The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter and Email List

At the beginning of the year (2010), I started a newsletter here on SPI and used an eBook I wrote, eBooks the $mart Way, as a free gift to help generate more leads. Three months later, I now have over 2,250 people signed up for the newsletter and it averages about 30 new subscribers a day.

I have no previous email list to compare these numbers with, so I can’t say for sure whether those are stellar numbers, or just average – but either way I’m very happy with the results and would love to share with you how it’s all done, especially for you beginners out there who have been emailing me non-stop about it. I apologize I’ve waited this long to write this post.

Update (April 2014): I’m currently seeing between 100 to 150 subscribers per day, and have accumulated over 85,000 subscribers! Imagine if I had started sooner! That said, YOU are in the right place, so keep reading!

What is a Newsletter, and Why Would You Want to Offer One?

Before I get deep into the how-to of building a newsletter, I’d first like to address what a newsletter is, and why you might want to think about offering one for your blog or online business.

For the sake of this post, I’ll be talking only about email newsletters. Many websites, especially those doing hardcore business in a specific niche, offer a print newsletter, which is a fantastic way to keep in contact with customers and subscribers through “snail mail” (mail that is sent to your home address), but that’s a whole different ballgame that I have yet to experience, and it’s probably better suited for a more advanced type of post for the future.

When you setup an email newsletter, you’re offering your audience a way to subscribe to get emails from you that contain informal news or broadcasts that you send out. This is usually in addition to the content that you already have on your blog or online business website, and totally separate from an RSS feed subscription.

Now, you might be wondering: “What’s the point of offering a newsletter subscription to my audience, if they can already subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed?”

Good question.

The short answer is: the email list.

By offering a subscription to your newsletter, you’re giving yourself the ability to capture email addresses, which is something that you cannot do with an RSS feed. It’s important to capture email addresses because:

  1. It’s a great way to communicate with your audience on a more personal level. There’s just something about receiving an email from somebody that makes it extremely effective at getting a point across, or making people take some kind of action.
  2. An email list will never die. In other words, if you have an email list, you will always have a way to communicate with your audience. Blogs and websites can die. RSS readers and feed subscription services could vanish. But, those email addresses will never change and you can always keep your audience informed of what you’re up to, even if you go completely off the radar.
  3. It’s where the money is.

Regarding #3, you may or may not have heard this expression before: “The Money is in the List.”

It’s an expression that has been used in the internet marketing industry since the birth of email (or “snail mail” for that matter), because it’s true. However, you have to be careful if you’re going to try and use your email list to make money online.

Like with any platform that you use to communicate with people (blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), the moment that you start to become “all about the money” is the moment that you might will end up losing credibility (and the respect) of your followers. That’s why I make sure that in whatever I do online, helping and informing people come first. I’m speaking from experience when I say that if you can make your primary goal helping others, the money will come your way.

Online karma does exist.

Does it Have to Be a Newsletter?

You can setup an opt-in form to capture email addresses on your website and only email your subscribers when you need to – but let me tell you why I think this is a bad idea.

Imagine signing up for my free eBook and never hearing from me again until months later, when you finally get an email from me promoting some kind of product. You will probably do one of the following:

  1. Forget who I was and think my email is spam.
  2. Unsubscribe from the list because you’d realize that there’s really no point of being on it.
  3. All of the above.

What you write in your emails doesn’t have to be “news”- it can be anything really. But, it’s important that you consistently contact your subscribers and provide them with some kind of useful information in order to keep them around. All it takes is one click to unsubscribe from your list.

What’s the Difference Between RSS Email Subscription and the Newsletter Subscription?

This is actually the most common question that I get about newsletters and email subscriptions, so I’m happy to finally address here on the blog publicly.

email-rssThe RSS Email Subscription (through services such as FeedBlitz, which is something you can setup within your FeedBurner account) is a way for your readers to get your blog posts (and only your blog posts) emailed to them. This is convenient for many people, especially those who work 9 to 5 who like to catch up with their favorite websites at work, who are unable to use a standard RSS feed reader. Here on the SPI blog, I have this option in a link at the upper right hand corner of the page.

The newsletter subscription is totally separate from the content of your blog. With it, you have the ability to email your subscribers whatever you want, whenever you want. Again, it’s a more personal way to communicate with your readers and you can utilize that ability for marketing your own products, affiliate products, or just simply driving traffic. The possibilities are endless.

Yes – people will have to sign up twice if they want your blog content and newsletter both sent to their email. And even though many email list services have the ability to send out broadcasts that contain your blog’s RSS feed, I’d much rather keep those things separate so that people can have the freedom to choose how exactly they want to receive your content.

Now that I believe I’ve answered most of your questions, let’s get down to business…

How To Start Your Own Newsletter Subscription

Understanding the Process

First, it’s good to know exactly what happens once someone signs up through a form on your site. Here’s a diagram below that outlines everything that should happen:

newsletter-diagram-sequence

As you can see, there’s quite a bit involved, but I’ll help you through the entire process below. Please note that rectangles represent webpages, and circles represent emails.

Step One: Signup For an Aweber Account

You have many options when it comes to signing up with an email marketing service, but Aweber is by far the best in my opinion. I use it and have been really impressed with the ease of use and quality of customer service. In fact, the other day I sent them an email about a small issue I was having, and they immediately solved the issue and 4 days letter I get a postcard in the mail thanking me for contacting them and being a customer.

Aweber is definitely the way to go.

Also, you have the ability to manage several lists from different websites under the same account, if you choose to do so.

Step 2: Setup Your First Email List

After you register for your account and sign in, you’ll be taken to your control panel. Now, we need to setup your list.

First, click on “create and manage” lists:

create-and-manage-listsSecond, fill in the settings for your list. The “From” Name:, and “Address” are all things that your newsletter subscribers will see when they get your emails. The “List Name” and the “List Description” are mainly for you for organizational purposes.

Lastly, the “Contact Address” is the address that is in your account settings. It will be shown at the bottom of each of your emails, as required by law (the CAN-SPAM Act). If you’re on my email list, you can see this address at the bottom of my emails, which is my business address. If you don’t have a business address, that’s okay – you can simply insert your home address, but just know that whenever you send an email to your subscribers, your address will show up – so you may want to use an address other than your home address if possible.

list-settingsStep 3: Setup Your Confirmed Opt-In Email

A confirmed opt-in email is an email that gets sent to people immediately after they subscribe to your newsletter. This email contains a link that is used to confirm that the person is indeed a human and is someone who is interested in joining your list. Also, it helps you make sure that the email address that they entered is valid, and not a fake one that they used just to grab a hold of whatever freebie you might have to offer.

You are given the option to turn this feature off, but it is not recommended for the reasons mentioned above.

This email is usually already pre-written for you, but you can customize it a little if you wish, just to make it a little bit more personable. Here is a snapshot of mine below:

confirmation-messageYou may have noticed at the top of the email a piece of code that look like this:

{!name}

This is code that can be inserted into any of your emails (both in the subject line and in the body), which will automatically convert into the person’s name who you are sending an email to. In fact, there are several different types of codes that convert into various kinds of text. You can normally find a drop-down menu with all of your options next to the field where you are writing your emails, which look like this:

list-drop-downAnd here is a link that shows us all of the variables and what each piece of code converts to.

Moving on…

Step 4: Set Up Your Success Page

Below where you customize your confirmation message, you’ll see an area marked “Success Page”. This is where you insert a URL back to your website which is exactly where your subscribers will be taken after they click the confirmation link in the email (Thank You Page #2 in the Diagram):

success-pageOn this page, which you’ll have to create on your own website/blog first, you can do a number of things:

  • Thank the person for their confirmation.
  • Welcome them to your newsletter, and announce that they will be shortly receiving an email from you.
  • If you’re giving away something like an eBook, for example, you can let them know that links to their gift will be included in the next email.
  • You can ask your new subscriber to “white list” your email address so it will not be blocked by spam filters.
  • You can provide a way to easily contact you in case they have any issues regarding your newsletter.
  • Advanced: This is also a great opportunity to add in an offer for either a product that you already have for sale, or an affiliate product related to your niche.

If you’re interested, here is my Success Page.

Note: The “pass subscriber info (for personalizing this page)” option you see is an advanced option that allows you to insert certain pieces of code on your own website that can convert into things like the subscriber’s name, for example.

Note #2: Thank You Page #1 as shown in the diagram is setup when you create a web form that you insert onto your webpage. I’ll talk more about this in a second.

Understanding “Follow Up” Messages

A followup message is a pre-written email that gets sent out to your subscribers. The first one is always a welcome email that is sent out immediately after they click the confirmation link in the first email that they receive. An unlimited amount of additional followup messages can be pre-written and setup to be sent out in certain time intervals that you can customize. This is where the term “autoresponder” comes from, because after new subscribers sign up for your list, they are automatically sent the series of followup emails that you create in the time interval that you set.

So for example, I have about 15 pre-written emails with killer content that are timed to be sent out every 7 days. It doesn’t matter when you sign up, you’ll be taken though the series of emails from the beginning. I add about 1 new followup message every week, just to keep content fresh and expand my “autoresponder series”.

