One of the first things a new blogger learns, or at least should learn, is the phrase “the money is in the list”. There are reasons for this, and rather than go into that in detail here, I’ll leave it to an expert on the subject: Phil Hollows, who is the author of “List Building for Bloggers”.
“List Building for Bloggers” is not full of fancy graphics, in fact on first opening the PDF I found it quite plain. But it smacks of professionalism from the moment you see that it has its own ISBN number and Phil actually prides himself on the fact that the book is written in plain English and that you don’t need to be a tech guru to understand it.
The e-book starts by answering one of the most important questions a new blogger may be asking themselves when they start out: “why bother about e-mail?” After all, there are all sorts of modern things like RSS feeds and social media, but Phil tells you why you should be using e-mail as a method to deliver your content and what he says makes a lot of sense.
He then takes time to explain the workings or e-mail lists and the terminology involved, before getting into the nitty-gritty of sign-up forms and autoresponders.
Having got the basic information out of the way, the then moves on to answer the other key question of “how do I get more subscribers?” and outlines various methods of doing so.
I agree with an awful lot of what Phil has to say, in particular about how users react to e-mail, but then this is something we both see on a daily basis. After all, he works in the industry as the CEO of a mailing list provider, FeedBlitz and I often deal with the other side of the e-mail process when I visit my IT clients. (FeedBlitz gets quite a few mentions in the book as well, both in terms of what they offer and some real-life examples of things going wrong).
I as also particularly pleased to see what role the ethical side of sending e-mails plays in the methods outlined in the book, especially when it comes to making sure that the e-mails actually get through the spam filters to their intended recipients. There were just one or two points where my German data protection alarms bells starting ringing (but I guess that won’t affect most readers), and at times I felt like the book was a bit too well padded out with white space.
But in short, if you are starting out in the world of blogging (or e-mail marketing), then “List Building for Bloggers” is probably one of the best starting points that you can have. Just bare in mind that there are more mailing list hosters out there than are named in the book, so use the criteria that it lists when making your decision by all means, but do keep an open mind about the alternatives.