I’ve been working on a new site, my first venture of selling a digital product online. Last weekend I finished it… http://youmakethewebsite.com.au/. Here I’ll show you a good solution for integrating a PHPlist subscribe page into your WordPress website. For an example of this working, go to the link above and click on INTERNATIONAL VERSION in the header, or click SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER in the footer.
With this site, having an EDM (Electronic Direct Marketing) system in place was crucial. After using MailChimp, I wanted to use something more independent, and found PHPlist a good option, as it was offered as an auto install on my web hosting using Installatron.
PHPlist was easy enough to work with, however integrating a PHPlist subscribe page into WordPress took a lot of trial and error to get right.
The two plugins which are talked about most (WP PHPList; yPHPlista) and a few others (WebJunk PHPList; etc), for integrating PHPlist subscribe functionality into WordPress just didn’t work for me. They were all buggy and had poor documentation or just no-one responding to issues that are being posted in forums.
So I thought about a better integration, and this is very friendly in terms of the user interface. It’s a pretty quick method of integration too… use a shadowbox plugin to display your PHPlist subscribe page, and then if you wish, customise your PHPlist subscribe page to match the design of your site.
Step 1 – setup PHPlist and create a working subscribe page
My server uses Installatron, so installation was really easy. PHPlist has good documentation on their site, so I just followed this to setup a simple subscribe form (i.e. add fields, and they go into the config.php file and turn off test mode).
So go ahead and create a PHPlist subscribe page first.
Step 2 – install Shadowbox JS WordPress plugin and customise settings
You can search for ‘Shadowbox JS’ in the WordPress plugin repository, accessible from the WordPress admin. Install and then activate the plugin.
If you want to use Shadowbox JS just for displaying a PHPlist subscribe page (i.e. an external website), then you can use the same settings that I have.
If you want to use Shadowbox JS to also display media (e.g. images, videos), then take a look at Shadowbox JS’s website for info.
Step 3 – add a link to your WordPress site that will launch in Shadowbox JS
I must thank the author of the article at http://sivel.net/wordpress/shadowbox-js/ for helping out with this one, it was a bit hard to find this spelled out clearly in the documentation on Shadowbox JS’s website. To launch a link in Shadowbox JS, simply add code into the re=”” of the <a> tag. This is the code I’m using (you’ll see in rel that you can set the height and width of the shadowbox pop-up).
<a href=”http://youmakethewebsite.com.au/EDM/?p=subscribe&id=3″ rel=”shadowbox;height=416;width=584″ style=”color: #a1a1a1;”>INTERNATIONAL VERSION</a>
Pretty easy, and it works great. No need to add an extra dedicated subscribe page to your site.
Step 4 (optional) – style your PHPlist page to match your site
You can then go into your PHPlist admin and play with the code for the subscribe page. You can entirely rework the page and use CSS to change the display of the form elements.
Wish I thought about this earlier! I spent a whole night playing with WP PHPList and yPHPlista plugins, they didn’t work and couldn’t find anything to help me. After setting up the PHPlist subscribe page (which I was new to so it took about 30 minutes), it only took about 5 minutes to get Shadowbox JS installed and displaying the subscribe page on my site.
Styling the subscribe page took a bit longer, but I’m quite pedantic (i.e. pixel level perfect) about my designs. The one thing left that is bugging me is that there is an Unsubscribe link on the subscribe page. All I can manage to do is tone down the colour of the link and hide it below the fold.
For a more custom subscribe page, you could build your own PHP page.