Add an Email Subscription Form Below Your Posts
I believe I was one of the first people to recommend displaying an RSS icon below single posts, and now pretty much all blogs do that.
It is a logical thing after all. Often times visitors will come to your site via search engines or via referral links, and they will just read the article they are looking for and move on (probably missing the RSS icons you have on the header or on top of the sidebar). If you place a message at the bottom of each post, encouraging visitors to subscribe, you might capture their attention and convince them to grab your feed.
What about email subscription forms though? Could they work as efficiently on the bottom of single posts? I had a feeling that they could, and I decided to test it out on my blogs. The results were pretty amazing.
The Numbers Without the Form
The first thing I did was to write down the numbers that Feedburner provides. I basically tracked the number of email subscribers on my three blogs, for four consecutive Mondays (four weeks were used because that was the longest period that I could obtain the breakdown for email subscribers).
- Monday of July 07 = 109 email subscribers
- Monday of July 14 = 112 email subscribers (+3)
- Monday of July 21 = 112 email subscribers (+0)
- Monday of July 28 = 114 email subscribers (+1)
As you can see the average weekly increase of email subscriber was 1,3.
- Monday of July 07 = 932 email subscribers
- Monday of July 14 = 950 email subscribers (+18)
- Monday of July 21 = 966 email subscribers (+16)
- Monday of July 28 = 979 email subscribers (+13)
On this second case the average weekly gain of email subscribers was 15,6.
- Monday of July 07 = 4986 email subscribers
- Monday of July 14 = 5040 email subscribers (+54)
- Monday of July 21 = 5129 email subscribers (+89)
- Monday of July 28 = 5153 email subscribers (+24)
For the third blog the average weekly gain of email subscribers was 55,6.
The Numbers With the Subscription Form
After writing those numbers down I inserted a simple email subscription below every single post. I also included a small message explaining to the visitor that they could subscribe for free, and that we would keep sending related tips to their email inbox. You can see the form live below this post as well. Here is how the numbers behaved on the following weeks.
- Monday of July 28 = 114 email subscribers
- Monday of August 11 = 119 email subscribers (+5)
- Monday of August 18 = 122 email subscribers (+3)
- Monday of August 25 = 125 email subscribers (+3)
The previous average gain was 1,3, and after I inserted the form it jumped to 3,6.
- Monday of July 28 = 979 email subscribers
- Monday of August 11 = 1025 email subscribers (+46)
- Monday of August 18 = 1050 email subscribers (+25)
- Monday of August 25 = 1084 email subscribers (+34)
Without the form this blog was getting, on average, 15,6 new email subscribers every week. After I inserted the form the number more than doubled to 35.
- Monday of July 28 = 5153 email subscribers
- Monday of August 11 = 5245 email subscribers (+92)
- Monday of August 18 = 5310 email subscribers (+65)
- Monday of August 25 = 5373 email subscribers (+83)
On the third case I noticed a big jump as well. The previous average was 55,6, and after the insertion of the subscription form it jumped to 80.
I think the results are pretty clear. By simply adding an email subscription form below each of your posts you could reap many more email subscribers. Consider Daily Blog Tips for example. Without the form, in 6 months, I would have 374 new email subscribers. Using the form, however, this number would jump to 840 subscribers.
Obviously the effectiveness of this technique will depend on a couple of factors. Tech oriented websites might see smaller results, while blogs with a more varied audience will see better results because those visitors are more likely to subscribe via email (as opposed to RSS feeds).
The styling the overall layout might have an impact also. If the bottom of your articles is cluttered with all kinds of badges, links, social bookmarking icons and the like, the email form might get lost among those and not be effective. If you have a clear design, however, it will be easier to make visitors notice.
Regardless of those variations, I think it is definitely worth a try.
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63 Responses to “Add an Email Subscription Form Below Your Posts”
Sly from SlyVisions dot Com
I have never tried adding an email subscription form below my posts. After reading this, it seems to be quite effective so I might try it out with my blog.
If you don’t mind, can you share with us how you made this form? Or was it the same code from Feedburner without the extra fields?
Elizabeth Potts Weinstein
Brilliant idea that seems obvious but I was not doing it already (why not? who knows). Especially since many of my visitors are not tech-y and have no idea what an RSS feed is but would totally get the email thing. Thanks!
Great post and a good experiment to make.
I am going to try that now however i think i have a problem with my subscription feed.
I have the feed on my blog and half of the time when you go to subscribe it will just come up with a bookmark this box instead of loading up the feedburner subscriber page?
Does anyone know whats wrong, as it seems it is seriously effecting my sites growth?
@Sly, I just used the form provided by feedburner and styled it to fit my design.
