I was designing a site that have a mechanism to give away Automatically send an ebook to blog subscribers on their WordPress site.
I like to offer my customers the very best in value and WordPress makes so much sense here, after all its free! Some things are a bit beyond the core functionality though and free ebook delivery to blog subscribers is one of them. I set about researching how to fulfil this requirement and Google turned up numerous results, unfortunately they really only mentioned paid for services like Aweber, also mentioned was Mailchimp which is free but has limits on how many subscribers it will handle before needing to be paid for. That’s all fair enough, decent plugins have to cost money to attract the best developers and provide support. The above services take some setting up too and are designed to manage large email lists, this isn’t something my customer was after. They just wanted a simple system that will look after itself.
My clients are generally very small businesses who just want to try things out, sometimes just the cost of the webdesign itself is stretching things. What I wanted was to provide a way of allowing users to sign up to the blog then delivering them a link to an ebook – all for free.
After a fair bit of research I came across the ‘WP Email Capture’ plugin which looked to be just the thing I needed.
In short here is the sign up process I use;
1. User fills in thier name and email address in a sidebar widget 2. They receive and email asking them to confirm the subscription 3. When they click the link in the email they are taken to a thankyou page which provides the link to the ebook.
This method is called ‘Double opt in’ the user needs to go through two actions before they join the mailing list (1 & 2 above). This is good practice to cut down on spam and ensures the subsribers you have actually want to be on your list and read your updates.
Here’s the setup process: Automatically send an ebook
- Log into your WordPress admin area, click on ‘Plugins’ then ‘Add New’
- Search for ‘WP email capture’ it’s author is Rhys Wynne
- Click ‘Install Now’ then ‘OK’ to the prompt
- 4. Once the plugin installs, click ‘Activate Plugin’
- You will see a message at the top of your admin page stating that you haven’t created a few pages, don’t worry we’ll do that in a bit.
- Upload your ebook to somewhere on your site, I prefer to use FTP rather than the WordPress media uploader. Make a note of the URL that the file resides under, it’s a good idea to offer the ebook in different formats MS Word (.doc) and Acrobat (.pdf) at a minimum.
- Create a new page (not post) on your WordPress site, call it something like ‘email-signup’ this is the page people will see once they have filled in their name and email on your form. I would write something like ‘Thanks for subscribing to the blog, we care about your privacy so to make sure you wanted to do this we’ve sent you an email with a link, click on the link to finish the signup process and get your free ebook’ – make a note of the permalink for the new page
- Create another new page and call it something like ‘email-confirmation’ this page will be displayed when the user clicks the link in their email. You should put a thankyou note here and the links to the ebook. Again note down the permalink for the new page.
- From the standard WordPress left hand admin menu, click ‘Settings’ and then ‘WP Email Capture’
- Enter the permalink for the first page you created
- Enter the permalink for the second page you created
- Enter the email address the email with the confirmation link will come from (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Enter the name the email will come from (Andy from HarveysComputerServices)
- Enter the subject of the email (Blog subscription confirmation)
- Enter the text for the email e.g.
Dear %NAME% Thank you for subscribing to our wonderful blog full of useful advice, please click the link below to confirm your subscription and receive your free ebook. Many thanks Andy
- Link to us adds a link to the developer of the plugin
- It’s a good idea to make the ‘Name’ field required if you are going to use it for your email
- Click save changes
- To add the signup field to your sidebar, go to ‘Apperance’ then ‘Widgets’
- Drag the ‘WP Email Capture’ widget on to your sidebar
- Fill in the Widget title (Sign up to the blog) and text (Enter your name and email here to receive a message when a new blog post is added, and get a free ebook.)
- All done
- Make sure the pages you created aren’t visible in the menu system (Appearance > Menus)
- If you are paranoid, there are numerous ways of hiding the ebook and subscription pages from search engines to ensure people actually sign up. They are too lengthy to go into detail here but a google search for ‘Hide content in WordPress’ should give you what you need.
- The plugin also very usefully will display a list of your subscribers that you can manage really easily. To access the list click ‘Settings’ and then ‘WP Email Capture’ scroll down and see your ‘Members’ you can also export the list to a csv file, handy if you want to send out a special mail to your subscribers.
Hope you found this useful