This post marks the beginning of a three-part series on setting up your blog so readers can subscribe by email. In the first post, I’ll walk you through signing up for a free MailChimp account for your blog or website. In the following posts, we’ll talk about what to do afterward.
Despite the fact that many have pronounced email dead and some have gone so far as to bury it, email is still very much alive and well.
It is also the single best marketing tool you have, second only to word of mouth. People who value what you have to say or the products you have to offer enough to give you their names and email addresses are the people most likely to buy from you. If you have time for only one social media marketing tool, email should be your tool of choice.
That means building an email mailing list.
And that is not as difficult as it sounds.
MailChimp is one of the top subscription and RSS (real simple syndication) feed services currently available, but it is by no means the only one. The free side of MailChimp provides everything most bloggers and online business owners need, but there is also a paid Premium service. The free service is valid for any user with 2,000 combined subscribers or less.
You can also use the same account for multiple blogs or websites. As I write this, I have three blogs on a single account. Each one has a separate subscriber list and separate email and RSS settings.
When I use the word “email”, I’m referring to email newsletters. When I use the word “RSS”, I’m referring to automatic notifications of new content on your blog or website. Both types of communications end up in your subscriber’s inbox, but the content is different.
The biggest reason I chose MailChimp is that it’s highly recommended and among the top services currently available. It’s also very easy to use.
Following are step-by-step instructions for using MailChimp to set up subscription forms for your blog or web site. I’m going to assume that you will be new to MailChimp and will start with the sign-up process.
Step 1: Go to MailChimp dot com
Go to MailChimp.com. You will land on a page similar to the one shown here. This is the landing page. Click on the red “Sign Up” button at the top, right of the browser window (red arrow).
Step 2: Login Information
You will land on the page shown here.
Type in the email you want to use for the account.
Type in the user name you want to use.
Type in a password. Notice that you have the option of showing your password as you type it. This option shows you the letters, numbers, and symbols you type instead of black dots. It’s very convenient for writing a password. When you have a password you like, you can also copy it and paste into a text document for future reference.
As you type in each box, tips on choosing user names and passwords appear beneath the box. Take a moment to review that information if you’re unsure how to choose a user name or password. You have to meet each of the conditions listed under the password box before your password will be accepted.
Make sure you make a note of your user name and password. It’s always a good idea to have a non-electronic record of this information for any account that requires a user name and password.
When you finish, click the gray “Create My Account” button at the bottom of the page.
Step 3: Activate Your Account
You will land on this page.
The text inside the green box asks you to check your email for a verification email. The email will look something like this.
Click on the “Activate Account” button marked by the red arrow.
Step 4: Confirm Humanity
This is the final step in the process. It confirms for MailChimp that you are, indeed, a real human being with a legitimate account instead of a computer robot trying send spam.
Type the letters or numbers that appear in the box marked by the red arrow and click the “Confirm Signup” button at the bottom of the page.
Step 6: Let’s Get Started
You will land on a page that asks for information about who and where you are, who and what your business or organization is, and lets you personalize your account with things like a profile photo, connecting to your blog or website, and a number of other things.
Fill out the information and click the “Save and Get Started” button at the bottom of the page.
Step 7: Done!
You’re now official! Congratulations!
You’ll land on a page that looks like the image below. The box marked with the red arrow is a two-part slide presentation with very basic information. I recommend that you take a moment and view the slide presentation.
Once you’ve clicked through that, you’ll see your MailChimp home page, also known as the Dashboard. Everything you do from now on can be accessed through this dashboard.
The options are “Create and send a campaign,” “Create a list,” and “Start building your audience.”
Each option has a link to step-by-step instructions and tutorials. It’s a good idea to take a look at those links before going any further.
You can also click on the three, horizontal white bars in the upper left-hand corner to see additional options.
And that’s all there is to setting up an account with MailChimp.
If you’re just getting started with blogging, I strongly recommend you take the time to set up a subscription account from the start. But it’s never too late to start. One of my blogs was nearly ten years old before I set up a MailChimp account. I was able to import all the email addresses I’d collected manually.
Next month, we’ll talk about setting up a subscriber signup form.
If you have questions in the meantime, please ask them! I’ll be happy to provide what answers I can.