Using the word ‘numerous’ to try to rank for SEO is a bad idea—kind of like trying to hold giveaways to get people to sign up for your email list. Find out whether or not you really need an email list and what’s worked for me. #bloggrowth #blogger #write28days #emaillists

Using the word ‘numerous’ to try to rank for SEO is a bad idea—kind of like trying to hold giveaways to get people to sign up for your email list. Find out whether or not you really need an email list and what’s worked for me.

Using the word ‘numerous’ to try to rank for SEO is a bad idea—kind of like trying to hold giveaways to get people to sign up for your email list. Find out whether or not you really need an email list and what’s worked for me. #bloggrowth #blogger #write28days #emaillists

Using Numerous for a Prompt

“Numerous? Why not?” I said to myself as I scoured WordTracker looking for 29 perfect prompt words for the #Write28Days Challenge.

Bad idea. Just because a word has all the markers of the perfect SEO keyword to bring organic traffic to your blog doesn’t mean you should use them. It looks good on paper, but writing a headline and making ‘numerous’ the topic of a blog post? Not so easy.

I apologize to all of you who joined the challenge and got stuck by this one word, and I can’t wait to see what you came up with.

This experience reminded me of some of the antics I’ve gone through to get people to sign up for my email list. But before I share what worked and what didn’t, let me talk about email lists in general.

Why Do You Need an Email List?

Blogging mavens and experts will insist that you need an email list. But do you? It depends. You’ll need to think about your why before you determine whether or not you need to start an email list.

You’ll want to start an email list IF you

  • hope to have a traditional book contract one day.
  • want to make money blogging.
  • have an inkling that you’ll self-publish a book someday (fiction or non-fiction).
  • think any of the above reasons might one day apply to you.

How much time, effort, and money you sink into growing your email list depends on what stage you think applies to you right now.

You’ll find numerous posts with expert advice over on my friend Kirsten Oliphant’s blog, Create if Writing. I don’t want to reinvent how to make cheese, so I’ll refer you to a successful blogger, author, and email list guru. This post really encouraged me to think about my love-hate relationship with email list building.

What Hasn’t Worked for Me

1. Doing Something Because Someone Suggests It

Just because it works for someone else doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you. I’ve spent hours creating freebie and lead-magnets and only had 20 people sign up for my email list—from all of them.

I no longer spend time trying to find just the right freebie, because, after numerous attempts, the results don’t prove its profitability. I’ve even given things away for free—without asking people to sign up.

In addition, unless you have a strategy in place (which means you plan on sending out regular emails), having people sign up for your list has no point.

2. Offering Gift Cards

I confess I’ve offered gift cards numerous times—and the results looked a lot like my freebie and lead-magnet attempts. Save your money. You don’t want people clogging up your email list who troll the web for gift-card giveaways. Those aren’t your people.

3. Overusing Popups and Landing Mats

If you have a pop-up plug-in installed on your site to encourage people to sign up for your email list, check the settings. When someone leaps out from behind a corner every. single. time. I visit their site, something pops up. It makes me never want to visit their site again.

Use the settings to only have the invitation pop up every ten visits or so. Don’t block the page with a landing mat, use a pop-up device that only shows up as someone exits (and set it to only show up every once in a while).

The more numerous your invitations, the more irritated your readers. And who wants irritated readers? They don’t come back for repeat visits.

What Does Work?

Everyone will find success on a different path. My path to email list growth came from having a Facebook Group where those who wanted to join had to answer three questions—one of the questions asked if they WANTED to join my list.

Using the word ‘numerous’ to try to rank for SEO is a bad idea—kind of like trying to hold giveaways to get people to sign up for your email list. Find out whether or not you really need an email list and what’s worked for me. #bloggrowth #blogger #write28days #emaillists

I then created a series of emails that automatically went out to those who had joined that gave them something valuable. Tips, hints, or advice that I don’t have anywhere else on my blog. The experts call this ‘on-boarding.’

I want my email recipients to know what to expect, how often they’ll likely hear from me, and what I have to offer. They need to know I won’t spam them with 536,000 emails every time I want to make an affiliate sale. I want them to know I appreciate and respect their inbox real estate and won’t trash it or take advantage of it.

I still have people sign up for my lead-magnets, but the majority of new email subscribers come from my Facebook groups. Just because it sounds good on paper doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Writing this post and looking at Kirsten’s site has helped me realize that I have work to do to improve my email content strategy. As soon as this challenge ends, I have my work set out for me to create a viable email content strategy that I can sustain.

Did someone tell you you needed an email list? Wait! Before you run with it, read this. #blogger #write28days Click To Tweet

Tomorrow we’ll move on to an easier prompt—success! Next time I create writing prompts, I’ll have to think more about the words I choose—just because they look good on paper, doesn’t mean they’ll work well on a blog post.


  1. Thanks so much for this Anita. I’ve been trying to figure out some good lead magnets and I keep talking myself out of most of the ideas. They just seem too lame. So you have built all your followers via fb pages and Pinterest? That is amazing. I have an editor interested in a book I want to write but I need a better platform…by a long shot! I just can’t seem to connect right at all.

  2. As I am writing my first book, I’m following author and agent blogs and reading books about the industry so I know how to navigate toward publishing. Some publishers put great emphasis on email lists. I feel conflicted about that because I don’t like receiving many author or blogger emails personally. When I do sign up for one, I usually unsubscribe a short time later. So it’s hard for me to get excited about creating an email list.

    The author newsletters I tend to keep only come about once a quarter. Some only come when a new book is about to come out–and that’s fine with me.

    But as I want to be traditionally published, this is something I need to work on.

    The ones I tend to unsubscribe from tell me what’s on their blog (if I already follow their blog, this is redundant. But I know some of their followers get the email list but don’t follow the blog), come too often, are always trying to sell a course or book or whatever, and are always trying push readers to do something.

    The author newsletters I keep will tell about progress on their book, maybe some interesting background material, how they researched for their book, etc.

    I don’t subscribe to any blogger email lists. I’d rather just read the blog. And there are more blogs I’d like to read than I generally have time for.

    So that’s my love-hate relationship with email lists.
    Barbara Harper recently posted…Friday’s Fave FiveMy Profile

  3. I haven’t done the email list thing yet myself. And I’m like Barbara, if I follow the person’s blog, I don’t usually subscribe to their email list. Unless they have special notifications that I want to make sure I don’t miss. I rarely get to all my blog reading on Feedly on a daily basis and sometimes I prefer an email notification straight from the blogger.

  4. I am thinking about my email list too. The disappointing thing about my list is that they very seldom respond to my emails. Frustrating too. And I have only managed to sell maybe 1 or 2 items (affiliate product) via my list. I don’t know if my list just hates to spend money (they won’t reply to my emails so I don’t know!) or they aren’t interested in what I offer.

    After this series I am planning to switch to offering a resource library vs a single product offer as my freebie. I am also looking to switch to Mailerlite since I don’t want to be paying for subscribers who aren’t responsive.

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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