sign up form

When I re-designed Blog Tyrant one of the main additions was a homepage sign-up form that uses a big image as part of a sign up offering.

So far it has been performing pretty well and is converting much higher than the old option.

In today’s post I want to show you a few other blogs and websites that use really sexy email sign-up form designs to capture more email subscribers.

Hope it helps!

Why your sign-up form is so important

I wanted to start this post by just talking a little bit about why your email submit form is so important – especially if you’re a blogger.

The reason is simple: email subscribers are your blog’s lifeblood.

It’s your email subscribers that allow you to build a successful, sustainable and Google-protected blog that makes money for years to come.

And as I’ve said before, you can get all the traffic in the world but unless you are converting those visitors into long term subscribers you are missing out on a lot of future opportunities for promotion, earnings and feedback.

So let’s get these forms right!

NOTE: This is yet another reason why I recommend bloggers get their own domain name and hosting set up. You simply don’t have the design and plugin control that you need to do these types of successful sign-up form experiments on free hosts.

The best sign-up form designs

Okay, so here are a few opt-in form designs that I really like.

I’ve approached a few of these people to find out conversion numbers and will share that info along the way.

As always, I wanted to give you a starting point where you can get some ideas for your own mailing lists. Some of the below examples will include lessons that I think are really useful to learn.

1. Nerd Fitness

nerd fitness

Steve Kamb is an online buddy of mine and I know for a fact that this form is converting extremely well. It was an interesting case study to watch because this form was added after a blog design overhaul which wasn’t loved by all of his existing readers. But the new site is converting so well that it seems he made the right decision.

Lessons from this sign up form:

  • Perfect branding to stay in line with the “nerd” theme.
  • Valuable free giveaway.
  • Informal language that creates intrigue.
  • Social proof showing others who have joined.

2. Copyblogger

copyblogger

As you know, Copyblogger always gets things right. It’s actually pretty annoying. But it also provides a lot of inspiration to “borrow” ideas from.

This simple landing page expresses benefits while drawing the eye down towards the sign up form itself.

Lessons from this sign up form:

3. Quicksprout

quicksprout sign up form

Another person to keep an eye on for all the crafty fun stuff they do is Neil Patel. He’s super smart and you know he’s always testing his stuff. He’s even founded conversion-based companies called KISSmetrics and CrazyEgg.

Neil’s homepage isn’t a sign up form – it’s a URL entry – but he told me that in the last week it has had 31.7% of visitors enter their website. That is a fantastic number of people that are being put in front of Neil’s funnel, which you see after you have your website analysed.

Lessons from this form:

  • Opens with a universal question/need.
  • Minimal design with little to distract.
  • Valuable free giveaway.

4. Digital Photography School

digital photography school sign up

This massive website is Darren Rowse’s (from Problogger) big earner. He successfully uses a pop up sign up form on this website, but I really wanted to mention the homepage sign up form that is integrated with the main photo and featured content.

This is a really interesting approach as your eye is always drawn to the featured content – even if you are used to seeing this header sign up form designs.

Lessons from this sign up form:

  • Sign up form appears on top of most eye-catching content.
  • Directly in line of sight for where readers look/click.
  • Almost seems as if you need to enter your email to read the content.

5. KISSmetrics

kissmetrics sign up

Again, this one isn’t an email sign up form but it still classifies (to me anyway) as a sign up form because it gets you moving down a funnel. It’s actually one of my favorite landing pages on the net – extremely simple and with brilliant blogging tactics like having the person’s eyes directed at the sign up area.

Lessons from this sign up form:

  • Human eye looking directly at action area.
  • Only a few options for people to take.
  • Subtle graphics indicating success and growth.

6. Matador Network

matador sign up

Matador Network is a really cool travel-ish kind of website that has a lot of inspiring content. I know not all of you love pop ups but I really wanted to include this one in this list for its amazing mix of photography, motivation and simplicity. It is hard not to enter your email address.

Lessons from this sign up form:

  • Authority quote to create trust.
  • Photos that install excitement in brand.
  • Uses a pop up lightbox that blocks out regular content.

7. Blog Tyrant’s eBook page

blog tyrant

It seems a bit weird to include myself on this list but I decided to because this strategy is just working so well for me. This particular form is converting at around 70%. Yes, 70%. It’s a simple, one-column landing page with short copy and a graphic. That’s it. People only see this page if they click on the slide out form that appears in the sidebar if you’re new to the site.

