Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building Email List

15 Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building Email List

As a budding blogger, one of the advice that you might have received from successful bloggers is that you need to have Email List. If you build large email lists and benefit from it, you will find out that creating an email list which can lead to making money is the dream of every blogger.

After reading a bunch of other blogging guides telling you to start your own email list, you wondered what the fuss was all about.

So, you finally signed up for an email service. You went ahead and bought all the premium email marketing plugins and services.

You wrote a gigantic and massively impressive guide on your blog and now you’re patiently waiting, rubbing your hands together while having a sneaky evil smirk, for the flood of email subscribers to arrive.

You wait and wait… and wait, but the graph on your email service analytics is still invisible.

After a long while, if you are absolutely lucky, you capture like 5 or so email subscribers. Then after a year of constant effort, you still have less than 100 subscribers.

You wonder why you failed.

You plastered your website with multiple opt in forms and yet, your email list is empty.

“Maybe email list building is not for me”, you say to yourself.

But in truth, you’re just making humiliating rookie email list building mistakes that are sabotaging your success. Avoid them and your email list will start flourishing.

If you wish to make the most out of your subscribers, it is time you stop making any of the following 15 mistakes while building your email list.Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building an Email List

1.   Starting Late to Build Email List

Some bloggers think that they should start list building late when they have at least 20-30 posts on their blogs.

This is absolutely wrong.

You should start email list building at an early stage – preferably from day one . The sooner you start, the better it will be. Aside from your website, an email list is the only thing you own. So you should never delay in your list building efforts.

  1. Buying Email List

You have just started your journey as a blogger. And you are excited to share your posts with the world. But how to reach a wider audience?

You have already shared your posts on social media channels. What more can you do?

In a rush, you buy an email list to amplify your reach. It seems pretty logical. Right?


Never – you should never buy an email list. Why? Here are the top reasons:

  • Major Email Marketing Services won’t allow you to send emails to lists that you bought. Email providers such as Aweber and Mailchimp explicitly state that they will not accept email lists that are bought. You may be fined if you don’t follow their regulations.
  • You can’t trust the quality of the list
  • You will be considered as a spammer
  • You will get a poor response rate
  • You might face a big fine under CAN-SPAM Act

What’s more, buying an email list is never recommended by experts. The best way is to build an email list organically. It takes time, but is worthy of your time as money is in the list. There really is no shortcut to building an email list.

  1. Using the Commonly Used Opt-in Form Call-To-Action

There is a phenomenon called reader blindness. It basically occurs when something is Omni-present or exists everywhere.

Just like the sidebar exists on nearly every single blog that has an email marketing effort, the common call to actions on your opt-in form service are also everywhere. Never, and I mean Never, use the commonly used call-to-actions.

Here is a basic list of these CTA’s

  • Submit
  • Subscribe
  • Join The Newsletter
  • Join
  • Sign Up
  • Buy Now
  • Click Here…

There are two significant problems that arise when you use these CTA’s

  • You Will Cause Reader Blindness: These call to actions are so rampant on the blogging sphere that your blog and most importantly, your freebie, will seem like every other blog’s same generic offer.
  • They Are Vague: Your Call to Actions should blatantly explain to the reader what he is getting in return for his email sacrifice.

For example, when you use “Subscribe”, the reader will be confronted with some basic but important questions;

What exactly am I subscribing to? Will this solve my problem? Am I really getting what I am signing up for?

Your CTA has to address these questions emphatically. When you use “Subscribe”, it really does not communicate to your reader what exactly he or she is getting.

Instead you should use more unique and to-the-point CTA’s.

For example, if I am offering a freebie on how to start a blog, your Call-to-Action shouldn’t be one of the default such as “subscribe”.

Instead it should resonate with something like this:

  • Start Your Own Blog Easily
  • Download The Step by Step Guide…

You see, when the reader subscribes using one of these CTA’s, he/she is sure that their problem is being addressed and most importantly solved.

  1. Asking For Too Much Personal Information

There is really no need for you to ask for your visitors’ first name, last name, address…

All you really need to ask for in return for your bribe is their email address.

Even adding a bar which asks for their first name will significantly reduce your email list building effort. It has been proven by this research done by Getresponse.

The only place where asking for more personal information is acceptable is if you are offering a business service that requires the reader to fill out a bunch of their personal information or…

You are already an established blogger and don’t need to grow your email list fast.  Other than that, you are basically reducing your opt-in rate significantly.

  1. You Have An about us page with No opt-in forms

If you look closely at your Google Analytics dashboard, you will most probably see that your About us page will be one of the most visited pages on your site.

As a result, it has a higher chance of getting more email subscribers.

Yet, many bloggers’ About Us Page is nothing but a long story of their personal hardship and how they came about growing this blog.

Yes, long stories are inspiring and will help your reader understand you more, but you need multiple opt-in forms on your About Us page.

If properly optimized, your About Us Page can do wonders to your email list. And do you know why?

Most people who click on the “About” page are already interested in you and want to learn more about you. They are not just random traffic.

