7 Warning Signs You’re Suffering from Small List Syndrome

7 Warning Signs You’re Suffering from Small List Syndrome

Never heard of it, right?

You might even think I’m pulling your leg.

Honestly, I wish I was. I wish this entire post was just a tasteless joke written for my own amusement.

But it’s not.

The truth is Small List Syndrome is real, although I’m just now coining the term. I’ve watched it spread for years, slowly but surely infecting thousands of my students.

Not just clueless beginners, either. Smart writers, smart businesses, smart bloggers across the globe, all working hard to create good content, all doing everything they should be.

Except… none of it works for them.

Not because they’ve made a mistake. Not because their ideas suck. Not because they’re lazy.

It’s because they have a tiny email list or even none at all. It’s like a sickness, quietly devouring their traffic, revenue, and engagement until there’s nothing left.

And the scary part?

There’s a good chance you’ve caught the sickness too. After all, just how much focus are you giving your email list?

Just a little? None at all?

That’s bad news, my friend. Ill tidings indeed.

The good news is Small List Syndrome is curable. First though, we have to see whether or not you are infected.

Here are the symptoms:

1) Depressingly Few Shares

Sure, some of your posts get shared a bit, but most don’t seem to go anywhere at all.

After a while, you start feeling like publishing a post is like buying a lottery ticket. You feel hopeful for a little while, but you end up getting disappointed more often than not.

And you know what’s most depressing?

The total lack of control.

You can put your heart and soul into a post, publishing a piece you’re really proud of, but then nobody will share it. You can also crank out a real stinker, put it up on the blog, and it’ll get a few shares.

The inconsistency is maddening. Here’s the thing, though:

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Ever noticed how some blogs (like this one) consistently get hundreds or even thousands of shares?

It’s because they have thousands of email subscribers who come flocking to the blog every time a new post is published. As regular readers, they are a lot more likely to share the content too.

In other words, it’s all about the list. The bigger, the better.

2) Crappy Comments

Well, what about comments? Are those influenced by your email list too?

You betcha.

Not only the number of comments, but also the quality.

You see, comments are a lot like a bar or pub. Newcomers are silent for the most part, nursing their drink in silence as they watch the goings-on. It’s the regulars who do most of the talking.

Same thing on your blog.

Most first-time readers won’t say anything, not because they dislike your content, but because they simply don’t know you well enough yet. If they notice it’s quiet in the comment section, they might also be afraid to say anything, kind of like a newcomer wandering into an empty bar.

The fix?

You need to round up some regulars.

By building your email list, you can stay in touch with readers, letting them know about new posts. In time, they’ll start to feel like they know you and your content, and they’ll get more comfortable with leaving comments.

3) Ignored by Influencers

The bigwigs in your space not paying you much attention?

You might think it’s because your site is new, but honestly, that has little to do with it. The fact is, influencers are motivated by the same five words as everyone else:

“What’s in it for me?”

If you can send them thousands of new readers at the click of a button, then – miracle of miracles – you’re their new best friend. And if you can’t? Well, you’re about as noticeable as an ant to an elephant.

Of course, you might be wondering…how do they know if you can send them thousands of new readers?

The truth: word gets around.

Trying to hide the size of your email list is like trying to hide your wealth. Before you know it, everyone is whispering, and new “friends” are lining up to stick their hands in your pockets.

But it’s not all bad.

Having a big email list also attracts the attention of influential people. Accumulate a few thousand subscribers, and it’s amazing how many doors it opens for you.

The opposite is also true. Ignore your email list, and influencers in your space will steadfastly ignore you in return.

4) Little or No Revenue

If that’s not a big enough reason for you, here’s an even bigger one:

The size of your email list is the biggest determinant of a website’s revenue. The more subscribers you have, the more money you make.

It’s amazingly predictable. For a beginner, a good rule of thumb is one dollar per subscriber per month.

Want to make $1000 a month?

Well, accumulate 1000 subscribers.

How about $5000 a month?

You need 5,000 subscribers.

The better you become at marketing, the higher the multiple goes too.

The most talented bloggers I know have a multiple of two dollars or even three dollars per month per subscriber. Multiply those figures by 100,000 subscribers or more, and you’re talking serious revenue.