To create your Welcome Email and any additional followup messages, you can simply hover over the “Messages” bar at the top, and click on “Follow Up”, and then click on “Add New Followup Message”:

follow-upStep 5: Writing Your Welcome Message (Follow Up #1)

Your first followup message is always sent out immediately after subscribing, so it’s always good to put some kind of welcome message within this email. In it, you might want to include:

  • A formal welcome and thank you for signing up for your newsletter.
  • Any links to any freebies that you might be giving away.
  • What to expect in the newsletter (i.e, what your subscribers have to look forward to).
  • Again asking your subscribers to “white list” your email address.
  • A way to contact you.

You can add other things if you’d like, but as far as a welcome email followup message goes, those things are pretty standard.

Now, when you write your first followup message, you’ll notice that you have the option of writing an email in html format, or plain text format:

html-vs-plain-textAweber recommends writing your emails in plain text, because plain text emails can be read by those who cannot receive html messages. However, I’ve ran split tests before and the open rate (the percentage of emails that you send out that get opened) are virtually the same. This is why I choose to write HTML Messages instead, because I have a lot more options to dazzle up my emails.

When I say “dazzle” up, I simply mean having the ability to make words bold or italicand underlined, which you cannot do in plain text format. You also have the ability to add color and even some fancy looking templates with html, but I don’t want my emails to look like a newsletter you’d subscribe to from a retail store.

It’s really up to you though.

Step 6: Send Yourself a Test Message

After you finish writing any email, you should always send yourself a test message first so you can see exactly what your subscribers are receiving from you, and so you can re-read your emails and check for any errors too.

After you save your messages, you’ll be shown a screen that lists all of the messages you have in your autoresponder series. To the right of each message, you’ll see the following options:

testThe “Spam?” number you see there is a rating that is given to each of your emails that show you how “spammy” your email is. It’s based on a number of things, including some of the words you write in your email, as well as the number of links you include (and what they link to), but if you write an honest email, even if it includes a few links, you should have no problems at all. A high score will be a good indicator that your email may be blocked by some your subscribers’ email programs.

When you click on “Test”, you’ll have the ability to send a test email to any email address that you want. If after you receive your email you want to update or change a few things, you can always go back and click on your message to edit it. Make sure you save it for any changes to actually take place.

Step 7: Setting Up Your Opt-In / Web Form

The web form is the form that you will place on your blog or website to collect email addresses. The one you see here on SPI was custom built for me by my web designers, but you can actually customize really well using the built in web form builder within Aweber.

Click on “Web Form” at the top, and then “Create Web Form”:

create-web-formThis will load a “web form generator”, which gives you the ability to choose from several options, fonts, colors, etc. to create your own form. You can play around with this until you finally come up with a design that you like. Remember where you will be placing this opt-in form on your website, as this will have an impact on the size of the form that you create.

Many people, including myself, choose to place an opt-in form in the sidebar, mainly because it gets shown on every single page. However, you can create multiple web forms for several different pages of your site, like the one I created on the page where I explain more about my eBook.

Typically, people collect just the name and email address of the subscribers, although depending on what you do and what niche you’re in, you can add different fields, including phone number, address, or any customized field that you’d like. Some people don’t even grab the names, and simply ask for an email address, although if you do this you won’t have the ability to use the {!name} code for personalizing your emails, which we talked about earlier.

Additional Tip:The default text within the submit button is simply “submit”. I recommend changing this text to something better that either tells your potential subscribers what they are getting, or is an actual call to action. For example, on my own buttons I have “Free Instant Access”, because it’s describing the free access you get to my eBook.

The Settings

After you’re happy with your web form design, you’ll need to customize your settings. Under the settings tab, you’ll see the following screen:

web-form-settingsThe Form Name is a unique name for the specific form you just created. This is mainly to help you keep track of each of the forms you create.

The Thank You Page is the “Thank You Page #1″ that is in the diagram that I showed you earlier. This is the page that people arrive at immediately after clicking on the “submit button” while the confirmation email is being sent to them at the same time.

You have 5 options of what you want to happen to your subscribers at this point:

thank-you-page-optionsThe first three options are pages on Aweber that they’ve created for our convenience. They each let the subscriber know that an email will be sent to them that contains a confirmation link that they must click in order to subscribe to the newsletter. The Audio and “Smart” Video Versions are cool because they tell the user exactly what to expect and what links to click, so there is no confusion. However, understand that many people may not be able to listen to audio, or may not have the ability to watch a video (i.e., people subscribing while at work who have restrictions on internet access).

I choose to use a Custom Page because it keeps the subscriber on my site. Here is what you should include on this page:

  • A short note that a confirmation email has been sent to them that contains a link that they must click.
  • You can include pictures of what the link will look like, just to avoid any confusion.
  • What to expect after they click the confirmation link in the email.
  • A notice to “white list” your email address so their spam filters will not block your emails.
  • Advanced: This is again a great opportunity to add in an offer for either a product that you already have for sale, or an affiliate product related to your niche.

What you decide to happen to your subscribers at this point is really up to you.

The Code

After you design your web form and finish with the settings, you’ll need to grab the piece of code that you insert onto your website that will show the form to your visitors. It’s not as hard as you probably think.

Under the Publish tab, in “I Will Install My Form”, you can either grab the Javascript Snippet, or the Raw HTML Version of the code. It’s much easier to copy the javascript snippet because if you go back into Aweber and change your form, it will automatically update on your website. Also, you can keep track of statistics like impressions and signups easier too.

Here is a screenshot of what this screen looks like:

web-form-publishYou can see the code above which starts with “<script type” and ends with </script>. Copy and paste this code into your website where ever you want the webform to show up.

If You Have a WordPress Blog, you can use these two easy options:

1. Copy and Paste the Code into the HTML Editor for a Post or Page: If you want your form to show up within a blog post, or within a page that you create, you’ll have to copy and paste the code into the html editor, which can be found next to the “Visual Tab” in the upper right hand of where you write your posts/pages:

html-editor

2. Copy and Paste the Code Into a “Text Widget” for Your Sidebar: If you want your form to show up in the sidebar, probably the easiest thing to do is go into your WordPress account, and under Appearance > Widgets, create a new “Text Widget” for your sidebar and copy the snippet into there, as shown below:

wordpress-opt-in-sidebar

And that’s it! After you place the web form onto your website, you’ll then have the ability to begin growing your email list!

Broadcasts

Before I finish up, I need to talk about broadcasts. A broadcast is a message that you send out to your subscribers that is not involved in the autoresponder series, meaning it’s not a pre-written email that gets sent out after a certain amount of time after people subscribe. It’s a one time email (although you can save it to broadcast again later) that gets sent to your list.

What you include in it is up to you, but note that your list will get this email in addition to whatever emails they may be getting from you from your followups. Many people use broadcasts to talk about “one-time” events, such as recent news, launches for products, etc.

You can write a broadcast email at any time, with the ability to schedule it’s delivery – just make sure you use broadcasts wisely.

Thank You!

I know this post is lengthy, but I wanted to create a one-stop resource for any beginners out there who may be interested in starting their own newsletter and building an email list. Now, you should have no excuse not to get started, because everything you need is right here.

Thanks again for your support, and if you’re interested in seeing what my own newsletter is like, please feel free to subscribe using the form below, and you’ll also get free instant access to my popular eBook, eBooks the $mart Way, as a free gift! Cheers!

  • Howie

    Pat,

    I’d have to say those numbers are pretty stellar….to some, 2,000 subscribers may be only a small fraction of their email lists, HOWEVER, it’s the quality of relationship established behind those subscribers that means the most….

    …..there are some very influential bloggers, that I’ve subscribed to in the past, however, even though I may still be on their email list, I’d still buy from you, or take a recommendation you made, long before doing the same for them….

    It’s all about the relationships.

    Plus, DUDE, your eBook was $ick…..I mean, in a good way….if you can create content like that, and give it away for FREE, that REALLY goes a long way with subscribers….

    keep up the good work man…

    • Pat

      Thanks Howie, those are very kind words – it means a lot buddy! Speaking of sick content, where’s your eBook at!

      • Howie

        lol…looks like I’m completely violating that quote “the longer you go without something on the market….the more opportunity lost for profit” (I think I just paraphrased)

        anyway….we are going to push it out after our honeymoon (we leave for Jamaica on Monday)…..

        The Press Release is all drafted….speaking of….

        I threw you in there, with a link of SPI….and, we are going to promote the heck out of it…

        Let me know if you’re cool with that!

        Here’s EXACTLY What we wrote:

        “We are excited that our 6 Book Course is being held in such high esteem that it has already gained the attention of prominent bloggers such as Pat Flynn (of smartpassiveincome.com), who recently made a guest appearance on problogger.net. Testimonials, from bloggers like Pat Flynn, can be found on our website located at (Not live yet).”

      • http://techatlast.com Olawale Daniel

        Building mailing lists is a kind of confusion to me but with this guide, I now have an answer to that :)

  • http://www.EngagedMarriage.com Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    Thanks so much for this post, Pat. As you know, I’ve contacted you through email with similar questions, and you’ve done an excellent job summarizing all the details about email newsletters in this post. It’s sure to become a long-time popular post here at SPI.

    I have one question for you that I am kicking around as I get ready to launch my own newsletter. I know you use Aweber and really enjoy their service. I am trying to decide between Aweber and MailChimp right now as I’ve heard great things about both. Do you have any experience with MailChimp or words of advice on deciding between the two?

