First of all you need to sign up for a free account at MailChimp. Here is the signup link (Aff. link). Once you have signed up, and logged into MailChimp dashboard, you will be seeing a screen similar to this, and click on create a list. The good thing about MailChimp dashboard is, it’s interactive, so you will not find any issues with getting started with it.

Earlier this year, I made a big decision to move my email list of more than 135,000 subscribers to Infusionsoft from AWeber, which I’ve used for the past five-plus years. Three months later, my email list now lives on a relatively new and rapidly growing platform called ConvertKit. [Full Disclosure: I’m a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
“Email automation is the lifeblood to our businesses. Whether we are using a ‘Welcome Series’ for new subscribers, an invitation series for people requesting access to our products, an ascension series for transitioning a lead to a buyer… we are constantly using automation to create more touchpoints with the prospect/customer.” – Justin Rondeau, DigitalMarketer 
Thanks for this guide. It’s 100 times better than those rubbish clickbank ebooks selling for $47. I’ve recently checked out Woothemes and they’re quite beautiful and customizable (I took advantage of the test ground facility). I’m currently using Daily (premium theme from Theme Junkie) and I think it reflects the ideal blogging theme you described above.

Wow, Gill! That’s a fantastic idea. No wonder you got such great engagement. At AWeber, we’ve found that specificity does lead to higher open rates. It shows you know your audience, and you’re sending them value. You’re talking to the individual — not the crowd. Highly relevant subject lines paired with segmentation is a winning duo. Keep up the awesome work.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, I use a combination of Aweber + Feedburner to maintain my Emailing list. Aweber is paid, and Feedburner one the other hand is free. Though, I prefer a paid auto-responder service, as it gives me more control and more features. There are many other popular Email autoresponder services for bloggers out there, for example, GetResponse, MailChimp. I landed with Aweber because it’s one of the highly recommended services, and after using it for almost a year, I still in love with it.
The only other thing I would have mentioned under design is to not underestimate the power of colour and textures – in my hunt for a theme that I actually want to work with, I’ve narrowed it down to finding a minimalist theme and just giving it a hint of colour to add some flair. Otherwise things can just detract from your content just like you said.
We monitor tweets about AWeber and apply sentiment analysis to classify tweets as positive or negative. This allows us to output an approval rating score, which is based on real people, positive and negative, opinions about AWeber on Twitter. AWeber approval rating score is 79%. This is based on a total of 14 tweets that mention AWeber on Twitter. There are 11 mentions that share a positive sentiment and 3 mentions that express a negative sentiment. Find out more about how it works.
After you have entered your "List Name" you will need to enter a "List Description." Here is where you will describe the kind of information you'll be sending from this list. There is a 400 character limit for the "List Description." Subscribers will see your "List Description" on the unsubscribe page if they ever go to unsubscribe from your list. Once you are done entering your "List Description" click the "Next Step" button.
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