How to start an email list

I'm paid via affiliate links below. More here.

Having a website is important so people can find you. An email list is important so you can go directly to your people.

This is a continuation of how to make a website.

1. Create necessary pages for your email list

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Go to Pages > Add New. Title it Newsletter. Hit Publish.
  • Go to Pages > Add New. Title it Almost Done. Hit Publish.
  • Go to Pages > Add New. Title it Thank You. Hit Publish.

2. Sign up with an Email Service Provider (ESP)

  • Open a new browser tab. Go to ConvertKit. Sign up for a free account.
  • Answer the questions: Yes you have a website. On WordPress.
  • Enter your domain email address. Create a ConvertKit password. (Record this info.) Get started. This is your ConvertKit Dashboard.
  • Go to your Admin Console on Workspace. Check Gmail.
  • Find the confirmation email from ConvertKit. Click the link inside to verify your email address.
  • Go back to ConvertKit. In Account Settings > Email, click the pencil icon to add your first & last name to your email address.
  • Scroll down. Add a physical address where you can receive snail mail. I highly recommend using a P.O. Box or a similar address (not your home). If you don’t have one, use ConvertKit’s.
  • Save.

3. Create a signup form on your website

  • In your ConvertKit Dashboard go to Landing Pages & Forms.
  • Click Create New > Form. Choose Inline.
  • Choose a template. Clare is nice and simple.
  • Click the Settings icon (gear) in the thin right sidebar.
  • Choose “Redirect to an external page.” Enter your Almost Done URL (e.g. https://mydomain.com/almost-done/).
  • In the same column, click the Email icon (envelope). Under “After confirming redirect to” choose URL. Enter your Thank You Page URL (e.g. https://mydomain.com/thank-you/). Save.
  • Click Embed at the top of the right column.
  • Copy the entire Javascript snippet.
  • In your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages > All Pages.
  • Hover over Newsletter and click Edit.
  • In the body, click a black + icon to add a block. Enter “/custom” (no quotes) at the cursor. Select Custom HTML when it appears.
  • Paste the Javascript code from ConvertKit into the box.
  • Update your Page.
  • View your Page. The signup form should show up.
  • Test your signup form. Enter your personal email address. After submitting, you should be taken to your Almost Done page. Check your personal inbox. Click the confirmation button in the email sent from ConvertKit. Once you do, you should be redirected to your Thank You page. You are your first subscriber!

Next step? Create content

FAQ

Do I really have to include my physical address in emails?

Yes. According to the CAN-SPAM Act (see #4), you must include a physical address in every email you send through your email service provider (ESP). Otherwise, you risk penalties of up to $43,280 per email.

Can I put affiliate links in my emails?

It depends on the affiliate program. Many affiliate programs allow it. Some, like Amazon Associates, do not (see here).

Should my email email list pages from Step 1 be blank?

No. Step 1 was meant to get you set up quickly. To edit them, in your WordPress Dashboard, go to Pages > All Pages. Hover over the page title and click the Edit button. Add body text for each then click Update. What to add? For example:

  • Newsletter – Explain what your emails will include and how they will help.
  • Almost Done – Say something like: Thanks! To complete your subscription, check your email inbox and click the confirmation inside the email I just sent.
  • Thank you – Say something like: Your subscription is complete. Thanks for signing up. Here’s what to expect…

Keep in mind you can always edit these later. The important thing now is just that they are set up.