There are so many wonderful blogs that teach all sorts of wonderful tools for making blogs better. I am NOT presuming to do what they do so expertly. I am NOT an expert and I don’t pretend to be one. BUT one thing that I do well is to understand what BEGINNERS really struggle with (being one myself) and to explain it in a way that makes sense and gives REAL, PRACTICAL help. blogging 101 subscribe In my Blogging 101 Series, I will be sharing How To’s for some of the things I’ve struggled to learn. Mostly it will be how to use some of the great tools available to us bloggers. In each post I’ll put in a form that allows you to ask your questions on topics you’d like to see me address. How does this fall into the spectrum of Titus 2, you ask? It is all a part of mentoring/discipleship. I mentor through my blog (as well as IRL – in real life) and I want to give YOU tools to help YOU get that done as well.

How can I get my subscribe box under each post?

You’ve seen this on all the BIG blogs. But how in the world do you do it? “Use the What Would Seth Godin Do (WWSGD) plug-in” they say. SUPER! You install it and are excited to get that box in all your posts and watch  your readership SKYROCKET!! The only problem is, once you install it, you don’t have the FAINTEST idea what to do! If you are like me, your disappointment and frustration mounts as the tears fall. Well, let me help you out. If you have installed this plugin, let me take you through the steps I used (you might find better ones elsewhere, but this is how I got mine working) to get a real subscribe box under (or above or both) each post.

Step 1 – Install the plugin

You can find the plugin here or simply go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins, Add New and type in WWSGD and the top plugin should be What Would Seth Godin Do. Follow the normal procedures for installing and activating the plugin. If you don’t know how to do that, please leave me a comment and I’ll fill you in on that.

Step 2 – Subscription code

Some of you may be very adventurous and use Mailchimp or Mad Mimi or some other service. In which case you can easily find the code from  your subscriber box. If you are like me and still use Feedburner, you might be absolutely CLUELESS about how to find it! So I’ll help you out.

  • Log into your Feedburner account.
  • Click on the name of your feed (mine is Teaching What Is Good) – the number of subscribers there is the number who read your blog through a reader – that is NOT the number of email subscribers you have.
  • You will see a number of tabs across the top – click on Publicize.
  • On the LEFT sidebar,  you will see a number of options…go to Email Subscriptions, click on that.
  • The top box has the code you will need; copy that to a text document and save it for later.
  • If you scroll further down this page, you will see the number of email subscribers you have.

Step 3 – Setting up your plan

OK, now is when you get to decide HOW you want your subscribe box to look. Look around at other blogs and see what theirs are like. Look at mine. What do you like, what don’t you like? I have a table with 2 columns: one has the option to subscribe in a reader. This is only text with a link to the Feedburner RSS. Because even though Google Reader is gone, many folks still prefer a reader and I want to give them EVERY option to read my blog at what works for them. My second column has the subscribe box itself. I find these the easiest and most recognizable. I want subscribing to my blog be super easy to do! Next, think about this. Do you like those that have it at the top of blog posts? At the bottom? Do you like the ones that use cookies – by that I mean if you’ve gone to their blogs many times, do they give you a DIFFERENT message than if you are a first timer? If you like a different message for returning readers, what kind of a message do you like? Some blogs simply have a Welcome Back message while others have a welcome back and text link to sign up for those who may not have. YOU decide what you want to say and how YOU would like it to look. Design it on paper first and then, hopefully, I’ll give you the directions to make it happen!

Step 4 – Setting the plugin design

Now you are ready to begin to get the plugin set up the way you want it. Open your plugin settings by going to Settings in the Left sidebar, scroll down to WWSGD and click on that. The first part: Message to New Visitors If all you want is the subscribe box, plain and simple, at the bottom of your post, you will copy your code (from either Mailchimp or Feedburner or whatever source you use) into the top box of the plugin: Message to New Visitors. Check it out. Do you like it? Is it eye-catching? Does it need some zip and color? Actually it has been shown that people are more likely to click your subscribe box if it is colorful. Now if your blog is subtle in color, you don’t want clown red, but you will see a significant difference if you use a color from your blog to make this stand out just a bit. subscribe box code

In mine, I chose to change my background color of my subscription box to a grey (that fits with my theme but is different) by adding this code right afte

text-align:center; background:#999999;

The bold code is the new code I added. If you don’t know the html code for the color you want, go to this site and try out different colors until you find one you want.

Then you’ll want to type in the text you want to show up: Email updates, or Subscribe to your inbox, or Never miss another post, or Get updates to your inbox. Whatever you want. Here is where  you’ll make that change:

subscribe box information

If you want to create a table with 2 columns to have both the Subscribe box AND some text to allow readers to sign up for your RSS feed and if you don’t know the html coding for tables, I suggest you play around with this text generator. Here is the coding for my Subscribe box. I have highlighted things you’ll need to change to YOUR feed information, and the form from your subscriber service is begun and ended in purple highlight. subscriber box final code Second Step: # of Repetitions The next section goes back to your plan above. Do you want your subscriber box to show up all the time or do you want your readers to receive a different message once they’ve come to your blog a certain number of times? This is up to you completely! Here is where you set the number of times they’ll see the subscriber box. Third Step: Message to Returning Visitors Again, back to your Plan. Did you figure out what to say? You can put that text here. You can code this to have links to your RSS and to your email sign in WITHOUT having the box show up. Your email subscription page on Feedburner also has code for a text line for email subscriptions. Last Step: Where this will show up This last step is quite easy. You check the radio buttons for where this will show up:  before or after your posts (or specifically where you put the code tag) and do you want this on pages as well as posts.

PHEW!!

I know this sounds like a whole lot but I’m hoping it is clear enough to allow you to follow step-by-step. I’d love to hear how this worked out for you and if there are other questions I missed or still need to address or clarify.

Questions for: Blogging 101: blogging tutorials for beginners from a beginner Keep checking out this series. I hope that it will be an encouragement and help to you! Linking to any number of these lovely blogs.

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