    Thanks again! By the way, I love your newsletter and would welcome it even without the (killer) free e-book.

    • Pat

      Thanks Dustin!

      As far as MailChimp vs. Aweber, I have not experienced MailChimp so I can’t really say, although I’ve heard some great things about them as well. As far as deciding between the two, I would just keep asking around to get as many opinions as possible. However, since both seem to be reputable, I’d say it would be more beneficial to just go with one and start building your list now!

      Hehe! Thanks again Dustin!

    • http://perfectbusinesstools.com Perfect Business Tools

      I have good experience using MailChimp. Considering it is free for 500 subscribers and 3,000 emails per month, I think MailChimp is fantastic to try out your first email list building and newsletter.

      Most features mentioned above are available even in the free MailChimp account. I don’t have to pay for subscription now until I build more than 500 subscribers. Personally I would recommend this if you are not sure about paying for monthly subscription yet until you have a larger list.

      The interface is also quite pretty with easy to follow instructions.

      The only downside I have experienced so far (and it could be just me), the response time once you are logged in to your account is sometimes quite slow ie. when you are creating your email draft and click on preview, etc.

      • http://www.sparringmind.com Gregory C.

        I don’t think you can use auto-responders in the free MailChimp offering though, can you?

    • http://www.ingresosalcuadrado.com Franck

      I am using MailChimp too. I know Aweber too.
      Afiliates management is much better for Aweber, for all other aspects, Mailchimp is worth a try.

      • http://www.networkingexamacademy.com Blake

        I just created a free MailChimp account because I didn’t feel like paying for the Aweber account just yet. So far MailChimp is working great and is doing everything I need it to!

        • http://unifiedtheoryofhealthandfitness.wordpress.com Graham

          The problem with the free MailChimp account is that when you decide to switch to Aweber (and you will) you will have to rebuild the whole list!

  • http://www.realestatecareermentor.com Marty Green

    Fantastic Post! Very in depth. Thank you very much Pat.

    I see I need to make some changes to my email opt in. I didn’t realise there were that many options and will have to go back and make sure I get the biggest bang for my buck.

    What would you say is a decent email opt in rate per visits for an average website? 1 opt in for every 20 visits? (I know this is a tough question to answer but I’m just trying to gage my site).

    All the best

    Marty

    • Pat

      Hey Marty, thanks for the comment1

      5% is actually fairly high, I believe, so 1 out of 20 would be awesome if you’re pulling that rate. However, that being said, it really depends on what specific form you’re looking at.

      For example, I have a form on my page that specifically addresses my eBook and newsletter, which gets a 30% opt-in rate. The form in my sidebar gets about a 3% opt-in rate.

      Hope that helps!

  • http://www.MemberCon.com Tim Bourquin

    Nice work Pat – I use several of these points as well. I would only add that if your list is high quality, you can begin making money immediately – even with a small list. Don’t wait! Start building your list NOW.

    • Pat

      Absolutely, Tim! Anyone who does not have a list should start building one now!

      I wish I had started earlier myself. I feel like I’m playing “catch-up” now to where I could have been if I started a few months back.

  • http://www.IdeaDrivers.com Deb Irwin

    Great post – you are such a great source of info that I wake up every morning excited about finding enough hours in the day to start implementing just a portion of what you share with all of us. I’ve just started truly aiming my website and business toward SMART passive income and you’re my guru here, so keep up the outstanding work!
    Just one thing….from your Did You Know blurb “Pat can play the trumpet, trombone, french horn, baritone and tuba?” What? No piano? Thank goodness you’re such a slacker or I absolutely would be overwhelmed at the prospect of even attempting to keep up with you!
    Thanks a million!

    • Pat

      Thanks Deb, I appreciate that!

      Regarding the piano, I can play a tune or two, but I don’t consider myself “performance quality” with the piano like I do with the other instruments, although it has been a while since I played any one of those, so maybe I’m not even performance quality now.

      I miss band. LOL!

      Cheers!

  • http://www.cpamarketingcenter.com David Rachford

    Pat,
    You do a great job of not only explaining the benefits of taking various steps in creating an online business; but your step by step instructions and screen shots make it super simple for someone to implement the strategies discussed.

    Keep up the good work!

    Looking forward to a follow up post on “18 (or insert other number) things to write about to delight and interest your newsletter readers”

    • Pat

      Thanks David! I think a followup post about what to write in your newsletter would be fantastic. I’ll see what’s in the queue for the next post…

      Cheers David!

      • http://www.cpamarketingcenter.com David Rachford

        Hi Pat,
        Just got my “newsletter” in my in-box :-) – since you seem to be a fantastic and disciplined tester, I think some readers might be interested in some of your findings…

        i.e. – Click-through rates on Newsletters, increases in comments, etc.

        Also, as your experience with the NL & list grow, do “special” or “exclusive” email newsletters work better for traffic generation than emails which are sort of “re-posts” of blog postings, or, would an email listing “the best of the week” generate more traffic back to your site.

        Final note: I found your blog (and e-book, Thanks!) via Glen over at ViperChill. Although I started blogging in Oct 05, I look to you for inspiration and some new ideas, as I’ve sort of “fallen off the wagon” of blogging regularly due to changes in my personal interests. Your disciplined approach to (smart) passive income is very valued to me, and I thank you for pouring your heart into this business and sharing your thoughts.

        Best,
        David

  • http://www.networkingexamacademy.com Blake

    Thanks Pat! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. As of today I have 220 people who have signed up for free practice questions that I have on my site, but I’ve been manually sending out the email. I’m also hoping that these 220 people will want to by my ebook when it comes out, but because I haven’t had an automated solution I haven’t been sending out a news letter or even just a follow up email. So I hope to implement this soon.

    Do you think it is a good idea to send out a news letter once a week helping people study for their exam until I get my ebook out, or should I just focus on finishing my ebook and nothing else?

    • Pat

      Wow, you’ve been doing it all manually? That’s crazy! Props for that though.

      I think the autoresponder would help you out tremendously!

      To answer your question, I think a newsletter that goes out once a week for 2 months (8 newsletters), and then maybe a few more spaced out further apart to keep people informed would be good for people studying for an exam. You hit them with good info up front when they are most likely to study hard and be involved. If you have the autoresponder, you can do those emails all in one day and work on your eBook too. It’s hard, because you want to keep in contact with your subscribers so when you do come out with your eBook it’s not a total surprise.

  • http://www.jewelry-secrets.com Richard Scott

    Excellent. I’ve been wondering about building an email list and setting up a newsletter. I can’t believe you went through all these steps with images to clarify things. I’m excited about it and loving it. I just don’t know what I would put in the newsletter. If the tips I give out in the email are so good, why not just write a blog about them? This is what I get stuck on.

    • Pat

      Hey Richard! I just wanted to provide the best information possible, and I think visual images would definitely help the beginners who aren’t sure what to look forward to.

      Great question you ask, but again it’s because of the importance of the list. I have about 15 emails that could be used as blog posts, but I’ve reserved them especially for newsletter subscribers.

  • http://GetYourBizSavvy.com Alex

    You can definitely tell you put a lot of work into this. Great way of explaining this with lots of great details and pictures, really helpful. I am in the process of putting a newsletter together so this is just what I need.

    • Pat

      Awesome, thanks Alex! I’m glad I got the timing right for you!

      :)

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Hi Pat,

    You can also sync WordPress blog posts with Aweber.

    Instead of cutting and pasting into Aweber, it takes the RSS feed and delivers the emaiils, either partial or full feed, whichever you want.

    Ivan

    • Pat

      You would have to do this on a separate email list than the newsletter one, if you wanted to keep the blog posts and newsletter emails separate, correct?

  • http://www.bravenewlife.com TJ

    Great article Pat. I have an email list of over 1000 people in one of my ecommerce stores, yet I’ve never sent a post out. I know there’s a ton of money to make there, and this reminded me of it.

    I think this weekend I’ll go make some money.

    • Pat

      Nice TJ! Do it! Let me know how it goes :)

  • http://www.list2closeassistant.com Serita Diana

    Great article! And your ebook and newsletter are what prompted me to write my ebook (just released today) and offer it to my newsletter subscribers for free. It is not as long as yours, but as so many real estate agents are not aware of the benefits of working with a real estate virtual assistant, that is what my topic was for the ebook. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Pat

      Thanks Serita! And congrats on launching your eBook. Length doesn’t really matter, it’s the content inside that counts, and I’m sure your real estate audience will benefit from what you’ve done for them! Good luck!

  • Pat

    Thanks Ken! I appreciate it! Custom thank you pages are a great way to keep people on your site, and even hit them with an offer if you want to while they are in “transaction mode”.

    :)

  • Pat

    Thanks Ken! I’m actually just taking normal screenshots with my mac (using cmd + shift + 4), and then dropping those screenshots from my desktop into Pages for Mac, and then using a picture frame that makes it look like a torn page.

    :)

  • http://www.ingresosalcuadrado.com Franck

    Fantastic article Pat. 2250 opt-in in 3 months that’s great! The guide is a perfect step-by-step manual.

    Email is from far, the most profitable channel. Have you ever been able to compute your sales conversion rate & average basket in a period (one month for example) in your blog and in your email list?

