TAB ToolBoxIf you listen to The Author Biz podcast you know one of the drums we beat CONSTANTLY, is the value of an email list. A great way to add subscribers to your list is through a signup form on your website.

But, what if you have a hosted website. I assumed you could embed (technical term, sorry) a signup form on the site, the same way you can with WordPress sites hosted elsewhere.

Well, I learned today that simply isn’t true.

An author friend, Tori Eldridge, who is also a listener of the podcast, reached out to let me know she was unable to add the MailChimp subscription form to her site. I did some research, and she’s right. Here’s the information I saw on the support site: doesn’t allow forms for security reasons.

Hmmm – Interesting. I’ve seen subscription forms on sites before, so I continued my search. It turns out there’s a clever trick that others have used for getting around the problem.

The trick is to post a picture of a signup form and link the picture to your actual MailChimp (or AWeber, Constant Contact, Get Response or other email list management service) account.

The actual trick was posted in 2009, but it remains the state of the art answer for the problem.

I tried it on Tori’s site, and it worked. These are the steps I took to set up the form:

1.  Took a screenshot of the email subscription form on The Author Biz site.
2.  Used an online editor to trim the image to the right size.
3.  Uploaded the image to her website.
4.  Added the following code to a new text widget on the sidebar. (Text widgets are located at Classic Dashboard/Appearance/Widgets.)

<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://linktoimage.png” border=”0″></a>

Note: is the complete link to your MailChimp hosted signup form. (Or any other provider) And, http://linktoimage.png is the exact link to the screen shot image in your media storage.

5.  Placed the Text Widget on the top right of her site.

Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:

MailChimp Form Tori
You’ll note a certain similarity to the form on The Author Biz site. You can use MailChimp to create a form that matches the look and feel of your site and then use a screen shot of it to make things look the way you want.

It’s not a perfect solution, but most subscribers won’t notice the difference, and Tori now has an email subscription form on her site.

If you’re running self-hosted WordPress you don’t need this trick. You can either add the MailChimp plugin to your site, or embed the MailChimp embed code into a text widget.

Questions? Just leave them in the comments.