Practical Ecommerce

7 Free WordPress Plugins to Build Your Email List

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.

As effective as email marketing is, you need a list to make it work. Building a good list takes time, and buying a list is never a good idea. The good news is that building your email list can be sped up significantly. It doesn’t have to take two years, or even one year, to have a reasonably-sized list.

If your website is getting anything less than a 2 percent opt-in rate — i.e., at least 2 percent of your website visitors are signing up for your list — then it’s time to add more prompts to get more people to respond.

In addition to setting up a few of the free WordPress plugins listed below, consider using incentives to grow your email list. I addressed that topic here recently, at “Using Incentives to Grow an Email List.” A good incentive, combined with even one or two of the free plugins below, should give your list building a significant boost.

Scroll Triggered Boxes

Scroll Triggered Boxes

Scroll Triggered Boxes

This is a good solution for people who feel like pop-ups are too invasive. Scroll Triggered Boxes only appear when someone has scrolled down on a page of your site. You can control how far down the page the scroll happens, like one third of the way down the page, or halfway down the page. Generally I find setting the scroll to appear at 70 to 80 percent is best.

The other good thing about this plugin is it takes only about 20 minutes to set up. I have hooked it up with MailChimp and GetResponse myself, but it also integrates with AWeber and should integrate any other email service provider that gives you html code to create your opt-in boxes. You can also customize the colors and how often it appears.

Optin Revolution: WordPress Popup

Optin Revolution

Optin Revolution

Many email service providers (like AWeber, Constant Contact, and GetResponse) let you create a pop-up from within your account, but others, like MailChimp, don’t. If you’re in the MailChimp situation, you’ll need a plugin or some other code to create a pop-up.

There are literally hundreds of WordPress plugins for pop-ups, but most of them are paid, or “premium” plugins. Optin Revolution is free, but some people do have quibbles with it. The advertising shown in its WordPress interface is pretty heavy, and there have been some issues with tech support, though the videos the developers added seem to have cleared up a lot of problems. That said, far more people like this plugin than dislike it. If it doesn’t work for you, try YITH Newsletter Popup.

Optin Revolution and YITH have both been downloaded more than 10,000 times and have been updated within a month of this article’s publication date. Start with Optin Revolution because it is more widely used. It also integrates with more email service providers, like AWeber, iContact, GetResponse, MailChimp, Constant Contact.

Plugmatter Optin Feature Box

Plugmatter Optin Feature Box

Plugmatter Optin Feature Box

A feature box is a full-width opt-in form that sits above the fold on your home page. If you’re a WordPress whiz you can create a feature box just by editing the template of your home page. If not, using this plugin will save you hours of struggling with your home page’s template.

Plugmatter is super-easy to set up (far easier, in my experience, than the more popular Magic Action Box), and it gives you several templates to work from. It integrates with all the major email service providers; I have used it with AWeber, MailChimp, and GetResponse. If you want to do A/B split testing, or add custom feature boxes on more than just the home page of your site, check out the paid version.

Here’s an example of it live (also note the Scroll Triggered Box in the lower right corner).

Plugmatter is an easy-to-set-up feature box. Note, also, Scroll Triggered Box in the lower right.

Plugmatter is an easy-to-set-up feature box. Note, also, Scroll Triggered Box in the lower right.

Hello Bar

Hello Bar

Hello Bar

Hello Bar has a long and illustrious history with list building. It may be the most widely-used plugin mentioned here. You can use the Hello Bar as an opt-in form or to promote any piece of content on your site.

I had some trouble getting the Hello Bar to work with MailChimp and GetResponse, but a few emails back and forth from customer service finally got things squared away. It would be great if someone could create a few video tutorials on how to set it up. But Hello Bar is so widely used I’m sure it can be set up with just about any email service provider. Just don’t think it’s you if the setup seems a bit frustrating. If you really run into trouble and just can’t make it work, head over to, a paid WordPress plugin directory, and look for “notification bars.” Or try SumoMe.

ListBuilder by SumoMe



ListBuilder by SumoMe is a new star in the plugins for email list building world. And it is a star. This plugin provides three things: a hello bar, a popup, and a scroll bar.

SumoMe is the work of Noah Kagan, who is becoming quite the go-to guy for list building. SumoMe is also the only tool listed here that can be used as a WordPress plugin but can also work on a regular HTML or other non-WordPress site. It integrates with MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor. Hopefully more email service providers will be added soon.

First Comment Redirect

First Comment Redirect

First Comment Redirect

This plugin lets you create a custom page, then it takes that new page and shows it to anyone who has just commented on your blog for the first time. The opt-in rate tends to be extremely high, probably because anyone who’s interested enough to comment on your site is probably interested enough to sign up for your list.

You won’t get as many new signups from this plugin as you will from a feature box on your home page because there’s so much less traffic going to the page people see after they’ve commented, but if you really want to maximize signups, this should be in your arsenal. It’s also nice because it’s super-simple to set up. If you know what you want to say and offer on your redirect page, you’ll have the plugin configuration part of this done in less than 5 minutes.