Lessons from this sign up form:

  • Pre-sell the landing page/sign up form before people see it.
  • Keep the copy on-message as if the whole page is on opt-in form.
  • Build trust with an authority statement.

How is your sign up form going?

If you have a sign up form that is performing really well then please let me know in the comments below. Or, if you’d like some quick advice about how you might be able to improve your own sign up form let us know and me and the Troops will take a look. If I find any really good ones I’ll add it to the post!

Top Photo: ยฉ Bswei | Dreamstime.comMan Holding Red Arrow Up Sign Photo

61 Comments

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  1. I think mine is also smart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Nice work! I’m not a big fan of the serif font in there but other than that it’s great!

    2. Philip Kleudgen on December 15, 2014

      Hey,

      remove the name field from your homepage signup form and I bet your conversion will go up ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. This style is getting popular.

  2. Location makes a huge difference. I have two pages that see over 30% sign-ups each – one is a “Getting Started” page that’s popular for first times and the other is a page specific for more info about my newsletter. Both use in-line single email address forms.

    I have an end-of-post form that performs very low (under 1.5%) and would love some recommendations – click my name above and then go to a post. I use to get closer to 3%.

    Thanks

    1. Personally I’d remove the spam warning and simplify the offering. But 1.5% for an end of post form is good.

      1. Thanks, I’ve simplified it and dropped the images. I’m split-testing it against the original so it will give me an idea of where to go next.

  3. I just started maybe 10 days ago using pop-ups. If you have a look at curt-rice.com, you’ll see them — one pops up from below after you’ve scrolled down a bit, and one appears after some amount of time. My conflict has always been that I despise email myself, so it’s very hard to invite someone to accept email from me. But I realize that my future book publisher wants to know how many people I can reach, hence the decision to give it a try. Looks like a 1-2% sign up rate so far.

    1. Novel approach with the slide out. Keen to see how that goes for you.

    2. Miss Tiff Starr on December 15, 2014

      Looks great. I will try SumoMe myself.

  4. I’ve been blogging for just over a year and really haven’t got the sign-up thing right. I have ideas for a brand new blog in the new year and really want to get this stuff right, so thank you for this round-up. How do you get these brilliant forms designed? Can you suggest some places you can go, or tutorials that show you have to do it yourself (particularly embedding the sign-up in the picture itself)? Thanks.

    1. Hey Lucy. I designed all mine myself and had it coded by my coder (see my footer credits). But you can use services like AWeber or Lead Pages to build them. Really depends on how fancy you want to get.

  5. Miss Tiff Starr on December 15, 2014

    I have the subscribe widget visible on every page of my site but I would love to have the sexy pop-up subscribe form that shows when you first log onto the website without it being annoying. Check out my subscription forms on http://www.vivalablog.com

    Thanks!

    1. I would move it up to the top of the sidebar and change the word “subscribe” to something else. A lot of people associate it with a fee. Might be good to give an incentive away as well.

      1. Miss Tiff Starr on December 15, 2014

        Done! I’ve updated the wording. Thanks.

  6. Ramsay,

    Do you know of any musicians having success with opt-in forms?

    I recently published my wife’s artist website, so I don’t have enough data to know how our opt-in is performing. We are giving a free song download, but I wonder if that is going to be enough to convert cold traffic.

    We have a big red arrow pointing to the opt-in. It was a tough sell to get the OK to put that in. I just hope it isn’t too overwhelming ๐Ÿ™‚

    -Gary

    1. Pretty sure Mumford and Sons used to sell out massive gigs (before they were famous) using that exact method…

      1. Cool, thanks for the tip! Interesting though… I went to their site to see what they are doing now and… wow, it needs some attention.

        1. Think backwards. Why would *I* want to subscriber to a musician’s site? I’d want to know when they are touring in my area, when they release a new album or song, and if they have anything special for subscribers like un-released tracks, demo tracks, etc.

  7. Yes, please! Would be great if you can advise how to improve my opt in at http://kipkitchen.com/freebies. Thanks in advance!

    1. A graphic of the PDF would be perfect for that sidebar. It makes it appear more valuable by looking like a physical product.

  8. Philip Kleudgen on December 15, 2014

    I did one that stands really out on top of my 101 Free Photo Sites resource post and it’s the one that converts best on my blog right now.

    It’s a two-step optin built with Leadpages though.

