The saying “first impressions aren’t always right” doesn’t apply to the online world.
If someone isn’t impressed in their first few seconds on your site, they’re going to hit that accursed back button without a second thought.
I don’t say that to scare you, but to remind you that the first minute a visitor spends on your blog is crucial to their choice to subscribe.
You can’t control everything about your possible reader (they could not be interested in your topic or happen to hate the color orange for no apparent reason), but you can control your site’s first impression and the accessibility they have to the most essential button on your site: SUBSCRIBE.
Never fear, we’ve collected 8 tips and tricks to make visitors hit subscribe after less than a minute on your site!
NOTE: I will focus on immediate things—the ones that make FIRST impressions. Getting people to subscribe is also dependent on the quality of your content, your marketing skills, and many other things that are more long-term and thus not covered by this specific post.
DO: Look professional
The first thing a visitor to your site is going to see is your web design, logo, color scheme and font choices.
Be professional with all of those things.
That doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional web designer, it just means that you should have one consistent theme that’s clean and attractive.
If your site looks like it was designed by a middle-schooler, I’m not going to get a good first impression that leads me to click subscribe. I may not even stay on the site at all.
Pick a font that’s easy to read and isn’t comic sans or papyrus (please never use either of those in a non-ironic way).
Choose a few colors and stick to them. Too many colors inevitably start to clash and it looks unprofessional. Pick a signature color (like pink in the case of LadyBossBlogger), and make it part of your brand!
Design a site that makes logical sense to the eye. Everything should have a place and purpose. Nothing should be distracting from your main content on each page. Organize it in a way that’s easy to navigate and attractive to look at.
Overall, just have a clear brand identity, and make an effort to keep your website updated and clean. These are key to letting your visitor immediately see your site as professional and worthy of their time and attention.
DO: Make your subscribe button as visible as possible
This one is kind of a no-brainer.
If you want people to start subscribing ASAP, they need to be able to easily find and read the form to do so.
Don’t hide your subscription form on your “about” or “contact” or even “subscribe” page!
Put that form on the homepage, on a top banner, on the sidebar, on the footer, in the middle of your blog posts, etc.
It should take a visitor less than 15 seconds to find your subscription form, whether they’re looking for it or not!
DON’T: Make your subscription form an immediate pop-up
You know what I mean—when you go to a blog and the first thing you see is a blacked-out screen with the subscribe button before you even have a chance to read the post you clicked on.
While having a subscribe form pop-up at some point isn’t a problem, having it pop up immediately means the visitor’s first impression is your subscribe button.
To me, it makes the impression that you’re spam (or desperate).
Most of the time, if subscription forms pop up within the first 10 seconds on a site, I click out.
Give the reader a chance to actually see your blog and decide that they want to keep reading before you force them to choose.
DO: Offer freebies
Incentives are great.
I love it when I get free stuff for agreeing to give a blog my email!
There are a few basic freebie offers you can give depending on your website.
Discounts: If you have an online store or are selling a product, offering a promotional code or ____ dollars off for subscribing is really appealing!
Printables: If you are the type of person that is creative and want to make planner printables or calligraphy quotes that work as decor, or anything else in that lane, then offering the product for free in return for subscribing is a guaranteed way to get people on your email list.
Information: Promise to give special content to email subscribers. Make the reader feel that by receiving your emails, they’ll be gaining something that isn’t going to be published for everyone on the website.
Resources: Tell the reader that if they subscribe, they’ll get access to something that they can use in their pursuit of ______ topic in ______ niche. For instance, maybe you can give subscribers access to your online course for new bloggers or send them a guide on how to do social media marketing, etc.
DON’T: Make getting the freebies too hard
I hate when I get excited about getting free stuff and then it the requirements are “subscribe to the email list, then share this post on 5 social media sites, also recommend it to at least 12 friends, plus offer one mythological creature that you must discover in the wilderness within 15 days.”
Okay, first of all, time is money, so if it takes me longer than a minute to get a freebie it’s no longer free.
Second, there’s nothing that I want badly enough to go through multiple steps to get.
