Why You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog

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If you have a blog, you should offer visitors a way to subscribe to new posts via e-mail. This means they can receive new posts via e-mail without having to visit your blog.

You should offer this whether your blog is frequently updated or rarely updated—but especially if it’s rarely updated. Why?

  • It’s a good and valuable service to provide for readers who don’t want to miss your posts.
  • It’s a free service you can provide.
  • The services are automated and hands-off; you don’t have to manually subscribe or unsubscribe readers. It happens all by itself. (Each e-mail comes with instructions in the footer on how to unsubscribe.)
  • You’re keeping ahold of readers in a more personal way. A high number of e-mail subscribers can be just as important and impressive as your monthly visits—plus it shows a dedicated and involved readership.

Implementing an e-mail subscription form or widget is easy if you use a popular blogging service. It’s a little more complicated if you host your own site, but still easy. Here’s how to do it.

WordPress.com

Wordpress e-mail subscription

Go to the “widgets” area of your WordPress.com dashboard and look for the “Follow Blog Via Email” widget (shown above). Customize it and add the widget to your sidebars, footers, or wherever else you think it makes sense to display it on your site. I recommend you display it alongside every individual blog post.

Blogger

Blogger e-mail subscription

Go the “Design” tab, where you can add and arrange your page elements. You want to “add a gadget,” and look for the “Follow by email” option. Blogger will automatically set up a Feedburner account for you to handle the e-mail subscription service (which is awesome).

Self-hosted WordPress sites (and others)

To get started, set up a Feedburner account. This is a free Google service, and you needn’t know anything technical to get started. (Feedburner also covers you on RSS feeds if needed, but that’s a different post.)

If you’re running a self-hosted WordPress site, your WordPress theme may have a specific place for you to input Feedburner information as part of the design and setup. If not, and you’re unsure how to integrate Feedburner, read these helpful instructions.

After that point, it’s mostly an issue of making people aware, on your site, that an e-mail subscription is available. Here’s how to grab the code you can place on your site (from your Feedburner dashboard):

Feedburner e-mail code

Go to your Publicize tab, click on “E-mail Subscriptions,” then look for Subscription Form Code and Subscription Link Code. For my site, I use only a subscription link (look to my righthand sidebar, on the right).

Once you’ve publicized the form or link to subscribe via e-mail, you’re done.

Then you get to watch people sign up! Feedburner offers analytics on how things are going.

Feedburner stats

One final suggestion for your e-mail delivery:

  • If using Feedburner, customize the subject line. I recommend each e-mail show your new blog post title, not just your site name. This option is under Publicize > E-mail Subscriptions > E-mail Branding.

Customize e-mail subject line

Here’s the code you can copy and paste. Just use your site name, not my name!

Jane Friedman | ${latestItemTitle}

There are many other ways you can customize the e-mails sent from Feedburner. Unfortunately, the Feedburner system isn’t the most intuitive or easy to use. The persistent, however, are rewarded. For more step-by-step information on setting up Feedburner and customizing it, here’s a helpful series from Eli Rose.

Do you have tips for using Feedburner? Or overall tips for e-mail subscriptions? I hope you’ll share in the comments.

 

Posted in Digital Media and tagged , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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61 Comments on "Why You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog"

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Matthew Turner
4 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the tips on Feedburner, using this now on my wordpress.com blog. Think it offers more options for people than the wordpress default one

Thanks again

Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

Eric Hoefler
4 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this helpful overview. I’ve also really liked MailChimp’s offerings so far. The advantage they have is that you can use an RSS-powered campaign but still set how often emails get sent. (With Feedburner, emails are sent every day if there are new items.) You can also do a lot of customizing of the layout and content for the messages. The other advantage is that when people subscribe, they are subscribing to a list, and through MailChimp you can send custom messages to that list besides just the automatic/RSS messages. This could be handy for sending a special notice… Read more »
Sylvia Hubbard
4 years 8 months ago

i just love you @janefriedman:disqus  You work so hard to remind us about the obvious! thank you !

Beth
Beth
4 years 8 months ago

Are you able to read minds? Top of my list today in the process of getting my new blog up and running is to get a Feedburner account, and to get the subscription process working. Thank you for this excellent (and eerily timely) assistance!

Elaine Masters
Elaine Masters
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah. Me too! Thanks Beth. Thanks Jane. I’m just getting re-started.

Jim Hill
4 years 8 months ago

Great info, Jane. I learned something about Feedburner, thanks!

Automatic recently released the Jetpack plug-in for self-hosted WordPress installations. It offers most of the extras you get from hosting through WordPress, including easy email subscriptions. 

Connie Myres
4 years 8 months ago

I use Feedburner and like it. It has a clean look and is easy to use.

Stephanie Haefner
4 years 8 months ago

Awesome!! Thank you so much for that!!!! Hopefully this will encourage more people to read my blog!

Bryce
Bryce
4 years 8 months ago

Grrr….just my luck for choosing to create mine using iWeb…LOL

Tom Bentley
4 years 8 months ago

Jane, thanks a lot—I hadn’t see the code on how to have your post title, not merely your blog name, appear in the mail’s subject line. An easy fix, thanks to you.

