6 High-Converting Areas To Add An Email Sign-Up Form & Build Your List

This is a guest post by Ricardo Bueno.

mail box

We all want more email subscribers. The question is, how do you get them?

Aside from creating high quality, compelling content, you need to promote your email sign-up form so readers know where to go to sign up.

The easier you make it to sign up, the more likely readers are to subscribe. This means, doing the following:

  • Displaying your email sign up forms prominently on your site.
  • Designing your form so that it stands out (compelling headline & contrasting color scheme).
  • Using social proof to persuade readers to subscribe.
  • Making it easy to subscribe (the fewer the fields, the better).

A good email sign-up form will possess each of those qualities.

Once you’ve done that, all that’s left to do is promote your email sign-up form so first-time site visitors and readers know where to subscribe. Here’s a list of high-converting places to add your email sign-up form on your website…

1. The Feature Box

Marketer Derek Halpern coined the term: “Feature Box.”

The feature box is a great way to explain what your website is about to new site visitors and build your email list at the same time. It’s essentially an area above your primary blog content, just below the site header, where you can place your email sign-up form and a brief description of what people can expect by subscribing.

Here’s what the “feature box” looks like on Derek’s website:

Social Triggers - Featured Box

As you can see, it’s the first thing people will see when they come to your website. It’s also designed to persuade you to subscribe by communicating what the site is all about with a Call To Action to subscribe.

Simple, and effective!

If you don’t have your own widgeted area to insert a “feature box” into your theme, you’ll have to design your own and hook it in above the blog content on the home page. Otherwise, here are a few WordPress themes that have the feature box built in the following child themes from StudioPress.

2. The Top of Your Blog’s Sidebar


If building your email list is important to you, you should always prominently display your sign-up form on every page of your website. You can do that easily by placing your email sign-up form at the top of your blog’s sidebar at all times.

What’s great about the sign-up form on Copyblogger for example, is that:

  1. It’s easy to see. By using a darker color and big text, they ensure that the email sign-up form stands out.
  2. It’s simple. It asks for the email only. The more information you ask for, the less likely people are to sign up.
  3. Great social proof. The announcement tab just above it displays how many other people subscribe to the blog already which tells other readers, “wow, this content must be good!”

If your sign up form is below the fold, and the color blends in with the rest of the site, I’m less likely to see it and you’re missing an opportunity to get new site visitors to subscribe.

3. The Blog Post Footer

When someone’s done reading your blog post, there’s that “what next?” moment.

They can:

  1. Leave a comment.
  2. Share your article via a Tweet, a Facebook Share, a +1, et cetera. Or,
  3. They can subscribe to get future blog updates by email.

But in order for them to subscribe, you need to give them a quick and easy way to do so!

This sample email sign-up form from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income has a nice, simple call to action, offers great social proof (“Join over 25,000 people”), and even offers an incentive by way of a free book download. It’s embedded at the end of every blog post so first-time readers can subscribe to the blog quickly and easily.

Smart Passive Income - email form

This sign-up form from Pat Flynn really stands out. If I’ve read his post and I liked it, I’m very likely to sign-up right then and there.

Really, putting a sign-up form at the end of your posts is all about convenience. You’re making it easier for people to subscribe at a moment when they’re wondering what to do next. You have their attention, and you want to keep it, so ask them to sign up!

4. Your About Page

Your About page will often times be one of the most visited pages of your website. It’s where people click to learn more about who you are and what you do.

It makes sense. They’ve read a blog post, now they want to learn more about you.

They’re interested.

Which means it’s also an opportunity to convert them into a reader now that you have their attention.

In this example, writer Jeff Goins places an email sign-up form prominently on his About page. He tells you what his site is about, places his Call To Action to subscribe, and backs it up with testimonials that showcase what other prominent writers have to say about his writing.

Jeff Goins | About

The format is simple:

  1. This is who I am.
  2. This is what this site is about.
  3. Here’s what you can expect by subscribing (with a simple capture form to subscribe). And,
  4. In case I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s what other people have to say about my writing.

It’s like a sales funnel for building your email list.

How does your About page compare? Are you using it as an opportunity to capture new readers?

5. The Website Footer

Lewis Howes - email sign-up

I’ve written about website footer designs before. They’ve evolved from a simple place where you host your copyright information to a section where you can host an extended set of navigation items, links, sources of contact information and in this case, a Call To Action to subscribe by email.

Personally, I know that the form on the footer of my website converts fairly well. When someone scrolls down there to look at the site footer, it’s yet another reminder to subscribe to blog updates by email.

6. The Dreaded Pop-Up Form

Last but not least, we have the dreaded pop-up form.

Most people (including myself) find this annoying, but it converts exceedingly well.

Here’s a great example of a well designed pop-up form from Neil Patel, author of Quick Sprout:

QuickSprout - popup

This pop-up has all the elements of a great, persuasive design:

  1. A captivating headline with a description of what you can expect.
  2. Clearly displayed social proof by way of the various corporate logos that are displayed.
  3. A simple sign-up form with the Call To Action: “Yes! Send my free report!”

