How To Build A Newsletter In WordPress

SkyStra
Jul 19, 2020

If you want to expand your reach and grow the number of visitors and subscribers on your website – you should consider creating a newsletter.

It is one of the best forms of email marketing, and it allows you to provide updates to your subscribers, and reach out to your audience. In one of our recent articles, we’ve covered some of the best newsletter plugins for the WordPress platform. Please check it out to get a full picture of why having a newsletter is essential and find the best plugin to do it.

MailPoet

This article will teach you how to install the MailPoet plugin, customize it, and use it to send newsletters to your subscribers. We’ve chosen MailPoet because it’s free (up to 1,000 subscribers, and you can upgrade if needed), it has plenty of customization options, and you perform all necessary actions right from your WordPress Dashboard.

Install

Login to your WordPress Dashboard.

Once in the WordPress Dashboard, click the Add New button under the Plugins section, and input MailPoet in the search field. Click the Install Now button under the MailPoet – emails and newsletters in WordPress plugin:

Activate

Once installed, click the Activate button to activate the plugin:

User Lists

Once the plugin is activated, you will see a new menu item in the left frame – MailPoet. Before going to settings, head to MailPoet > Lists option. Here, you’ll manage all your user lists, and MailPoet allows you to have multiple different mailing lists. For example, if you run a blog with a webshop, you can have one mailing list for all registered users, and a separate list for your customers.

MailPoet creates a default mailing list for you called My First List, and you can adjust the name right away if you want by hovering your mouse and clicking the Edit button. In addition to the default list, you can also see the WordPress Users list on the same page. If you have an established website – all users already registered on it will be in the WordPress Users list.

If you see that this list is not up-to-date, you can always hover your mouse and click on the Force Sync button:

Settings

Now, let’s head to MailPoet > Settings to configure the plugin.

On the Basics tab, we need to configure the following options:

Default sender – Input the desired name and email address in both From and Reply-To fields. These are used when you send your newsletter. If you don’t want to receive replies to your newsletters, you can configure [email protected] email address in the Reply-to field, for example, to discourage users from sending emails to it.

Subscribe in comments – Enable this option if you want to allow your users to subscribe to your mailing list via comments under your posts. You can list all your mailing lists or select only one list new users can subscribe to.

Subscribe in registration form – Enable this option if you want to allow your users to subscribe to your mailing list during the registration. You can list all your mailing lists or select only one list new users can subscribe to.

Manage Subscription page – This is a page where a user that clicks the “Manage your subscription” link lands. We recommend leaving this on the MailPoet page setting by default. However, you can use your own page for this if desired. You can also select one particular list or all lists to display on this page. If you want to use the custom page for this, make sure to use the [mailpoet_manage_subscription] shortcode on it.

Unsubscribe page – This is a page where the user lands once they click the newsletter’s Unsubscribe link. You can use MailPoet’s default page, or you can use your custom page with the [mailpoet_manage text=”Manage your subscription”] shortcode.

Stats notifications – Enable this option and input your email address to receive statistics for your newsletters/post notifications and welcome emails.

New subscriber notifications – Enable this option and input your email address to receive the new subscriber notifications once a new user signs up.

The last two settings allow you to use shortcodes to display the total number of subscribers and archive page in your custom pages. 

Click the Save Settings button to save changes once ready.

Sign Up Confirmation

Next, click the Sign-up Confirmation tab. We recommend enabling this option to have your users manually confirm they want to subscribe to your mailing list. You can enable/disable this option on this tab, customize the email subject and content, and select the confirmation page (we recommend leaving this to the default MailPoet’s page).

Send With

Next, click the Send With… tab to customize how you want your website to send emails. You can use MailPoet to send emails (free up to 1,000 subscribers) or use Skystra or a third-party SMTP service. 

The “other” method is activated by default, which means you’ll be using the Skystra Cloud Instance to send emails from your website. Click the Configure button to configure the settings.

If you want to send emails through the Skystra Cloud Instance, configure the following options:

  • Method: Your web host / web server
  • Your web host: Not listed (default)
  • Sending frequency: Choose Recommended from the dropdown menu

You can send a test email to test if the delivery will be successful as well, if needed.

Click the Activate button to save changes once ready.

Advanced

The last settings tab is Advanced, and all you need to configure here is the Bounce email address setting (everything else can be left on the default settings). 

Input your email address in the Bounce email address field to receive notifications each time the email sent from your website didn’t reach your subscriber. If this happens – you want to unsubscribe that user manually to avoid being blacklisted. You can read more about the bounce email settings here.

Subscribers

Now, let’s head to MailPoet > Subscribers option. Here, you can see a list of all subscribers on your website. All existing WordPress users will be listed here, and you can also import users via the CSV file or manually add a new subscriber. You can bulk add subscribers to your lists, move them, delete them, etc.

For example, to add all existing subscribers to our My First List default list:

  1. Click the checkbox in the top left corner of the section to select all users.
  2. Select Add to list… option from the Bulk Actions dropdown menu.
  3. Click the Apply button to save changes.

Once completed, you will see the confirmation message at the top of the screen:

Forms

Next, head to MailPoet > Forms option to create our form and add it to our website so that visitors can subscribe to our newsletter.

MailPoet includes a default form (My First Form), and you can customize the style, placement, add custom CSS, etc.:

Make sure to always choose a correct list for the subscription form.

Widgets

To place a form on your website, head to Appearance > Widgets, and drag the MailPoet 3 Form to the desired section:

You can create multiple forms, and have them appear on all pages in the footer, or in the widgets, or via pop-up or slide-in mechanisms.

Here’s how the default subscription form appears on our website in the footer widget:

Emails

Now that we finished all the configuration steps let’s go to MailPoet > Emails section to create our first newsletter.

MailPoet allows you to create newsletters, welcome emails, and post notifications; however, we’ll focus on newsletters in this article.

Newsletter Template

Click the Create button under the Newsletter section to get started.

Next, select the desired template. You can choose from pre-existing responsive templates, or scroll to the bottom of the page to use the blank examples and build your own:

Click the Select button under the desired template once ready.

Customize Newsletter

You can adjust the email subject, preview text, and use drag & drop to customize and build your first newsletter on the next page. You can add different content, choose various column options, and different styles. Editing and creating your newsletter is easy, and you can remove, duplicate, or move sections of it as needed.

Once done, click the Next button to proceed further.

Review & Schedule

The final step allows you to:

  • Review your subject
  • Select the desired mailing list you wish to send it to
  • Adjust the sender name and email address
  • Adjust the reply-to email address
  • Setup the Google Analytics Campaign
  • Schedule your newsletter to be sent at a specific date and time

Send

Once ready, click the Send button to send the newsletter.

Once completed, you will be sent to a tracking page that shows the status of sent emails and how many users clicked and opened your first newsletter.

And here’s how the newsletter looks in the Gmail browser window:

That’s it!

If you need more information on MailPoet’s features or functions, you can click the magnifying glass icon in the bottom-right corner of the page that you can use to search for keywords:

Building and sending newsletters with WordPress is easy and accessible, and you should use this marketing method to grow your visitors and expand your reach.