If you want to increase the number of subscribers on your mailing list then upgrading your signup forms can be a good place to start. Not too long ago we looked at the best popup newsletter sign up form plugins for WordPress. Although using a lightbox popup form can be an effective way to improve optin conversation rates, there are many site owners and bloggers who don’t find adding a popup to their site an appealing prospect.

While the popup optin form approach can have good results when it comes to increasing subscriber numbers, they can also be off putting to visitors and could even be costing you readers, such as those who decide to leave your site as soon as they see the popup form modal window obscuring the article they were hoping to read.

Alternatives to Popup Optin Forms

However, if you’d like to increase the number of visitors who become mailing list subscribers, but don’t want to use popup forms, there are some alterative options available to you.

While most email marketing services such as AWeber include form builders that allow you to create your own in-content forms, there are also some plugins available which allow you to add attractive, eye-catching optin forms to your site in order to increase conversions without running the risk of alienating your visitors.

The plugins often have other features such as creating multiple forms for use on different pages, and the ability to split test the conversion rates of different form designs and wording.

Here is our roundup of the best in-content mailing list signup form plugins for WordPress:


This premium plugin allows you to ‘add gorgeous opt-in forms and social share boxes to your blog in seconds’ according to the marketing spiel. As well as the great looking sign up forms, which come in a range of 18 designs, which can all be customised, OptinSkin allows you to split-test your forms to find out which ones are converting your visitors into subscribers at the highest rate. You can preview the form designer tool on this page.

Another standout feature of this optin form plugin is its ability to give your in-content forms a fade in effect. When the visitors to scroll down a page to where your form has been inserted, instead of already being visible, the form will fade into sight, making it more eye catching and noticeable amongst your post content.

When it comes to adding these highly customisable signup forms to your posts, the settings allows you to determine where they should be positioned, and then the plugin will take care of the rest. The options for form placement include:

At the bottom of posts

At the top of posts

Below the first paragraph

Floated right of second paragraph

In a custom location such as sidebar or by using the shortcodes

By using these site-wide settings, you don’t have to remember to insert a form for each post as the plugin will take care of that for you. If you want to insert the forms on an ad hoc basis, you can do so using the included form shortcodes. Through the settings you can also easily set the amount of space around each of the sides of the form and how close it will be to your post content.

The fade effect is really eye catching and makes this signup form plugin an excellent choice. OptinSkin is available for $67.

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WP Subscribers


While the sales page of this page informs us that according to 10,000 signups, 37.8% of them used the popup form, a respectable 20% used a form in the sidebar. This is good news for those who don’t want to run the risk of scaring off their readers with a popup form, but still want a good conversion rate.

Although WP Subscribers does include a range of options for displaying popup signup forms, it also has a good selection of in-content signup forms. With this plugin you can create an unlimited number of forms for use in your site’s header, footer and in posts. Each form can have its own content allowing you to test which messages are more effective at encouraging signups to your mailing list or newsletter.

The plugin works with all the major email marketing services so wh

ichever one you are using this plugin should slot right into your existing setup. Another nice feature of this plugin is that it makes it very easy for those that leave comments on your blog to subscribe to your mailing list, simply by checking a box under the comment form. The plugin will use the email address they entered to leave a comment, and then add them to your mailing list.

Like Optinmonster, a popular popup optin plugin, WP Subscribers also features the ‘exit intent’ feature that displays the signup form only when your readers are about to exit your site, allowing you to use a popup form without disrupting the user experience.

WP Subscribers is available two pricing plans starting at $47 for a single license.

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Premium List Magnet

This is another premium plugin that contains many different options for displaying optin forms on your site. Amongst the options are popups, sidebars, and sliders, as well as in-content forms.  Premium List Magnet also includes lots of options and settings for customising how the forms are displayed. These include setting how often the forms are shown, such as on every page load, or less frequently such as every few days, or only when a visitor is leaving the site.

With Premium List Magnet, you can also create a whole selection of forms for use on different pages. This is ideal for creating forms with graphics that match the content of a particular post. It also allows you to change the incentive message on the form, to better suit the content of the post, such as an eBook about choosing the right WordPress theme on a post about themes, or a similar book on plugins for your plugin review posts.

As this article is concerned with plugins that allow you to insert sign up forms into your posts, this feature of the Premium List Magnet is what we are interested in. With this plugin you can choose where in your posts to auto-insert the forms, such as at the end or the beginning of the post, as well as creating multiple forms for different page topics or page designs.

When it comes to the design and appearance of the forms, again there are plenty of options to choose from. With this optin form plugin you can also make it easy for those leaving comments on your posts to subscribe to your mailing list, thanks to a simple but effective checkbox.

If you want a feature packed plugin that gives you access to many different form types, including in-content options then Premium List Magnet is a suitable choice. This plugin is available for $77 which includes use on unlimited domains.

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Hybrid Connect

This is a plugin that was featured in our list of the best popup optin form plugins but it deserves another mention here due to its wealth of features and the in-content forms that are included in the package.

The tool comes with a detailed form designer so you can really create custom forms to suit the style of your site and the topic of its content. Hybrid Connect also includes a very easy to use split testing feature that allows you to create multiple sign up forms, with the plugin automatically removing the forms with the worst conversion rate, until only the most successful form is being displayed.

The plugin also includes the ability to have users like your Facebook page instead of joining your mailing list if that is your preferred outcome. I don’t think there is a more feature rich optin form plugin available for WordPress.

If you want plenty of options for displaying your sign up forms then you can’t go wrong with Hybrid Connect. With prices starting at $49 for use on a single site, it’s not the most expensive option available either.

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Magic Action Box

Finally a free optin sign up form plugin to try. Free versions of this type of plugin are few and far between, and there is definitely a gap in the market that needs filling. This is the free or lite version of the Magic Action Box plugin, which can be upgraded by installing the pro version which is available from $47.

While the premium version allows you to assign a default sign up box to all of your posts and pages, or a specific form for posts from a specific category, the free version doesn’t have this feature. This means that if you want to include the sign up form on a page or post, you have to enable it via an options panel or metabox which is added to the Edit Post page. However, this isn’t a problem and makes adding in-content sign up forms to your new posts very easy.

When it comes to creating your forms, there are a few colour schemes to choose from. You can also enter your own form text, allowing you to craft our own call to action for persuading your readers to become subscribers. While you don’t get the same level of customisation options as you do with the premium optin plugins, the forms look pretty good.

The free version integrates with Gravity Forms and the free Contact Form 7 plugin, so you can add an action box to your regular contact forms. It is also compatible with all the major email marketing services so anyone who uses the forms to subscribe can be automatically added to your third party hosted mailing list.

The free version of Magic Action Box has been downloaded over 46,000 times and has a great user rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, making it a safe bet for anyone looking for a free mailing list optin form plugin.

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As mentioned at the start of this post, most email marketing services such as MailChimp and AWeber, do come with form builders to allow you to create your own forms for inserting into post content. However, by using one of the above plugins, you can do much more than create a basic form. Being able to split test your forms can ensure that you getting the highest conversion rate from your visitors and building your email list as effectively as possible.

While it appears that popup newsletter sign up forms result in the highest conversion rates, they aren’t for everyone. If you want to boost your sign up rates without resorting to adding a popup to your site, then a premium in-content optin form plugin could be the next best thing.

What do you think of popup optin forms? Would you add one to your site and have you ever subscribed via one?

Last Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2014

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