At the end of this tutorial, you will have a nice web page for your mailing list and subscribe forms automatically embedded at the bottom of your blog posts. This tutorial assumes you have a self-hosted Wordpress installation (Wordpress.org, not Wordpress.com). In a previous tutorial, I show you how to setup such a Wordpress website on Siteground for just $35/year. In this tutorial, we create a free account with the best Email Service Provider for bloggers, authors, and artists: Convertkit. Then we create a landing page and an inline form to collect email subscribers; then we add our landing page and form to our Wordpress site by leveraging the Convertkit plugin for Wordpress.
[00:00:00] I am going to walk you through how to set up a new account with ConvertKit and how to integrate that with a self hosted WordPress installation. So this follows on a video I made previously. So you do have to follow that video, or at least at the same stage as that video ends up at for this tutorial to make sense.
Create a landing page in Convertkit
[00:00:21] To start, just go to the ConvertKit website. It'd be great if you use my affiliate link, I'll get a little bit of kickback for that, but no pressure, if you don't want to, I still recommend this anyway. And all you have to do is go up here to the top, right? Select sign up free.
[00:00:38] We'll say no, we're just starting. Yes, we do have a website. We're going to be doing it on WordPress. So select WordPress. And now create an account and log in you'll land at a page that looks like this. And the first thing we're going to do is create a landing page. A landing page is just a form that allows people to sign up to your email list, but instead of a form, that's a part of a page it's its own standalone page. And one of the best things about ConvertKit is that it comes with a lot of built in templates that will make this look really nice for you really quickly and easily without you really having to do much. And then you can customize it in some ways.
[00:01:19] So first we'll do a landing page, we'll integrate it with WordPress and then we'll also do a form that you can embed at the bottom of all your blog posts. So it'll automatically appear at the bottom of anything you post to your blog. So just go to the top right corner here and click create new.
[00:01:36] And we want to start with a landing page and here you'll see, there are a ton of templates. They all look pretty elegant. Some are maybe a little corny depending on what it is you're trying to do or what your aesthetic is. But there are definitely a bunch that are just really basic, nice and clean. So you can find one that suits whatever you're trying to do, and you can customize the text and colors and images and stuff.
[00:01:57] So pretty, nice. I would maybe look over to the newsletter tab if that's what you're doing. And many of you will be doing that to start, just look, pick a basic one to get started. You can always adapt it later. Let's try this one.
[00:02:16] Okay. So you can quickly go ahead and customize this stuff. You don't have to spend all day doing this, honestly, to get started. I would recommend you just delete the fields that you don't need, or if you don't have anything to say in those fields, just make it super simple. So we might just say sign up to my newsletter.
[00:02:39] Periodic updates on philosophy and science or something like that, whatever it is you do, you can do a little paragraph. If you want to for now, let's just delete it. Even this, you could probably delete. It's self-explanatory that you can delete. It's self-explanatory. So at its simplest, there you go.
[00:03:06] It's already done. You can go and explain more things if you want in the future. And if you don't like how this ends up looking, you could always just go and change it for now. This is the bare minimum. That's all you need really, Just to get started. At least you can always improve these things over time.
[00:03:24] So now you have a landing page, go ahead and click save and publish. It will give you a URL. So technically you don't even need to integrate it to your WordPress. If you don't want to, you could just use this URL so you can give it some something custom, my first name or something like that.
[00:03:48] And go ahead and click save page. And now you just need to go up to save and publish. And now you already have a landing page. You actually don't even need WordPress. If you don't want to, if you go to share it, we'll give you a link here. Just go to click, to copy, and then have a look at it. Sometimes this can take a few minutes for this to be ready, but there you go.
[00:04:15] So you have your own URL. You could, if you wanted to like on Twitter or wherever, send people right here. And, What we need to do next is integrate it nicely with your WordPress site. So that's what we're going to do next, real quick though, by the way, if you go to this link and your landing page does not look how it's supposed to or where things are broken, give it a minute.
[00:04:38] It could just be that you recently made your free account and things haven't even really gotten set up yet. So don't be stressed out if for the next five minutes, this page is not showing. Just give it a, few minutes. Okay.
Integrate the landing page with your Wordpress
[00:04:51] All right, so now we need to go to WordPress, right? So if you remember to access your WordPress admin panel, you have to type in the domain name that you gave it followed by WP-admin.
