Configuring Newsletter Sign-Up – the definitive guide
Table of contents
After releasing ‘Qoate Newsletter Sign-Up’ a year ago, recoding it into ‘Newsletter Sign-up‘ and 25.000+ total downloads i’ve been getting quite a lot of questions on how to properly configure the plugin for the various newsletter services out there. I’m not surprised, configuring NSU isn’t quite easy for the non-tech savvy WP users. Time to make things easier by writing a comprehensive guide on how to configure Newsletter Sign-Up, with screenshots!
Downloading and installing Newsletter Sign-up
You can download and install Newsletter Sign-up just like you would with any other plugin. Head over to the WordPress plugin repository, search for ‘newsletter sign-up’ (which should lead you here) and hit the red download button.
Extract the files of ‘newsletter-sign-up.zip‘ into your wp-content/plugins folder and activate the plugin trough your WordPress admin panel. Not familiar with installing WordPress plugins? The WP Codex has a nice article on installing and managing plugins which should help you out.
Configuring Newsletter Sign-up
If you’ve sucessfully installed NSU your plugins page in the WP Admin will look somewhat like this.
Hit the settings button, which should take you to the Newsletter Sign-Up Configuration page. This page is divided into a few parts, the one that is the most important is also the hardest: General Settings / Newsletter Configuration. These settings are essential if you want to get NSU to work with your newsletter service.
What you fill in here depends on your newsletter service, if you select a mailinglist provider from the select box you’ll see the page change and some more setting fields will apear, or some fields will be autofilled for you to make things a bit easier. You could however just leave the select box at ‘– other / advanced’ and fill in the correct values yourself. If you’re using MailChimp or YMLP you have the option to use their API’s, which I recommend by the way. Let’s start with those two.
Using the MailChimp API
Select MailChimp from the newsletter provider selectbox and tick the checkbox that says ‘Use MailChimp API’. The plugin will now ask you for two values, your MailChimp API key and your MailChimp list ID. If you’re not sure on where to get those just hit the ?-links and you’ll be taken to a page with more information on where to get those.
Using the YMLP API
Select YMLP from the newsletter provider selectbox and tick the checkbox that says “Use YMLP API”. You will now need to provide three values, your YMLP API key, your YMLP username and your YMLP group ID. To get your API Key, just hit the ?-link.
Getting your YMLP group ID is a bit harder. Go to your YMLP dashboard and take a look at the “Your contacts” section. Hover the icons for each of your lists and you’ll notice that each URL ends with &groupid=X. The X is the number you’ll need here. If you only have one default list this number will most likely be 1.
A correctly configured YMLP API should make your NSU configuration screen look somewhat like this.
Other Newsletter providers / custom settings
If you’re using iContact, Aweber, PHPList, ConstantContact or some other newsletter provider, correctly configuring Newsletter Sign Up will be somewhat harder but definitely not impossible!
To understand what we’re trying to do it is important that you understand how NSU works. All newsletter services provide you with a sign-up form in HTML which you can embed on your website. NSU mimics this sign-up request by sending a request to the specified action URL and sending some values along with the request, like the email address of the person who is trying to sign-up.
So, let’s get into it. First, select ‘– other/ advanced’ or your newsletter provider from the select box. You’ll see a few input fields which (for a minimum) ask for a form action and an email identifier.
Head over to your mailinglist service and look for a sign-up form which you can embed. You can extract the form action and email identifier from this HTML snippet. Take a look at the following picture to get a better understanding of what values you need. I really hope this picture makes any sense…
Although the snippet in the above picture is overly simplified it should give you an idea of what to look for and which values you’ll need. Basically, all the input fields need to be covered so NSU can send those values along with the request to the form action whenever someone uses NSU to sign-up to your email list.
Testing if Newsletter Sign-Up is properly configured
Testing to see if you’ve properly configured Newsletter Sign-up is pretty straightforward. Using the checkbox at you’re comment form that asks people if they’re willing to sign-up to your newsletter? Just leave a test comment, tick the checkbox and see if it the email adress you used gets added to your email list.
One small note though. Make sure that you’re using an email address that is not already on your list since most newsletter services tend to ignore those requests. Also, be patient for at least a few minutes and check your spam folder!
Still not getting it? Try this.
- Drop me a line trough the support forums for NSU, include your sign-up form and i’ll extract the values as soon as I find a spare minute!