5) Nervousness about Branding

Of course, not everything is about money, especially when your site is new. Hell, you might not even be sure about your domain name or the general direction of your brand.

Guess what’s to blame?

You guessed it…your email list has a big effect on branding too.

For example, this site is about getting more blog traffic, so the domain name suits, but what if I decided to expand to blogging in general and purchased blogging.com? No big deal. I could switch to the new domain, and all our subscribers would come with us.

I could even make a bigger switcheroo if I wanted to. For instance, I could start writing about self-improvement or personal finance, and I would guess 80% of our readers would stick around, despite changing to topics that have nothing to do with the original focus.


Because I’m the center of the brand. Not the domain name, not the logo, not the site topic. Me. My voice.

If I move in a different direction, the audience moves with me. Not just because of our connection, but because I have permission to enter their inbox whenever I please.

As a result, I don’t worry about our domain name. I don’t worry about our focus. I don’t worry about the future.

And you shouldn’t either. As long as you have an email list, you can shift directions whenever you want with little or no penalty.

6) Uncertainty about Content

The same goes for your content.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what you should publish next?

Well, you shouldn’t. Your email list should be telling you what to do.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a large list is you receive instant feedback on everything you do, whether you ask for it or not. Every time you publish a new post, you’ll receive a wave of both compliments and criticism, and there’s pretty much nothing you can do to stop it.

But you shouldn’t even want to. It’s gold.

These days, I don’t do customer support anymore, but I do poke around the help desk at least two or three times a week, reading emails from subscribers and customers, noting what they like and what they don’t.

And then I shift course.

If we publish a post, and we get back hundreds of glowing emails, you can plan on seeing similar content again soon. If people are confused – or worst of all, silent – then I know we are out of touch and need to refocus on our audience.

It’s the pulse of the blog. As long as you have your finger on it, you always know what to do next.

Without it, you’re also flying blind. The uncertainty will never, ever end.

7) Dwindling Motivation

Last but not least, the severest symptom of them all.

What happens when a beginning blogger has hardly any shares, crappy comments, zero attention from influencers, no money, nervousness about their direction, and uncertainty about their content?

I’ll tell you: they give up.

Nobody has enough self-discipline to work in a vacuum forever. Without feedback or evidence of progress, you’ll eventually run out of energy, get distracted, or even quit altogether.

The opposite is also true. If you’re getting consistently good shares, loads of intelligent comments, emails from the most influential people in your space, buckets of money, and daily compliments about your branding and content, then guess what?

It’s pretty damn easy to stay motivated.

And guess what controls all those things?

Your email list.

Cure Small List Syndrome and Evaporate Your Blogging Woes

I know, I probably sound like I’m oversimplifying, but I’m not. An email list really is the cure-all for every problem your site has.

So, invest some time into building it.

Start by creating an irresistible incentive for new subscribers (it’s quicker than you think). Build an attractive opt-in form to snag new visitors (these plugins make it easy). And never stop looking for new ideas to get even more subscribers.

Learning how to build your list isn’t the most exciting aspect of blogging, but then taking your medicine is rarely fun. Just have to hold your nose, gulp it down, and thank God you’re still alive.

Because that’s exactly what’s at stake here. Your site will live and die based on how seriously you take your list growth.

So get serious. It’s the only known cure for Small List Syndrome.

About the Author: Once a victim of Small List Syndrome himself, Jon Morrow is now growing the company’s email list at a rate of 25,000 new subscribers per month. It’s safe to say he’s cured. 😉


  1. Ramona
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 09:58:20

    I am currently working on a new blog and growing it is a pain. There are already great things happening (slowly building the community, already earning some money), but there’s way more work to be done.

    I have always ignored an email list, since I personally subscribe to VERY few sites, but I see it’s something important, so I am working on building one for my community.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:18:44

      Woohoo! Glad to hear it.

      • Ramona
        Sep 03, 2015 @ 14:30:10

        Well, the great news is that your newsletter is actually one of the VERY few I have subscribed to and kept my subscription. The content quality you provide is out of this world 🙂

  2. Kevin Duncan
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:13:15

    Hi Jon,

    If my memory is correct, this is your first BBT post of 2015! I’m happy to read a new post from you. 🙂

    I’ve noticed this growing epidemic, too, although I never thought to put a name to it. “Small List Syndrome” describes it nicely. Like you, I used to suffer from it, too. I ran a humor/satire blog from 2005 to… gosh, let’s just say it was a long time.

