Yes, you can add a mailing list subscription form to your website. In fact, mailing lists are one of the most important things that most website owners should set up. They allow you to communicate with people who have visited your site and wish to hear more from you. But there’s also another benefit that many website owners don’t think about. That is, they can be a lifesaver in the case of a website that is hacked or otherwise incapacitated.
I know of a well-known website that was hacked several years ago and was consequently off-line for a while. One thing that helped to save this person’s following was the mailing list that he had developed over the previous years. Because the list was hosted externally, he was able to send a message out to let his followers know about the incident and to keep them abreast of his progress.
A similar thing could apply to authors. If an author has his or her books up on Amazon and does not have a separate mailing list, where will he be if Amazon suddenly makes algorithm changes that take his work from top results to a black hole somewhere within the bowels of the search results? A mailing list could be the thing that saves his sales by allowing him to communicate with his audience directly. By the way, unless a reader lets you know personally that she bought your book on Amazon, you will never know who bought any of your work on that platform. People who buy books on Amazon are their customers, not yours (in Amazon’s eyes).
Adding a mailing list subscription form
You can definitely add a mailing list subscription form to your site, whether your site runs on WordPress, Joomla, or some other platform. For the WordPress platform there are many plugins that can insert the form for you. Some are simple. Others are more complex. Mailing list service providers make it easy to connect your website to their systems.
I have used two different mailing list providers plus two self-hosted systems. I’ve used the Mailchimp and MailerLite services. For an author, artist, or small online business, I recommend MailerLite.
Mailchimp has recently made drastic changes in the focus of their service and no longer offers a simple mailing list service in which you pay just for subscribers and the ability to interact with them as needed. Their service seems geared more toward companies who want complete crm functionality with mail as less of a priority. Their new pricing structure has made their service less affordable than it once was.
MailerLite is affordable, has a great set of features and seems to me to be quite straight-forward with their clients. They still have a free level, which works well for some website owners who are just starting out and don’t need such advanced features as auto-resend, custom domains, and delivery by timezone. Their free level allows up to 1000 subscribers and a total of 12,000 email sent per month. Paid levels are very affordable. For example their lowest paid level allows up to 1,000 subscribers and unlimited emails sent per month, plus their full range of mailing list features for $10,00 per month.
I mentioned that I had also self-hosted mailing list services. There are several different ones available now. Years ago I used Mojo Mail with a list of more than 1,500 subscribers. Mojo mail is now Dada Mail. I used Mojo Mail about the same time Mailchimp started and nearly a decade before MailerLite came on the scene. The self-hosted one I used most recently is Sendy.
There are two primary reasons I’ve chosen to no longer use a self-hosted system. One reason is that I find it more difficult to produce mailings that look professional. The bigger reason goes back to the primary reason I gave for having a mailing list in the first place.
Remember the story I told in paragraph two of the website owner whose site was hacked, but he was able to maintain connection with his readers because he had a mailing list? Having a mailing list system becomes much less a safety net when it is hosted on the same server that gets hacked or the web host has problems beyond their control that take your site off-line for any period of time. If the server where your mailing list is hosted goes down, so does your ability to mail your list.
For the reason I just explained, I no longer use self-hosted mailing list services. Instead, I use and recommend MailerLite. If you have more than one site, you can have one main MailerLite account, then within that account, have company accounts on different plan levels. Say you have a site with very simple mailing list needs. MailerLite’s free level might be perfect for that site. You have another site with more subscribers than the free level allows. You can have that site set up on the paid tier that it needs and still have the first site on the free tier.
You can learn more about MailerLite here. It’s the company I use on my sites.
If you need help installing a mailing list subscription form on your website, we can help.