4 High-Converting Places for Email Sign-up Forms (and How to Add Them In Thesis)

by Derek Halpern · 61 comments

No matter what business you’re in, you need an email list.

And how do you get people on that list?

Email signup forms on your website.

The problem is where do you put them, and how do you get them there?

The 4 High-Converting Places for Email Signup Forms

Last week I wrote an article about high-converting places for email signup forms. It was a huge hit, but people kept saying the same thing:

“Great, but how do I build them into my website?”

Luckily, if you own Thesis, it’s easy. Just continue reading. If you don’t own Thesis, purchase it now.

#1 Top of Sidebar

The top of your sidebar is one of the most visible places on your site. So, it makes sense to include an email sign-up form there.

To place your email sign-up form at the top of your sidebar, simply paste this code into your custom_functions.php file:

function sidebar_email() { ?>


<?php }

add_action('thesis_hook_before_sidebars' , 'sidebar_email');

For tips on increasing the conversion rate of your “top of sidebar” email sign-up form, check out these split testing results.

#2 After Single Post

If people read an entire article on your site, they often look for what they can do next.

Think about it. You just got people to read an entire article on your site. They’re feeling great about you and your content. What better time to ask for an email?

To place an email sign-up form after a single post, add this code in your custom_functions.php file:

function afterpost_email() { 

if (is_single()) { ?>


<?php } }

add_action('thesis_hook_after_post' , 'afterpost_email');

#3 The Footer

Again, like with After Single Post, if people make it to your footer, they’re feeling good about you and your content. That’s why Footer email sign-up forms work so well.

To add one into your site, paste this code into your custom_functions.php file:

function footer_email() { 


<div class="footer-email">
		<ul class="sidebar_list">



<?php } 

add_action('thesis_hook_footer' , 'footer_email');

For a better, more compelling footer, you can also add the three column “fat footer” on your Thesis site.

#4 The Feature Box

This is by far my favorite place to add email sign-up forms. Not only does it convert well, it also qualifies your visitors well.

If you’re looking for complex implementations of the Feature Box, you can read John Sexton’s in-depth summary “The Ultimate Guide to the Thesis Theme Feature Box.

However, if you’re looking for a quick solution, activate your Feature Box in the Thesis Options Panel. To activate, go to the WordPress Dashboard -> Thesis -> Design Options ->. When there, expand the Feature Box area on the far right column, choose full-width above content and sidebars, and select either sitewide or front page.

Then, simply paste this code into your custom_functions.php file:

function static_welcome_message() {


<div id="welcome-message" class="format_text">

     <h2>Hello! This is a large welcome headline.</h2>




add_action('thesis_hook_feature_box', 'static_welcome_message');

Other Places for Email Sign-up Forms

Where do you place your email sign-up forms? Have you seen great results? Share your success in the comments.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

If you enjoyed this article, enter your email below to get free updates!



Cheers Derek – this is exactly what I was looking for after reading your post on Social Triggers last week. I’ve been meaning to add an opt in form to the end of posts for too long, today is the day!

Derek Halpern

Awesome Megan. Glad you dig it.

Colin Gerard

Thanks Derek! This is exactly what i emailed you about after reading your socialtriggers.com Post. That was Fast

Elliott (Set Yourself Freelance)

This is a great start for me, but excuse me for being a total noob…where can I find information now about how to use the custom functions in my thesis site?


Derek Halpern

It’s found in your Thesis folder, under custom. In there, you’ll see the custom_functions.php file, and thats where you add code.

You can also edit it from the wordpress admin page, but be careful. If you place it in there, and you place it in wrong, you can error out your site, and the only way you can fix it is by accessing it through FTP

Elliott (Set Yourself Freelance)

Got it…I actually just didn’t realize that it shows up on the site just by taking the steps above..easier than I thought! Thanks again!