    And during that long period of time, I didn’t just have a small email list — I had no email list. I was so preoccupied with “writing the funny” I missed such a vital component.

    In time, my once-popular humor blog began declining in popularity. I experienced many of the seven warning signs you discussed, but I was too blind to notice them. And when the humor blog was retired, I had nothing to show for it. No list, no legion of followers or fans… not even a cheap, gold watch as a retirement prize.

    I know better now, and I owe that to great minds like yourself and Darren Rowse. Your insights, combined with my previous failures, helped direct me onto the right path.

    Really appreciate this great post, Jon. I have zero doubt it will speak to and help a lot of readers.

    Will be tweeting it as soon as I click “post” to this comment. Hope you have a great Thursday, Jon!


    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:19:26

      Shh. Nobody was supposed to realize it’s been so long since I posted. 🙂

      • Kevin Duncan
        Sep 03, 2015 @ 14:28:45

        Oh. In that case I REALLY regret the “Jon Morrow posted for the first time in 2015” tattoo I got on my forehead earlier today.

        My wife will not be happy.


      • Ritu
        Sep 08, 2015 @ 01:05:34

        So happy to have you posting here again Jon!
        Ps. I’m a victim of small list syndrome! Help!

  3. John Yeoman
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:21:09

    There’s a peril even worse than Small List Syndrome, Jon. That’s a Sick Big List. Maybe we have a big list – say, 10,000 or more. But it just ain’t pulling. Why? We haven’t cleaned it in years. I spoke with the owner of a high-traffic site recently who was trying to sell ads in her newsletter, circ. 14,000. Problem was, the ads didn’t work so nobody was placing repeat ads. She confessed she hadn’t cleaned her list in eight years. (Distrust anyone who quotes big circulation figures, if they’re trying to sell you something.) I have more than 50,000 on my list. Big, eh? No. That’s it’s totalsize, accumulated across six years. But every month I prune out the dead-beats (those who haven’t opened my posts for five months) plus the residents of countries where PayPal doesn’t operate. So the active part is only a fraction of the total. And it works.

    I’d be happy with a list of just 1000. If it was red hot. In my years as a consultant, my list was rarely greater than 50. But each was a qualified, hand picked prospect. And each was worth a six-figure fee. I love small lists!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:22:43

      Indeed, responsiveness is also a problem, but it infects far less people. Still might be a post about it at some point in the future, though.

      Also, one thing…

      I agree with you that a list of 1000 handpicked prospects is better than 10,000 people who are indifferent, but I think it’s a false dichotomy. Why not go for 10,000 handpicked, highly engaged prospects? Or 100,000?

      That’s the best of both worlds. 🙂

      • John Yeoman
        Sep 03, 2015 @ 15:32:30

        True, indeed, Jon. But the only way to do that is to invest in AWeberPro or Ryan Levesque’s software, so we can hand-massage a few cool prospects and make them as hot as a Vegas stripper. Broadcast hard-sells to a list, large or small, just don’t work, as you know. I’m planning to invest in both AWeberPro and Ryan Levesque, following the example of a mutual friend at SBO who raves by ‘survey segmentation’. (You’ll know his name.) I’ll meet you at Ryan’s place 🙂

      • Jon Morrow
        Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:45:32

        It’s all an evil plot to get you to spend more money. I believe it’s finally succeeding! Muahahaha!

        On a side note, Ryan Levesque’s stuff is great. He’s becoming a good friend.

      • Leanne Regalla
        Sep 12, 2015 @ 21:52:12

        I’m reading “Ask.” from Ryan now, Jon & John. I was a little skeptical because I’d heard several interviews from him and I thought it would just be duplication, but it’s a great book.

  4. Daryl
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:22:31

    My name is Daryl, and I suffer from small list syndrome. 🙁

    But thanks for your awesome post Jon! I’ve known for ages about the importance of building my list, but I never actually thought that working on my list was a *priority*.

