Small Eccomerce biz owner and starter. Crowdfunding with Kickstarter, Ecommerce operations, email gathering and subscription campaigns, multitude of guerrilla marketing techniques for CPGs sold everyday online.
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-Evil pop ups are not so evil. If your content is good readers will stay on your site even if a signup comes up. Give the reader some time on your site before pushing the subscription (at least a minute), so they do not immediately click out of it.
-Simply adding more places on your blog where readers can signup is also a good strategy. For instance, in between thoughts if written in paragraphs. Word them differently so they don't get disregarded.
-Give clear reasons as to why subscribing is their only option, or is better than just paying your blog a visit every once in a while.
-Let readers know how often they will be receiving a newsletter, or whatever it is they are signing up for so they aren't afraid of getting bombarded by unnecessary emails.
-Make social sharing easy. I like premade tweets at the bottom of posts. Make the tweet relevant, short, and with a link back to the site to make sharing the blog more enticing. I recommend tweetlink; free, super easy to use, and has analytics. Having backing builds trust and a reason for people to signup. It will also ultimately bring in more views.
2. Measure conversion rate as an area to improve each week, or month depending on how often you're posting. See what posts people comment on, share or like best, ask people that do signup what they want more of and produce more similar content. You will gain affinity with readers and see conversions steadily increase.
Hope this helps and I would be happy to explain more with a call!