By embedding some opt-in forms in your long and inspiring story, you can gain a respectable number of subscribers from your About Us Page.

  1. Wrong placement of opt-in forms

Most bloggers believe that building an email list is all about plastering an opt-in form on the sidebar and getting conversions of 0.5%.

The sidebar widget is one of the lowest converting opt-in forms you could ever use. Sidebars are basically blind spots for readers, as they are rampant and exist on every single blog.

I am not saying they are completely useless. They can provide you with some subscribers, and if you effectively target your readers, you can even start building a considerable list from your sidebar opt-in form.

But the problem lies in the effort required to make that happen.

If you just stick up a generic freebie on your sidebar without targeting what your readers want, you are just basically wasting your sidebar space, that you could effectively use to sell your services.

Sure, you can get some conversions, but unless your traffic is gigantic, they really won’t stand out.

As a result, you need some other reinforcements that can get the job done. I generally recommend that you have at least three or more opt-in forms on your site.

For example, if you check out Neil Patel’s blog, you can see that he uses 4 types of opt-in forms that get the job done if his sidebar opt-in form fails to do so.

  1. Not Using Irresistible Lead Magnet

This is the most common mistake many bloggers commit – not using a lead magnet. Do you think just writing ‘sign up to my list’ or ‘join our newsletters’ is going to help you grow your email list?

No, it won’t. You should offer your audience something that they can’t ignore. Whether you call it an ethical bribe or incentive, a lead magnet can help you grow email contacts.

However, sometimes, it can be difficult to choose the right lead magnet.

Here is a list of useful tips that will help you pick the right lead magnet for your business:

  • A lead magnet should be able to solve at least one problem of your buyer persona
  • A lead magnet should be specific. Your visitors should know right away what they are going to get in exchange for sharing their emails with you
  • A lead magnet should hold a high value
  • You should be able to offer the lead magnet right away. We all love instant gratification

Checklist, cheat sheet, template, swipe file, resource list – there are just a few examples of good lead magnets. You can choose as per the nature of your business and target audience.

You can also consider offering collection of irresistibly valuable freebies or bribes. By offering several bribes, you will stand out from the pack and you will, ultimately, convert your visitors to subscribers at a higher rate.

All the bribes don’t necessarily have to be free e-books. You can easily create a collection of bribes by offering:

  1. A Short E-Book (Here is a simple step by step guide by Ramsey)
  2. A List of Your Recommended Tools
  3. A Checklist
  4. Your Top Recommended Blogs
  5. Your Top Recommended Blog Posts About a Topic
  6. Your Top 10-20 Books for “Your Niche”

By offering a collection of these bribes in one, you will skyrocket your email conversions. You don’t have to create each one of those. 2-3 is fine enough.

  1. Having no landing pages on your blog

No matter what niche you are in, if your ultimate goal is to increase your subscriber count and grow your email list, you definitely need a landing page for your freebies and your premium services, if you offer them.

A landing page completely removes all obstacles and unnecessary distractions from the eyes of your readers, and they will be faced with one important choice.

To join your email list/buy a product, or to get the hell out!

Easy choice! High Conversion!! This is because Landing pages have no distractions (no home page, blog, contact, about us… buttons).

Just a small enticing description with a magnetic yellow opt-in button

Having no landing pages while you are trying to grow your email list is like trying to grow a baby without milk. It can grow, but it will be stunted.

  1. Having a Poorly Designed website

This is an obvious one, but many bloggers still make the mistake of housing a horribly designed blog. When it comes to having an ugly website, there are usually two categories:

Yes, Seth Godin made it without a premium theme, but you aren’t Seth Godin.

He and others who succeeded, without using a properly designed themes, are miracles. And when it comes to miracles, you shouldn’t set your whole success based on them.

  • Your whole blog is plastered with Ads: Most probably, you figured out that you could make money from your blog and most of the guides told you that advertising was the ultimate way. So you created a blog and now it is literally a museum of ads.

If you didn’t figure it out already, using ads is the least effective way of making money, especially if you still don’t have a lot of traffic coming to your site.

The whole point of ads is to drag and steal your readers to another website. I really don’t understand why anybody without a major traffic source would ever consider ads as a monetization strategy.

You are basically selling your precious readers to other sites for 10 cents.

Anyways, always make sure that you are using a premium theme and have no sneaky ads on your blog.

  1. Not Sending Emails New and Existing Subscribers.

Most bloggers, especially beginners, have a fear of rejection –they think that their subscribers will not read or respond to the emails they post, or even at the worse of it, unsubscribe.

What was your reason for getting the email address? You wanted a platform to share content with your subscribers.

Having an email list is not the end of it; you will need to send emails with a targeted message to your subscribers.

For instance, you can draft an email that offers information about a given product and asks the readers to buy the product.

11. Not Using Content Upgrade

By using a content upgrade, Brian Dean has been able to boost his conversions by 785% in just one day. Seriously, this is unbelievable – 785% in just one day!

And you will be missing this growth if you don’t use a content upgrade.

But what it is the content upgrade?