    However, building my list, especially implementing the advice you give on creating a subscriber bribe and using a plugin to collect reader information, is definitely on my immediate to do list.

    With all of your help, I’m sure I’ll be able to cure my small list syndrome quickly and with minimum fuss.

    Thanks again!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:23:22

      Most welcome! We’ll have you cured in no time.

  5. Walter
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:22:54


    Jon, I missed your Posts here on BBT. I love your voice, your knowledge, your guts.

    And yes: If you start a Self-Development Blog, I will follow.

    Greetings from Germany,
    Walter (Proud SBO Member)

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:23:39

      Thanks Walter. 🙂

  6. Mark Tong
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:23:29

    Hi Jon – very timely post as my email list is way too small at the moment – this is a good kick in the rear to get moving and pour some more effort into that most essential of essentials.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:24:03

      Excellent! Best of luck!

  7. Alex Limberg
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:34:30

    Good to see another post from you personally, Jon!

    The nice thing about growing your list is also that you can do the math for future revenue quite easily, and that helps enormously to stay motivated. I heard the formula “1 subscriber = $1/month” from you first, and it’s a very valuable piece of info.

    Whenever I need a motivational boost, I just think back to that formula and it gets me going again.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:25:28

      Yep, math is always fun when you’re calculating how much money you’re going to make. 🙂

  8. Andrew
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:41:54

    Hey Jon.

    This was a great post and really a topic that a lot of people struggle with.

    Thanks for writing about it.

    Having a large enough list is key. What i found out is that even though I do outreach I would have a bigger impact with a larger list. And that’s something I’m focusing on.

    Uncertainty of topics is something I struggle with because I’m constantly reminding myself that no one wants to read about what I have to say…they want info on what they want to know. And that’s where surveys and polls make a huge difference with a larger list.

    Working on that.

    Truly great post here, Jon. This will certainly help a lot of people (me included).

    – Andrew

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:26:33

      Yes, it’s true. A bigger list doesn’t only equal more money. it also equals more impact on the world.

  9. Zarayna
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:55:30

    Hello Jon,
    Just a very quick but heartfelt thank you for this post which I shall keep and refer to.
    I have radically altered course – more of a jack-knife – but hope to emerge from my branch-hanging, scabby chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly.
    If I am successful, it will largely be down to you and your community. If I fail, it will probably be because John Yeoman has ‘pruned’ my branch away.
    Thanks again and kindest.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:27:16

      Yes! Let’s blame it all on John! That’s why he’s here, I think. 😉

  10. Laurel Bern
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 11:08:04

    Hi Jon!
    It’s been nearly a year since I signed up for your course. I don’t remember which one. haha! All I remember is that I was blogging, blogging, blogging and had about 150 subs. I knew I was doing something wrong. There weren’t many comments, but an ever increasing number of page views. Just before my birthday in February, I reached 1k. But it wasn’t until I figured out the thing that they desperately wanted to know; the problem that was keeping them up at night, threatening to break up their relationships—and give them an easy method to fix it, that the subs started pouring in. That as last spring. Now, I’m going on 6k. I’m averaging about 50 comments a post (incl mine). It’s exactly as you said. There are regulars and the newbies comment because it feels safe.

    This is in an industry where the heavy hitters say “blogging is dead; no one comments anymore.” No, silly, it’s not dead. You’ve become boring and worse yet, you don’t engage with the few who are responding.

    Thank you, thank you for all of your sage advice. It works and I’ll be forever grateful!

    Alright, back to work, or the right hand to the king is gonna whoop my butt! ;] Launching my first product 9.26— to the subs for the first week and then look out! I did a survey and got a lot of “hyperventilating gotta have this” votes.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:27:55

      You’re killing it, Laurel. So proud of you.

  11. Janelle Johnson
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 11:37:57

    Hi Jon,

    This post could not have come at a better time! I am absolutely suffering from Small List Syndrome, barely picking up 1-3 subs per month. My goal this month is to focus on building my email list, with your advice. I’ve been overthinking what to create as an incentive for months, but I will finally do what it takes to get it done! Thank you for the extra kick in the pants!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:28:36

      Most welcome, Janelle.

  12. Mark Richardson
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 11:48:12

    I have about 11,000 subscribers. How the heck do you get $1/month from them?