@SEO Genius, once you migrate to WordPress this problem will vanish I believe (if migrating is an option).
Seems like a good idea. I have a small notice that tells people to subscribe.
No clue how efficient it is. My subscribers just seem to be the same 🙁
It isn’t really an option i can consider, is there no other solution to this problem?
@SEO Genius, probably there is, you just need to examine your RSS feed from top to bottom to locate what is causing the problem. Will take some time.
Meh i hate websites sometimes 😀
Thanks Daniel, I’ll have a look but i dont have much clue about XML thats probably why its wrong in the first place 😛
That is awesome. Great case study.
When I launched my blog last year, I wanted it to have that email option but the web designer suggested I just stick with standard RSS to keep the design clutter to a minimum. Now, almost a year later, I can say that standard RSS has been a total dud for my blog since my audience isn’t interested in it even though I’ve mentioned it several times on my blog and have a prominent RSS button. I have separate feeds for my blog and for my podcast but there are significantly more people subscribing to the podcast feed, which is available in iTunes, than to the blog. I think some people assume that the feeds have the same content because they’re connected to the same blog. Also, iTunes makes it easy to subscribe to podcasts and doesn’t say anything at all about RSS or “feed” which makes it more accessible and easy to grasp as a concept for regular folks. Outside of the tech blogging/internet marketing community, I really doubt that standard RSS is a big hit with the average person.
I like the idea of the email option, which I’m going to try now that you’ve reminded me that Feedburner has the HTML already set up. Previously I thought I’d have to get a web designer to code that for me but now I see that I can do it myself. Email is more comfortable and familiar to more people than RSS. Thanks for the tip!
Actually, I’ve been thinking of a better way for a few weeks – adding a subscription form in the What Would Seth Godin do plugin’s message to new visitors. I have not tested it yet, but the plugin takes HTML and the form is HTML too.
Maybe I will do a test run and write a post about averages and all, DBT-style 🙂
Out of 711 subscribers I have, 622 are email subscribers.
One thing that worked extremely well for me is singe subscription page where I explained how can they subscribe and what is email and RSS subscription. Here’s the page
Internet Business Ideas
Hi Daniel, this is a great post.
i am using this method since I started blogging and yes, it gives some good results.
I currently have link (not form) for email subscription under the post and it’s not working well at all. Seems I have to sacrifice bit of looks and code in form after all.
Daniel, what’s your thoughts about not using “subscription” word for rss and email? Using other less money related terms like “get updates”. I’ve read few articles suggesting that but few blogs seem to follow advice.
@Rarst, I never tested different wordings, but yeah I think depending on your niche they could improve the conversions.
Great tip, I implemented this a few months back and found it to be very beneficial as well. At the end of each post we added the ability to subscribe via feed, email, and audio.
Great case study. In hindsight, the results make total sense.
Feed users are usually more savvy and will end up finding your RSS button and subscribing, regardless of where it is. (I always wondered what’s the result of having an RSS button right below the post, my guess is that it doesn’t help much…)
But e-mail users are in general less savvy, so every bit of help to subscribe counts.
Thanks for this great tip, Daniel!
I also use the text that links to the feedburner screen where the reader keys in the email address. I had the form but switched recently. Neither one brought dramatic changes (only a few email subscribers). The only advantage of the form is that it’s more widely used on regular internet business sites (again for the non- tech savvy). You can do the same with a bright button with text linking to feedburner. Bloggers with that audience may want to add a link that explains the RSS — there is a good video that does it ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU).
Didn’t realize you were responsible for this. Is that kind of like Al Gore invented the internet?
You’ve inspired me to add an email form to my site – let me know what you think, and thanks!
The last line of the “writing tips” stats should be +63, not +83.
It is interesting that “writing tips” has a much larger percentage of email readers than “bits” and “blog tips” (I am assuming the reader count you provide on your sites include both email and RSS subscribers). I suppose that’s because the “writing tips” readers are less tech saavy? As such I would have expected a bigger increase in email subscriptions on that blog.
I am also using this technique for more than a year now, and I find it very useful to me because my email subscribers also increased… i cant even believed myself that I do have now some quite a few number of email subscriptions from different visitors anywhere… but needs to have more visitors to encourage them to subscribe to my feeds… thanks for reminding everyone of this! 🙂
Sly from SlyVisions dot Com
@ Daniel – I found the code and tweaked it a bit to fit my need. It’s not up and running on my site. Thanks again for sharing this tip!
How do you create an e-mail subscription form? I didn’t know that was possible with feedburner.
By the way, thanks a bunch for this article. I look forward to using your awesome (and practical) advice.
Hi Daniel, can you share with us the code, like the one you use for this site?