Great tip Derek. I am already using the sign-up form at the bottom of my single posts from the last few months. And I agree with you that I can see the difference. The signups increased many folds.

I do have a question, What number of signup forms do you recommend on a single article page or on the home page? I do not want to make it too crowded.


Annie Sisk

Dude, this was EXACTLY what I was looking for today! :::bouncing like Tigger::: I love it when people save me effort. 😉

Brendan Schneider

Thank you for this info…it’s great! I did have a quick question though – do you have information on creating a shaded box for your email sign-up form like you use after this post?

Heather Allard

That’s my question, too Brendan! 🙂

David Bennett

Yes, me too – same question – how to style the form?

Ruthanne Reid

Thanks so much for this! Great timing – I was just looking into elegant ways to make this happen.

Alix Rager

Hey there… is this the solution for a custom header with opt-in on the right?
I have been wanting a site-wide header with this feature to incorporate with InfusionSoft… If not, is there instruction on how to create that somewhere that you know of?

I’m not a developer and am about to purchase Thesis to set up my new blog/site. Thanks for your time.

Marlene Hielema

Thanks Derek. This is great! I’ve been looking for this information for a while now and was always a bit nervous to get into the custom functions of Thesis. This helps!

Marylou Tyler


Thank you for the fabulous information. I have my sign-up embedded in my sidebar after the rotating images. I like the idea of putting it above. The post idea is great for another one of my sites where blogging is central to the site’s message.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Very cool bro-th-a.

Top of my dual sidebars is busy right now, but I may give this a shake in the “after posts” area, #2.

Derek Halpern

Sweet. Top of sidebars is often busy, especially on advertising based sites, or real estate sites.

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate



Popup domination, Opt In Crusher. Add them in there.

Derek Halpern

Those are great ways to get more opt-ins, but, that’s not the point of this article here 🙂


I must have misunderstood the title of the post “4 High-Converting Places for Email Sign-up Forms”

Extreme John

I never considered adding a subscription box in my footer, great tip. Thank you.

Derek Halpern

No problem, John. Glad you liked it.


Thanks for the wake-up call Derek. I’m one of those “I thought I knew it all” guys online, since I’ve been around a long time. It’s good to forget everything I know and re-learn things as they change sometimes, and this article really woke me up.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work!


Thank you so much for this information! I have been wondering about how to do the sign-up at the end of the blog post…


Hi Derek:

Very helpful and useful post, but I need some further detail (I’m sure this is a rookie question, so thanks for your patience);

For the Top of Sidebar:

1/ Where exactly (what line) do I post the code on to the custom_functions.php page?

2/ “Paste your email sign up code”– by this, I assume you mean my Feed Address (My Feedburner feed?)

I keep getting this error:
Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘}’ in /home/content/44/5794644/html/wp-content/themes/thesis_16/custom/custom_functions.php on line 5

Thanks a bunch,


Ok, figured this out: In addition to the <?php tag at the top of the custom_function.php page, the code needed to paste in is under "Publicize" in Google Feedburner, in Email Subscriptions.

The hook in my case was add_action('thesis_hook_after_multimedia_box' , 'sidebar_email'); in order to place the email box under the multimedia box.

Thanks again. Hope this helps.



Great article. I’m a new author, and I just launched my Thesis website to start building online conversation in advance of my book launch. Your ideas on adding places for email signup are great! Like some other users on here, I could use your help identifying good code for the sign-up form. Yours looks totally awesome … any chance your can share with us or point us in the right direction?
Thanks again for the great article and advice!

Warren Whitlock

This has got to be a mere perfect blog post. In less words than most “how to” posts, you shared several ways I can benefit from using Thesis. Easy to see how to switch from form code to anything I want.. and demystified all the function editing that has eluded me.

I’m still concerned with how often my form code become mush when I post it on any blog, but that’s well covered elsewhere.

I’m looking for more, signing up, and connecting to Derek

Mark Hockenberry

You guys are awesome! It’s really cool that you give out so much support.
This is on my to-do list for sure.

