I heard a few months ago that FeedBurner RSS service was going to stop working in June. I’m not sure if that’s 100% fact, but either way it could happen in the future, so if that’s the case, we need to have another option. I don’t know about you, but I personally prefer to get updates about the blogs I read via email because I’m more likely to check my email each day than some other obscure rss reader.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to sign up for a free MailChimp account and create an RSS email subscription campaign so people can sign up to get notified by email when you publish a new post on your blog. Also, the benefits of using MailChimp over FeedBurner is that you actually obtain the email addresses so you can inform your email subscribers of other important things that you don’t want to post on your blog, not that I’d recommend doing that too often, but it still might come in handy one day.
1. Sign Up For a MailChimp Account
This is pretty self-explanatory. Go to mailchimp.com and sign up with your email and a password, and create a username (or you can just use your email address as your username). Go to your email and confirm your email address. Then login. At some point you also need to select your time zone and also enter your address (this is a requirement for the CAN-SPAM laws).
2. Create an RSS Campaign
- Once you’re logged in, you’ll want to click on Campaigns (at the top menu bar).
- Choose RSS to Email Campaign.
- Enter your RSS Feed URL. Many times it is just http://yourdomain.com/feed (if it’s wordpress) or if you’re using a blogger blog it is http://yourdomain.com/feeds/posts/default. There are also a few other obscure rss feed urls. If you don’t know what your rss feed url is, just enter your blog’s url and MailChimp will try to find it for you. If MailChimp can’t figure out what your rss feed url is, leave me a comment below with your blog’s url and I’ll try to find it.
- Next select what time you’d like the email to be sent out (your time), and on which days of the week. I’d recommend having it sent out every day, about a half hour after you normally publish a post, and have all the days of the week checked.
- Click “Next Step: Recipients”
- Now you’ll either create a new list or MailChimp might have created the list on your behalf. If that’s the case and you don’t like what MailChimp called your list, you can simply click “Cancel Segment” and click on “create a new list”.
- Name your list. I called mine Blog and Retire Blog Email Subscribers.
- Default From Name. I chose to send emails with the name Lisha Yost. You can also choose to send emails with the name of your blog.
- Default Subject. I chose New Post at Blog and Retire.
- Remind people how they got on your list. “You are receiving this message because you subscribed to receive email updates when a new post is published at Blog and Retire.”
- Next you can choose if and how you’d like to be notified by email when someone subscribes to your list to receive your blog update emails. I like to select the One by One for both subscribes and unsubscribes, that way I get an individual email for each person who subscribes (or unsubscribes). Then when someone signs up, I put that email in a special folder to keep my inbox organized.
- You can also select whether people can choose plain text or html formatted emails. This isn’t really necessary. I just leave this unchecked to keep things less confusing for people.
- Click Save.
- Next click on Campaigns again.
- Hover over the RSS Campaign and click “Edit”
- Click “Next Step: Recipients”
- Choose your desired list if you created a different one than the default one MailChimp created for you.
- Click “Next Step: Setup”
- Choose a name for your RSS Campaign. I chose “Blog and Retire Blog Email Updates”.
- Choose the email subject
- After that, you may need to verify your email address (or domain) for the Reply-to email address. If so, click “verify this domain”, go to that email and click the link in the email from MailChimp. Now your email/domain is verified.
- Then click “Next Step: Design”.
Design Your RSS Emails
Once you’re in the design phase, there are a lot of options. I chose drag and drop templates and I chose the basic one. At the top I chose to write “New Post at Blog and Retire”. Then I added my blog’s header image. I deleted the other text boxes and drag and dropped the RSS Items box (and chose Full Content for that) and I also added the social buttons box, adding my twitter, facebook, and website urls. You can change the design and layout of your blog any time.
- Click “Next: Plain-Text”. now you’ll be in Plain Text editor, which should basically have all the same stuff your html email design has, just plain.
- Click “Next: Confirm”.
- Now you might have an error because no one is on your list. If so, go add your email address to the list that this campaign is sending to.
- Then you can come back and go to the bottom of the confirmation page and click “Send Now and Start RSS Campaign” or just “Start RSS Campaign”. Either is fine.
Create Email Sign Up Form
Now that you have your RSS campaign all set up, you need a signup form to put on your blog so people can signup to receive your blog updates via email.
- First you want to go back to your dashboard and click on Lists at the top of the page.
- Click the gear image on the right side of your List name.
- Under “Forms and Fields” click on “Forms”.
- Now you’ll be able to edit the signup form.
- For blog updates via email, I simply have it so people just input their email, no name or anything, so if you want to delete the name fields, click on the first name and click the minus button (-). Then type in DELETE and click “Delete Field”. And then do this for the last name field.
- Next I simply click on “Share it”.
- Underneath where it says “Create Form HTML” click on the button that says “Create HTML Code For A Small Subscribe Form”.
- Then copy the code and paste it into the html of your blog wherever you’d like the form. I suggest having it beneath all posts and in the sidebar as well.
- You can edit the form to your liking so it says the things you want it to say. For instance, you can change “Subscribe” to “Sign Up”, etc.