    I am personaly using for years in various sites a RSS strategy (drive trafic to the blog) + Broadcasts emails (Sales/Events) + Exclusive content, all in one single list. I have no issue at all with regular blog/RSS readers (they don’t opt-out more than average for annoyance). Much easier to manage and higher value of segmentation.
    My 2 cents

    Another thing of interest is how to segment the list to improve the overall results (content, last activity, last inactivity)

    • Pat

      Hey Franck! To tell you the truth, I have not once promoted anything in my newsletter. It’s been strictly content so far, and I’m really enjoying it and the responses I get from people as well.

      I’ll think about your last thing of interest – I still have a young newsletter, so I’m learning things as I go along too!

      Thanks Franck!

  • http://ascenttofreedom.wordpress.com DJ Wetzel

    Once again you overdeliver! I have definitely seen the necessity for a targeted e-mail list following. The free service from mailchimp is appealing as my list would start out small, but this thorough guide to using Aweber may have just made my decision a little easier. Not to mention just about every blog I read uses Aweber and I trust most of them… Thanks again Pat!

    • Pat

      Thanks DJ – and it’s really up to you. I like the free trial things too, but then what happens if you get big and the service doesn’t do what you want it to do (maybe it does at that point, I don’t know – no experience with Mail Chimp). I know that Aweber is great though.

      Again, it’s up to you! If you do end up using MailChimp, let me know how it works out. Thanks!

  • http://visualartgifts.com Christopher

    great post. I love the images used. It will help many who want to use aweber.

    • Pat

      Hi Christopher! Thanks! I try to make things the way I wish I saw them before I knew anything, and I’m definitely a visual person.

      Cheers!

  • http://www.therenderq.com Harlan Yee

    Hi Pat,

    I’m glad you mentioned the CAN-SPAM Act because you can get fined for every email sent out that does not contain your business/home address. I just finished my ebook and was going to sign up with Aweber before getting my business license but I’m holding off because didn’t want to risk it. I’ll have my license soon and then I’ll be ready to start building my list.

    It’s also a good idea to start with an email service you’ll want to stick with for a long time because if you decide start with one service to ‘try out’, then later decide to change services, all your subscribers will have to double opt-in again with the new service and you risk losing subscribers.

    By the way, excellent website! Your articles are very enlightening!

    • Pat

      Yes – I totally agree with you Harlan. You want to get your followers on a list and keep them on without having to move them around. You’ll always lose people doing that, no matter how well you keep up with your previous newsletter.

      Thanks!

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  • http://halloweensuperaffiliate.org Aidan @ Halloween super affiliate

    Hey pat, I think those numbers are great! I’m starting to get into email marketing now and am capturing email Addys by offering a free mini couse to subscribers. Just curious, to get 30 new subscribers per day how many ppl visit your site daily? Cheers, Aidan

    • Pat

      I’m averaging a little over 1000 users a day, half of them being absolutely unique.

      • Pat

        Sorry, weird terminology after I looked at it. I meant 1000 visitors a day, half being unique.

  • http://www.RealEstateWord.com Russ Hunter

    I actually have a real estate E-newsletter service to help agents keep in touch but ironically my own newsletter that I use to keep in touch with the agents has been pretty much ignored — my last one was done in November. Your blog has served as an inspiration to get things going again and keep it regular. Thanks Pat!

    • Pat

      No problem Russ! It’s tough to keep up with a newsletter, but I’m glad I could inspire you to get back on it. Wishing you all the best! Cheers!

  • http://www.thewisebuck.com Mike

    Ah, excellent “how to’ with screen shots; I like that. I think your results are great because you actually make high quality and original content and you mix things up. I believe you will be able to develop stronger relationships with your newsletter readers. So, yes I can definitely see a value in that. Take Care, Mike

  • http://www.myadventuretoday.com Wesley Craig Green

    Great informative post, Pat. I use MailChimp myself but I can see the pros of using Aweber.

    I couldn’t agree more with you on how fast someone can unsubscribe to a person’s mailing list due to them just selling their wares or other people’s stuff. I recently did this with two very popular bloggers who seemed to use their mailing list just to promote other blogger’s eBooks, courses, and such for that affiliate kickback.

    Thanks for taking the time to put together this very thorough tutorial. Cheers!

    Wesley Craig Green

  • http://www.freemanlegacyllc.com Ms. Freeman

    WOW! the detail of this post is incredible! I ran a newsletter once upon a long time ago and it was sooo frustrating to figure things out. Thanks for the step by step walk through.

    A few of the best things about your newsletter are it is sent only monthly and you aren’t selling anything. Very friendly and not intrusive. :)

  • Dita

    Thanks so much for this article. I am a new subscriber/fan of yours. My question is- I have a site by SBI which has a built in e mail list / news letter option. But what do you do if you do not get any e mail addresses. I am kind of new to all these. Thanks.

  • http://www.biblemoneymatters.com Peter

    Here’s a question for you. At what rate do you find that people unsubscribe to you list? I’ve grown my list to almost 500 subscribers now within the past month – and I’m finding quite a few of the people are subscribing, and then unsubscribing right away.. Not sure if that’s because they only wanted to get the free bonus i was offering, or something else? Have you heard of what an expected rate of unsubscribes is?

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  • http://www.artbyherbie.com Herbie Hysteria

    hey pat, i just stumbled across your blog after researching the best way to get this darn emai list sorted for my blog, i have to say it’s the most in-depth post i found, ive just downloaded aweber so its a priority this week, my blog is mainly about art and design and i was thinking about maybe offering my subscribers the chance to be in a monthly draw where an email address is randomly picked to receive a physical personalised product i offer, writing a fresh new ebook is not an option at the moment because of time constraints. i know there’s free ebooks out there i can offer, but i just don’t feel like its a viable option, i suppose bing original and different is what will make people subscribe. what do u think?

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  • Celeste

    Hey Pat, thanks so much for the detailed walkthrough.

    I’ve been considering a list for a while, but it always seemed a chicken-and-egg dilemma trying to figure out which thing to do first. I have the makings of a good eBook that I could publish, but I don’t have the newsletter content ready to send to folks who’d sign up. As you said, you really need to have newsletters pre-written so you can launch the complete program at once before you even bother with any of the pieces. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

    I’m on several lists right now, which has been a great way to see the range of content that people send. Most of the emails I get are pretty breezy, like, “Hey, I just discovered this great technique, check out this video about it.” I don’t get the feeling that authors are slaving over original articles just for the newsletter. It seems more like a periodic touch-base with some teaser information to get you back to the blog or site. What are your thoughts on what the email content should be?

    • Pat

      Personally, I like to provide over-the-top content in my newsletters, wtihout any salesy type stuff. I may be different than most, but I want to use the newsletter to further develop the relationship I have with my followers and subscribers, so when the time does come to recommend a product or launch my own whatever, people will know it’s legit and real, and not just me trying to make a buck.

      It is a great way to keep in contact with people though, and also to drive traffic if need be, but I think it’s really important to at least once and a while provide something unique that’s just for the newsletter, so people will want to stay subscribed and wanting more.

  • Celeste

    Me again. One more question. I was confused about what you meant by adding a new followup message every week. Does that mean your series started with 15 emails, but the people who signed up after you added the first new email got 16 emails in their series, and the new sign-ups the week after got 17 in theirs? Or are the original subscribers somehow getting the new emails you’ve added to the series? Thanks.

    • Pat

      The series is on-going, so no matter if you’re an old subscriber or a new one, they will be able to read all of the emails eventually. The people who are older on the list will get them sooner than someone who is new who still may be on email 4 or 5, for example.

      Let me know if you still have any questions. Cheers!

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  • Ron

    If you are just starting out and want a service like aweber. Try “getresponse”. The service is free up to your first 100 subscribers. Increase as needed.

  • http://cashcampfire.com Christina Crowe

    This is an amazingly useful post, Pat!

    I haven’t yet set up my newsletter, though I’ve always been thinking about doing so. I’m probably going to set it up once I get everything settled with my eBook. However, after reading this entire guide, the process is a lot easier than I anticipated! I especially like how you can write all of your emails in advance – and I had no clue that all new subscribers start off from the very first email. Incredible!

    Thanks for the terrific walk through! As always, you never fail to provide top quality content. This was mind blowing!

    Christina

  • http://gomelrun.blogspot.com Melyssa

    Thank you!
    This takes the fear out of creating a list and writing a newsletter.
    I had no idea what I would say in a newsletter since I don’t feel I have anything to offer yet. But knowing I can just say ‘hello’ and build a relationship with readers makes sense to me.

  • http://www.davidaltmann.com David

    Hi Pat!

    Thanks for the useful article!

    I just signed up with Aweber so you should see some commission come down your way ;) Actually I was already almost finished with the subscription process, but through the ‘non affiliate way’. But then I said to myself: “Heck, why not give back to Pat since he’s really working his b… off to create continual great info on his blog so the best way to give back is by using your affiliate links.” Isn’t it? :)

    Maybe you can answer a question though?
    I want to publish my first free ebook on my site and am wondering what’s the best way to share it with the interested readers. I still haven’t figured out if with Aweber I can
    a) add a picture of the ebook into the opt-in form, and
    b) what’s the best way to download the ebook that doesn’t cost me additional money (I am just starting with my blog and want to make sure first if there’s a good free of charge way) and still lets me track download numbers.

    Thanks in advance for the answer!