Thanks, Mark

Hashim Warren

I wasn’t aware of that 3 column footer article. Thanks!


Hi Derek,

great tips!
One question to #4: How can I add a picture to the text in the Feature Box (I use Thesis) – as on socialtriggers.com?


Yuri Stoyanov


Excellent content, as always! Thank you!

Alix Rager already asked this question, but I am going to ask again, anyway, as I didn’t see a reply.

So, how do you place a compact sign-up form in the header, right-aligned?




Once again, thanks for providing such great information. Your website social triggers is awesome! Keep up the good work.

Jonny Rowntree

Thanks for the tutorial Derek! I added this to my site this morning and I’ve picked up a few subscribers within a few hours. Not bad for a couple of minutes work!

Keep up the good work!

Andres Medina

Hi, I really liked your article, but as Dom said before, I dont know what is the the “EMAIL SIGN-UP FORM CODE”, so if you could tell to me, what is it, Im be very grateful.

Thanks, Andres.

Chris Pearson

Andres, you get the email sign-up form code from your mailing provider, such as MailChimp or aWeber.


I really enjoy your articles and get a lot out of them. (I’m a new Thesis user and just beginning to understand how it all works.)

I have been thinking of using the Feature Box as an offer page with opt-in (Sort of a mini-sales page). Would this work and if so, do I need the change the css code for the feature box?


I have a Google blog…I’m new to all this….but I don’t know how to create code for an email form….after reading your tutorials. 🙁 Hope you can help me. Thanks


I enjoyed reading your article. You provided some useful information that I can readily use.


Thanks for the very helpful information. I added the “after single post” code, but for some or another reason it just doesn’t appear on my posts? I am using a skin, will this make a difference?


Thanks for this I have been wanting to add an email opt in on my site and the timing is perfect. Your instructions are just what I need. Cheers! 🙂

Richard Maybury

you guys rock!
Very useful, very clear and very suscinct.
How about a batch for us ConstantContact mail users?


Hi, I’d like to know if there’s a way to do this without using a sidebar. As Yuri said, I’d also like to be able to put it below the header on the right. Or anywhere within the content that I choose. Is any of this possible?

Thanks for the help, cool stuff:)


After I pasted the code (in the blue box) into custom_functions.php file. I have a blank page.!!!! What went wrong? Please help.


Thank you for your email. I fixed it as you suggested and finally got the signup form on my site, whew!
Thanks again for your help 🙂


Hi Derek, thanks for the great tips you always have. I think that to put an email in these places is great. However there is one thing which bothers me. You see a lot of places (including yours), where people ask just for an email without a name. If you use auto-responder with double opt-in, you have to have “name” as well, because auto-responder people have it as a requirement. If you have only “email” you can’t have double opt-in and running the risk of spamming. What is the solution? You probably have one, as you are using only email form as well.


This is wonderful, detailed procedures that are also understandable!
I am putting one of the MailChimp templates on my product pages. I am placing them in the content area. I plan to launch in the next 10 days.
When I tested the installed optin form it just went and opened a mailchimp form I had in my mailchimp system.
What does the form tag consist of? This is the code I pasted into your template. I copied it from the code generator on mailchimp.

Obviously I did something wrong!!!! Can you provide some guidance???
Cheers, David

Robert Schrader

I want to display this below Single Post, but my IGIT Related Posts plugin and my SexySharing plugin are displaying above it. Any way I can just put it at the bottom of the actual post content?

Minesh Rai

Hello DEREK,
Appriciate ur article, I just want to know about u have written “PASTE YOUR EMAIL SIGN-UP FORM CODE HERE”. From where I can get this code. Sorry as I can’t get it. Thanx in advance……


I tried to use this with thesis and mailchimp, and it made an error on my site, so that I could no longer even access the WP login. I had to get my host to deactivate thesis so I could go into the cpanel files to delete this from my custom php file. Can you give me any direction as to what went wrong or how I could use this code properly? I’m wondering if I’m putting the wrong stuff into the PASTE YOUR EMAIL SIGN-UP FORM CODE HERE area. I’m using the code mailchimp says to use, copy and paste into your site.