Sarah Allen
4 years 8 months ago

I use blogger and I’d actually set this up before but didn’t realize it. Now I actually know how to use it 🙂 Thanks!
Sarah Allen: http://fromsarahwithjoy.blogspot.com/

Kait Nolan
4 years 8 months ago

YES YES, a thousand times YES.  As part of my declutter life campaign I got rid of my feed reader because I had too many blogs and not enough time.  There have been other blogs that I wanted to subscribe to but there was no email option and…guess what.  I didn’t subscribe and now I’ve forgotten them.   This is so important.

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[…] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } janefriedman.com – Today, 1:38 […]

Jennifer Rumberger
Jennifer Rumberger
4 years 8 months ago

I’ve been wondering if this is a feature I should add to my blog.  Thanks for the post, advice and instructions!

Kjreusser
Kjreusser
4 years 8 months ago

A friend (Laurie Gray) passed along these tips. I thought I had added my widget to my WordPress blog but had not. Did it quickly! I thought having a reader click thru my website was better for my numbers than allowing them to read posts via email, but your statement about this convinced me to add followers too. I met you once at Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie IN. You’re very helpful. Thanks! Kayleen Reusser www. KayleenR.com

lbehiel
lbehiel
4 years 8 months ago

Great post Jane, I had already set this up on my blog but you made it very clear why it’s such a good idea. I did it because I like getting blogs by email.

Melanie Marttila
4 years 8 months ago
Jane, Is thre a way to key Feedburner (or anything else) to a blog category alone, and not the site in general?  See, I’ve broken one of the cardinal rules (cheeky me) and my blog has two different streams: writerly goodness (as I call it) and training (’cause that’s my day job, and I’m really kind of keen on it).  Whatever else my blog is or isn’t it’s reflective of me and my interests, and they sometimes overlap …  In any case, I’d like to offer the option for followers to subscribe to either one master category or the other,… Read more »
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[…] Friedman on Jane Friedman Why You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog “Implementing an e-mail subscription form or widget is easy if you use a popular blogging […]

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This Week in the Blogs, January 1 – 7, 2012 - How To Be An Author
4 years 8 months ago

[…] my books. But neither Amazon nor Apple sell all over the world.”Jane Friedman on Jane FriedmanWhy You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog“Implementing an e-mail subscription form or widget is easy if you use a popular blogging […]

Maria Grace
4 years 8 months ago

Thank you for the information about feedburner.  I was not aware of it until now.  All of this is still very new to me and I appreciate the information you are sharing here.

Jane Steen
4 years 8 months ago

Thank you – that was an extremely helpful tip.

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[…] This is the number of people you can reach directly via e-mail, and it’s a number that’s highly attractive to publishers. If you don’t currently have a way of capturing e-mail addresses, then consider starting an e-newsletter, or offering an e-mail based subscription to your blog. […]

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[…] subscription or sign-up. Make it easy for people to subscribe to your blog via e-mail/RSS (here’s how). If you don’t have a blog, then offer an e-mail newsletter. (Give people a way to stay […]

Backdoor Kitchen
Backdoor Kitchen
4 years 3 months ago

Thanks for helping me out!  My brother just asked me how he can email to my blog…technically challenged as I am found you!  Thanks Jane.

http://www.BackdooorKitchen.blogspot.com

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[…] Why You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog […]

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[…] posts can also appear in subscribers’ inboxes as pushed messages, but most of your collectors will not subscribe to a regular blog feed. First, […]

noodle
noodle
3 years 7 months ago

Yes, old post but just found it. Thank you!

linfoxy
3 years 5 months ago

Thank you Jane.

I am chinese, before i use qq list to collect subscribers. It can support 50k subscribers and free. But it is in chinese so can not support my another website which is English.

I search this Email subscription service for one month and now i find it . Thank you!!

But because Google just stop service for Google Reader. So do you think Google will Stop service for feedburner maybe one year latter. What can i do if it happens?

soufix
soufix
3 years 3 months ago

hey can i have this comment box if you can give me code html or website plz 🙂

Mike
Mike
3 years 2 months ago

I found your blog by accident, and it’s a serendipity. I need help with both writing and setting up my blog.

My blog is on WordPress. org and is hosted by HostGator. My immediate problem is adding the ‘follow blog via email’ widget, as described above, in the 2012 Theme. There isn’t one. Can one be added? Or do I have to change theme’s, which I believe will be a lot of work. Thanks for being here.

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[…] However, this was not obvious to me when I started blogging. Nor was it obvious to me even many years after I had been blogging. It wasn’t obvious to me until I started paying attention to building my email list, and reading articles about why it’s important.  If you don’t have an email list then this article will walk you through how to set up a basic one. […]

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[…] subscription service lets users voluntarily sign up for your email list through a form on your website. A subscription […]

Alena Belleque
Alena Belleque
2 years 1 month ago

I’m super confused by subscriptions, from a blogger’s point of view (vs subscriber). Is there a reason I’d want both RSS (linked like a social icon, for instance) AND a custom newsletter?? I personally hate RSS feeds and don’t use them myself, so I haven’t even tried to put one on my blog. But I love custom newsletters, so I’m finally preparing to implement one, and am pretty sure I’m going to use MailChimp. Thoughts? Advice? Thanks!

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[…] it easy for people to subscribe to your blog via e-mail/RSS (here’s how). If you don’t have a blog, then offer an e-mail newsletter. – Jane Friedman @JaneFriedman, […]

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