Two months ago, Jo, My Gosh! crossed the 100,000 pageviews a month threshold, and I began really thinking. This blog started out as a hobby– a way for me to kind of shout into the void and see what came back. Or at least it felt that way. It was never really my goal to try for numbers or reach or any of those headier goals. I was just a fiance who was making care packages for her guy and wanted to share them with people.
As I kept shouting into the void, I found out that it’s not a void at all. There’s been a ton of shouting back. (In a good way, of course!) And I am every so grateful for every single person who views or comments on this blog. It’s cool to see that I’m not alone– that there is a community of people out there who love the same things I do. And it’s cool to have spent the last two years creating a community that feels like a group of neighbors and friends.
And so, when I hit the 100,000 views mark, I realized that this isn’t just a hobby anymore. It’s an undertaking. And I should be honoring my readers and the time I’ve put into this site by taking care of it better. I decided to start with my newsletter.
Here’s how I set up my newsletter and created it to offer a free downloadable ebook after signing up in just one night and without any extra programs or widgets. That’s right. Just a few hours. Because really– who has time to tinker with that when there are care packages to be made and cookies to be baked?
(This tutorial is specific to MailChimp and WordPress users. With a few tweaks you can make it work for other formats and programs.)
1. Choose a newsletter provider.
I chose MailChimp. It’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers on your list and has an allowance of 12,000 emails a month. That’s plenty for me for now. As the list grows, there are other reasonable monthly plans as well as per-email ones. The sign up was easy and I had the basics ready to go in minutes.
2. Create your download.
I created a 12-page ebook on Word by saving it and then exporting it as a PDF. Easy and effective. Don’t forget to brand your document so that if it’s shared with others, they can find where your great content came from!
3. Upload your document.
Go to the “Media” section on the left sidebar of WordPress. Click “Add New.” Follow the directions and upload your PDF to the library. Once it has uploaded to the library, click on “Library.” Then find and click on your PDF document. To the right of the document, you’ll see information about it. Highlight and copy the URL found in the “URL” field. Bingo. This is money, right here.
4. Create a list in MailChimp.
Set up your list. Depending on how you want to organize your subscribers, you may do this differently. I created one master list and just called it “All Subscribers.” Create your list and then click it’s title. Then click on the “Signup Forms” tab.
5. Create the forms.
Once you’ve clicked “Signup Forms,” click on “General Forms.” It will default on opening to the “Signup Form.” You can personalize every form for the sign-up and unsubscribe sequence. Don’t worry about that now. Right now we’re creating your awesome download delivery system!
Click on the gray drop-down menu that says “Signup Form” and choose “Confirmation thank-you page.” You’ll see a standard form. Click the text boxes to access their HTML editor and to change the text. In the body of the text, create your thank you message and your call to action to download your free content. Highlight the call to action and hyperlink them to the URL from your download. Save the form.
And that’s it!
You’ll want to create a sign-up for for your blog so that your readers can follow it. But other than that, you’re done! Easy!
And by the way, if you want to be a Jo, My Gosh! VIP, just click here. You’ll get to download a free 12-page care package ebook and will get exclusive emails delivered directly to your inbox once a month.
PS. Looking for more blogging resources? Check out 4 Free Blogging Resources You Aren’t Using (But Should Be!) + 5 Free and Fantastic Resources to Prettify Your Blog.
This post contains affiliate links that help to keep Jo, My Gosh! running. If you’re interested in using MailChimp, consider using my referral link. Thanks!