How to make a blog email list for free

How to Make an Email List for Your Blog (for Free)

Today, we experienced an Instagram apocalypse. It’s as scary as it sounds. Facebook and Instagram are still down as I type this. No cute photos. No likes. It’s like living under a rock or something. That’s why I thought now was the best time to share how to make an email list for your blog.

If you have a blog, you need an email list. It’s as simple as that.

Why? Because, as you experienced today, you don’t have permainent access to your social media followers. You don’t own social media platforms. You don’t pay for them, and they don’t belong to you.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest…they can all disappear in a second. Then what will you have left? Without an email list you have nothing. With an email list you have those followers safe and secure.

Without further ado, here’s how to make an email list for your blog for FREE in just a few seconds.

Also, I released an episode of my blogging & freelancing podcast, Offbeat Grad, just for this topic! Listen below or subscribe anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Why Use Email Marketing

An email list is a list of email subscribers. They’re engaged, interested followers who signed up through an email signup form either on your blog or a landing page.

While in the marketing world people sometimes say, “Email marketing is dead,” this is nonsense. How many times do you use email today? Probably several times. If you’re like me, you check your email first thing in the morning and several times throughout the day.

Email is a direct line of communication between you and your email subscribers. When you post on social media, you’re lucky if a small percentage even sees your post. With email, you know you’re getting that message in someone’s inbox.

According to ProCurious, 73% of millennials identify email is their favorite way to communicate with businesses. Email is so powerful, and you should be using it! Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to make an email list for your blog for free. Don’t stress, it’s super simple.

How to Make a Blog Email List

First, let’s explain how this works. You can’t just ask people for their email addresses and send them emails from your personal gmail account. I mean, you can, but you definitely shouldn’t.

If you have your own professional, self-hosted blog, you should have a professional, self-hosted email list. (Don’t have a blog yet? Click here for my easy guide to starting a blog for just a few bucks.)

You’ll essentially need to “host” your email list on an email management service (EMS). By far, my favorite email service is Mailchimp. It’s simple to use, and it’s free for your first 2000 subscribers which makes it perfect for new bloggers.

Step 1: Click here to sign up for Mailchimp with my link. You’ll get a $30 credit towards your Mailchimp account, though you won’t need to pay anything until you have over 2000 subscribers. Woohoo! (Note this is an affiliate link. That means I make a small commission if you use my link at no extra cost to you.)

You’ll need to enter your information at this point, but you don’t have to enter your credit card information or anything. It’s easy peasy!

Step 2: Once you’ve signed into your new account, go to “Lists” at the top of the page. Click “Create List.” Now, name your list and give a default from email and name. Finally, write a little reminder about how people signed up.

You need a valid address to be in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. This can be your home address, business address, or a P.O. Box.

How to Make an email list for your blog mailchimp screenshot

At the bottom of the list-creation page, you’ll see a button to enable double opt-in. I highly suggest clicking this since it means subscribers will get an email to confirm their email address. It means you’ll have less bots or spam followers.

Finally, you can choose if you want any notifications from the list. I like to do a daily summary of subscriber activity, but you might even want to know about sign ups as they happen.

Step 3: Click “Save.” Hurray, you have a new list! Now you need to have a way to actually sign people up. Click on your new list and navigate to “Signup Forms.”

Step 4: Select “Form Builder” to create your first form. This part seems confusing, but hang in there. First, leave the drop down under “Forms and response emails” with the default “Signup form.”

Under this, you’ll notice there’s a URL. This is the link for your signup form landing page. That means if you direct users to this page, they’ll see the preview below with just your signup form. Let’s customize this page.

By default, the form asks for a lot. You don’t need that much info from your subscribers! All you really need is an email, but it helps to get a first name as well.

Click the address and the phone number fields. You’ll notice a plus and negative sign pop up. Click the negative to delete. You can also click delete under the customization settings on the right panel.

You’ll be left with just the first name and email fields. If you click on them you can change the labels or add any help text which isn’t really necessary. I like to list the first name first, but that’s just a personal preference.

Step 5: Now we have to customize the form. Change the title and add a description. You can even add images. It’s best to be really specific with your form. What’s in it for your subscribers?

For instance, if you’re offering fashion tips in their inbox, don’t just title your form “Fashion Tips.” Use descriptive, clear language. Instead, write, “Get Weekly Fashion Tips in Your Inbox.”

Finally, navigate to the “Design It” tab to change colors and styles. Save your page and you’re ready to go! Now, you can link this landing page from your website or your social profiles to get new subscribers.

How to make an email list for your blog Mailchimp tutorial

Step 6: What if you want to embed a signup form directly on your website? This is a great idea. Embedding your email signup form in blog posts, in your sidebar, and on certain pages is a great way to build your list.

Go back to your list’s signup forms page. This time, click “Embedded forms.” The first option is the classic form, and it’s a great option for most blog themes.

Once again, you’ll want to customize the form. It should have the same required fields you selected in the form builder before. You can also play around with the title and the other types of forms, but it’s best to keep it simple.

Once you’re done, copy the code below and paste it in an HTML widget on your website or blog. That’s it!

Step 7: If you want to get fancy with your form, there are a lot of great WordPress plugins. The Mailchimp WordPress plugin has more integration options, as do the Simple Hooks plugin for Genesis themes and the Sumo plugin.

Build Your Blog Email List Fast

There you have it! That’s how you make an email list for your blog for free. Yep, it’s that simple. You’ll wonder why you didn’t make it sooner.

Having your own email list for your log gives you a quick line of contact with your closest followers. You’re basically Instagram-apocalypse proof! No more worrying about social media followers or not owning your lists. You’re in control.

It’s time to build your email list. Your followers are waiting, and they want to hear from you. With the current Instagram/Facebook mess, now’s the best time to get started.

This post contains affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting the brands I love. 


Hey, I'm Sam! I'm the blogger and full-time writer behind Samanthability. I blog about starting your own blog and rocking post-grad life. You can find me exploring Seattle, binge-drinking iced coffees, and reading spicy romance books. I'm glad you're here!