Using a Newsletter to Build Your Blog’s Community

Unless this is your first time to Blog For Profit, you already know we did a complete make over of our blog. In addition to the redesign, we installed a long list of plugins and new features.

In order to expand our community, we also started publishing a newsletter along side the blog. Response to the newsletter has been great and even more then I expected. Subscriptions to the newsletter have been steadily growing since we introduced it roughly 3 weeks ago.

Initially, we had a huge spike in subscriptions and then it slowed downed. I was puzzled and was trying to figure out what we could do to get subscriptions to continue at a rate I wanted to see. After all, my goal is to build as large of a community as we can for Blog For Profit. We first used a blog post to introduce the newsletter. I also talked about it as often as I could on twitter without appearing to be spamming twitter with it. Some of those in my network also mentioned it on twitter. And we were getting signups.

Newsletter | Blog For Profit.jpg

Our method of getting the attention of our readers was to use a very simple widget in our sidebar and hoping someone would click on it. You did, and I thank those who did.

We also have been putting the following text at the bottom of some of our blog post to get our readers attention and to remind them to subscribe.

Also don’t forget to subscribe to the Blog For Profit Newsletter. We include information in the newsletter we don’t feature here on the blog.

Other methods of obtaining subscribers

I had looked at the options which were offered by the service I use, AWeber. And I was watching what they were discussing on their blog at “where should you publish your forms”.

One of the methods AWeber was discussing was using a pop-up / pop-over form. I was reluctant. But, reading AWeber’s blog post about them caused me to think.

Instead of relying on the notoriously short attention span of the modern human, why not take advantage of it with some whizz and bang?

Now, when the visitor pulls up your page, they are immediately given an opportunity to sign up, front and center … literally.

I was still not convinced this was the route I wanted to take. It was not something I wanted to do as I had always thought such methods were intrusive and annoying. So, I did more research and thankfully, Darren Rowse did a post about “How to Drastically Increase Subscriber Numbers to Your Email Newsletter.”

Before trying the pop-over method, Darren was using the “normal subscription method” with the simple signup option in his sidebar. Darren saw his subscriptions jump from an average of 40 a day to over 350 new subscribers a day. Personally, I could not ignore those kind of numbers. And I know Problogger well enough to know he give this a lot of thought and even tested it. And he did.

John Chow dot Com also discussed how to make a lightbox newsletter sign up box. He said he saw his daily sign ups increase once he started to use this method.

The Blog For Profit Pop-over

Like many, I still had fears that it would annoy our readers and our visitor and reader numbers would go down. But I wanted to give it a try. I dug into the features and options AWeber offered in setting up a pop-over and it was there I found some good news. We could use settings whereby the pop-over would only show up once for a visitor and not again. Provided they had cookies enabled in their browsers. Which helped to eliminate one of my concerns as I did not want the pop-over to show up each time someone visited and I darn sure did not want it to pop-up on each page. So we used those settings.

Next, we took a look at the standard designs offered by AWeber and quite frankly, we did not like them. So, we built our own and coded it into our AWeber settings. Here is what our form looks like. We wanted it to project the same general theme of our blog.

Blog For Profit | Using a Blog to Market Your Business or Professional Service Firm.jpg

The Results

While our results have not been as impressive as Problogger’s on his Digital Photography School blog. We are still pleased and we are getting new subscriptions daily. In fact, I decided on Monday to take the newsletter from a bi-monthly to a weekly newsletter.

I am so sold on a blog publisher doing a newsletter that we will offer to our clients at G2WebMedia the option of having this feature on their blog. And if I can talk the other G in G2 into it, we will also build a custom pop-over form for them too.

Using a newsletter is just one more method you can use to build your blogging community. And it is another way you can expand your own reputation as a blogger and that of your business. There are so many uses I can see for a business owner or professional service firm who publishes a newsletter, I may have to do a blog post just on that topic.

Leave your comments so we can continue this conversation and/or drop me an email at grant@g2webmedia.com if you would like to discuss this further.

Also don’t forget to subscribe to the Blog For Profit Newsletter. We include information in the newsletter we don’t feature here on the blog.

About The Author
Grant Griffiths is founder of Blog For Profit and co-founder of Headway, the first Drag and Drop WordPress Theme Framework. You can follow Grant on twitter at @grantgriffiths
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