Making the Most of FeedBlitz: Simplifying the Subscription Form

Making the Most of FeedBlitzThis week, we continue our look at the FeedBlitz philosophy behind subscription forms.

As mentioned last week, our approach is to keep the subscription form on your site as simple as possible.

Any extra data collection or work (such as CAPTCHAs for anti-spam, custom fields or social media authentication dialogs) will take place on a separate page.

For example, to go straight from the form on your site to sending the activation email without going through the typical interstitial page requires the following:

1) Email only form

2) No custom fields

3) A paid FeedBlitz account

4) No reason for FeedBlitz to otherwise present a CAPTCHA

When all these conditions are true the user workflow is much simpler and faster. The variable you can’t control is FeedBlitz’s security and anti-spam detection routines that decide when to put up the CAPTCHA; more on this below.

Image Verification CAPTCHAs: When They Do and Don’t Appear

A CAPTCHA will always appear if you’re using a grandfathered, unpaid publisher account, or when you’re creating an individual email subscription that’s unlinked to a publisher account.

If, however, you’re paying FeedBlitz a monthly fee, we make the CAPTCHA invisible. Which is to say, we still have anti-spambot code present, but it doesn’t require a human being to read lots of squiggly letters.

A CAPTCHA will however be presented on a premium account if FeedBlitz detects what it thinks is someone or something attempting to spam the list.

This will happen when the invisible CAPTCHA test we use fails “ indicating spambots trying to automatically fill in the form – or when the pattern of usage appears to indicate manual (human) entry of junk addresses, in which case the CAPTCHA starts to appear to manage the process more aggressively.

However, under normal circumstances, no CAPTCHA will appear as the result of a premium publisher’s subscription form being submitted.

Altering the Form’s Design

The code use in FeedBlitz is pretty simple. So you can readily alter its design! The HTML does not use any HTML IDs or classes, so surrounding the form in a <div> will enable you to style it anyway you like.

Usually, the form will automatically pick up the correct fonts and colors from your page anyway.

Here are some common questions we get:

1) Q: Can I remove the “preview” and / or “powered by” text? A: Yes.

2) Q: Can I change the button or the text on it? A: Yes!

3) Q: How do I make the email field narrower? A: Use a smaller number as the “size” attribute’s value in the <input> fields.

You can also use the form code in third party forms and subscription managers; more on that below.

Using and Customizing the Embedded Form

The embedded version of the form is designed to be used on a page of your site. It is a single line of script that you add in the HTML editor for the page. When using the form, the subscriber never leaves your site.

The embedded form, because it is sitting within your site, does NOT use your email list’s template “ it would be silly to have your logo repeated on the page within your site, for example! It is served un-styled, and so should appear with your site’s default fonts and colors. If it doesn’t, have your graphic designer add the relevant stylesheet information to the HTML the form is embedded inside, and wrap the script code in an appropriately styled <div> block.

If this is all CSS to you, worry not “ your designer will know what it means. Once you have the subscription form embedded on the page the way you like, update your site so that there are clear calls to action to subscribe “ and have those link directly to the page you just created. Otherwise the odds of a casual visitor finding the subscription page buried somewhere on your site are low, and you don’t want that.

Using Custom Fields in the Form

Most FeedBlitz accounts don’t include custom fields, such as name, location, job title or birth month, so this section doesn’t really matter to most of you! But if you do have custom fields (or want to), here’s how they work in the subscription form:

  • Only visible custom fields will be shown on the interstitial landing page
  • All required custom fields called for by the form must be completed before it can be successfully submitted
  • You can change the custom fields required by any given form using the form’s “Form Code” definition page
  • You can use multiple versions of a form in different locations asking for different custom field data if you wish

Define custom fields using the link on the form code page, or via the left navigation under “Publisher Tools.”

So there you have it. We try and keep things simple and user friendly here at FeedBlitz. If there’s anything you can think of to better the process, be sure and let us know. Or, if you have questions, head on over to our Facebook page, leave them there, and we’ll answer them here on the blog for you.