How to get your blog readers to subscribe

In yesterday’s post Why do I need an email subscription list, we talked about how people’s levels of engagement increases when they subscribe first to your RSS feed, and then to the holy grail, your email subscriber list. Today we’re going to talk about how we encourage people to subscribe to your blog.




What you actually write on your blog is the single most important thing that results in people subscribing to it. If you can’t write compelling stuff and write it well, you may as well forget it now, or move into a niche where you can.

Posting Frequency

The secret is reliability here. It doesn’t really matter what your posting schedule is, as long as you stick to it. I expect Mashable to post several times a day, and they do. But there are other sites I subscribe to where they only post twice a week. What stops people from subscribing, or makes them unsubscribe is when your schedule goes out of the window.

Make it Easy

If you want people to subscribe to your feed or your email list then you have to make it easy for them to do so. Have a big orange RSS button – and if you’re in a niche where people may not know what RSS is (and that’s most niches!) then put a link to an explanation on the site for them. Have an easy to use email sign up form too, and make sure both are displayed on every page of the blog, and ideally in different locations. Don’t ask for loads of information either – a first name and an email address will do.

Ask people to sign up!

As well as displaying the buttons and forms, ask people to join your community! Invite them in by reminding them how easy it is. Do so regularly in posts, add a link to your emails and remind them again in your Twitter landing page, your about page and anywhere else you can think of.

Give them an Incentive

The most common way to encourage people to sign up to your email list is to offer them something free – in my case I use my free E Book Blogging for Beginners. Everyone who joins the Mike’s Life Community gets a free copy, which is emailed to them automatically as soon as they register. If you don’t have something to offer, you can create it (perhaps using early posts as a template) or there are various E books you can buy (for a small fee) and rebrand as your own. It works! Another option is to offer subscribers additional content – so for example regular readers get basic posts on the site, but subscribers get more in depth posts with videos or additional photos.

Use Footers, or Hover ads

On this site I use the Ultimate Footer ad, which you’ll see below every five pages or so – it has an amazing conversion rate when compared to a static form like the one at the top of the page. I prefer to use this rather than the “hover over” type ads as a personal preference, but I believe those are equally, of not even more effective.

Use the right tools

For RSS I would recommend using Feedburner, rather than the native RSS feeds which come with most blog software. Feedburner is free to use, and gives you terrific reports about subscribers. For your email list I would recommend using Aweber – it is simply the best tool for the job, and I’ve used three others before I switched. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll be covering in detail how to use your email list to give great value to your subscribers, and the most benefit to you by keeping them engaged.

Are you a Mike’s Life subscriber yet? If not please join the community now – you’ll get the free E book immediately, and a weekly personal email from me with an update on what’s happening in my world, and some good special offers for subscribers. Just put your first name an email address into the box top right, or into the animated footer below, which appears every five pages or so.

You might also enjoy:

1/ Selling advertising on your blog

2/ Marketing your blog offline

3/ Hitting the blogging wall

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Email Subscription

Gordie Rogers's picture

Okay, Mike. You've sold me. I have subscribed to your blog emails. I will set up a email subscribe section on my blog, too.

Will, look at as well. I will hope to automate emails as soon as possible.

Thanks for the advice.

Gordie Rogers's last blog post... Book Review: The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing.

Excellent news Gordie - one

Excellent news Gordie - one down 1.4 million to go!

Hang on for tomorrow's post and I'll show you how to get the best out of Aweber - it's amazing some of the stuff you can do!


Hello Mike, I already

Roman's picture

Hello Mike, I already subscribed a few months ago, but I found this post interesting anyway.

I have a question:

You state, “What stops people from subscribing, or makes them unsubscribe is when your schedule goes out of the window.”. Do you know why they do that, why do they unsubscribe? Is there some reason why people unsubscribe if there is no pattern to your posts, for example, week one you send two 2 posts, the next week none, and the week after only 1?

