WordPress Wednesday #003

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. There is no charge or increase of price for you.

Collecting Email Addresses on Your WordPress Website

How did your Audience Sign Up Form and RSS connection go last week? If you’re ever feeling stuck, give me a shout, and I’m happy to help.

WordPress.com

One thing I genuinely appreciate about WordPress.com is they allow you, out of the box, to connect Mailchimp to your blog at their FREE account level. As of this writing, Wix and Weebly do not allow this.

Now, with Gutenberg (love it or hate it), they’ve released a block specifically for Mailchimp. They have an entire write up about the Mailchimp integration on their site, so if you have a WordPress.COM account (your blog is myblogname.wordpress.com, or Automattic bills you for hosting), check out their article.

Self-Hosted Installation

If you have a self-hosted installation, there is a bit more work to be done, but you ultimately have more control over… well… everything. It merely depends on how involved you want to get in the development of your website. Fear not, if you’re not into coding there are a few options for you.

Using a Plug-in

Jetpack

Green banner with white text: Jetpack - A stronger, customizable site without sacrificing safety. Get Started. (Affiliate Link)

You can download Automattic’s plug-in Jetpack and have the same functionality from above on your self-hosted site.

If you don’t need the majority of Jetpack’s other features, however, I suggest looking for a different plug-in solution, as JetPack can be a bit bloated.

Once the plug-in is installed and activated, you’ll want to use their walk through to get your MailChimp account linked before you start adding the Mailchimp block to your blog posts and pages.

Mailchimp for WordPress

Please note this requires API integration and you will need an API key from Mailchimp. Mail servers are always and overtly abused (look at your SPAM box), and the way most SPAM is blocked is with Blacklisting or banning, IP Addresses.

Mailchimp for WordPress by ibericode is very popular, well supported and actively maintained.

Using the API integration in a plug-in requires two points to speak to each other, and if your point (IP/Server) is blacklisted… it won’t communicate, and the plug-in can’t properly connect with your Mailchimp lists.

This issue is nothing you have done, as noted in their Support Knowledgebase. You will most likely encounter the issue with shared hosting, which is often the most popular and least expensive hosting available on platforms such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, GatorHost, Siteground, etc.

The quickest way to find out if it’s going to work or not is to install the plug-in and insert your API key. No connection? Discuss with your hosting company, use JetPack, or move on to using the form(s) that Mailchimp provides.

Mailchimp’s WordPress Plug-in

Wait, doesn’t Mailchimp have a plug-in of its own? Yes. They do. However, it’s not been updated in a while, nor is it actively maintained. With Automattic now building their own integrations through Jetpack, I don’t see Mailchimp further supporting their own plug-in for long. I wouldn’t install it at this time. This of course is only my opinion!


Altering Your Theme

Do not do this.

I repeat. Do not do this.

All changes you made to theme files are lost, or overwritten, when (not just IF) your theme updates. If you have the resources and time, or your theme provides one: use a child theme..

Code From Mailchimp (Recommended)

The simplest and most direct way to add a newsletter subscription form to your website is to copy and paste the code from Mailchimp.

First, let’s grab the form code you’ll need directly from Mailchimp.

  1. Login and select Sign up forms under your desired Audience
  2. Use the “Embedded Forms” option for this
  3. Select the “unstyled” form design; this way your Mailchimp form will inherit the design of your current theme.
  4. Choose what form fields you want (the fewer the better) and copy the code provided.

Next, let’s put the code on our website!

My example shows how easy this is to do with the GeneratePress theme, but any theme that has a widget area (either sidebar or footer) works!

  1. While logged in, look at the top of your site for the link “Customize” in the black bar. Click on that to open the page you’re viewing in the Customizer. Alternatively, you can be logged in to the Administration side and find the same link under Appearance > Customize
  2. Once in the Customizer, click Widgets
  3. Select the Widget area you would like to place your Mailchimp code. A sidebar or footer is recommended. If you don’t see the Widget area you want available, navigate to another page in your website while the Customizer is open. Widget areas will appear as they become available. For this example, I’m using the LEFT sidebar, or the column immediately left to any page content.
  4. Click “+ Add a Widget”
  5. Select “+Custom HTML” from the list of options.
  6. Give the Widget area a title, if you’d like. Otherwise, paste into the textarea box the HTML Mailchimp provides you
  7. Click the blue “Publish” button at the top to save and make your changes public.

Finally

There is one last way to connect Mailchimp to your WordPress website, and it’s called “Connect”. It’s a script offered from Mailchimp that puts a pop-up on your website to collect email addresses.

Yes those kinds of pop ups.

We all hate them but the truth is that they work. Pop ups work. When done right.

See for yourself:

Check back next Wednesday for WordPress Wednesday #004 where I’ll walk you through this option!

See that box below? That’s what the Jetpack plugin produces!

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