    1. You find that works better than the straight up email submit?

      1. Philip Kleudgen on December 15, 2014

        Yes it converts better for me. After reading some advice around the web I added that ugly green border and now it converts even better ๐Ÿ™‚

        Unfortunately I don’t get that much traffic so there’s not much data to play with, but who knows maybe some day ?

  9. Stephanie Martel on December 15, 2014

    I go back and forth with my pop up. I know it’s annoying, but I also know it works. I have 2 sign up forms–one is in the sidebar and the other is the pop up. After seeing your sidebar signup form again, I’m thinking maybe I should add my picture instead of having it lower in the bar as a click through to learn more about me.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    1. I can’t remember why I did that but I remember seeing it somewhere. It converts okay but not as well as my other ones. The site-wide conversion rate is quite high so I don’t worry about it too much.

      What does your pop up convert at? Personally I’d set it to appear after about 15-30 seconds. Also, make sure you set it so that the field text disappears otherwise they tend to look like buttons.

      1. Stephanie Martel on December 15, 2014

        I just recently reactivated the pop up so I can’t give you a good number but last time it was converting at only 1.1% :-/ (but that was more than 0! haha)

        Thanks for the feedback!

  10. Elizabeth @ Awesome Wave on December 15, 2014

    I’ve not started using a pop-up sign up form yet on my new travel blog. I’m worried it’ll scare people off. I was thinking I’d build up the traffic first before dipping my toe into a pop-up.

    Love the Matador example, I’m totally using that as inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think it works best the other way around. People really don’t care as much as you think.

      1. Elizabeth @ Awesome Wave on December 16, 2014

        OK, I’m giving it a go. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  11. Patti Morrow on December 15, 2014

    Hi Ramsay — I just finished my first sign-up form on http://www.luggageandlipstick.com. It’s a pretty new blog, and I took your advice from previous posts to (1) offer a newsletter to get email subscribers and (2) sign up with AWebber to delivery that service. I’m a non-techie so ALL of this is new to me, including implementing the WP blog. I’d love to have your comments. Thank you!
    ~Patti

    1. Looks good! I’d consider moving it above the search thing and also reducing the number of pages that you have above the fold.

    2. Patti Morrow on December 16, 2014

      Will do! Thank so much!

  12. Just started email subscription only 2 weeks back. Trying to learn and improve. Thanks for some of the examples here.

    1. Hope these sign up forms help yours!

  13. Ryan Biddulph on December 15, 2014

    Good tips here Ramsay! The deal is, each form is simple, Simple is powerful. Complex makes things worse, on the conversion front. If you’re struggling to grow your list, or to make readers, subscribers, or if you’re not making much money through your blog you better believe that you’ve moved away from simple to make things complex. Your awesome form above is all about simple, clear and to the point, and that’s why you have that kick butt rate about 20%. Well done!

    Things got going for me when I made things simple on my blog, on so many levels. I feel many think that adding is the way to go, but in most cases, detracting, or releasing, or minimizing words, and options, that’s where success is had. Readers sign up if they have something clear and specific to sign up for.

    I’d also add that making sure your content is beyond awesome, well, that inspires folks to sign up too. If you have that power 1-2 punch of a simple form stressing a benefit or 2 and then kick butt content on your website then you’ll boost conversions quickly as your content is just about the biggest sell on your blog. People volunteer their email address if you give them a reason to do so. On the flip side, you could have a kick butt form yet if your content ain’t up to snuff, you’l be doomed, no matter how good your form looks.

    I’ve gone freaking bonkers on my blog. Maybe because I’m taking a lil break from paradise, here in the exotic locale of New Jersey, LOL! I am publishing 6,000 to 7,000 word posts weekly on my blog, to keep that traffic flowing, to boost conversions and more than anything, to make my blog the resource or the authority for blogging from paradise. I know how Google loves resources and I feel if one of my detailed, well-planned, well-presented, linked-up posts were to be on Page 1 of Google, as the first result, for a set blogging keyword, that Google would be overjoyed. I believe that, and I feel that having that level of belief, and following up on it with inspired, focused action, has helped me turn readers into buyers.

    Thanks Ramsay, smart tips here!

    Ryan

    1. Did you see the one converting at 70%? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      How’s your traffic going with those long posts?

      Thanks mate.

  14. Ramsey, timely topic for me, I want to redo my email signup form for 2015. I have read so much that pop ups do really work well though many SAY they don’t like them….I really like the look of the matador one you show in the examples. I’m also thinking of going with a white background on my blog vs the light bluish color I have had for 3 years now. Love to hear your advice on that. Thank you!

