prompted to join your email list.

An alternative to a banner, is simply anchor text that links to a squeeze page.

You can click either the image below, or the following anchor text to… learn how to create a squeeze page from Brian Dean at Backlinko.

Squeeze page for listbuilding8 ways to build an email list for your blog

Now that you have a small arsenal of methods you can use to build an email list for your blog, give me some feedback in the comment section below.

Top Tier Coaching

Let me know… are you using any of these methods now?

Which ones do you find most effective?

Or, if you’re not using any of them with great results, tell me this.

What is your favorite one from among the 8 ways to build an email list for your blog that I’ve shown you.


PS: Don’t forget to share this article on your social sites, too 🙂

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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22 Responses to 8 ways to build an email list for your blog

  1. David Hillary December 17, 2020 at 3:33 am #

    Thank you dear,
    I have so much to share with my readers, and so many blocks to resolve. This post just popped my mind open and I thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

    • Donna Merrill December 17, 2020 at 10:56 am #

      Hi David,
      I am happy to know that this blog post opened your mind to new thoughts. Keep sharing things with your readers, especially if you have an email list. This is where we can build that know, like and trust with others.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  2. Hassaan Khan
    December 12, 2020 at 4:55 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I learned that opt-in form placement and design are essentials of email list building, but highly ranked content works like a charm.

    If a blog has every opt-in form installed, but it doesn’t have an intent-based readership, then it won’t convert visitors into subscribers.

    I tend to focus more on valuable content than any other thing.

    Keep up the good work.


    Hassaan Khan recently posted.. This “Blogging Secret” Could Make Your Blog Successful

    • Donna Merrill December 19, 2020 at 7:22 pm #

      Hi Hassaan,

      We all need to give valuable content. I find many readers of my blog by going to theirs. Reciprocity works so well. Then, as a relationship builds, they seem to opt in easily.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  3. Noble Cyril Amaugo
    December 10, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great content you have here.

    I am doing a good number of things you listed here.

    While I see how they have helped quit a number of bloggers grow their lists, something doesn’t seem to be working for me.

    Is there something I am missing? Maybe an approach?

    Noble Cyril recently posted.. 6 Latest Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business Better

    • Donna Merrill December 19, 2020 at 7:27 pm #

      Hi Noble,

      Maybe it can be what you are sending your email list. Remember the 80/20 rule: Give 80% information and 20% sales options. Be consistent and you will find that people will gain that know, like and trust they need to join your business.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  4. Rafsan Jani December 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm #

    I planned to create a blogging site about health and fitness tips and to be honest, I didn’t really consider building an email list. Thanks for stating the importance of an email list for my blog. You did a good job covering A to Z about building an email list. So glad I bumped into this article.

    Thanks again, Donna. Have a good day.

    • Donna Merrill December 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm #

      Hi Rafsan,

      Once you start your blog give people the incentive to join your list. Here you will give them more information than your blog post. It doesn’t have to be long, just some useful information you share with your elite group of email followers. Engagement is the key here. Always be willing to give and eventually they will join your opportunity. Patience and Persistence is key!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  5. Anil Agarwal
    December 7, 2020 at 8:08 am #

    Content upgrades and using attractive optin forms – these two things work like a charm no matter what niche you are in.

    Also, one can attract a ton of subscribers by offering freebies such as eBooks as mostly we use freebies to grow your email lists.

    Great points as usual Donna.

    Anil Agarwal recently posted.. 250+ Free Guest Posting Sites Where Can Submit Guest Posts in 2020 [Verified List]

    • Donna Merrill December 19, 2020 at 7:46 pm #

      Hi Anil,

      I just love giving freebies out for folks to sign up to my email list. Once they are there, they get to be the most important people to me. They chose to sign in and that is a small commitment so I give them good information most of the time and sell them something a few times. This creates that know, like and trust we all need to build a good business foundation.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  6. Moss Clement
    December 5, 2020 at 5:55 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Your email list-building tips are practical and helpful. And while using multiple opt-in forms is fantastic, I discovered that pop-up forms perform incredibly better than static sign-up forms. I believe that’s why many site owners use them strategically. So, create about two pop-up forms to activate a few seconds after a visitor lands on your page and make the second pop-up appear when they want to exit your site.
    It will help capture more leads.

