With an email subscription program, you can:
- Automatically send followers updates of your blog which will of course create more traffic
- Let your followers know about major site changes
- Send your followers special offers (if they opt in)
A huge mistake Internet marketers make after creating their first successful website is to not have an email subscription form. In the world of Internet marketing, email contacts are everything. They are your lifeline into a world of opportunities. You need a way to get in contact with your base; and it doesn’t matter how excellent you believe your site is, sometimes people just lose interest, forget your address or lose your site bookmark. Sometimes, they just need a prod — email notifications are an ideal way to do that.
Setting up an email subscription form with FeedBurner
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are the industry standard for XML based web feeds. There isn’t a blog in Alexa’s top 1 million that does not have an RSS feed. If you are using WordPress, Blogger, TypePad or pretty much any other blogging platform — you will most likely have an RSS feed built-in to your blog.
FeedBurner is a free (optionally paid) feed management service, provided by Google, that allows you to send your RSS feed entries directly to subscribers through email. Users can sign up to begin receiving feeds via email by simply entering their email into the subscription form that you place on your blog. As you can see, there is a FeedBurner email subscription form on this blog in the right hand sidebar.
To create a subscription form (like the one on this blog), follow these simple steps:
- Create a FeedBurner account with Google.
- In your FeedBurner account’s frontpage, enter your blog’s feed address in the field for “burning” feeds.
- At this point it may be wise to redirect the current feed address on your blog to your new FeedBurner URL. You can do this with a simple 301 redirect (in that care, you will need to modify your .htacess file) or by installing a plugin. This blog (powered by WordPress) uses the FD FeedBurner plugin. With the FD FeedBurner plugin, you only need to enter the URL of the new feed address (the FeedBurner address provided by Google) into a specified field within the plugin settings (under the plugins tab). Once that is completed, any browser or feed reader that tries to detect a feed on your blog will automatically detect your new FeedBurner feed rather than the old feed that was built-in to your site.
- Now it’s time to get the code for your email subscription form. After clicking on your feed in your FeedBurner account page, you will see a page that has 5 tabs: Analyze, Optimize, Publicize, Monetize and Troubleshootize. Click on the Publicize tab and then click on Email Subscriptions in the left-hand sidebar. You will need to click ‘activate’ near the bottom and then you will be given a code for your email subscription form. FeedBurner has an option to retrieve code for WordPress, TypePad or Blogger. You can also customize your form and choose to display a feed count.
- Placing the code for your subscription form is as simple as pie if you are using WordPress. Just copy and past the code into a plain HTML widget (Appearance –> Widgets) and then drag and drop the widget into the appropriate sidebar. You may need to edit a few styles in your style.css (for WordPress) if your form does not appear correctly or how you want it to.
Once you have completed the above steps, people will be able to subscribe to begin receiving emails through any page and, if you choose the option to display a feed count, view the number of subscribers you have. Should your blog be updated, Google FeedBurner will send an email containing the new posts every day. You can choose which time of day you would like the email to be delivered in the Delivery Options tab.
You can view your subscription list in the Publicize –> Email Subscriptions page by clicking on the “View Subscriber Details” link near the bottom.
There are of course TONS of other things you can do with FeedBurner. Using the email subscriptions feature is only the icing on the cake but you will have to take a look around your FeedBurner account to determine exactly everything that you can do. One notably good feature is the ability to track your Feed’s reach stats. Your reach is an important number because it give you an idea of how many subscribers are actively reading your feed.
That’s all I have to say about FeedBurner today! I will certainly be posting more in the future as FeedBurner is such an important tool for bloggers. Also, be sure to check out great email security software from Vircom.