Sometimes when you copy and paste, it will throw in extra or change characters. Always make a full backup copy of your functioning custom functions file. You can keep it on your server and name it something like custom-function-bakup. Then, this is what I do anyway, when the custom_function file is bad and takes down my site, login in using my FTP client, browse to the correct folder, delete the bad custom_function and rename good backup file.


Derek, Thank you for the consolidation of this content from previous posts. You know… I recall reading part of this information from several of your other emails – now you have squarely hit me in the forehead and reinforced why I like DIY Themes and Thesis so much (and why my customers continue to experience tremendous success as well). Blog on!!!


I can’t believe it – I moved my sidebar email signup form up to the top – the only thing that was above it previously was a rotating testimonials widget, which I thought was great social proof – nuh uh.

Moving my email sign-up form to the top of my sidebar is bringing me in 5% subscribers/unique visits, as opposed to about 1.2%!! Why didn’t I read this blog post sooner?!! I bet implementing the Feature Box will be even more impressive.

Thank you!

Maria Peagler

Derek –
I’ve read your article multiple times and it’s awesome. I pasted the code you provided, along with the code from my email provider, into the custom_functions.php file, (and SAVE it), but nothing shows up in my sidebar.

Any ideas? Thanks!

Maria Peagler

Ok, spoke too soon. Figured out I was putting it in the custom.css file instead. I put it in the right file, but boy it’s U-G-L-Y. I need to style it, but don’t know the CSS required. Point me to a tutorial?


Eduardo Alvarez

Hi Derek, I am new to Thesis and I tried to change the custom_functions.php from within wordpress admin and the result was that the site did not work at all. I went to the Forum and thank God I received help and was able to fix it. Now I am very cautious about doing anything to the custom_functions.php file, but I need to, in order to get a sign in form. Is it possible to get point by point guide as to how to do it (#1 Top Sidebar).

Thank you!

Sarah Lawrence Hinson

Great and information post Derek, thanks.

I decided against signups where you suggested (even though the hooks worked great) but I did go with AWeber. Figured it out and now have a sign-up form with a give-away. Woo hoo!

Be great for other sites when I get to it, too. Just wondering…haven’t had a chance to play, yet… does this code word just as well on a page? Would have thought so…

Thanks again, even spiritual people need sign-up forms!

Sarah Lawrence Hinson
A Mom On A Spiritual Journey

Brad Dalton

Hi Derek

I’ve started to see i good increase in subscribers by placing a link near my sign up forms to a landing page displaying several reasons why you should subscribe.

I display sign up forms and links in all the places you mention excluding the footer.

This landing page contains cornerstone content linking to some of my most popular articles as well as several testimonial snippets from my existing readers.

I also use a feature box as my Thesis skin contains 6 built in page lead options which means there’s no need to play around with php or css code.

Simply paste html for text content and the url to your image link in the custom boxes the skin includes.

This method can be used using rss or an email service however i use it for feedburner as my email list is used with my free ebook already converting really well.

Detective Bryan

Thanks again Derek. I came to search for an error Thesis was creating in my blog(and still haven’t found the solution) but your site taught me more SEO than I learnt in the last year !! Is there a free service which can help me subscribe people to my blog??


Thank you ,Derek, for providing this info in an easily digestible format for a non-techie like me.

I have been searching how to add an optin form (skin) to other pages, such as my About page and can’t find what I am looking for. I would like to add my optin box right below my about page content / signature line.

Can you point me in the right direction? My optin box skin gives me a short code, but I don’t know how/where to add that in Thesis.

Thanks in advance.