    Moss Clement recently posted.. 17 Easy Ways How to Use Pinterest for Blogging

    • Donna Merrill December 19, 2020 at 7:36 pm #

      Hi Moss,

      Its so good to know that your pop-ups are working well for you. I have one on the side that people will be curious about. But I find an embedded link in the content of the blog post works well for me.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Best bloggers to follow in 2021My Profile

  7. Philip Verghese Ariel
    November 30, 2020 at 6:35 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    So glad to be back again here after a long gap, as you know my loss and the depression I am going thru.
    Anyway, today I am back again to read yet another wonderful and informative post on the email list building.
    I am sure the 8 ways are worth trying, but I think the pop-up promotions are a bit irritating to many when the pop ups appear and cover the content it really irritates. I fully agree with all the rest.
    Thanks for the share, Donna.
    Best Regards
    ~ Phil

    • Donna Merrill December 2, 2020 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Philip,
      Please know that you are in my prayers because of your great loss.
      Thank you so much for your reply. Indeed, too many pop ups get to me too. Especially those where you can’t find the x and spend time trying to get rid of a splash page. Gets me crazy
      Donna Merrill recently posted..8 ways to build an email list for your blogMy Profile

  8. Nitin Dabas
    November 30, 2020 at 10:11 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Email building plays a vital role in blogging, but most of the new bloggers ignore it. One who thinks to start building an email list finds it too difficult to start.
    The way you described here to build email lists is just awesome. I found quite good tips here to implement in my email marketing strategy.
    Thanks for sharing such an excellent post.

    ~Nitin Dabas
    Nitin Dabas recently posted..SE Ranking Review 2020: Should you try it?My Profile

  9. Marquita Herald
    November 25, 2020 at 4:03 pm #

    Another great article Donna – I know I’ve said this before, but I wish I’d known you when I started blogging! I’ve used a few of these and what’s working especially well for me right now is a slide-in opt-in form. I use Thrive Themes and really like how easy the forms are to create. Thanks again, wishing you and your family a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..How You Express Gratitude MattersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 2, 2020 at 10:31 pm #

      Hi Marquita,
      Indeed, If I knew then what I know now, things would have been more effective from the start. But, we learn as we go don’t we? It’s great to know that your opt in form is working for you.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..8 ways to build an email list for your blogMy Profile

  10. Lisa Sicard
    November 24, 2020 at 10:25 am #

    Hi Donna, I’m liking the idea of the embedded form! I use Hello Bar but since my traffic is up – the bar doesn’t last unless I pay quite a bit for it. You really got me thinking. I’d love to try other ways to generate an engaged email list. Thanks for sharing about the different ways today.

    Thinking of you and your family at this time too! I know writing and work help you to deal with these difficult times.
    Lisa Sicard recently posted..Which Are the Best Ways to Monetize Your Instagram?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 2, 2020 at 10:35 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      There are so many different ways to generate an email list. What’s working for me the best is the embedded form. So far so good lol.
      Indeed, working has helped me so much during this time. Thank you so much,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..8 ways to build an email list for your blogMy Profile

  11. Ryan K Biddulph
    November 23, 2020 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    All are super powerful list-building methods. Pop-ups, sidebar embeds and welcome mats can do wonder for growing your list. Lists can rock because once you find the inbox it gets easier to simply connect with resonant readers, seamlessly. My list is small but loyal. I email them daily and people keep gobbling up my posts. Excellent post.


    Ryan Biddulph recently posted.. 5 Words to Blogging Success

    • Donna Merrill December 2, 2020 at 10:38 pm #

      Hi Ryan,
      I just love the peeps on my email list! We can share so much more via our list. I like to engage in conversations with my peeps on my list. Mine is a loyal bunch also. I love it!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..8 ways to build an email list for your blogMy Profile

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