    Best regards from Greece,
    David

  • http://www.davidaltmann.com David

    Hi all

    IMPORTANT UPDATE for the bloggers that do not blog in English but in another language:

    I signed up with Aweber and went through the whole set up process for my free ebook and opt-in web form. It seemed to go quite well and it is online. But there are two major issues for people who do not blog in English:

    I) There is text in the confirmation email that you can’t change from English into your language, so that will have to stay in English…, and
    II) Aweber’s software doesn’t support any languages so far apart from English… that is a major turn-off for languages that have special characters inside, such as in my case the German ‘umlaut’/mutuated vowels.

    Thank God I did a test run and subscribed myself to the mailing list. I then realized that the subject line of the confirmation email which gets sent was cut off in the middle and it happened to be right infront of an ‘umlaut’. So their live online client support informed me that yes, currently only EN is supported…

    Thought this could be of interest for the non EN bloggers out there.

    Apart from that, Aweber really made a good first impression. Although regarding the web form I would like to be able to be even more flexible when it comes to adding an image of the ebook into the web form.

    Regards from Greece,
    David

  • http://www.davidaltmann.com David

    OK, now it really starts disappointing me:

    not only does Aweber’s software not support the German ‘umlaut’ in the subject line. No, it seems as if anywhere your text will just get cut off wherever the first ‘umlaut’ (or whatever special character for that matter) appears.

    I did a new test with no ‘umlaut’ in the subject line and it worked but then the text got, as described above, cut off within the confirmation mail text. That is really annoying. I guess Aweber just doesn’t do yet for non EN blogs..

    Does anybody know a good alternative that does support other languages than EN? #

    Thanks in advance!

    David

  • http://www.montrealfinancial.ca/blog ronika

    I’ve been blogging for a few months now and trying to wrap my head around list-building and newsletters etc.
    Thanks for putting this together.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGMKxMxyiXQ natanael de como ganar dinero por internet

      I am following your directions, however I don’t know how to create my own Thank You page on my Bluehost hosted WordPress site. How do you create standalone pages for your site?

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  • http://churchtechtoday.com Lauren Hunter

    Thanks for the great post! I blog about technology for churches, and also do PR/marketing consulting. I’ve never come across such as fabulous and concise explanation of how to create an e-newsletter and think that your info would be helpful to churches and nonprofits as well who need to gain trust and attention from their subscribers. Thanks again . . . I plan on linking to this article from my site in the near future.

  • http://bloginteract.com Bryan Hollis

    Hi,
    Your post was submitted to my new social networking site for writers / bloggers, bloginteract.com. It’s ironic that I would see this post. I just (in the last 48 hours) finished an SEO ebook and installed a really nice sidebar widget with the ebook cover, nice layout / flash banner for sign-up and ditched the old standard sign-up form. It has converted more subscribers in 48 hours than the previous 30 days!
    Bryan

  • http://www.dubai-information-site.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    very well explained process. i cannot agree more that the money is in the list. one can look at it as a stand alone asset, and the sooner one starts building it the better

  • http://www.sleep-help-4u Linda

    If I decide to start out with Mail Chimp then switch to Aweber in the future, is there a way to import my list into Aweber? Thanks.

    • Phil Bowyer

      Linda, yes you can. Mailchimp gives you the ability to download your list in CSV. You can import that into Aweber.

      The only problem is that all of those users will need to opt-in again, so you run the risk of losing subscribers.

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  • David

    @Linda: there should be this opportunity. You have to download the contacts into a list from Mailchimp and should then be able to upload to Aweber. You only have to guarantee that this is your own list and not a bought one or something like that, so no spam lists. But I can’t tell you 100% sure. Awerber does have a very good online chat function that you could use to ask them upfront. Regards, David

  • http://www.chocolatechipapps.com Brian

    This is extremely useful… I’m definitely going to be using this post to get my aweber set up

  • http://www.seobasicsandstrategies.com Tom

    Exactly what I was looking for… nice!

  • http://www.heathercoyle.com Heather

    You are an amazing person Pat, sharing all this wonderful knowledge with us all. May wonderful things just keep coming your way!!!

    • http://www.vowpix.com Amarnath

      Thanks for amazingly detailed post, this makes it sufficiently clear for newbies. However just a small bit of clarification, well is it possible to add a HTML formatted link to the article footer in the RSS/ RSS-EMail so that we can get some traffic back to the site ?.

      Thanks,
      -A

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  • http://vampirefandom.com Teresa

    Pat thanks so much for the step by step instructions. I love to use new technology to make my site welcoming, but I’m just not tech savvy. I really rely on wonderful people like you who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

    I just signed up with Aweber and completed the steps, no prob thanks to your help!

    Kudos to you!

  • http://www.healthyskinhq.com Toni

    A good and easy to read post Pat….very informative not only for the noobs to email marketing but also for everyone who forget this powerful method of reaching a reader and converting him in to a customer. Would love to see also a post about the next steps from here…thanks!

  • http://www.masteringweightlossandfitness.com SRose

    TY for the step by step info. I have been with aweber over a year and cannot get past some simple steps. One iS addi g free ebook to sign up for newsletter. Unable to add it to sign up. For some reason I am brain dead-slow …. any tips? I am a memeber of IBM. TY and continued sucess!

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    I’m late to the party, hope there’s some onion dip left.

    I already have a rather large list for my product (not IM) website, but every list can be added to. Every time I think about writing an ebook to give away I have a brain fade. I have no idea what to write about.

  • Mathias

    Wow. Great introduction to Aweber.

  • http://successonmymind.com Sean Davis

    It’s funny that I find this now. I just set up my Aweber account last night and roughed through all of the details on my own.

    Your newsletter was my most recent subscription so I pulled those emails up for guidance. Looks like I was in good hands!

  • http://themilitarywallet.com/ Ryan

    Thanks, Pat. I have been using Aweber for about a year now, but I didn’t have my thank you page #1 and #2 down well, and I was creating some confusion among people who wanted to sign up. This makes things much nicer and should eliminate user confusion, and hopefully lead to a more efficient process. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  • http://hackmybusiness.com James W

    Thanks for this article. I did have a followup newsletter sometime back. That list didn’t really work out because of the nature of the product. People are either looking actively & then decide or when they buy, won’t buy again likely for several years. It an offline service & yes, its crappy type of business.

    Anyway, I started with Awebr but the service was too costly for me because of the above. When Mailchimp offered free for first 500, I use the service and am still using it to slowly build my list. The html email from MC is nice, can’t say the same for the non html version unless you edit it manually, & I think it is the other way round with Awebr. I know some businesses with huge list using MC though.

  • http://www.kfm24.com Kenny Fabre

    Pat, I find a newsletter the best choice for me

    I just started building my email list and what I do is make a special newsletter for each category that I write about its my special way of separating the opt-ins,

    “Step 4: Set Up Your Success Page” for me is pretty cool that how you say it to take them back to the blog keep them coming back

    Sincerely Yours, Kenny Fabre

    kfm24

  • http://www.successasaffiliate.com Deepak Kumar Singh

    Hi Pat,

    Great post to help us people who doesnt know how to create a platform to make an email list. but I am sorry to say I dont understand to much in written format and I wish you create this same post in video format as well like the way you have shown us in your post http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/the-backlinking-strategy-that-works/. Looking forward for your reply.

    Thanks in advance again for all the success achieving ways from you and your blog.

    I love it.

  • http://hornokayplease.com Aman

    Hey Pat,

    Thanks for that wonderful walk-through! I’ve been thinking about starting my own newsletter for a very long time but just didn’t know how to go about the entire process..

    Just a small doubt…might seem really foolish but nonetheless….what happens when you update your blog? does the latest post also go out to all subscribers or do you create a special rule for that separately?

  • Constantin

    Thank you. I want to know en details

  • Devon

    Pat,

    This post was absolutely dynamite! Thanks so much for taking the time to write it. I set up my new blog and need to begin building a list with a newsletter and opt-in. I was worried about being totally clueless until I came across this post. Once again, you have really helped me out and taken the fear out of the process.

    Thanks for all you do.

  • http://www.rundreamachieve.com Nathan

    Pat,

    Just wanted to send a thanks for the post and for taking the time to write me back, appreciate it.

    Nate

  • http://www.businessfromthekitchentable.com/blog/list-building-easiest-client-source-youll-find/ Dan – list building

    Highly successful internet marketers engage in email marketing because it works. Just don’t bombard your subscribers with sales pitches and offers in every single email or you run the risk of losing them. You have to serve your subscribers first for their loyalty which can eventually lead to sales.

  • http://www.brockstarlife.com Brock @ BrockStarLife

    This is the most helpful blog post I’ve read in a while. I’ve just getting started with aWeber for two different sites, so this is perfect. It seems like list building takes a lot of up front work but can sort of go on autopilot once your series is written.

  • Mike

    Hey Pat,

    This is great, though what if you have a Facebook fan page? Can you create this email newsletter through AWeber for your fan page rather than your website?

  • Kylli White

    Hey Pat!
    Have you heard of http://www.seolinkmonster.com/?
    Do you support the SEO offered from such sites or is it just better to do your own seo??

