WordPress is one of the most widely used platforms for bloggers as well as businesses both large and small. The ubiquity of the WordPress brand means many users will need to integrate it with their other online tools. These tools include services such as MailChimp, which provides email marketing and automation. MailChimp for WordPress allows users of the email marketing service to connect their account to their WordPress website or blog, opening up integrations that can enhance the performance of both platforms.

Whether you are marketing your business or managing your own blog, linking your MailChimp account to WordPress can provide many benefits. It can help you reach your customers and readers in a variety of ways, as well as provide you with unique feedback about your readership and customer engagement. Integrating the two platforms is a simple process. Here is step-by-step information that will guide you through the entire process of setting up MailChimp for WordPress.

Enable MailChimp For WordPress Via Plugin

mailchimp plugin

To set up MailChimp for WordPress, go to your WordPress site dashboard and enable the specific "plugin" on WordPress that will allow it to connect to your MailChimp account. When you go to your WordPress dashboard, skim the left-hand sidebar until you find the link for "Plugins." It is further indicated by a small plug icon.

Click on "Add New." You can search for the MailChimp plugin by clicking on the magnifying glass icon on the top of the screen and then typing "MailChimp" into the search field that appears. The plugin is called "MailChimp for WordPress." Select it, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

Check That The Plugin Is Properly Installed

mailchimp installed

Once you have completed the above steps, you can verify whether you have correctly installed the MailChimp for WordPress plugin. This is also done through your WordPress dashboard.

Click once again on the Plugins link from the left-hand sidebar on your dashboard. You should now see a list below that includes a link for "Installed Plugins." When you click on this link, it should show you a list of all the plugins that are currently installed on your WordPress blog or website. Ensure that among these you see the MailChimp for WordPress plugin. That shows that the plugin has been properly installed. However, there are still some steps you have to take to actually activate the plugin so that it goes live on your site.

How To Activate The MailChimp For WordPress Plugin

mailchimp activation

Now that you have ensured the plugin is correctly installed, it's time to take the next step to actually activate the plugin. This will connect your MailChimp account with your WordPress blog or website so that you can begin to take advantage of the full functionality and implement the functions you wish to use between the platforms.

Use the procedure that you used to check that the plugin was properly installed. You should see a button that says "Activate." Click that button to begin the process to activate the plugin. Now you need to actually setup the plugin. You do this by clicking on MailChimp Settings under the new menu item that appeared after you clicked activate. It should say "MailChimp for WP."

Under MailChimp Settings, you will see a screen asking you for a MailChimp API Key, which is an application programming interface key. This is the specific code that allows the two platforms to connect to each other and ensures that you connect your WordPress website to your specific MailChimp account.

At this point, you need to make sure you are logged into your MailChimp account. You can click on the link marked "Get your API key here." If you want to find your MailChimp API key manually, log into your MailChimp account, click on your account name and select Profile. From there, click on Extras, which will open a drop-down menu with one of the choices as API keys. In the list that appears, copy the API key and insert it into the field under MailChimp settings on WordPress. If the screen that appears says "You don't have any active API keys," click on the "Create a Key" button.

Configure Your Mailing Lists

mailing list

Depending on how you have set up your MailChimp account, you will have one or more email mailing lists. At this stage in the setup, you will be configuring your mailing list or lists so that you can collect subscribers directly from your WordPress website or blog. You should now see two choices under MailChimp Settings: Checkboxes and Forms. These are the two areas you can configure for your mailing lists.

How To Configure Checkboxes


The Checkboxes option allows you to give your WordPress website visitors the option to check a box to subscribe to your email list or lists on MailChimp. The subscription checkbox will appear for your readers on your blog in a comment form or a registration form.

Click on Checkboxes to configure the settings for this option. You should see all your MailChimp lists, and you should choose which list(s) that subscribers will be added to if they check on the checkbox. The "double opt-in" choice asks you to select yes or no. If you select yes, subscribers will have to confirm their subscription via email. Selecting no means the subscribers are automatically subscribed after they check the box, without a second confirmation.

Continue to configure the checkbox option by following the on-screen prompts. You will choose where to have the checkbox appear (either in a comments form or registration form), as well as the exact text you want to have appear to website visitors, such as "Check this box to subscribe." This area also allows you to decide if the checkbox should be pre-checked, as well as whether to load default CSS to place the checkbox within CSS formatting so that it doesn't appear in a strange place.

Making A Signup Form

code for signup form for mailchimp

Another option for collecting subscribers, now that you have activated the MailChimp for WordPress plugin, is by creating a signup form that visitors to your website or blog can complete to subscribe to your MailChimp mailing list or lists. Click on Forms under MailChimp Settings to begin this process.

As with the checkbox configuration screens, here you can specify the settings for your subscriber signup form. If you have HTML markup language that you wish to use, you can copy it directly into the field labeled "Form markup." However, there is a graphic interface of tools to the right that allows you to select the various fields for your form, such as first name and last name and generate HTML code for these to add directly to your form.

Continue through the various prompts under the "Form" configuration screen to specify options such as double opt-in. You can also add a welcome message after your website's visitors sign up. If you have a specific webpage that you want to send your visitors to after they subscribe, you can enter the URL for that page in the form field provided. That field is marked "redirect to URL after successful sign-ups." If you don't have a specific page, you can simply leave that field blank. Remember to include the full URL, including “http://” in the redirect box.

Adding A Subscriber Signup Form

subsciber form

If you generated HTML code to create a signup form for your WordPress website, you now need to embed that code into your website so the form will appear. Copy the code that was generated when you created the form, and then paste the code into the page or menu where you want the signup form to appear.

Using MailChimp Signup Form With WordPress Widget

mailchimp widget

Another way to add a subscriber signup form to your WordPress website is by using the form that MailChimp provides and adding the code for that form to your WordPress site. In your MailChimp account, go to "Lists" and select "Signup forms."

The MailChimp site will show you the types of forms you can generate for use outside of MailChimp. You can follow the on-screen prompts to configure your signup form and design it using the graphic interface.

Once you have configured the MailChimp signup form, copy the embed code and add it to your WordPress website or blog as a widget. Go to your WordPress dashboard, select "Appearance" and then "Widgets" and "Text" widget. You can copy the embed code into the text widget field and then place the widget in one of your WordPress sidebars.

Benefits Of MailChimp For WordPress


Now that you have set up MailChimp for WordPress, you can begin capturing contact information for visitors to your website. When your MailChimp account isn't connected to your WordPress site, some of your visitors might leave your site without you ever being able to contact them again. With the MailChimp for WordPress plugin or widget, you can now give your visitors a chance to sign up to your email automation campaigns, such as newsletters and direct marketing, to build long-lasting relationships with your blog readers and customers.

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