@Rick, yeah I typo from my part, thanks for the heads up. As for the different on the email subscribers proportion, I think it is due to the different on the audiences as you mentioned.
@Ari, the code is the same as the one provided by Feedburner (under publicize), you need to tweak the widths and heights to fit your design.
can anybody help me with the code of the form which i should put in singlepost.php
@Kumar and Karim, go to your feedburner control panel, click on “publicize,” then “email subscription.”
They provide a form there, then you just need to tweak the styling of it.
Thank you. I just wrote a post on things that have the potential to irritate blog readers and not having an email subscription was one of them.
This is even better for bloggers building traffic.
This is a great idea – thanks for sharing the idea and the numbers on the results.
Jacob from JobMob
All I’ll say is, Thank You Rome 🙂
I put an invitation to subscribe to my ezine at the bottom of each post on my exploringadoptionblog.com, and it is very effective. Hadn’t thought of putting a box for e-mail subscribers there, too. I’m going to try it on both my blogs.
Great stats, Daniel. I am using the wording method since day one and I think it works for me.
I believe that using an invitation sentence at the end of each post is more personal. In addition, I had the word FREE with all capital letters and bold font to emphasize that it will not cost anything to them.
Sometimes, subscribers to-be are afraid to subscribe thinking they have to pay especially the first timers.
I already had that when I started my blog. But mine wasn’t an input text box. It is an image of email subscription. But if you click on it, it will lead you to subscribe to my post by email.
I will try the this input box.
Thank you very much for the excellent article, Daniel. It worked like a charm for my blog. 🙂
I’d like to know if you’ve coded this in to automatically sho on each post, or if you manually copy/paste it for each post?
Too bad I’m not familiar with writing WP plugins. If anyone knows how, this would be a great idea for one.
Hi Daniel, another amazing tip. I think this will be done by all the blogs in the near future 🙂
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This advise will just make my blog look messy! I think people will subscribe who wants to read my blog regularly, you don’t have to put it everywhere!
this is a great tips..thanks..
I’ll try it in my blog…never thought about it lol
Very good tip indeed! I never thought the email subscription form could interest anyone, but since I almost never displayed it, it was absurd ^^;
So I’m giving it a new try (you can see it in action in my blog post linked above). Let’s see if it catches my readers’ attention.
Thanks for the tip. Since I don’t have my own server the html doesn’t work for me. I keep getting errors so I came up with this alternative solution.
What I did was get a screen shot of a signup form, (just the part where you enter the email address and subscribe button) then just link that image to my Feeburner Subscription Link Code. Whoala! I now have what you have without installing wordpress on a server. One day I will set it up the right way. For now, this works for me.
what i need to do now is modify ALL of my previous posts, at least the most popular ones, with this new data.
check it out at, http://theolotech.com
Seems like a good idea. I have a small notice that tells people to subscribe.
No clue how efficient it is. My subscribers just seem to be the same
I love the article.
Think globally act locally
I just configured feedburner and added the HTML code to the top of my comments.php file. I modified it to not say “Subscribe” but to “Get Updates” and indicated it was free. Thanks for giving me some direction (plus comments above!). Best blog I have ever subscribed to!
Such great observation! i cant say much, anyone with an idea how to implement this I would like to try asap
Well, yeah. The issue is this:
Platforms are like languages, people don’t like learning them. They’re a whole culture.
RSS is a relatively new technology. Most people don’t know what it is, and out of sight, out of mind. Email as a platform is one of the few IT tasks that people are comfortable with at the moment. MS office is another, The browser is another. By platform, I’m really referring to any application which can parse a data type.
RSS is not a consumer format, consumers are n00bs, by and large. I think that RSS is a great syndication format, but a bad consumer subscription format. Email is much more commonly understood.
Email is a great format, really, it may eclipse or possibly converge with the browser in the distant future.
Nice post…v informative…thanks.
Is there a way to create text based sucscription form?
Congrats On The Success!
Thanks for this article… it motivated me to do some work that I have been putting off. For all of you that use the Thesis theme, you may have noticed that when you put something after the post using the openhook plugin, that it will also show after the post excerpts on your homepage (if you’re using them… not the teasers).
Because of that, I just left it empty after my posts… though I didn’t want to. I just spent the last 2 hours figuring out a way to make it happen, thanks to this article.
Great post and a good experiment to make.I am going to try that now however i think i have a problem with my subscription feed.
Sean M Kelly
Is there a way to add the email subscription to all posts automatically – maybe a plugin? So I dont have to add the html to the bottom of every post?
thanks and great article
A very useful post, as I think the number of responses indicates. I agree, it is wirth a try.
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