    • Tom

      I’m a bit late to this question, but while that might’ve worked a few years ago, it will penalize your site in this day and age. I’m with http://greenwichseo.com and I think you need to look for an agency that will take time to understand you, your site, and your goals, rather than an automated link-building scheme. Just my $.02

  • http://www.24Homes.com Karin Joan

    hi Pat, this is great content. Thanx again for sharing. I’m sure to go get Aweber through your link. But first I ‘m going to write some followup emails. See you on the web!
    KJ

  • http://www.24Homes.com Karin Joan

    on the other hand… I’d better start today, don’t I?! I’m missing out on subscribers right now! (wake up and smell the cappucino). I’ve got work to do.

  • http://www.6tht.com/ Sokun

    I’d like to thank for your valuable content. It really helps me. My biggest mistake was not building email list right from the start, too.

    I go to my website and build one now. Thanks. I agree that email list is very important for my success online because I can keep contact with my subscribers, no matter my website is down or whatever. Why didn’t I come up with this idea from the start? Okay, late is better than none.

  • http://lawrencewheeler.com/createanebook Lawrence

    Yes, I love the article, I know when I first started my Internet Marketing Career, I was so lost about how to build a list and then through research I learned that creating valuable offers and giving them away really helps to build a list.

    Your article confirms that for me coupled with good communication to the list through your autoresponder. All in all I love the article keep up the good work were listening. :)

  • http://excelspreadsheetshelp.blogspot.com/ Nick

    I’m going to be setting up my very first email newsletter this weekend with your help. Thanks!

  • http://www.easyincome4me.com james breakiron

    thanks pat cant wait to read it

    • http://fridgedimensions.com Joseph

      I’ve been considering setting up a newsletter for a while now, but have been having trouble getting out of the gates. Thanks for the detailed description of what is involved.

  • http://www.HealthMyths.org Mark Hundley

    Hi Pat,
    Great post as usual! I have just finished setting up a new list and autoresponder series for a niche site. I have read in several places that MailChimp is not “affiliate friendly.” In fact, yesterday I went to their site and read through their “Terms of Use” and they actually state that affiliate marketing is not allowed. I know lots of people use them for this, but for my money – the risk of cancellation or some other penalty is too great. I suggest staying with Aweber.

  • http://www.stopmarketrisk.com/ GoodTrader

    On more than one occasion I have read that to be good at something, one must look for the best and learn from them.

    After reading a few articles on your website and view the number of followers you have, I’ve seen you’re good at what you do.

    So you’ve got a new follower trying to learn something about your specialty.

    Greetings.

  • http://profitpathz.com Bill Davis

    Another great how-to article! Thanks, again, Pat. Those subs #s, by the way, are very impressive. Congratulations (for working really hard).

  • http://atulmakwana.co.cc/ Atul Arvind Makwana

    by this post every one can make their news latter..

    Thanks for the post

  • http://simpletofit.fr Jeremy @ SimpleToFit

    Thank you Pat,

    I already set up my newsletter, but your article explains how I can enhance it.
    Great work !

  • http://freshbeetle.com Regev

    Awesome. Thanks a lot for this wonderful resource.
    What plugin do you use to put the “Please send me your free eBook, eBooks The Smart Way!” checkbox above the comment box?

    Thanks again,
    Regev.

  • http://www.thinknowlivenow.com Jason

    A highly informative and useful post! As a young entrepreneur with my own site, this post has helped me better understand what I am to expect when I start my email list. Infinite thanks Pat; this is exactly what I needed to read right now!

  • http://www.ushistoryworksheets.com Shane

    Pat, I have a question. So if my opt in bait is an ebook, does aweber send them an email…and the ebook is attached? OR do you have to set up the ebook somewhere else and just include it with the email? I’m a little confused on delivery of information products. Does aweber host and send the ebook with the autoresponder?

  • http://www.teamliftss.com VENKATESA PRASAD

    Detailed and practical

  • http://thebeautyleader.co.uk Natalie

    Thank you for this superb tutorial.

    I’ve just created my own Aweber account (decided to switch from CC) and followed your post word-by-word. So helpful! Whilst my subscriber figures won’t be in the realm of yours, I did specifically follow your affiliate link – my little way of saying thank you for all that you share!

    Now just gotta go work on my eBook giveaway :)

  • John

    Looking for practical guide and ideas about passive income.

  • http://www.nichesiteadventures.com Johnny Bravo

    Just set up my first newsletter. Thanks Pat for the guide.

    And of course as a thank you I went through your affiliate link Pat.
    ~Johnny

  • http://www.peterjoubert.com Piet

    Thanks for excellent helpful information. I have Aweber and find it very good. The process to grow a list from 8 people to thousands seems very steep. But you and some others show it is possible.
    I have written an e-report on how to find project management and contract work. Just need to find more people to hand it to.

  • http://www.sharesandstockmarkets.com David Thomas

    Hi Pat

    I’ve just implemented your instructions on my website and I have to tell you that without your help, I would not even know where to start or how to go about sorting a newsletter.

    Thanks Pat.

    All the best

    David

  • Milo

    Hi, Pat great post! I just have a question.

    Follow up emails: They basically work like this right

    You have follow ups written up and scheduled to send.
    So each time someone subscribes they get these 15 emails at various times?

    What about the people already signed up, what happens AFTER they get these 15 follow ups. Should I just send more follow ups for make broadcasts instead?

    Thanks!

    • Don Hill

      I think Pat addressed your question in his post (above), but I’ll save you the trouble of going back to find it (although it wouldn’t hurt to re-read the post since it covers pretty much EVERYTHING about starting with Aweber)…

      Once your series of pre-written follow-up emails has run its course, your subscribers will only receive your broadcasts from that point forward. I do like Pat’s approach of adding an email to the pre-written series on a regular basis, as it further “automates” communications with the people on your list, and if you’re trying to market a product or service that can be quite helpful.

      Adding emails to your autoresponder series should become second nature to you as you “cultivate” your list. Speaking from a marketing perspective, you should write emails which provide your subscribers value, in the form of information that they find useful and/or enlightening – just as Pat has done with this post, as well as the content of Pat’s email series. In fact, I highly recommend signing up to get Pat’s free ebook – the information you’ll receive from him in his daily emails can provide you with an excellent template for how YOUR emails should be composed, but tailored to fit YOUR specific niche market. (But for God’s sake, DON’T just copy and paste them into your own series! That’s the sort of thing lawyers love, since they’re the only ones who’ll end up ahead of the game when the dust has settled…)

      • kevinclarkemedia

        Grest post. I have been using Mailchimp for a few years and I have had no problems. I was let down by Aweber twice.

  • http://tylerherman.com/courses/email-marketing Tyler Herman

    Great post as usual. Simple and easy to follow. Going to set up my aweber account tonight.

    • AreYouDumb

      Tyler, why are you spamming Pat’s website? You already have an Aweber account. Your link freakin teaches how to set one up. People like you give internet marketing a bad name.

      Thanks
      Pat’s #1 Fan

  • Arnold Singson

    Very helpful..this is what I’ve been looking for, a detailed guide..thanks Pat..

  • http://wiseglobaltraining.com Dave Newgass

    Hey Pat,

    Thanks for the direction on this. I followed your link from the podcast show notes. I have had Aweber for awhile now but have not properly implemented it. This has given me a kick up the backside to straighten it out.

    Cheers,

    Dave

  • http://www.coaching2succeed.net Gladys

    Hi Pat
    Your article on e mail list is awesome. I notice you have it down packed. Can you recommend someone that can help me go through the process. A couple of months ago, I tried AWeber, but I had to cancel it. It was too difficult. Your explanations sound simple, but I am a novice. Thank you

  • http://www.musicarrangerspage.com Hans

    Hi Pat, I’ve got your name and website through Leslie Samual at Becomeablogger.com. I’ve listened to your interview and was really impressed with the openness you were talking about your own earnings and how to deal with costumers on a honest basis. I also like this post, I’m about to set up an email newsletter in the next two months. So I’ve just subscribed to your newsletter and thanks for your free gift. With friendly greetings, Hans

  • Melonie

    Pat,

    Overall, a wonderfully instructional email that I can’t wait to put it and the Smart System into practice.

    My I offer one minor tweak to the post…

    You make mention that email addresses never change. That’s not quite true. People leave jobs, close businesses or create new emails as they need them (I have a business email and 4 personal ones who’s use is dependent on subject matter).

    But this leaves us, especially those of us with “brick & mortar” businesses, with an opportunity for interactivity by checking in with them (about once a year) and asking them to confirm that we still have their most updated contact information.

    Cheers and until we chat again…

    My best,
    Melonie

  • Zimbrul

    This is going to be a sort of pocket Bible for everyone wanting to implement a newsletter within their blogs. Best article read by myself on the subject…and the most complete.
    I like the most the way you explain the steps you need to take (infographic) for your newsletter campaign.

  • Carlos

    Hi Pat,

    While I do appreciate the encouragement to start a newsletter and while I do appreciate virtually all of what I receive from you I have to say that this post was rather disappointing. It’s all about AWEBER and little else.

    I don’t want to use AWEBER. They are too expensive and put me in too much of a straight jacket with respect to some of the things they require me to do.

    I would have preferred more info on something like problems you have encountered with certain subscribers, how you overcame those problems, and other ideas and practicals independent of doing it through AWEBER.

    Just saying.

    Carlos

    • Pat Flynn

      Hey Carlos, I appreciate your honest opinion about this post. Thank you!