Optin Crusher

Optin Crusher

Optin Crusher

Optin Crusher is the creation of Daniel Watrous, a clever developer who understands the value of building a list. Optin Crusher is somewhat similar to a hello bar, but it appears at the bottom of the browser window as an overlay, like in the image above. The cost is free, but you will have to sign up for Watrous’s email list to get it. Don’t worry about being spammed if you choose to sign up; He rarely sends emails.

The Crusher lets you customize the colors and fonts of the overlay, and lets you change the promo image. You can hook it up with pretty much any email service provider, though special accommodations have been made to make it work with AWeber, iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp, GetResponse, Feedburner, FeedBlitz, and WP Responder.

I’ve used this plugin for over a year on one of my sites and have been surprised with how effective it is. It is a bit more invasive than what some people are used to, but it will definitely get you more subscribers.

Pamella Neely

Pamella Neely

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  1. Husnain December 14, 2014 Reply

    Hey, Thanks for your great Post.Currently I am using SEO by Yoast and some other plugins. Read this to know my recommendated plugins :

    • Rahul February 20, 2015 Reply

      Hi Pamella !

      Thanks for sharing this useful list of free WordPress plugins that help us build our email list. Email list building is one of the most important aspect which one must work on from the very first day. Email list is very deciding and crucial factor in the success of a business blog.

      However, for I have compiled a similar post entitled “Every WordPress blog must be Proudly Powered by These 10 Best WordPress Plugins” Hope we can share our knowledge with each other and thus resulting into help our community. >>

      Thanks ! Keep the work going !

    • JimmyZ March 14, 2015 Reply

      We were using unbounce for a while, then we tried some plugins that are mentioned in this article. We spent a lot of time building out our conversion sales funnel with a drip campaign and the results are awesome. Now all we want is traffic to feed our conversion funnel.

  2. Amit Sodha February 27, 2015 Reply

    Hey Rahul,

    Great list – I actually wasn’t aware of a few of these like the scroll and list builder – awesome and thank you! :-)


  3. Andrea Juliao March 25, 2015 Reply

    Hi Pamella,

    Great collation of plugins. While the plugins you mentioned are unique in their own ways and functionality, there’s one you might have left out. It’s Icegram (
    It’s a 4-in-one plugin doing popups, hello bars, messengers and notifications. And all this is for FREE. Great plugin with amazing themes and a lot of targeting rules.
    Check it out and Let me know!!!


  4. Karan Bhagat October 4, 2015 Reply

    Finally I have got something unique, I have already tried option revolution but quite unsatisfied with its performance because it creates uneasiness for mobile visitors. Going to try the first one you mentioned.

    In the mean time you can check this out, this can help you log in to your wordpress dashboard without entering username and password even :

    Kind Regards,

  5. Pawan October 6, 2015 Reply

    really good article…..

  6. aeflwomen November 20, 2015 Reply

    I have a website using WordPress. I need install WordPress Popup – Optin Revolution but I don’t know is it the best?

  7. Adrian December 8, 2015 Reply

    Hi Pamella, I’m interested in placing some kind of signup on my site but I’m not sure what would be the best option for firstly, my site in relationship to the design, secondly the content and finally the blog section described as Our Say. Can I canvas an opinion?

    Good article by the way!

  8. Anthony April 22, 2016 Reply

    Hi Pamella,

    Very valuable post you’ve created. I am new to blogging and list building, this post gave me a stating point on my goal to create my list. I don’t want to waste money on pro/premium versions yet because I still need to try it out and get the feel of creating pop ups and such list building methods for my wordpress blog.

    Your list, helped me to pick out the best plugins I can use for my blog without spending a dime. Keep up on creating highly valuable post like this.


  9. Igor komarnitskiy May 26, 2016 Reply

    Very nice list, thanks.
    I analyze some of these products.
    It is basically a complete solution includes many advanced features, due to which increases the price of the product.
    I found a simple and cheap solution that meets most of the requirements for the automation of small e-commerce:
    It is an automated email marketing platform, tailored for the needs of e-commerce. The platform helps to drive website visitors into customers. It’s CMS-based plugin enables launching triggered email marketing campaigns, that help improve retention rate, maximize sales, and acquire new customers. In fact, the tool replaces a team of analytics, marketers, and programmers. The integration process is extremely easy. It is an excellent solution to increase customer engagement, loyalty, and therefore get additional revenue

  10. Palla Sridhar August 21, 2016 Reply

    Hi Pamella!
    Nice collection of email related wordpress plugins. I tried several list of the above, but the main criteria is easiness and performance.

    You should also have 2 other on this list.
    1. wp-subscribe pro from mywpthemes
    2. optin-monster.

    Both are popular. Also Sumo plugin has a smart way of displaying this subscription boxes, which gets good CTR.

    Also you need a good security policy for your WordPress site. This article should give you some ideas.

  11. Shalaria LeNoir May 1, 2017 Reply

    I should have read this sooner. It would have saved me hours of searching for a WordPress plugin for my site.

  12. safalta August 10, 2017 Reply

    thank you pamela for sharing this great information about these free list-building plugins, as a lot of bloggers can’t afford premium plugins like optionmonster.

  13. Raymond December 9, 2017 Reply

    I’m someone who is just setting up a WP site and wondering, with so many plugins out there, which ones I should choose as a core set for my blog. I want to thank the below commenters (and any new ones of course) for their helpful suggestions…