Why I Changed My Newsletter Sign-up Process

May 8, 2015
Joe Buhlig
~2 mins

If you’ve been to this site in the past, you probably saw the email sign-up form slide up in the bottom right-hand corner. If you’ve been here on a mobile device, you saw the sign-up bar across the bottom. They’re both gone.

As an online marketer, I know these methods work. Most of us can’t stand the popups that block our view of the content (evil mode). But sites continue to use them because they are awesome at increasing numbers of subscribers.

And it’s tempting. I like seeing my numbers rise like everyone else.

The purpose of the newsletter

I want my newsletter to be a way of letting you know about a new article I’ve written and share quality content that I’ve found on the web. It’s also a way to start a conversation via email.

It’s a way for me to connect with you about topics that we both find interesting.

What it means for you

When I reflect on this purpose, I realize that driving up subscriber counts isn’t the point. It seems obvious now, but it’s hard to see when you’re trying to be heard. I’m after engagement and connection, not counts.

So what does that mean for the sign-up process?

It means I’ll stop nagging you about it. If you want to connect with me over quality content via email, you’re probably looking for a way to do so. You don’t need me asking you for an email address every time you want to read what I’ve written - that’s the opposite of connection.

I’ve had some great email conversations about articles on this blog via email. Not everyone agrees with my view but I appreciate the exchanges that our differences create. I’m glad that we can have an honest dialog about this stuff and work through it together. But it doesn’t make sense to be pushy about entering that dialog.

How it has changed

I’ve made a lot of changes. The slide-in popup in the bottom-right is gone. The sign-up bar on a mobile device is gone. The sign-up in the top navigation bar is also gone. I even pulled the sign-up form from the footer of the page. Essentially, every sign-up form that could be perceived as intrusive has been removed.

However, I still want to have a newsletter that can start these genuine conversations. So I’ve added a page for the newsletter. If you want to be on the list, you can go there and sign up. That page is the only place you’ll find access to this list.

An apology

I want to apologize if I’ve annoyed you in the past. I place a lot of value in websites that are clean and simple without being pushy. I haven’t followed my own advice on this and you’ve had to deal with it. I’m sorry for that.

Can we still be friends? ;)