Back in May I shared a post on how to track newsletter sign ups with the eNews Extended plugin and MailChimp. It’s been over six months since I’ve implemented it myself so I thought I’d take a look at the results and share my findings.
Keep in mind that this is in no way scientific. A little while after I implemented this, I changed my layout and I removed some opt-in areas and added new ones, which means that it ruins the experiment from a scientific stand point. Good thing I don’t care :)
Let’s go over the opt in areas and then we’ll talk numbers.
The Opt-In Areas
Top of page: the bar below my header on all pages
Bottom of page: the bar in my site’s footer on all pages
Below post: the area below my posts
Newsletter page: the page I link to when I talk about my newsletter
Home page: before my current redesign, I had a separate opt-in on my home page.
Sidebar: again, before I redesigned my site, I had a form on my sidebar
When it comes to the areas which are failures, there are 3 that stood out: home page (5.88% of signups), bottom of page (4.28%), and newsletter page (1.07%). Why are each of these areas failures?
The newsletter page is simple — I rarely link to it. Still, I think it’s an important opt-in to have.
The bottom opt-in is kind of obvious – people are seeing the top or below post opt-ins first and signing up there. If they make it all the way to the bottom and haven’t signed up yet, odds are they aren’t going to. When I update my site for the new year, this opt-in will probably be removed.
The home page opt-in didn’t count for many sign ups because I have a suspicion that people didn’t see it. When most people land on my site, they aren’t coming to the home page. They’re arriving via a blog post. Unfortunately, I should have setup my top opt-in to see whether people were signing up via the home page or a blog post, as that would have provided a clearer picture.
Now let’s look at the areas that did well — below post (37.97%), top of page (36.90%), and sidebar (13.90%).
I’m counting the sidebar as a successful opt-in area even though it has a low percentage. Why? Because it was only up for a short amount of time, but during that time it had a pretty high sign up rate (26%).
The top of page and below post opt-ins were neck and neck with the highest percentage. I’m assuming this is because they’re highly visible and are on every page (or almost every page).
It’s obvious that the best opt-ins are in highly visible areas. There’s a reason why my home page opt-in area didn’t do so well (it had limited views) vs why my top of page, below post, and sidebar areas did well (they were the most likely to be seen).
What can we learn from this? If you want a successful opt-in, the best places are probably going to be somewhere near the top, in your sidebar, and below posts. I personally think below your posts is the most important one to have. It gives people a chance to read your content and if they like what they’ve read, they’re probably going to be more likely to sign up.
If you’re looking to increase your sign ups (or are planning on adding an opt-in in general), those would be the places to start with. From there, you can try different areas (such as in your footer, on your about page, etc).