July 12, 2007

Create an email subscription box with FeedBurner

Email subscriptions enable your readers to receive your posts by email, and can be a great tool for helping develop a regular readership to your blog.

In order to offer your blog posts by email, you will need to sign up with a feed management service who will then manage email subscriptions for you, and will send updates to your subscribers each time you update your blog. I use Feedburner's free service for email subscriptions. You can see my email subscription widget in the sidebar to the right. Here's how you can set up an email subscription box for your own blog:

  1. Visit Feedburner.com and insert your blog URL into the box, then click "next".
  2. On the next screen, select the feed you would like to offer subscriptions for. The default for Blogger is Atom, which you can customise to be long (full post), short (first paragraph) or simply headlines in your Blogger dashboard.
  3. Once you've chosen the feed you would like to publicise, you can then edit the title of the feed and the URL where it can be located.
  4. Then create your free account with Feedburner (or sign in if you already have an account) and click "Activate feed".
  5. Now, your feeds will also be publicised by Feedburner and you should be able to log in to your Feedburner dashboard. So let's create your email subscription box! Click on the feed title for your blog, and then the "Publicize" tab at the top of your dashboard.
  6. Look for the "Email subscriptions" link in the left column and click this. Choose the language you would like to use to publicise your feed.
  7. If you are using New Blogger (layouts templates), you can easily insert an email subscription widget into your blog sidebar. Find the "Use as a widget in..." section and choose "Blogger". You will then be directed to your Blogger dashboard to confirm insertion of this widget and rearrange its location in your layout.
  8. If you are using Classic Blogger templates, you should copy the code section and paste this where you would like the email subscription box to appear in your blog.

Once you have set up your email subscription box, you can customise the look by opening the widget in Layouts. You can alter the text, font and even the alignment to suit your tastes.

You can choose further options from Feedburner's service through your Feedburner dashboard, such as notification by email when someone subscribes/unsubscribes to your feed, track clickthroughs, etc. Feedburner also supply feed subscription buttons which you can use to publicise your blog feed for subscribers to read in a feed reader.

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