Most pop-up forms are poorly designed, and the site’s content is mediocre at best which is why we hate them. A well designed form on the other hand is going to capture someone’s attention and if the content is relevant, it’s going to persuade them to subscribe.

How many of these strategies are you using to build your email list? Which area is converting best for you?

If you’re not using any of these techniques, which one will you implement?

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    • says

      Hi Shamelle,

      I’m not going to lie, I dislike most pop-ups too. For example, when I land on a post that’s playing a video, then a big intrusive pop-up appears to ruin the video playing.

      But right now, I’m using a pop-up form myself to convert blog subscribers and it’s the highest converting form on my site. So there’s something to be said about it’s effectiveness :-)
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

    • says

      Hey Ryan,

      Yep, I hear ya. Maybe, it’s just that we dislike poorly designed pop-ups. Or the overly “market-y” type ones (if that makes sense). But I’m right there with ya, that pop-up form, at least for me, is the highest converting form on my own site as of this writing.

      As for return visitors, I haven’t seen a decrease in traffic or return visits as a result. And certain pop-ups like the one from pop-up domination allow you to set it to appear once per visitor, then it’s disabled for 30 days (assuming they have cookies enabled).

      Ultimately, the way I see it, if you’re writing killer content, people are ok with it.
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

    • says

      You’re welcome Stacy! Glad I could inspire a few ideas for things to implement on your own site :-)

      And yep, About pages are often times one of highest traffic pages. I know mine the second most visited page on my site, so ultimately, it does make sense to have a conversion form there. While it’s not the highest converting form for me, it certainly does convert.

      Thanks for reading…and for the comment!
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

  1. says

    Hi Ricardo,

    Nice tricks to increase the subscribers list, But I think “blog post footer” is great place to put your email subscription box. As when any reader reads your complete post and like it then he/she won’t hesitate to subscribe your list.
    Aasma just posted MLM Software in India

  2. says

    These are the great ideas to present himself and i think most important option in that is “”Your About Page”” because this is that kind of info which help to introduce ourself in front of many people why we are here for you.
    India carnival just posted Goa Carnival 2012

  3. says

    Lovely advice, Ricardo, thanks! You encourage me to add a sign-up form on my About page and into the footer.

    As for the pop-ups they scare me and I will stay clear from them. On the other hand you show amazing results with it, so might have to reconsider, eh?
    Barbara just posted Roma, bella Roma

  4. says

    WOW! Interesting question and you got some super good choices… well as far as I am concern I am kind of person who encourage people to subscribe instead of forcing or pushing them to subscribe…

    I love Neil Patel’s blog but (with all due respect) the pop up that comes on his website seriously irritates me a lot…The reason why I subscribe was not the pop up but the content that is available on his blog. I like the idea of copy bloggers as its bit nice and easy on visitors… if you content is great, user will convert.

    About footer I am not really sure if the conversion ratio is great or not.
    But this is indeed a question that should be considered.

    • says

      What’s great about services like Aweber (what I currently use), is that you can track impressions and conversion on each of the various web forms that you create to place around your website.

      I have a different web form for each section of my site. And it’s neat that I can track where people are converting the most.

      That said, nothing wrong with a little testing :-)
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

  5. says

    I have blocked all the pop-ups as I hate them most. They are so disturbing and ridiculous to have them pop-in whenever we are just finding the most important work.

  6. says

    I really dislike the idea of a pop-up on the page, because I think it’s distracting and detracts from the purpose of the page. However, I’ve heard from several people that it’s one of the most effective ways of getting people to sign up for email updates. So, it’s really a dilemma. Right now I have it set up like the example shown in number 2 and it works ok, but I’d like it to work better. I like the idea about the “About Page” so maybe I’ll start with that and then see where that takes me. Thanks for the advice in this article!

    • says

      Hi Paul,

      A few ideas come to mind here… I have several friends who are attorneys. What I’ve seen on quite a few websites, is a sign-up form that reads something like: “Schedule a Free Consultation.” Of course, I haven’t personally seen the conversion data on that, so I’m not exactly sure how well something like that converts. But it’s an idea worth testing I think.

      In addition, you might either move your sign-up form further up on the page, and/or even create a landing page out of it that explains the benefits of subscribing in a little more detail.

      For example, I have my sign-up form for my newsletter with a link below it for more info: http://www.ricardobueno.com/blueprint. That page converts at a decent enough rate which always surprises me.

      Anyway, just throwing some ideas out there. Thanks for reading and hope that helps :-)
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

      • says

        Heh, no worries.

        I’ve tried the floating subscription form as a bar on the top portion of my website. I had it in black, with a red button, and white text – basically, it stood out. But interestingly enough, it didn’t every really convert. At all actually.

        I’m not sure if it’s because my Call To Action text was horrible or what. Compared to the pop-up form that I’m using now, that’s converted about ~40 subscribers in the last 2 days.