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:30:05

      Step 1: find out the biggest frustrations of your audience
      Step 2: create a product that or service that relieves those frustrations
      Step 3: sell the hell out of it

      • Kristie Chiles Arp
        Sep 07, 2015 @ 18:01:44

        Jon, I love how you simplified the whole process of successful affiliate marketing in 3….short…phrases! Touche! Kristie

  13. Tor Refsland
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 11:54:25

    Thanks a lot for an awesome blog post as always, Jon.

    I really appreciate it.

    I have to admit that I was suffering from the small-list syndrome for a little while…

    until I joined your awesome Serious Bloggers Only course.

    Wow, are you giving a lot of bang for the bucks!

    Your advices work like a GPS in the online world.

    I followed your tip and created a big roundup post with 80 experts sharing their BEST productivity tips.

    It resulted in 22 000 page views in the first 6 days, 1300 social shares, 74 comments and a lot of new subscribers.

    Thanks for leading the way, Jon.



    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:31:18

      Woot! I’m so excited for you! We’ll have to do a case study.

      • Tor Refsland
        Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:23:16

        Thanks, Jon!

        That`s awesome 🙂

        I`m in! Case study rocks 😉

  14. Melissa Chu
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:04:44

    Hi Jon,

    Nice to see a post from you!

    This post is spot on! The worst one, I find, is dwindling motivation. Nothing kills the spirit like getting zero attention despite trying your hardest. Even if you start off motivated and energetic, thinking your voice can change the world…no attention means no impact, so then you figure: what’s the point?

    I previously ran a blog that I updated all the time, thinking, “Build it and they will come.” Yep, rookie mistake. But thanks to sage advice such as yours, it’s helped me grow and get more out of the work I put in.

    I really enjoyed this post, Jon. I’m sure this piece will resonate with a lot of fellow bloggers and will sharing this article with them.

    All the best Jon,

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 19:07:25

      Thanks Melissa!

  15. Cathy Goodwin
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:15:32

    Hi Jon, thought-provoking post. Seems like you need more than a big list. You need a responsive list. I know people who made very good incomes from lists that were small because they stayed very focused on topics the list cared about. They also gave lots of love to their lists. It’s possible to have a big but uninvolved list.

    It seems to depend on traffic source. Traffic from Adwords and telesummits tends to be lower quality than traffic from sign ups on a website or blog post.

    That said, list-building never ends! It can get easier but is never effortless.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 19:03:08

      Very true. Especially the quality of subscribers part.

  16. Travis Levell
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:21:43

    Hey Jon,

    I always look forward to the next time you post, even though they are few and far between these days 🙂

    Always great information, and so true about the email list. When the company that I’m at hired me they didn’t know that email was the real channel – and suffered because of it.

    Now we’ve more than tripled our traffic and engagement just by focusing on our email list.

    So just in case any of you are wondering – Jon is 100% right!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:56:16

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Travis!

      And congrats on tripling your traffic and engagement. That’s awesome.

  17. Virginia
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:27:46

    Jon – thanks for the useful information and lots of resources to check out.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:54:51

      Most welcome, Virginia.

  18. Sophie Gauthier
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 12:31:31

    Thank you for this awesome post Jon.

    You can now count me as a faithful reader of your blog! One article is like a course, and your blog is like a professional training! 🙂

    I am now preparing the launch of my blog, by collecting mails. I allready started a conversation with around 20 people that will be soon engaged followers. So I also read the links you give to build an email list, cause only 20…meh.

    So…Thank you very much for all the advises!


    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:54:31

      We’ll have you up to thousands in no time, Sophie. Just keep reading. Lots more great stuff coming your way. 🙂

  19. Janice Wald
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:29:30

    Hi Jon,
    I am self-hosting now. I clicked the link that led me to how to improve the content in my opt-in box. Fingers crossed. I’ve heard such great things about the opt-in box increasing subscribers, but with no budget, I am using the “default” sumo.me optin box. Thanks for including the link and giving me ideas for how to improve my list, so I do not suffer from “small list syndrome”.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:52:49

      Most welcome! Sumome is also a great start.

