Over the past 10+ years I’ve been blogging, I’ve made every mistake in the books.
From uploading tiny horizontal images to Pinterest, to having 100 different colours and fonts on my blog, to using pictures I found on Google in my blog posts (I still cringe a bit at that one).
But if you were to ask me what my biggest blogging mistake was… the one thing that was most detrimental to the growth and success of my blog… my answer would be simple.
My biggest blogging mistake to date was not having an email list.
Email lists are incredibly important for bloggers, particularly if you want to turn your blog into a source of income. Think of your email list as the backbone of your whole operation, and your email list subscribers as the VIPs of your blog and biz.
When you upload a new blog post, your email subscribers will be the first in line to read it. When you launch a new product, they’ll be first in line to buy it. They follow you on social media, watch your Instagram stories, re-pin your pins on Pinterest, leave lovely comments on your blog, and just generally do awesome things.
Without an email list, your chances of turning your blog into a career become a whole lot slimmer.
I’ve had 3 different blogs over the past 5 years, and none of them had an email list until Blog Beautifully. Why? Because I didn’t know any better! I blogged mostly about beauty and mental wellness, and it wasn’t that common for bloggers in those niches to have email lists (at least not at the time), so the idea never occurred to me.
But once I started subscribing to bloggers like Melyssa Griffin and Regina of byRegina.com, I saw first-hand how valuable an email list can be.
Your email list is your ticket to the big league, my friends.
Nowadays, over 75% of my income comes directly through the emails I send out to my mailing list. And you can make money from your email list, too!
Why Email Lists are So Important for Bloggers
Email lists are useful for way more than just re-hashing your latest blog post. Here are a few different things you can do with your email list:
+ Promote your new and old blog posts to get more traffic
+ Pre-launch/launch your new products and services
+ Get feedback and opinions about your blog and content
+ Determine what topics interest your audience most
+ Meet new people, make connections, and build community
How to Start an Email List (For Free!)
One of the biggest hurdles I had to jump over when starting my email list was figuring out the technical side of things: choosing an email list provider, creating opt-in freebies, designing and scheduling emails, etc.
Hopefully by this point I’ve convinced you that an email list is an absolute necessity, and if that’s the case, you might be worried about the technical side of things too.
Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as hard as you’re thinking (or as I thought!)
It doesn’t have to break the bank either. I started my email list on MailChimp, and it’s a great platform for beginners. With a free MailChimp account, you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send out 12,000 emails per month. When you’re just starting out, that should be plenty.
How to Start a Free Email List With MailChimp
To sign up for a free MailChimp account, here are the 8 steps you’ll want to follow (with pictures to demonstrate!)
1.Click here to visit MailChimp’s website and then click the big blue button in the middle that says “Sign Up Free”.
2. Enter your blog’s email address and choose a username and password. Then click “Get Started” at the bottom of the page.
3. MailChimp will then send you an email asking you to confirm your sign up. Click “Activate Account” in the email to get things rolling.
4. You’re then re-directed to the MailChimp website, and you have to do one of those silly Captcha things to verify that yes, you are indeed a human. One you complete it, click the grey “Confirm Sign-Up” button.
5. Next you have to fill in a bunch of information about yourself and your blog.
You’ll be asked for your full name, information about your “organization” (blog), your website URL, time zone, and address. For legal reasons, all email list platforms require that your address is included on every email you send to your subscribers (but don’t worry, they automatically add it to your email footer for you).
6. Next, you’re asked if your business sells anything online. If so, MailChimp will help you integrate your store with your account so you can send specific and targeted emails to your customers. They have integrations for WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and more.
7. At this stage, you can also connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your email list, if you like.
8. You’re then given the option to subscribe to one of MailChimp’s newsletters or series: one to help you learn the ropes with MailChimp, and one to receive weekly newsletters with updates and info about new features.
After that, you’re all set and ready to get started. Welcome to MailChimp!
You’ll automatically be taken to the Dashboard for your new MailChimp account. From here, you can do things like create a new list, browse email templates, and start a new “campaign” (email newsletter).
To learn more about email lists, how to grow them, and what to include in your email newsletters, check out the other two posts in this series:
+ The Best Tools + Tips to Grow Your Email List
+ 12 Do’s and Dont’s of Email Newsletters
Do you have questions about MailChimp or starting an email list? Let me know in the comments!