      From a beginner’s point of view though, before he or she can even think about managing subscribers and dealing with issues regarding managing an email list, he or she must first get one setup, and there’s no better service than Aweber for this. To minimize those future problems and make it easier on yourself in the long run it’s best to start on a trusted platform like Aweber. I apologize if this post wasn’t right for you, but it seems like you were looking for something different, perhaps something more advanced since you’re looking for post setup stuff. Again, this is a beginner’s guide to starting a newsletter, not managing it. That I talk about in several other places on the blog, including podcast session #44 & 45. Cheers, and all the best to you!

      • Carlos

        That makes total sense Pat. After posting what I did I read through some of the other comments and most everyone was thankful for your detailed post so it’s definitely a great one for people who want to know how to do things step by step using a tried and testing platform like Aweber.

        No need to apologize by the way Pat though that’s right nice of you. If something doesn’t excite me in what you write I can always just wait for your next post. You are one of the one’s that I want to stay subscribed to.

        That’s for sure!

        Carlos

      • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

        Pat, I’m just thinking,
        ys Aweber is great
        but since beginners would rarely have a budget to subscribe to aweber, would there be a free option?

  • http://www.purrfectmoments.com Sheila Bergquist

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! This was the next thing I knew I needed to do and was confused about it, but now, with your excellent instructions, I can proceed! Thanks Pat!

  • http://www.FoxDayTrading.com Steven Fox

    Hey Pat, as always you killed it with this post so thank you. One quick question: do you think there is such a thing as starting to build a list too early on? I’m still just getting started with my site, I have only about 40 content pages up and average just 10-15 visitors a day right now. I can see the enormous value in building a list, but as of right now I think the bigger priority for my time is building a great site to drive them back to. I’m thinking about waiting to start collecting email addresses (and dealing with the expense of Aweber) until I average about 100 visitors a day with at least twice the amount of content that I do now. Am I pretty much on track with this?

  • http://www.haironfirepm.com Roshan P Vani

    Thank you for the valuable information Pat! We have switched from Jetpack subscription to aweber after reading this helpful tutorial. We just incorporated the aweber forms into our site last week. I have also recently subscribed to your email list and am reading your ebook now as we have recently undertaken the task of writing our first ebook.

    Great website packed full of good information. Keep up the good work
    Roshan

  • Matt

    Pat,

    I discovered this tutorial through your podcast on email lists. This post is incredibly helpful so thank you!

    I am following your directions, however I don’t know how to create my own Thank You page on my Bluehost hosted WordPress site. How do you create standalone pages for your site?

    That probably betrays my beginner-ness, but if you have insight or could point me to a helpful resource I’d really appreciate it.

    Thank you!

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  • http://www.InsuranceNOBS.com Susan Rose

    TY for the step by step – such a great teacher. I have watched the aweber videos and taken the webinars for years and have a half way set up – now I can understand with your directions the right way to set this up.

    Keep up the good work.
    If you ever need to requote your Insurance in California – send me a email.
    (Could possibly save you hundreds a month for even better coverage.)

  • http://americanmansy.com Todd

    Hey Pat,

    New fan – love your blog! Got your free ebook last week and thought it was fantastic. I was curious about your thoughts on the current pricing of iBooks and books on Kindle. Most best-sellers go for $14.99 or less, with the rest at around $9.99 or less. Would this inhibit people to pay more than $9.99 for a downloadable ebook since this seems to be a standard price point today? Thank you for your reply. All the best.

  • claude

    Thanks Pat very Helpful

  • http://www.assessmentcenteracademy.de/ Tobi

    Hi Pat,
    I’ve been listening to your podcast and reading your blog for a couple of months now “for free”, and just deliberately decided to use your affiliate link to sign up for AWeber. Thanks for putting up all that great content! Truly helpful and inspiring.
    Tobi

  • http://www.moneyskillsblog.com Jeremy Jameson

    Hey Pat,

    I’m looking carefully into building my own email list. Thank you for stressing how valuable this is to an online business and providing a detailed guide to how to do so through AWeber.

    However, since I’m a blogger just starting out with just a tiny trickle of income coming in through the blog at this point I’m reluctant to spend much money on services for the blog at this point. That makes AWeber’s rate of $19/month for up to 500 subscribers look expensive. Now, I understand quality doesn’t come cheap but I’d rather look for alternatives than take on expenses my blog can’t yet handle on its own.

    I found a free WP plugin called “Wysija” (What You Send Is Just Awesome) which handles newsletters and such. It requires a choice to be made on from where emails for your list are sent. I can choose my own web host, Gmail, or an SMTP provider.

    With my own web host I am limited to 500,000 sent emails per day – not bad. However, making my web host send the emails could consume its resources (shared hosting only has so much power after all) and decrease the performance if lists get large in the future. Additionally, I could very easily be caught by spam filters and either labeled as spam or even entirely blocked.

    With Gmail I would deal with a 500/day limit and don’t eat up my own web host’s server power but do still run the risk of being labeled spam or blocked.

    My final option – an SMTP provider – gives the benefit of having much improved deliverability rates (along with additional benefits) but the free option I’m looking at supports only 200 emails sent per day. To have a higher limit, I must start paying: the next tier up from free is $0.10 per thousand – but with a decreased features set until tier 4 ($80/month for 100k emails/month).

    If you have an opinion on what my best option might be in this set of choices I would greatly appreciate any advise you can give. I look to SPI as my primary guide for blogging like a pro and I look forward to continuing to learn from you. Thanks! :)

    • Jacob Henke

      I would advise against sending out the emails from your hosting account, especially if you’re on shared hosting. On shared hosting, you have the same IP as anyone else on the server who is on shared hosting. Since you don’t have any control over who your “neighbors” are, you have no control over how spammy your IP looks to other email providers. An SMTP provider can help with this, but using one is like paying for Aweber but only getting a fraction of the features.

    • Don Hill

      Since Pat hasn’t responded yet I thought I’d add my own $0.02 worth…

      First of all, your comment was posted 2 years ago, so I’m sure you’ve sorted things out by now, but I’ll respond anyway, for the benefit of people who have just discovered Pat and his excellent site.

      You definitely do NOT want to use a shared hosting account to send out emails, since the IP address of your server could be blacklisted due to activities by other people who share the same server. Thus, you could write the “cleanest” emails in the world, but they would bounce because of the IP address from which they originate. (What good is it to have a 500K limit on sent emails if they ALL bounce?)

      Likewise, using a third-party SMTP service could land you in the same boat, since those types of servers eventually become blacklisted because of the same reason (other users of that service sending the same type of emails that will get them blacklisted no matter what service they use).

      I agree that Aweber is somewhat pricey, but you get what you pay for! If you’re going to start an email marketing list, you need to use a service which has a high deliverability rate, and should also provide some sort of “spam score” to check your emails BEFORE they’re sent, to increase the likelihood your email is actually delivered.

      I’m biting my tongue as I write this, since I’m an affiliate for a suite of marketing services that includes a “marketing-friendly” autoresponder with a 10K subscriber limit and unlimited “campaigns” (individual lists which you can define yourself, such as subscriber, customer, follow-up on Product X, etc). If you’re interested, get in touch with me via my Disqus account.

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  • http://www.redemptor.me/ Max Ghezzi

    Pat,

    I first heard of you on Lewis Howes’s podcast and love all the stuff you put out! Great info about the importance of a newsletter although (as some other commenter already pointed out) it mostly touches on the intricacies of AWeber. I myself use MailChimp and find it to be as good of a service as AWeber.

    Just a quick note; You got a typo in the article above. You wrote: “and 4 days letter I get a postcard…”

    It should be “later I get a postcard…”

    Keep up the good work; Can’t wait for the next podcast!

  • Niki Bullas

    Hi Pat, I started this online journey about 18 months ago and have found myself procrastinating actually “doing” – have spent that time “learning”. Until now, I’ve found all the information to be overwhelming and every day, there’s a bigger and better product offered. I am only now getting to the point of actually having something up for sale – almost there. Setting up an autoresponder is my next vital step. This article is perfect timing for me. However, I too have to watch my funds so won’t be using Aweber. I previously purchased SendReach to use as my autoresponder – got in early and I’m grandfathered in – price was good. But I’ve found SendReach is not that intuitive to use if you don’t fully understand the process. For that reason, and due to time constraints, I’ll probably use MailChimp for my initial list set up, knowing that SendReach will transfer my list for me when I’m ready to use it. From what I’m seeing though, It seems not a lot of people are using SendReach so even though it’s being promoted as the ‘best thing since sliced cheese’ I can’t comment until I’ve used it. I would feel a lot happier about the purchase if it was more widely used. Not to worry, it’s all experience (and I have plenty of that!). Do you have any comments/opinions about SendReach – I really value your opinion. Thanks to this article I can at least approach setting up my autoresponder with MailChimp with more confidence, assuming it’s a similar set up to Aweber. Over the course of these past few months you quickly learn who to trust and I have to say that there are 3 or 4 people online whom I totally trust and respect, and you are one of them. Thanks for being one of the good guys.

  • Uriel

    Hey Pat,
    Thanks for the step by step instructions they are awesome. I am a beginner and I had signed up for aweber and would get stuck and thanks to you and going for it again.