  20. lita
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:43:18

    Hello Jon,

    I love this inspiration packed post. Your take on the power of the email list is refreshing and a new take away for me is, ‘As regular readers, they are a lot more likely to share the content too’. Of course we all know the commercial value of a long list and not everyone will see that using the questions readers leave in the comment box to fuel future posts is a money maker in terms of editorial time saved. Thank you for shining a light on this by pointing out the value of looking through readers email comments.

    Have to share this one!


    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:52:14

      Thanks Lita!

  21. Tina Collins
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 13:56:42

    I’ve been suffering from this syndrome for a lot longer than I thought! It goes way back..still, it’s not unusual for me to be last to cotton on. I’ve got everything set up to grab those subscribers but I’m still awaiting! Better go and check those other links you gave 🙂 Thanks!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:51:17

      It’s never too late, Tina. We will get you pointed in the right direction. 🙂

  22. Theodore Nwangene
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 15:03:10

    You’ve said it all Jon,
    And you simply nailed it on the head. I just feel like shading tears right now because its as if I’ve really wasted so much time chasing the wind thereby ignoring the most important aspect of building a successful online business which is my Email List.

    I wish i learnt it early enough but that not withstanding, list building is what I’m focusing on right now. I no longer want to waste time again because after going through your Serious Bloggers Only course, I’ve come to realize that no internet marketers has a real business without a good and responsive email list. That’s where the authority is.

    And I’ve also learnt a lot of fantastic and actionable stuffs from you but I’ve been too lazy to start applying them right here and now……..

    I hear by decree that i will take the bull by the horn. No more looking back.

    Thanks for the motivation Jon…

    Also being awesome :).

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:50:31

      Go for it Theodore! We are rooting for you!

  23. Greg Strandberg
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 15:15:18

    Great job pointing out the problems of having no email list, but I fail to see you offer any solutions other than your email list will solve it. Well, how do I fill up my email list or make my non-opening and even-worse-clicking email list better?

    Please don’t give me the tired old answers of write great content, share on social media, and comment on other blogs. I’ve done that, many times.

    I guess the answer is to buy one of your services, huh? Golly, that’s awfully nice of you.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:41:06

      Just a little bit cynical, Greg?

      Take a look at the bottom of the post for links to several in-depth guides. They were always there, but I guess you missed them.

    • Tina Collins
      Sep 04, 2015 @ 02:38:24

      Can I just say something? I’ve took a look at your site Greg and decided to subscribe. I had to look for your form and eventually found it in the About page. Also you say I will receive a free book but there’s no mention of what book that is. My advice would be to make your subscription form stand out more. Place it on your home page and say what book you are giving away free. Really sell your list 🙂

    • Tina Collins
      Sep 04, 2015 @ 02:40:32

      Also I’ll be more than happy to be a ‘tester’ 🙂

  24. DNN
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 15:49:07

    The good thing about e-mail list building is the ability to grow it organically. The downside is having patience to uniquely build it to a loyal following and retain the masses.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:47:19

      Wise words. Although I would say that’s true for building your list through content marketing. You can also do it through advertising, but the learning process can be quite expensive.

  25. Bello
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:12:32


    Every post you publish on this blog is so relevant that I’m beginning to wonder how you know what I’m thinking.

    You’re excellent at what you do.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 03, 2015 @ 18:41:42

      Thank you, Bello!

  26. Faizan Elahi
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 19:39:46

    Great so see you back, Jon. I have been a huge fan of your writing since your days at Copyblogger. I was compelled to comment since this is a very timely post for me. I have had a blog for over 5 years ( incidentally, its acronym is also BBT!) but I was not able to focus on it properly due to studies. Now I have a free schedule after a long time and I am hoping to establish my blog within 4-6 months and the main part of my strategy is to concentrate on listbuilding. One just cannot ignore it if he wants to build a reliable and permanent business on the Internet.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:05:39

      Absolutely. Focus on list building for 4-6 months, and I think you’ll be quite pleased with your progress.

  27. Jacqueline
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 20:41:31

    Almost despite myself Jon, your posts always refocus me! It’s like you throw down the gauntlet — just the right one, at just the right time. Thanks. I’m in and I’m going to push hard…I’ll report back soon.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:04:48

      Please do. We love success stories!