“A content upgrade is simply bonus content that people can get access to in exchange for their email address. Unlike traditional “site-wide” lead magnets, however, content upgrades are unique to the specific content that people are already reading or listening to on your site”

– says Pat Flynn on Smart Passive Income.

When you are going to create the content upgrade for your blog post, you should always choose the post that is performing well.

Brian himself said on Backlinko,

“If you want to maximize the number of subscribers that you get from The Content Upgrade, you need to start with a page that has the most potential for generating email subscribers.”

Now, you have to understand the importance of using a content upgrade in adding subscribers to an email list.

  1. Having No Personalized Landing Pages For Guest Posts

I believe guest posting is the single most important strategy for growing your blog readership and platform. Allow me to explain…

If you know anything about growing your blog and your email list, you probably know that guest posting is a major part of the strategy.

With guest posting, you can appear in front of your target audience without having to pay for anything. You basically write an amazing guide related to your niche and you pitch other bloggers in your niche to post that guide on their website.

You can get massive results from proper guest posting.

Many bloggers fail to replicate their massive success at guest posting and the major reason for that is;

They don’t have a specific landing page for each of their guest posts.

If you are writing guest posts without having a landing page with a freebie related to the post, you are outright wasting your time.

You need to create a landing page for each of your guest posts and make sure you give them a content upgrade. What is that?

  1. Having no system of converting people who comment

There are many reasons why people comment but all of them can be classified into one of the following categories:

  • They Like Your Content and Want to Appreciate Your Work
  • They Have a Question Regarding the Topic
  • They Are There to Troll, Spam or Hate

Most of the people who will comment on your site will be either in category 1 or 2 or a combination of both.

They like your work. They have a question for you.

Now, if you put up a system where those types of people who comment are redirected to a landing page to subscribe, do you think you will increase your email list?

Hell yeah!

There are several WordPress plugins you can use to put up that system on your blog. You don’t need any coding skills.

Here is one you can use. There are multiple options.

  1. Having No Call-To-Actions On Your Freebie Download Page


You made it. You are finally getting your readers and blog visitors to join your email list, but unbeknownst to you, you are actually still sabotaging your email list building campaign.

When people subscribe to your blog, it is because they admired your content or want to receive your freebies.

Now, when bloggers get subscribers, they make the mistake of being too polite to your new subscribers. They basically gave you their email address, you should be more courteous right?


You already convinced them to click on your call to action, what is keeping them from following your next call to action? If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me bluntly tell you.

It’s you.

You might be saying “How?”  Well, if you are like most bloggers, your freebie download page (which is only visible when someone subscribes), has nothing except the links to the freebies.

What is wrong with that?

When people follow your CTA, they are mostly likely to follow your next CTA. So if someone subscribes to your email list, he/she will be likely to follow your next call-to-action.

What should your next call to action be?

  • You can ask them to share your opt-in page (NOTyour download page) so you can capture more email addresses.
  • You can ask them to send you an email with specific questions (More ideas for you) …

By taking advantage of your new subscribes momentum to follow call-to-actions, you can increase your email list.

  1. Not Using Pop-ups Because of their Intrusiveness

Pop-ups are irritating. And I agree with you on it. But they are helpful in email list building.

Do you want to know how?

Ok, here is an example.

Most visitors decide to subscribe to your blog after reading your posts. But a pop-up on the screen simply means that you’re asking them to do it right away. This increases the conversion rate. And many times, pop-up helps you convert those users who are not willing to subscribe.

Using a pop-up is like using a double-edged sword. It can harm you as well if you don’t use it smartly.

Here are the top 5 pop-up mistakes that you should avoid:

  • Not triggering the pop-up at the right time – not too soon or too late
  • Not communicating relevant information in the pop-up
  • Requesting too much information
  • Providing an irrelevant offer in the pop-up
  • Presenting an awful pop-up

I’ve personally been able to add subscribers quickly to my list with the pop-up. You will be losing many subscribers if you don’t use a pop-up opt-in.Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building an Email List

Conclusion on 15 Mistakes Bloggers Make When Building Email List

Stop sabotaging your email list building efforts by committing those 15 email list building crimes. Avoid them and you shall prosper.

There really is no reason for why some bloggers still make these mistakes. If you want to succeed at growing your email list, you have to completely eliminate and obliterate these mistakes from your list building strategy. Some of these mistakes might be known to you and will require you to make some radical, yet important, changes to your blog. But identifying what is wrong is only half the battle.

Having a vast email list is the background of successful blogging experience. Whether you are starting out or you are an experienced blogger, creating an email list can make the difference regarding growing your business. Take the time to think about why you are looking for subscribers.

It is essential to be careful to avoid any of the above mistakes and do not forget to offer your readers an incentive to sign up for your newsletter –a thing that they cannot resist. It is the only way to entice readers to join your list. However, do not get the list and keep it – send targeted emails that will prompt your readers to take action accordingly.

What about you? Do you want to tell any common mistake that bloggers commit in building an email list? Share it in the comment section. I’d love to hear about it.

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