MailChimp Basics – How to Create A List, Sign Up and Opt-In Forms - MintSwift

MailChimp Basics – How to Create A List, Sign Up and Opt-In Forms

Email marketing is essential in growing your blog and online business. At first, you might feel intimated by it, especially when you don’t like tech stuff, but actually, it’s super easy to set up. In this post, I’ll prove it to you, that you don’t need to be a tech guru to set up MailChimp* correctly.

Everyone eventually wants to convert blog readers into email subscribers, but how can you do it? Today, I’ll walk you through the steps how to set up your list, how to set up sign up form and how to create opt-in (embedded) forms in MailChimp* so you can start collecting emails today!

This post contains affiliate links marked with (*) for products I recommend. If you decide to make a purchase, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!



If you’re a beginner blogger, MailChimp is probably the best option for you. Why? Because:

Before we dive in:


Before you start to collect email addresses, you need to create a list to add your subscribers to, here’s how to do it:


1. Log in to your MailChimp* account

2. In the navigation on the left click Lists

3. Click Create a list

4. In the New list or groups? box, click Create List

5. Type in the List details in the fields

6.  Set up whether you want to receive a notification when someone signs up to your list

7. Now click Save and you just created a list!

8. Now you can set up a signup form to collect new subscribers 


Once you create a list, you can jump in and click Create a signup form

or if you closed the window it’s all right. Just go to MailChimp* > Lists > Click the drop down menu arrow and then > Sign up forms

1. Choose general forms

2. Click the Forms and response emails drop-down menu and choose Sign up form

In the signup form, you’d have to decide what information you want to collect from your subscribers. Keep in mind – the less information you require of people the more likely they will be to sign up for your list. For all my list, I choose only an Email and First name. The first option which is automatically selected is Build it

As you can see, it doesn’t look very attractive, because it’s a standard MailChimp sign up form. It’s time to customise it!

Now, as I’ve mentioned, you need to decide what information you want to collect from your subscriber. If you want to delete last name field, here’s how to do it:

Now it’s time to use an image with your logo as a header instead of using a text.

1. Hover your mouse over the header area and click Use Image

2. Upload your image and click Save & Insert Image

3. And Voilà!

Now write a short message letting your subscribers know, what they will be receiving when they sign up.

Now it’s time to design your sign up form, let’s start with Page. You get three customization options on the page and the area you’ll be editing, is highlighted by the red frame.

1. Background – You can change the colour of the background – I use #F7F8F8 for all my backgrounds

2. Header – If you don’t use image and just have a text title, you can change a  font size, line height (the spaces between lines of text), margin bottom (space below text) and margin top (space above text)

3. Outer Wrapper – it’s the box that surrounds your header title. I have it set up as None

Now, go to Body options, where you can change the following:

1. The foreground – is a colour of a background of your box, I have it set up as white (#ffffff)

2. Default text – here you can change the setting for the text in your signup form.

3. Link Style – choose the colour for your links

Now go to Forms option, where you can customise:

1. Buttons – change a colour on button, by using one of your brand colours (I’m using mint)

2. Buttons hovered – here you can change a colour of a button when someone hovers mouse over it, personally I use the same mint colour for a hovered button, but change a text colour to black

3. Field Labels – line height, change font, font size and text colour

4. Field text – font family and text colour of the information someone would type inside the boxes

5. Required – you can choose whether to show if the particular field is required or not and change its colour (*)

6. Required legend – if you choose to show the required legend, you’ll see * indicates required

7. Help text – choose colour of the text that displays when a subscriber clicks on a field

8. Errors – Change the colour and font weight of the error text

And you my friend, just set up and design your sign up form!



Once you set up a list and sign up form, now you’ll learn how to create an opt-in (embedded) form in MailChimp*. But, before we start you might want to first know what is an opt-in (embedded form)

Embedded form is a generated HTML code which you can embed on your site or blog to collect signups.


  • In your sidebar
  • Below blog posts
  • Below main navigation
  • In footer
  • At the bottom of the page

Ok, let’s begin! Follow the steps from creating a signup form so:

MailChimp* > Lists > Click the drop down menu arrow and then > Sign up forms > Embedded forms > select Naked form

The naked form is the best option if you want to customise your form because there are no CSS styling. If you don’t want to customise your form, choose Classic

Now, copy the text from the Copy/paste onto your site box and Place the code in a text widget. If you want to style your embedded form, I recommend a plugin called Magic Action box. I think I might write a whole blog post about it in the future 😉

I hope now, you don’t feel intimidated by MailChimp* anymore. You’ve just hit an important milestone for your blog and business and now you can start collecting emails! I’m so proud of you! Before you do, make sure to create a content upgrade to add value and reason for someone to subscribe!

xo Adrianna

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Sam

    Hi Adrianna,

    This post is very helpful and straight the point, thank you! Did mailchimp recently changed the name of lists to audience? because I do not have that option on my dashboard. I’ve looked everywhere, still nothing. Please help, thank you!

  2. Nikki

    Can you explain how to put the personalized form you explained how to do first into my WordPress site? I followed your steps and made a really nice sign up form but I am so lost on where to get the html or how to actually get it into my site. The embedded forms look so bleh so I would really like to use the customized one I made. Please help!

    1. Hi Nikki,

      Sorry for a late reply.

      You can add your form e.g. to the blog sidebar by using the Custom HTML widget. Alternatively, you can use a plugin like Magic Action Box.

      I hope that helps 😉

  3. do you have tutorial how to use leadpages with mailchimp and opt-in incentives? how do you add library sign up form at the bottom of all of your blog posts? I’m using a plugin for that and it’s slowing down my blog posts. thank you

    1. MintSwift

      Sorry, but I don’t use LeadPages.

      The library sign up is created by free plugin called Magic Action Box

      Instead of LeadPages, I create custom landing pages using Visual Composer.

      Instead of using LeadBoxes, I create on-click popups with plugin called Layered Popups.

      I hope that helps 😉

      1. yes that helps! thank you

        I have visual composer that came with my theme, but I never used it before.

        If you are using layered popups, does it allows you to disable double opt-in option with mailchimp? I want to be able to send a free ebook without having to confirm or double opt-in and not have to create a lot of lists on mailchimp.

        1. MintSwift

          I really love Visual Composer, in fact my whole website is based on it 😉

          I’m afraid it’s not possible.

          Here’s a great article from MailChimp about it

          With MailChimp, you’ll have to create new list each time you have a freebie and attached it to Welcome Email.

          You can always create a resource libarary with all your freebies and only have one list for that or use Automation feature to deliver your freebies.

  4. Sarah | Mommy's Budget

    This was super helpful, thank you! Actually, all your tutorials have been life savers for me! 🙂

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