[00:05:04] So for me, that is basedbooks.com/wp-admin, and it will bring you to this. Log-in go ahead and log in. And now your dashboard will look something like this. And I want you to navigate over to the left hand sidebar and go to plugins. So as a matter of routine should always go ahead and update whatever plugins need updating.
[00:05:33] So you can go ahead and do that. If your screen looks like mine. Those are just ones that come by default. So now what we're going to do is look for the ConvertKit plugin, which is in the plugin marketplace, which you can access from the dashboard. If you just go to add new, now, go over here to search plugins and search for ConvertKit.
[00:06:05] And there it is. Go ahead and install now and go ahead and activate. Now, go to settings and we're going to have to give it our information. So first thing you have to give it the API key that just allows it to communicate with your ConvertKit account. So now go back to ConvertKit and we are going to go to the account settings.
[00:06:36] Up in the top right corner. And here on the first tab account info, you will see your API key. It's given to you by ConvertKit. And just go ahead and copy it. Okay. And paste it back into the WordPress dashboard. Just like that. Right now, you need to get that. API secret. Get that. Now go back to the same page, the account settings page and right below the API key.
[00:07:05] You'll see API secret. Just click show. You obviously want to keep this secret. I'm just using a little free account. I just made for this purpose. So it's not a security risk for me. I have, I obviously wouldn't be doing this if it was my own ConvertKit account. So go ahead and copy that and go back and.
[00:07:28] Paste it in. Boom. So now go to save changes and that's pretty much all there is to the API and the WordPress plugin connection. It's. Now you're ready to roll to have that landing page appear on your domain name as one of the pages on your WordPress site. All you have to do is navigate over two pages.
[00:07:56] Go ahead and add new let's call it newsletter, go to publish. Yep. Publish. Notice the URL and we'll grab that real quick so we can preview it and in a minute, and now scroll down. this is the ConvertKit plugin doing its work here. So it gives you options. And for this page, we want it to display as one of our ConvertKit landing pages.
[00:08:28] So go down here to landing page, click, boom. There will, you'll see a list of all your landing pages. We've only made one it's called Centennial landing page. So go ahead and click that. Now, if we simply, where are we go back up and update. And then we can either view the page down here or copy in the URL as we did before.
[00:08:57] And lo and behold, there you have it. We're now at basedbooks.com/newsletter. And it's exactly the landing page that we created. Obviously not a very impressive landing page button. You get the idea. Now you can go and spruce up the landing page any way that you want. Go back here, add images, explanations links.
[00:09:19] To your other work, whatever social proof like testimonies, whatever you can to make people want to sign up to your newsletter without being corny. okay. So if it's not absolutely obvious, the idea here of course, is that people can enter their email here and hit sign up today and then they will be added to your ConvertKit account.
[00:09:40] You will be able to find them over at subscribers here. We don't have any subscribers yet. So this is empty. But once you have subscribers, they'll appear in a table here. Okay. And that's the beginning of developing an email list. One last thing I want to include in this tutorial, we've already done a landing page, which is nice for a full featured page where people can learn about your newsletter and sign up.
Embed a signup form beneath all new blog posts
[00:10:04] But another really good thing about ConvertKit is you can make smaller forms and have them appear anywhere within all of your blog posts automatically. Okay. So I want to walk you through that also, similarly, very easy. We'll just walk you through the basic steps, right? So let's go back to ConvertKit and go to landing pages and forms.
[00:10:24] And you'll see that we already have a landing page, but now we want to make a form. So go to create new down there, click form, and yeah, you can pick whichever one you want. there are different ways of it appearing. You can have it pop up. You can have it slide in from the bottom, right? You can have it appear as a sticky bar at the top.
[00:10:43] The most subtle, I think is the inline, a little pro tip is that these other ones, the popups and the slide ins and the sticky bars, they actually do work a little bit better. I think they're just a bit annoying and a bit more of a marketing kind of vibe that I'm not a huge fan of. So the inline is a little bit more modest and.
[00:11:01] That's what I roll with, but you can do any of these. And what we're going to do is just make the simplest little sign up form. Okay. So you can take your pick, but I like to keep it simple. I think this mills one is a good first choice.
