Update: It’s been awhile since this article was published, but the total number of subscribers has increased to a little over 2,000 subscribers in 4 months since starting the experiment; this does not include those who unsubscribed.

Late last year, thanks to Kim Roach and Brian Dean, I discovered a secret to getting more subscribers from my blog.

I decided to take action and implement what I learned on my other blog and the result blew me away:

I got 1,000+ EXTRA subscribers within 2 months of making this change and today, at the time of writing this article, will make it exactly 2 months and 8 days since I implemented this change. The result? Approximately 1,200 subscribers from just 3 articles on my blog.

Here’s a screenshot showing the email list I created specially to test this approach:

110websitesthatpay email list stat

Here’s another screenshot showing email list growth over the past 2 months since starting this email list:

110websitesthatpay email list growth

Now, having a lot of people on your email list is pointless unless they are actively engaging with your content; responsiveness is very important.

Here’s a screenshot showing how subscribers have been engaging with my emails:

110websitesthatpay email list engagement 2

Another screenshot showing how subscribers are engaging with my emails:

110websitesthatpay email list engagement

As you can see from the above screenshots, the subscribers are really engaged.

The 3 Articles Responsible for these Subscribers

The 1,200 subscribers to this newsletter came from just 3 articles on my blog; an article I published early in January, and 2 articles that I published a few years back that keep getting traffic from search engines and external links.

Here are the 3 articles:

Also, while the number of subscribers I have gained from these 3 articles is impressive, what’s most impressive is that it only took around 30 minutes of my time; from setting up an email list in AWeber just for these articles to optimizing the articles to convert visitors into subscribers, everything took less than 30 minutes.

Here’s What I Did…

First, I won’t take credit for this idea.

The approach I used is what they call “content upgrades“, a term coined and popularized by blogger-extraordinaire Brian Dean; I’m subscribed to Kim Roach’s newsletter, which is perhaps the most valuable newsletter I’m currently subscribed to and one I highly recommend you check out, and she one day shared how she gained 1,000+ subscribers from one of her articles using content upgrades.

Kim included a link to Brian’s article on content upgrades, so I headed over to his blog to learn more about this. I was impressed by what I read on Brian’s blog, as well as by Kim’s personal example, so I decided to give it a try.

Around that time, I had been planning to publish an article featuring a list of 110 websites that pay writers.

For a list of this nature, I know that a lot of people will have to keep coming back to my blog to access the websites featured. However, a lot can happen; my site can be down, or there can be other challenges. Some people will also prefer to have the list on their computer so they can carefully go through it at their convenience.

So, I compiled the list into a PDF file and I offered it as a download in the article; the main article only revealed 70 of the 110 websites, and people had to subscribe to download the full list.

I also updated 2 other articles of a similar nature I had done in the past with an option to download the latest and more recent list.

I got over 700 subscribers within a month of publishing the new article and introducing the PDF download on my website, and I’m impressed so far with the growth in email subscriptions I am experiencing.

The Challenge With Email List Building, and Why I Love Content Upgrades

You’ve probably been told over and over again that the money is in the list.

So, following advice from your favorite guru, you decided to offer that “powerful incentive” aimed at helping you build your email list and increase conversions; however, you soon realize that it is not as easy as it seems. Writing that 100+ pages ebook is taking longer than expected, and you’ve been at it for months now and are struggling to get it finished.

The good news: Your readers most probably do not need another 100 pages ebook. A lot of them won’t even bother to read it.

You also don’t need a MASSIVE incentive to get people to subscribe to your email list.

Sometimes, something as simple as a case study or resource aimed at helping people implement suggestions you gave in a particular article will convert more subscribers than another vague ebook.

In fact, making your blog post itself, or a checklist accompanying that blog post, available in PDF form would also convert well.

When you think about this, you’ll realize that preparing the incentive you will use to get people to subscribe to your email list will sometimes only takes 30 minutes.

A Major Challenge With Getting People to Subscribe

Once you decide on what content upgrade you will be offering your readers, the next challenge is how to deliver it.

I’m assuming you already have an email service provider and just need to introduce your content upgrade to readers in the most effective way possible.

There are two ways to do this:

1. Create a special landing page on your blog offering the content upgrade and include a sign up form there. This is the LEAST effective way to do this.

2. Have a form pop up asking people for their email address once they click on the “download” link in your article. This is the MOST effective way and can even double your subscription rate. It’s also the approach I used.

The only problem with going with option 2 is that one of the most publicized and easily accessible ways to do this is very expensive; it is through a landing page service called LeadsPages, and it costs at least $37 monthly to use them.

I’m not very keen on paying monthly for a landing page service until I feel I can maximize it’s use, and that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.

I decided to look for an alternative and found a WordPress plugin called OptinLinks.

I paid a $47 one-time fee for the Advanced version plugin that enables me to use it on more than one site, and I used it to offer my content upgrades.

It was a bit buggy at first, and they had very poor customer support when I needed their help; the bug was eventually fixed, and they later sent an email to users that their customer support has been improved but I haven’t tried their customer support again since the bugs have been fixed and I have no need to.

That said, I stuck with OptinLinks because it seems like the best alternative to LeadPages that doesn’t require a monthly fee.

Here’s a quick screenshot of their campaign management page:

Optinlinks Screenshot

Quick Steps to Double Your Subscription Rate in 30 Minutes

Long story short, here are some quick steps to help you double your blog subscription rate in 30 minutes.

1. Identify the most popular posts on your blog, or create a new article, and see what major challenges readers have with the article.

2. Create a resource or short PDF document to help people solve this problem; this could be a PDF version of the same article if it is a resource or a checklist aimed at helping people implement the suggestions in the article. It shouldn’t be too long.

3. Update your article to offer the content upgrade to people who just read your article.

4. Wait and watch your blog subscription grow.

Need a Blog Review/Strategy?

Whether your aim is to improve conversions from your blog or increase revenue through your blog, I can help you.

I’ll review your blog and give you a personalized strategy guide with suggestions for improvements based on your goals. Learn more by heading over to this page!