Do you know of an empirical test that has been done that shows that more people unsubscribe to irregular posters then to regular posters. Or is is simply assumed that more people will unsubscribed based on some psychological human trait?

Hello Roman It's a great

Hello Roman

It's a great question, and I honestly don't know if anyone has done a study - maybe you should!

I made the statement from personal experience - I know that on both my other blogs the only time people unsubscribed was when the posting schedule changed ( admittedly in both cases the number of posts slowed down for a period). I also unsub from RSS feeds when the posting schedule changes dramatically. I've done some this morning where I think the blogs must be dead as there have been no posts, and one other where the blogger has suddenly started doing 4 very short (and uninteresting) posts a day, rather than his usual longer, better posts.

What are other people's thoughts? What makes you unsubscribe, Roman?


Content vs. Schedule

Roman's picture

Mike, I subscribe to about 10 feeds (yours included). They are all email feeds so they arrive in my mailbox. Unfortunately I have never unsubscribed to any of them so I do not have any personal experience in the matter. But I believe that I will unsubscribe if the content starts to get poor. Regardless if the posts are constant or not I will unsubscribe if the content is poor – or so I thought till I read your post.

Even with only 10 feeds I am not really sure what the posting schedule is of each of them – they just arrive in email box. That is why I was wondering is there is some physiological aspect that will cause me to unsubscribe based on schedule instead of content. Does it happen to people that even though the content is good they unsubscribe because of a erratic posting schedule? least I am aware of it now and will watch myself to see when I do unsubscribe whether is will be based on posting schedule or content.

Roman's last blog post... Commenting on Problogger Does Not Improve Your Blog


Guest's picture

Hi there Mike,

I've just subscribed to your feeds.

You have suggested some interesting incentives ideas for new visitors.
Besides an eBook, I have always contemplated providing something extra.


Guest's last blog post... BlackBerry demanded it needed 6 minutes'to do what I wondered?

Thanks John - You don't have

Thanks John - You don't have to offer something free to sign up, but I think you have to offer some added value to people - even if it's just additional content.


You Have A Great Personal Style

CAROL JONES's picture


Greetings from rural Australia.

You have a great personal style. Warm and friendly. I love it. So much so I’ve subscribed.

Take care,


Carol Jones
Interface Pty Ltd
ILFORD NSW Australia
Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover
My simple solutions for difficult problems make every product a joy to use

Long time reader - New Subscriber

Brent's picture

Great stuff Mike. I just subscribed to both the RSS and the eMail.

Blog Master Club

Marvin's picture

Hey Mike,

Love your writing style and clear, useful information. It's exciting to see what other people are doing to build a business from their blogs.

Cheers Guy! Thanks for the

Cheers Guys! Thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to chatting with you some more.


Footer Ads

Michelle's picture

Not sure what to think about the footer ads Mike. Do you find more people subscribing with your footer ad? I think it's a great idea but also at the same time I find it kind of too much. I guess you could say I'm undecided.

Michelle's last blog post... Electric Vehicles: The Next Generation Of Transportation

Yep Michelle. The conversion

Yep Michelle. The conversion rate of subscribers increased by almost 50% with the footer ad, so it really does work.


RSS and Email Opt-in

Jimi Jones's picture

Hi Mike,

thanks for the additional tips on list building. I hadn't given a lot of thought to the footer ad, but surely will now. My attention has been in the "above the fold" area, but this footer idea sounds good.


Vijay's picture

Making a bookmark on this article.

Will be making use of some of the tips here as I go along building my traffic.

When I first started

Doug C.'s picture

When I first started designing my blog I decided to build a unique sidebar design to house my RSS subscribe feed. Over the next few days I not only got hundreds of new subscribers, but also tons of emails from people asking how I did it. I wrote a tutorial called Customized FeedBurner Subscription Box and it has been the biggest draw on my blog. It is definitely true - you want people to notice something, then just give it a little personality and watch out.

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