February 19, 2018

Opt In Form Optimisation – Making It Easy For People To Opt In

Opt In Form Optimisation

If you want to build your mailing list in a speedy manner, it’s important to capture as many of your website’s visitors as possible via your opt in form. You opt in form is what allows you to collect your website visitor’s information, so in essence is one of the most important features on your website…

It is no good at simply putting up your opt in form and expecting people to sign up however, there are certain steps you need to take in order to make sure you get as many subscribers as possible. In this article, we are going to look at those steps. From where to put your form, to the actual opt in form’s layout and much more. So read on, and apply these tips to maximise your website’s own subscriber opt ins.

Opt In Form Placement

One of the most important aspects of opt in form optimisation, is where you place your opt in forms. There is no point having an opt in form on your website if it’s placed on a single page which no one ever goes to. Needless to say, you won’t end up getting any subscribers at all. Because of this there are a few things I want to say about your opt in form placement:

  • You need your form on multiple pages.
    If you’re serious about collecting people’s email addresses, you need to ensure you give as many people as possible the chance to be a subscriber. Preferably, you need to have your opt in box on every page of your website. This is because not every one enters your website via the same page. The first page they may land on may be your home page, but it may just as easily be on one of your articles or other inner pages.
    Now imagine you only had a opt in box on your home page, how many subscribers would you end up missing out on? Quite a few from what I’ve seen, as most websites have the majority of traffic going to their inner pages.
  • You need multiple opt in forms.
    It is a good idea to consider putting more then one opt in form on each page of your website. This is because different people want to take actions at different stages, and not making it easy for them to do this will mean you lose out on subscribers.

On many of my websites, I like to display an opt in box in three places. Each one serves to capture a reader’s email address based on what stage of reading they are at. The following are the three places my opt in forms are placed:

  1. When someone first visits my websites, I use Popup Domination to present them with an opt in form and a quick note on what they receive if they enter their email address. This has at least doubled the amount of subscribers I have received on all the sites I’ve used it on, and some times even tripled them. The things is, while not every one signs up there and then, they’re made aware of the option and are more likely to sign up to your list later via one of the other opt in forms.
  2. The second place I like to place a optin form is in the top right hand side of my website (If you’re using WordPress, then at the top of your sidebar). This is proven to be a highly visible area, and one that many visitors are likely to notice. If a visitor has looked around your site enough and decided they want to be kept up to date with what you have to say, this is most likely the opt in box they will use.
  3. Lastly, I like to put a final opt in form underneath all of my posts. If someone has read through to the end of your post, there is a good chance they like what you have to say. This is the perfect time to ask for their email address, and let them know they can get access to more great information if they sign up.

The combination of these three opt in form positions is a lot more effective then using just one. If they over look one opt in box as they aren’t ready to give up their email address at that stage, there are still more opt in boxes to catch them when they are ready. If you want as many opt in leads as possible, I suggest you use all three positions on every page on your website (Bar pages like your contact page, about page and any sales pages etc).

Opt In Form Colour

One thing that is often over looked is the colour of your opt in form. You want people to notice and be attracted to your form, so making it a bold colour is a good idea. There are two main ways to do this, by making the actual background colour of the box stand out from the rest of your website, or by having a image of say a free incentive or general picture.

I personally prefer to go down the image route. If you aren’t offering an incentive to your mailing list subscribers however, then use the boxes’ colour to make it stand out. You will want it a different colour from the rest of your website (Or at least a different stand out shade) so it instantly catches people’s eye as soon as they load the page.

Opt In Form Size

Opt in form size

Another thing you need to think about is the size of your opt in form. Do you want a small to medium sized one in your sidebar, or do you want a big one at say the top of your page?

When it comes to the size of your opt in form, there is no right or wrong answer. It will all depend on the layout of your website, and at which stage you plan to catch people’s email addresses. In different situations both big and small optin forms can work, so I’d advise you to test both and see which converts best for you.

I will say however that you shouldn’t make your opt in box too small. Once again it’s all about visibility, if people don’t see it then they won’t know they have the option of filling it out. This will of course lead to no mailing list subscribers. Don’t however make your form big just so people see it, it’s often better to make your sign up box stand out by the use of colours and images (See the previous section for more information on this).

Opt In Form Layout

The layout of your optin box is the next thing you have to think about. How are you going to structure all the elements of the form?

In my experience, it’s often best to have something eye catching first. If the first thing people see is form fields, they’re a lot more likely to think ‘work’ and ignore it. If they see a cool looking ebook or picture however, their eye will be drawn and will be more likely interested in seeing what you have to offer.

Underneath your picture, it’s a good idea to tell people what they will get when they sign up to your mailing list. Keep this short and sweet, you want to get them clued up and ready to fill in the form while they’re still excited. If you give them a long description, not only will you take up a lot of room in your sidebar / pop up box, you may also lose their attention and lose a sign up. So keep the writing to no more then two or three short lines, or maybe even a couple of bullet points.

Finally, you want to add the actual form elements. This is the place where they can enter their details and sign up to your mailing list. You will of course need to add a form field for people to enter their email address in, but any other form element is optional and dependent on the information you want to collect from subscribers.

If you’re using a pop up form such as Popup Domination, the layout is already sorted for you so you’ll only need to add the form’s code.

Test Your Opt In Method

There are a number of things you need to think about when it comes to opt in form optimisation. While this guide has set out a number of proven methods to optimising your optin box, you need to remember that different things will work for different websites. Because of this, it is important you test different opt in methods and stick with the one that works best for you. Only when you test enough different methods will you maximise the opt in leads you receive.

So get started with optimising your opt in form and let us know how you get on in the comments. Otherwise, check out the other email marketing tips on our website.

P.S. If you enjoyed that post, then check the post ‘Two Little Known Secrets To Strengthening Your Mailing List‘. This is a guest post I done for Daily Blog Tips, a website full of advice on succeeding in blogging.

Good luck with your opt in form optimisation, don’t forget to let us know how it goes below.


  1. Very informative. It is really important to take all these factors into consideration. So many little factors that add up. Having multiple places for a prospect to sign up makes sense on the different pages of the website. It is all about testing, testing, testing.

    Thanks again

  2. Hi, and thanks for a very informative article. I’m wondering if you could give me your thoughts on an issue that I’ve just become aware of. I started by signing up for MailChimp and dutifully setting up an opt-in form (that took me ages to configure!) only to find that MailChimp at least will not sent out emails without a snail mail address in the footer. I want to initially use the mailing list only for sending out blog updates, and I don’t want all my blog readers to have my home address. Do you know of a free mail client (or at least one that is free for beginners) that does not have this requirement? I subscribe to a couple of blogs (including ProBlogger, where I first became aware of your site) that do not have a snail mail address in the footer – are they then sent out via Feedburner or similar, and not for building a list? Grateful for any insight you can provide!

  3. Hi and thanks for the answer. Are you sure about Aweber? According to this, they have to use a snail mail address like everyone else: http://www.aweber.com/faq/questions/51/How+Do+I+Change+My+Contact+Information%3F

    It seems you can alter your address, but it still has to be valid and appear at the end of each email sent out.

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