        My best advice is to test it. Create a form that you can track impressions and conversions on. And test it for a few weeks. Remove those that don’t work and try something else.

        I liked this bar and how it floated on the site as a visitor scrolled down. It just didn’t convert for me which rendered it pretty much useless.

        Hope that helps!
        Ricardo Bueno just posted 6 Dumb Blogging Mistakes That Are Killing Your Credibility

  7. says

    Great advices, I think that he most discrete versions are the best. They don’t need to be placed aggressively, but they have to be reachable if someone wants to subscribe,let them find this button easy. I think that the design of the website footer version is the best of all.
    Julie just posted teeth straightening

  8. says

    It’s interesting to read the comments re: popups. Like everybody else I HATE them so it leaves me with a negative first impression of a site. However many people say, “Yeah people hate them but they’re so EFFECTIVE.”

    Which leads me to wonder if there are two groups of people: those who will sign up on a popup and those who will be annoyed by it (and possibly less inclined to sign up/revisit in the future). Then the real question is – which group contains our best prospects? The people interested enough to overlook how annoying popups are to sign up anyway? Or those discriminating enough to bail?

    Unrelated not – I’m off to go make my email signup box a different color :)
    Alexis just posted Are You Ready for Cry It Out?

  9. says

    I used to have the list subscription form in the sidebar and it didn’t work all that well. I’ve since displayed different versions above and below the post and since then I’m getting a steady increase in subscribers to my list.
    Sire just posted Good Friday And What It Means To Me

  10. says

    As much as I hate the pop up form, they still (sometimes) work. I actually signed up to Neil’s newsletter because of that form. Another good way to use them, is to place them at the end of a shopping cart experiance.

    You can say something like.. ” Thank you for shopping at xyz.com, Would you like us to notify next time we have one of our legendary sales events? Durring our famous sales, that (name the product they bought) can cost as little as 1.23.
    Fresh Inbound Marketing Services just posted Welcome To BrewSEO

  11. says

    Thanks Ricardo for sharing the best places for a signup form but the one i loved most and i am soon going to apply on my website is what Neil is using because its a place that i can utilize too to offer my visitors with some thing they pay for, for Free and when i will offer them something Valuable am sure they are going to subscribe to my blog posts and all updates :)

  12. says

    It’s definitely a challenge to draw the eyes to a place like the email subscription place. The pop up is indeed pure evil, most (all) people in the younger generation have blockers that prevent pop ups from even showing up. As this generation becomes more and more the majority online, the pop up will disappear. I haven’t seen a pop up on my computer in years. Utilizing the other tips from this list are great, it is a little bit like finding the right billboard space.

  13. says

    I read many blogs and see the dreaded pop ups and every other way to get people to sign up for newsletters that you’ve mentioned here.

    My favorite site to see this in action is chrisbrogan.com. It’s actually in his header. He has his picture on the right side of the banner with oversized boxes for name and email address and an arrow pointing down to the boxes. He has some introductory text too. It fits seamlessly into his blog.

    It’s exactly what I’ll be shooting for later. Right now, I have an email box at the end of my blog posts. Not that effective for me so I’m looking to change it.
    Brian just posted 21st Century Business and Church Practices

  14. says

    I like most of these formats, excluding the pop-up one (there are more unobtrusive methods that work better). My favorite to include is a subscription field at the top of the sidebar (#2). Presentation is everything, and I like that option best because it is subtle but noticeable, concise, and yet effective if proper web design is observed.
    Sara just posted Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden to Boost Your Overall Health

  15. says

    I seriously hate the pop-up form, especially for subscriptions. How should I know if I want to subscribe or not when I haven’t even been on the site properly? It is so annoying that it might have the opposite effect than intended. The other placements seem to work, some better than others. I think the best placement is always at the footer because then the visitor gets to it after reading a (hopefully) persuasive post and will want to sign up. The top of the sidebar is not the best place for it, but if a website’s layout works better that way, it is far from being the wrong place to put a sign-up form, I just think your other ideas are better.

    • says

      Hey Leonard,

      I hear ya on the pop-ups. For example, I can’t stand it when I land on a post that has a video…I hit play, then the pop-up appears over the video. I can’t close it out because it’s not displaying properly and well, like you said, over all, it’s an interruption that we can do without.

      Here’s the deal though, right now, the pop-up on even my own website is converting at a much higher rate than any of the other forms placed around the site. Really, it’s quite interesting to see.

      So as much as I hate ’em, the data seems to speak for itself. Which is why I always recommending testing. And then testing some more.
      Ricardo Bueno just posted 5 Blogging Lessons from the Big Lebowski

  16. says

    From my experience Pop-up forms just don’t work. It will annoy your website visitors and the signup rate is dismal. However, positioning it right below the header or the top sidebar did yield very good results for me. Professional-looking feature box is very important and you want to keep your message to the point. Just my two cents.
    Samuel just posted How To Write A Good Article!