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How to Get More Subscribers and Traffic with a Take-Action Area and Optin Skin Bonus

How to Get More Subscribers and Traffic with a Take-Action Area and Optin Skin Bonus

By Pat Flynn on

For the past two weeks I’ve been secretly running a new plugin behind the scenes of The Smart Passive Income Blog, which I know is going to make a lot of people extremely happy.

First, an interesting and related backstory…

In January of 2010 I launched a major redesign of the SPI blog, which is pretty close to what you see today.

Part of the redesign included what I liked to call a Take-Action Area, a “box” I designed myself (and coded by my web programmer) that was to be placed immediately below a blog post to encourage sharing, bookmarking, subscribing to my email list, and checking out related posts.

It looked just like this:

Take Action Area - First Iteration

In addition to increasing subscribers and sharing, I instantly received a ton of positive feedback and messages from other bloggers asking me how they could get one of their own, but my response was always the same:

“I’m sorry, but this is hard-coded into my site, so I can’t easily give you a plugin or share it with you. You’ll have to design one on your own and hand it to your web developer to make it happen.”

Take-Action Area Redesigned

In August of 2011, 1 year and 7 months later, I switched to the Thesis Theme Framework (affiliate link – I earn a commission if you buy) to clean and speed things up a bit.

I kept the design exactly the same except for one little detail—the take action area. 

The problem was that there was way too much going on!

Does one share, bookmark, click on a related post, or subscribe to my email list? I was interfering with the ability to take action simply by giving readers too many choices.

So—in August of 2011 I cleaned it up and redesigned the box to align with exactly what I wanted my readers to do—share my posts and subscribe to my email list.

I redesigned the box to look like this:

Take Action Area - Second Iteration

Much, much better.

And with a bigger focus on the opt-in area and only the most popular sharing options to choose from—the numbers prove that this is definitely a better performing design.

After making this change, I received another large batch of messages asking how to create a take-action area just like this one, and again, my answer was sadly the same:

“I’m sorry, but this is hard-coded into my site, so I can’t easily give you a plugin or share it with you. You’ll have to design one on your own and hand it to your web developer to make it happen.”

(I literally had this pre-written in my TextExpander tool so it was quick and easy to respond)

Some bloggers began to design and implement their own version of a take-action box, which was really cool!

I sooooooo wanted to design a plugin to make this easy for people, but unfortunately my previous experiences with plugin development were failures and I just didn’t have the time to add another project on my plate.

Coincidentally, my good friend Glen Allsopp from has been working over 4 months putting together a plugin to do exactly this (and much more), which is why he’s been missing lately.

As you know, I rarely directly promote anything here on the Smart Passive Income Blog, but this is just one of those exceptions because:

  1. I’ve been testing this plugin for the past 2 weeks and it’s absolutely amazing.
  2. Glen is a good friend of the SPI community and always creates high-quality stuff.
  3. This is one of those plugins that is comparable to Pop-Up Domination in the sense that it just works, although it’s far less invasive than PUD so I’m happy to put my stamp of approval on this one.
Plus, I have a pretty awesome bonus to giveaway. 😉

Optin Skin

Optin Skin (affiliate link – I earn a commission if you buy) is a premium WordPress plugin that allows you to painlessly place opt-in forms and take-action areas anywhere on your site—not just below your posts.

All opt-in areas on The Smart Passive Income Blog are currently being powered by Optin Skin, including the take-action area at the bottom of this post, in the sidebar and even on my About Page.

Each form is currently being tracked for impressions, subscribers and conversion rates.

Here’s how the plugin works:

1. Choose and Customize Your Skin

Opt-in Form comes with a number of pre-designed opt-in & take-action skins that you can choose from. You have the ability to customize them on the fly and change the colors, text, and add graphics too. You can actually play with some of the settings yourself right now on the sales page by clicking here (affiliate link – I earn a commission if you buy).

Customize Your Own Opt In Forms and Take Action Areas

If you’re a pro, you can actually code your own opt-in forms within OptinSkin and use all of the features mentioned below with it.

2. Choose Your Email Provider

Optin Skin integrates easily with Aweber, Mailchimp, iContact, Infusionsoft and Feedburner.

You also have the option to specify a redirect URL which is a page people will land on after opting in.

Optin Skin Email Providers

3. Choose Your Placement

With the simple click of a button, you can have your form show up:

  • At the bottom of your posts.
  • At the top of your posts.
  • Below the first paragraph.
  • Floating on the right of the second paragraph
  • And anywhere else on your blog you wish using a shortcode or widget.

Optin Skin Placement
4. Optional Special Effects!

This. Is. SLICK.

You can enable your opt-in form, where ever you place it (below your posts, sidebar, in the middle of a post, etc.) to fade into placement after x number of seconds, which will draw more attention to your form and get more subscribers and clicks, in a much less invasive way than a popup since it’s in the middle of your content.

Additionally, you can make the form stick to the top once a reader scrolls past.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, before the comments, you’ll see the fading effect in action (after 1 second).

Optin Form Special Effects

5. Test and Optimize

If you’re a numbers freak like me, then you’ll appreciate this.

Not only does the plugin keep track of the number of impressions, subscribers and conversion rates for each form over time, you can split test two forms against each other in the same location. You’ll be able to tell which design converts better, and optimize your numbers over time.

Optin Skin Split Testing

To fully disclose, Glen did give me a free copy of Optin Skin to experiment with and I do receive a commission if a purchase is made through my affiliate link. (I make a few bucks.) Thank you (so much!) in advance if you do go through my link, and please keep reading to learn about the SPI Expansion Pack Bonus that you can only get through SPI.


Optin Skin is a premium plugin, so of course it comes with a price. Fortunately, it’s a steal at only $67.oo. 

Do you absolutely need this plugin?

No—you don’t absolutely need it, but if you wanted to include a take-action area or opt-in form of any kind on your website, just think about how much time (and money—if you’re outsourcing) it would take to design one, and without all the cool features and benefits of Optin Skin. That’s why I’m happy to promote this puppy. It’s a time and money saver, and actually helpful.

Additionally, Glen has assured me that he and his team will be there to provide hardcore and same-day support for you if any technical issues come up.

Pat’s SPI Expansion Pack BONUS

I always try to give a little something extra to those who purchase through my affiliate links, so as a thank you, I’m happy to offer a Bonus Expansion Pack, which is a WordPress plugin that you can install after installing Optin Skin that will automatically include 5 additional customizable skins, designed by me.

Some of these will look very familiar to you:

SPI Bonus for Optin Skin

You can change the colors, text and images to your liking, although make sure to use your own eBook images (or don’t use any at all), or else my eBook will show up on your website 😉

I also included an “Add to Cart” form that integrates with Optin Skin that doesn’t need or use the email function. If you have a product to sell and want to include an add to cart button along with some attention grabbing text at the end of your posts, you can do that. All of the prices and wording is customizable too.

Again, this is available as a bonus to those who purchase through my affiliate link.

Pat's Optin Skin BonusJust simply forward your receipt to [email protected] and within 24 hours (pending anything crazy!) I’ll forward you a link to download the expansion pack plugin to your computer, and then you can just upload the .zip file to your WordPress site in your plugins area through your dashboard!

Again, if you have questions or want to play around with the plugin a little bit, I encourage you to check out the sales page by clicking here.

Thanks again to Glen Allsopp from for working long and hard on this plugin. If you have any questions you’d like to ask here in the comment section, I’m sure Glen will pop by every once and a while to answer them.

Cheers, and all the best!

Update: Here’s a video demo / review I did about OptinSkin, in case you’re interested:

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