[00:11:21] And so you could just wrote this or you could edit it a little bit for yourself. I'm going to leave it just to keep things brief, but you'll want to spruce it up a little bit for yourself. Okay. So this is pretty much ready to roll right out of the box. So all we need to do is save. Okay. And now we have a form.
[00:11:41] So what we have to do is go back to WordPress, go to the settings. Okay. And, specifically we want to go to the settings for ConvertKit. And now what you have to do is click refresh form. So it pulls in any new forms that have been created since we last checked in on this. And now you should see boom, whatever forms you've created will appear here whenever you create.
[00:12:11] Sorry, whenever you click refresh form. what, this is the default form here means what. Form from ConvertKit. Do you want to appear at the bottom of everything? Pretty much all posts and pages. You can customize it. I start later and make it a little bit more conditional, but by default, this is what's going to happen.
[00:12:34] So we're just going to set that for now. So we're going to make that mills form appear everywhere at the bottom of every post that we write. So go ahead and click save changes. How, if you want to have your blog posts in different categories, you can set it so that different categories have different default forms at the bottom of each post.
[00:12:58] You can do that in posts and then. Within posts go to categories. You can create categories. And within the category page, there will be a ConvertKit option. I'm not going to have to worry about that until you have a lot of blog posts that deal with fundamentally different categories. So cross that bridge later, it's very simple.
[00:13:17] You just have to go to posts and then categories for now. The only thing I really need to show you before you can really get going is how to, if you'd turn off the default form. For certain blog posts, it might happen that certain posts, you just don't want to hit the reader with the form. So we'll just walk through one example of making a post then how you can change the form conditions per post.
[00:13:46] Very simple. Just go to posts and then add new. We're going to write a new post. So first let's do a test of how the form will appear automatically. Make a new post. We'll just call it my first post body of the post goes here and you'll see, there are some options down here, but we don't have to even pay attention to them because we already set the default.
[00:14:14] Okay. So every post is going to get a prompt to the user to sign up for the newsletter. Just go ahead and hit, publish, and then hit, publish. So let's view the post.
[00:14:29] And look at that. There is the form that we made embedded by default. So it doesn't look amazing, right? Obviously you want to tweak it, make it a little bit more elegant, make it suit your topics and themes and your aesthetic, but there you have it. That's the basic logic. And. It's pretty powerful. it's just, it's going to significantly increase your email signups just by automatically reminding readers at the end of every post.
[00:14:54] Hey, if you want to join the new newsletter here it is. And this will be especially powerful when you have some kind of cool free offering that you can give people. So we'll talk about that in a different video, how to integrate that with ConvertKit. So that's the basic logic. Now, if you go back to the edit post.
[00:15:14] Page, we can, let's say for this particular post, for some reason, we just don't want to show the form. You can do that. Or if you want to show a different form, you can do that too. All you have to do is set the conditions down here. So right now, as we just did a minute ago, the mills form is set to the default.
[00:15:31] But maybe for this one, we want none. So we can do that. Okay.
[00:15:38] Let's view the post.
[00:15:42] And now you see the post is not there.
[00:15:48] So pretty simple, but pretty powerful. And it only took us less than a half hour. So there you go. Now you're up and running and you will at least be collecting email subscribers at some rate, maybe at first, you only get one email subscriber, every. 200 readers or something like that, but you can improve it over time.
[00:16:07] The point is, at least you're collecting some, as you're putting out content on your blog. Probably the next thing I would do from here is. Improve the aesthetics of the newsletter landing page and the inline newsletter sign up form, think about how exactly you want to frame it, how you want to describe it, make it look good, make it fit with your topics.
[00:16:29] And the, larger mission that you're trying to pursue with your work and yeah. Make it look good and make it look nice and integrated. And you can do all of that from within ConvertKit. And it will automatically update to all of your blog posts on your WordPress and it will update to the, landing page also.
[00:16:51] So yeah, that's pretty much it for this video. There's so much more, I could show you about how to do different things related to a ConvertKit and WordPress, but I'll save that for later videos. I wanted to keep this nice and focused. I'd say this is a kind of must do. First step for anyone who is putting out serious content through her blog and is trying to build an audience.
[00:17:13] This is my recommended setup, and I would suggest you do this right away, no matter what, if you're trying to do this seriously, and you can do all the improvements over time. So good luck. And, let me know if you need any help.