  • Alejandro

    Great post Pat!
    I am discovery your blog now! because i understand english more less. But my force for building a business online is big. For this i am work for understand better the english idiom!!
    Fantastic!!! I hope lern a lot with you!!!

  • http://www.clintonpower.com.au Clinton Power

    This is a comprehensive and impressive explanation on how to set up a newsletter on Aweber. Well done Pat!

    I have to say I was with Aweber as a budding entrepreneur for a number of years and moved to Mailchimp 18 months ago.

    I have to say it’s the best move I ever made as I can’t tell you the countless hours I spent trying to get Aweber html newsletters to look right (this included regularly screaming at the screen!).

    Creating newsletters in Mailchimp is now a joy and I actually look forward to it.

    I know everyone has their preferred email marketing provider, but I think I gave Aweber a really good go, but they just didn’t evolve to match what Mailchimp was doing.

    That said, there’s no doubt that Aweber is a very robust system, but for those starting out, I always recommend Mailchimp for ease of use and pure enjoyment!

    • Octa

      MailChimp doesn’t allowed Affiliate Marketing & MLM

      • Clinton Power

        I think you’re mistaken. MailChimp isn’t against legitimate affiliate marketing. http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/does-mailchimp-ban-affiliate-links

        • Don Hill

          You’re right, Clinton, but based on what I read on the link you provided, it appears to me that MailChimp has a firm prejudice AGAINST affiliate marketers, claiming they have nothing against affiliate marketING, but HATE affiliate marketERS. That’s pretty understandable due to the misuse and poor marketing strategies used by a large number of affiliate marketers (e.g. copy/paste “spammy” sales copy provided by manufacturers, or even worse, their own all-caps “get rich quick with this deal” copy).

          I prefer to use a service which is “marketer-friendly” and not as judgmental about practices as MailChimp (and even Aweber, which I agree is quite pricey). Of course, out of respect for Pat, I won’t post my affiliate link here, as it would be downright RUDE!

          Pat: This is one of the most comprehensive posts I’ve ever seen about not only the mechanics of creating an email list, but also the overall philosophy and psychology of creating one. The underlying purpose I always try to keep in mind when communicating with my list members is to always provide VALUE to them, as you clearly have done with your extraordinary ebook, as well as your posts and podcasts. (Have you considered http://BlogTalkRadio.com as a possible additional podcasting outlet? It has a “social” element that you may find intriguing.)

          Best regards,
          “”Digital” Don Hill

          PS – I know many of these comments are somewhat dated, but I only just discovered your site via SoundCloud, and I must say that I like what I see! Keep up the fantastic work!

      • http://www.jasonleehq.com/ Jason Lee

        Same goes for Vimeo if anyone here is using that service and involved in certain niches.

    • David Findlay

      I’ve also gone with MailChimp, simply because it does allow me to get started with no cost. I miss out on auto responders but it’s better than nothing. I had considered setting up my own mail list software as I have the technical skills and I may well do so in the future. But for now at least I have something and I can upgrade or change later.

      I’m also a bit concerned about getting anti-spam RBL’d even though I won’t be spamming, so at least I don’t have to worry so much this way.

      • http://www.livecollarfree.com/ James Schipper

        MailChimp has autoresponders. What are you missing out on?

        • David Findlay

          Yeah it does, but you require a paid account for that. I’m currently just using a free one. I will upgrade as I start getting traffic though.

        • http://www.livecollarfree.com/ James Schipper

          Huh, it looks like it does say that. I wonder if they changed it since I started using them years ago and just grandfathered me in. I’m using a free one for that business, and I’ve not paid them anything.

        • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

          I guess the chimp aint all that bad

  • Zack Darcey

    Pat, That was a very comprehensive post about Aweber. I also enjoyed some other topics you’ve covered. Since this post originated in 2010 (4 years ago) and is still relevant is a testimony to great writing. There are however other auto responder options available now that did not exist. I, for one, have found great success (and ease of use) with another option (although I do still have Aweber) Continued Success. -Zack

    • Yat So

      Zack, what’s the other service you use with better auto responder? would love to know. thanks

  • http://claudiabaruzzi.net/ Claudia Baruzzi

    Hi Pat,
    thanks for your clear article about all the necessary steps to start an email list. What I needed was the link among the various pages and emails. This is my first time on your blog and I really like it!

  • http://www.megynblanchard.com/ Megyn Blanchard

    I just found you website last night. I am overwhelmed, and overjoyed. I stayed up way too late reading through your amazing content. I found you through Kate Northrup. All I can say is WOW. I will let you know my progress as I go along.

    Cheers and Be Well,

    Megyn

  • Airport Taxi

    Must agree that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.

  • http://howtobecomearockstarphotographer.com/ Matthias Hombauer

    Thanks Pat for this extraordinary blog post!

  • http://phillipjamesfinancial.com/ Phillip Christenson

    I started with Mailchimp. What are your thoughts on Aweber versus Mailchimp? The thought of switching does not sound fun but you are not the first person to suggest Aweber. Thanks!

    • http://www.jasonleehq.com/ Jason Lee

      Aweber is epic, I would not start with Mailchimp and try to switch your list over to Aweber just to get their free version. When you attempt to convert your subscribers it will be a major pain. Just stick with Aweber from the start.

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  • ByronBradley

    Pat, my son Tobias, at RogueEasyWeb.com, recommended you to me and I’m impressed.

    I like the clean, easy to see and read look. I like the straight-forward practical advice.

    I’ll be reading your book, learning what blogging and newlettering are, and beginning to improve on what he and I established years ago, my website, earthlyreligion.com.

    Tobias and you have laid a wealth of information in my lap. Now it’s time to put 40 years of rumination into fruitful form.

    Thanks, Pat. You’re a generous man and a skilled businessman.

  • http://stressrelief4teachers.blogspot.com Art Lieberman

    Thanks. This was helpful. I’m right in the middle of trying to figure out how to do all of this.

  • Deb Scott, BA, CPC

    Great read!!! Thank you!!! No wonder you are such an amazing success!

  • DeborahHenson-Conant

    Another great article, Pat! Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to outline this all so clearly! What an incredible gift. Thank you!

  • http://www.343dollarsaday.com Sharon Eller

    Hi Pat,
    I just discovered your website (ratracegrad.com mentioned you). I joined your mailing list to get the ebook about how to write ebooks. I’ve looked at a lot of internet marketing sites and yours feels more authentic and useful than any other!

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    Thanks Pat for this extraordinary blog post!

  • Helen

    Hi Pat: I have been a subscriber for some time but don’t have eBooks the Smart Way. If I resubmit my email info, it tells me I am already on the list and won’t give me access to the free book. How do I get it? Thanks, Helen

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  • http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/ Lorraine Marie Reguly

    Pat, I’d like to know how to create that “magic button” to sell your ebook. I just finished reading your ebook but couldn’t find how to alter the ejunkie button…

    Help! Thanks!

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  • Don Hill

    Hi Pat! I just discovered your site while browsing through SoundCloud, and I must say that I’m extremely impressed with what I see and hear! This is one of the very BEST posts I’ve ever seen that explains how to set up an email list (with particular attention towards Aweber, of course). Although “newbie” internet marketers are pounded constantly with the “money is in the list” mantra, very few people will actually take the time to explain not only HOW to set up an email list, but WHY it should be set up a certain way.

    In my decade-long journey through the online marketing world I’ve encountered all types of people, but I couldn’t help observing that the ones who “make it” have always been the ones who provide real VALUE to the people in their audience, often without expectation of any direct return as a result. Also, it’s quite rare these days to find someone who has the communications skill set to explain a somewhat technical subject to people who are fundamentally “non-technical” in nature, in terms where they actually UNDERSTAND it.

    You are obviously one of those rare few people capable of doing just that! You just acquired a new “convert” – not because I need to learn the “basics” from you, but with the knowledge that if you can explain the “basics” so well, you’re likely to be just as effective at explaining the more complex concepts involved in mass communications (which is what this whole “internet thing” is all about).

    Keep up the excellent work!

    — “Digital” Don Hill —

  • LittletonMike

    Hi Pat,

    I’m a long time fan and listener, and frequently come back to your site for information. Thank you for providing this great resource! I have a question regarding email lists that I haven’t seen answered anywhere else. When you have a subscription site, how do you prevent your users from having to register once for the site and again for the email list. Is there a way to do both at once? I’m just getting started, but I am not using WordPress… I find DNN (DotNetNuke) to be more inline with my way of thinking. All the same, I figure others must have addressed this issue, but I simply have not been able to find the answer.

    Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again for the podcasts and the great sites.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LqtXTqD2vU chada2

    What are your thoughts on Aweber versus
    Mailchimp? The thought of switching does not sound fun but you are not
    the first person to suggest Aweber. Thanks

    • http://www.jasonleehq.com/ Jason Lee

      Aweber all the way.

  • BroVic

    Dear Pat, I honestly have not read anything like this before and I bless God for finding you today. You’ve basically opened the Pandora box for me and invited me into a whole new room in this world of online business. Thanks so much and keep up the spirit.

  • http://www.jasonleehq.com/ Jason Lee

    Pat, this post has been around for a bit, but I figured I’d ask anyway. Since you use HTML for your follow up series, is there source code you purchased to create your template, or did you code it yourself? Any resources for creating your own code, without it looking like something from Themeforest (all their templates look corporate and are not geared towards blogging audiences like ours).