  28. Marcia Walker
    Sep 03, 2015 @ 21:20:51

    Your post is filled with a gold mine of information. I am just beginning a blog I’m also desirous of building a business. This information will greatly assist in the process. Thank you for sharing. Priceless stuff

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:04:28

      Most welcome!

  29. Steve Ogida
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 05:25:06

    Jon i can now see most things i overlooked which ought not be,and that is building of list after i read your post.And i will put this to practice.Thanks for the brilliant work.And please for those of us that want to start building their email list,i recommend AWEBER or GET RESPONSE for quick result.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:03:54

      Yep, both are good companies.

  30. Harshit Kumar
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 05:48:04

    Hi Jon,
    I have a blog and I don’t think that anyone is visiting my blog… I am the only on who visits my blog… I don’t want to earn through my blog I just want to make it popular… And I cannot earn through my blog because I am of only 14yrs. So, what should I do to make it popular???

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:03:30

      Read everything here on BBT. 🙂

  31. Susan
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 07:08:10

    Thanks for all your helpful info. I purchased one of your courses and learned a lot.
    Just starting a fine art line after years of owning a portrait studio and very interested in seeing how building a following will help with sales. It’s been a lot of work and a challenge to say the least. But it’s an exciting time for online art. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say! Great info!!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:02:53

      Hi Susan. Building a following should help quite a bit with art sales. You might want to connect with Antrese at http://savvypainter.com/

  32. Laurie Stone
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 09:11:38

    Jon, I must admit, I’m one of the “small list” sufferers. As usual, however, you make me see things in a new, inspired light. I will be sure to read all your advice. Already you’ve made a difference in my writing and my blog. Thank you.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 15:00:05

      Glad to hear we’ve made a difference. Thank you, Laurie.

  33. Adeshina Lawal
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 15:51:49

    Hi Jon.
    This is a great post written at the sand of time. It is not only a cure for a lean list but also a reference to dying list growth.
    I have profit immensely from the old but logical way of building an online presnce.

    Indeed u’r d bomb.
    The post blow my mind and it keeps me motivated always.

    Thanks jon

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:54:16

      Most welcome!

  34. Sherman Smith
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 18:40:57

    Hey Jon,

    I needed this one!

    I suffer from small list syndrome myself, and as I go through this journey I’m making the necessary changes in order to change my fate

    For me it’s been a very slow process, but this year I’ve started doing guest posts, roundups and just reaching out to more people in general. With that said, more opportunities have been coming my way.

    But above all, growing my list is a major goal, and with the reasons why you gave here gives me even more energy to figure out different ways to do it. There’s different aspects of marketing that I need to spruce up so I’ll start there!

    Thanks for the share Jon! Have a great weekend!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:53:33

      I’m super pumped to hear you are doing guest posts, roundups, and outreach. Most people never even get that far. Congratulations, Sherman.

  35. Rajkaran Singh
    Sep 05, 2015 @ 02:57:52

    Hi John
    I am a great fan of yours. Nice to read your article. Thanks for the awesome information. I really need to work on this.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:52:04

      Most welcome!

  36. Rajkaran Singh
    Sep 05, 2015 @ 15:21:36

    Sorry for the typo, Jon.

    • Steve Ogida
      Sep 05, 2015 @ 16:05:07

      Ride on Singh,am in support of that because Jon gave value that we should not overlook.I have tried it and is working for me.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:52:18

      No worries. 🙂

  37. Linda Schrier
    Sep 05, 2015 @ 19:10:05

    Hi John,

    This is the first time I’ve seen your post and am curious how I got on your list. I’m writing about your post because others talked about how wonderful you are. I like how you put in the comments how to grow your list withe 3 steps. Find the biggest frustrations of your audience, Create a product or service that relieves those frustrations and sell the hell out of it. That makes a lot of sense.

    I am fairly new and my list is growing which makes me happy but nowhere near yours. Growing a list doesn’t happen overnight but in time it will.

    Loved your post John and thank you for sharing.

    You have an awesome weekend.


    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:51:17

      Hi Linda! You must have joined our list at some point, because we never add anyone. If you’d like clarification on exactly when and how, please email support@boostblogtraffic.com.

