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A thoughtfully developed opt-in form can help any blogger grow her audience. However, a hastily created opt-in that isn’t sensitive to what audiences want can have the exact opposite effect, sending readers off in a huff when they feel they’ve been imposed upon.
So how do you create opt-in forms that have the desired effect?
If you’ve ever tried to have an adult conversation when a toddler is in the room, you understand the aggravation that ensues when you’re interrupted mid-thought. Likewise, opt-in forms that pop up just as readers are getting to the good part are rude and off-putting.
Imagine a reader who is fully engaged with the funny story you’re sharing about that time a pancake got stuck in your…
Nope. I want to get to the end of this post.
We’re not as patient as we used to be, and so when opt-in forms cut into our experience, we may decide to find a site where we’re not at risk of being interrupted.
Instead of disrupting your readers’ experience with a pop-up form, consider in-line or end-of-post opt-in forms. You might also choose sidebar forms or “polite scroll” forms that hover out of the way in the lower right corner of a user’s screen as she scrolls.
Plugins like OptinMonster or Elegant Theme’s Bloom offer all of these non-invasive layout designs as well as timed pop-ups that are triggered at critical points during a visitors’ stay. Rather than popping up right away, for instance, you might program the pop-up to be displayed when the reader reaches the bottom of a post or when they comment.
Don’t require too much information from readers when you design your opt-in form. How much do you really need to know? If you’d like to have the option to personalize future emails, you may decide to ask for the reader’s first name. Beyond that, an email should suffice in most cases.
Again, we’re not as patient as we once were, and most people are hesitant about providing a lot of information to virtual strangers. Respect your readers’ time and privacy by limiting the amount of information that you require for newsletter and email opt-ins.
An attractively designed opt-in form shows readers that you care. Both Bloom and OptinMonster allow even the greenest designers to easily build forms that will complement most WordPress themes. Both offer drag-and-drop customization and dozens of design options.
Keep your forms simple and clean in appearance, and be sure text is easy to read. Choose a color and font that correspond with the visual design scheme you’ve already established within your blog. This opt-in form on The Adventure Bite is a perfect example of a form that keeps it classy for readers.
Creating a tasteful, courteous opt-in form provides readers who otherwise may have visited once and never returned the opportunity to join your mailing list and have posts delivered directly to them. Opt-in plugins like the ones we mentioned make it possible to build mailing lists that are segmented to ensure that recipients receive the posts that most align with their interests. That sort of consideration and personalization leads to a loyal fan base, making these forms a valuable part of your audience growth strategy when implemented with care.
What are your opt-in form best practices?