    1. Glad it was helpful. Thanks for commenting, Lisa.

  15. Hey Ramsay

    I am pretty well acquainted with most of the sign up forms mentioned and I agree they are pretty solid.

    I am aware of Nerdfitness but I haven’t looked too much into the blog, as for the matador network – that one is new to me.

    I have experimented with a few lead/sign up pages myself with quite different results. It’s as much an art as a science and I feel that knowing your audience well will really help in creating a well performing opt in.

    I think the most common mistakes I have made is failing to truly understand what drives my readers, and either failing to easily explain benefits or the “experts curse” where one assumes too much knowledge on the audiences part.

    I really liked your take on it, and your 5 Step ebook is very good – I’m not surprised that it converts very well but 70% is quite amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    What do you think is the biggest factor to your sign up forms success? I get a feeling your really understand what your audience really wants – and having great social proof of +10k readers really helps too. But do you have any other insights?

    Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Paul

    1. Hey Paul.

      I don’t know man, the more I think about it the more I feel like the Blog Tyrant mailing stuff is really fragmented and not on-message as much as it could be. I’ll let you know when I figure it out!

      Personally I think Glen does it the best.

      1. It is easy to be critical of yourself but it’s obvious you are doing something right.. look at your results!

        Haha great, when you find out let me know!

  16. Hi Ramsay,
    Thanks for all your tips and blogs. I love your advice. I am going to bite the bullet and give it a go. I don’t have much traffic but I like what you said to Elizabeth.
    Julie

    1. Thanks Julie! Best of luck.

  17. Victor Johnson on December 17, 2014

    I find a common thread in all of these that you need to offer some thing in return of signing up, which is the correct way considering the basic human nature. We all love valuable stuff being given away for free.

    1. Yeah I think that is important.

  18. Rodney Robinson on December 17, 2014

    Ramsay, another great tip for our blogging success. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Any time!

  19. Hey Ramsay,

    You are doing great. I am learning from you, post by post.

    I work for yudiz solutions as a digital marketing analyst.

    What are your advice on http://www.yudiz.com/inquiry/

    I would love to hear from you.

    What I am going to do is,

    -Removing Navigations Once Audience Click On Inquiry button.
    -Changing Inquiry button text with something else
    (I want to hear from you)
    – Eliminating “skypeid”, “company”, “contact no”, and “where did you find us”

    Please let me know what you think about it.

    1. I would perhaps talk a little bit about how long you will take to reply, and maybe have a testimonial from a client about how good your service is.

  20. Yeah.

    I am also thinking about, adding definite service oriented client testimonial.

    Our team will hardly take 8 working hours to reply.

  21. Okay. I got your point of including the time span of reply.

    High-Five !

    1. Nice one!

  22. that’s it…new blogger here….feeling hard to rise the rank ๐Ÿ™

    1. It takes a long time if you’re talking about Google ranks?

  23. Jassica Bella on December 20, 2014

    Hi Ramsay,
    First this is Mind blowing ,Thanks for all your tips and blogs. I love your advice. I am going to bite the bullet and give it a go. I donโ€™t have much traffic but I like what you said to Elizabeth. Great Work and Good Job ,

    Jassica

  24. Monday Must-Reads [12.22.14] on December 22, 2014

    […] Want the Best Sign-Up Form Ever? Hereโ€™s 7 Clever Examples. […]

  25. Thanks for this great info, I have an email form but doesn’t seem to be doing much .

    A little off the subject…can you recommend someone/site that can facilitate a domain transfer…my situation is a bit tricky . I am on blogger but being hosted through wix, thus my URL has BlogSpot attached to it, which I want removed.

    Thank you,

  26. Emilia Pineda on January 1, 2015

    Hey Ramsay,

    Great post. Although this style of sign up forms is getting quite popular and more and more webmasters seem to use it, I still find it a lot catchier than the old school straight up sigh up forms.

    Awesome tips. You game me some excellent ideas

  27. Brenda Hayes on January 2, 2015

    Great post! I enjoyed reading your article and it’s very helpful.Thank you and have a prosperous new year!

  28. Myra Kirbi on January 5, 2015

    Very smart methods to induce visitors to subscribe to the website. A common thread running across most of these successful websites is that they all offer some thing in return. I was especially impressed by the Neil Patel’s approach, totally different and innovative.

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