If you want people to subscribe in under a minute, make sure it actually takes them less than a minute to decide and go through the process of signing up.
It’s fine to have one requirement to get the freebie (ex. subscribing), maybe two if your product is ridiculously high quality, but for the most part, one step is all you get.
DO: Show your # of subscribers
“Would you jump off a cliff if everyone else is doing it?”
Well yeah, if enough people were jumping I might start wondering what’s at the bottom is worth the jump.
Showing your # of subscribers could be a sure-fire way to get people to hit subscribe immediately if so many other people feel that your email list is worth being on!
DON’T: Show the # if you’re on the low side
If you only have 5 followers, that last DO doesn’t apply to you (sorry!).
Having a low # of subscribers doesn’t mean that your blog isn’t worth reading or anything like that, it just means that you’re in the process of growing!
Once you get a solid # of followers, you can put your stats up, but keep it growing for now.
However, if you are gaining followers at a fast pace, you can consider showing your growth and just not your total # of followers. That can be just as, or even more, appealing to the reader.
DO: Show related or recent posts
If I’ve clicked on a post I’m really interested in and 4 more post headlines come up that I’m also attracted to, there’s a good chance I’m gonna look for the subscribe button next!
Showing related posts or your latest headlines is a great way to immediately demonstrate to the visitor that they have a lot to look forward to on your blog.
If they can easily see that everything you write is going to apply to them, they will go ahead and sign up for the email list so as to keep receiving that content.
DON’T: Interject too many ads or promotions
While it’s good for the reader to see what else is on your site, don’t go overboard by having an ad and/or promotion for your own site or someone else’s pop up every sentence!
The same goes for your sidebar and headers. Don’t have so many ads that it begins to look cluttered.
Keep your site clean and make sure the ads aren’t slowing it down.
It’s okay to have links and some ads, just make sure it doesn’t interfere with being able to see your consistent blog theme and actually read what’s posted on your page.
DO: Tell them exactly what they’re getting
On LadyBossBlogger’s subscribe form it says, “Weekly entrepreneur resources to help guide you in the right direction,” followed by a place to put in your email and “We won’t send you any spam. Unsubscribe at any time.”
Weekly Entrepreneur Resources
Join 150K other female entrepreneurs.
This form is a great example of being clear and concise about what the reader will gain by subscribing.
With only 10 seconds of reading, your visitor should know the who, what, where, why, and when of subscribing.
LadyBossBlogger’s email list:
WHERE: Their email
WHY: To guide them in the right direction
They also see that we’re trustworthy, because a promise has been made not to send them spam and to allow for an easy out if they want it.
Provide a clear explanation and eliminate doubts/fears in just 2-3 short, simple sentences to get readers to hit subscribe FAST!
DON’T: Cut readers off if they don’t subscribe
The NY Times only lets you read some articles before you hit a pay wall because they’re the freaking NY Times.
If you’re not the NY Times, don’t force your readers to “subscribe to keep reading.”
This one is a little more long-term than the first one minute, but I’m not gonna read your blog if you’re forcing me to subscribe just to read it. It’s not good practice.
Plus, if the visitor doesn’t want to subscribe, you’re just losing page views!
DO: Subscribe to LadyBossBlogger
We 100% recommend this point to anyone that now has a good first impression of LadyBossBlogger.
8 Products/Services To Sell On Your Blog
Grab the free list!
Putting this post into practice? Below are some posts you may be interested in.
- How To Become A GDPR Compliant Blogger – for how to create your opt-in forms legally
- How To Turn Your Social Media Followers Into Subscribers – for more advice on getting (and keeping) subscribers
- How To Write Irresistibly Clickable Headlines – for getting people to your site for that first impression
- 5 Stone Walls Every New Blogger Runs Into (And How To Move Past Them) – a general post on getting started blogging
Bethany Peterson is a junior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Interdisciplinary Studies and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She has worked in blogging for three years first as a staff blogger for 31Women Ministries, and now as an intern with LadyBossBlogger. She serves as Co-Editor in Chief at the Wheaton Record and hopes to go into journalism after graduation.