      In the meantime, glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  38. Vivek
    Sep 06, 2015 @ 16:27:15

    Hey Jon, You are always so sure about what you’re going to say in your articles. I'”ll have to admit that I’m suffering small list syndrome and this post completely defined my situation. The problem with me is that, I am thinking way too much about the content and the competition I have in my niche. How do I get over this?

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:49:42

      It’s a decision, I think. Just have to decide to focus on the things that really matter.

  39. Mark
    Sep 06, 2015 @ 20:06:58

    Jon thanks for giving this dreaded disease a name!

    And thanks for providing the cure!It’s not a crime to start out with a tiny or no list, what kills us is, if you don’t continually grow both the size and responsiveness of your list!

    Thanks!Great stuff!

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:47:05

      Most welcome, Mark!

  40. Bizy Loanr
    Sep 07, 2015 @ 12:52:58

    Wow, I never realized that email list cultivation was the key to a successful blog. Wonderful post!

  41. Elvire
    Sep 08, 2015 @ 00:10:07

    Yep, I admit I am one of those beginners who is keeping sort of quiet, yet I suffer from the small-list or rather no-list syndrome as well. However, your excellent blog has given me full throttle power to move ahead taking this syndrome serious and yanking it out.
    Thanks Jon.

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:46:00

      We’re rooting for you Elvire!

  42. Aderemi Dare
    Sep 08, 2015 @ 12:19:15

    Hi Jon,

    I have been hanging around here for some while, reading your content and not commenting.

    And the truth is that I have really enjoy every post and this is one the best.

    I just built a new blog and I must say all your point are pointing towards me but I think I can actually solve the problem here.

    Thanks Jon, Quality list solves major blog problems.


    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:45:21

      Most welcome! Best wishes for your success.

  43. Steve Ogida
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 01:58:03

    Be inspired Dare, also one thing you need to do for your trendy and engaging blog is to think that you blog not for money and here you will have rapid audience, rock on.

  44. Veronica Gilkes
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 10:45:06

    Hi Jon, It’s not often I write a reply, but you inspire me to want to do more. And at long last earn some money from my writing. I must admit I do not have an e-mail list, I know I should definitely have one, but I am stuck I have no idea how to start one, I am one of your students of ‘Guest Blogging Course’ I am also one of your subscribers for SBO. I know I would need to offer my subscribers something for them to join my list, but I am stuck, what on earth can I offer them? Could you or someone who is perhaps isn’t as busy as you give me some advice, please. Another great post. Thank You, Veronica

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 14:44:39

      Hi Veronica! We will definitely get you unstuck. Take a look at some of the links at the end of the post.

    • Veronica Gilkes
      Sep 09, 2015 @ 16:47:16

      Thanks, Jon and Steve, I will definitely follow your advice. Thank you, you guys are awesome. Veronica.

  45. Steve Ogida
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 16:35:52

    hey Veronica you can offer free e-books, and aweber or get response is the auto responder that i think deliver accurately inother to build your list,enjoy.

  46. Johnson Kee
    Sep 09, 2015 @ 22:16:40

    Hi Jon,

    Great to see you posting here again and thanks for sharing your knowledge. Having a big list is definitely a great starting point, but its important not to abuse it.

    This might be a topic for another post, but did you have a strategy for systematically increasing the average value per subscriber? How long did it take you to hit the $1/subscriber/month value?

    Having an engaged list that buys from you every month is the holy grail of online business. I think it comes down how well you know your audience and how well you solve their problems.

    Thanks again, I’ll be sharing this post with my small list (hopefully not small for long ;)).

  47. dileo burgin
    Sep 11, 2015 @ 21:07:12

    sounds like a chicken-and-egg problem. The list will solve your problems, but to build the list must mean getting the attention of other popular bloggers, which is not possible without the list. If you’re starting from zero or if your blog is stuck at zero, not much will work.

  48. Steve Ogida
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 06:42:47

    hi add image or animation to your profile, i like see such things in profile because it look natural.

  49. joseph
    Sep 30, 2015 @ 11:16:19

    Hey Jon,

    I’ve heard the “$1 per subscriber” thing before. But is that roughly for most niches? I’m in the sports niche and by no means do I claim to be great or anything, but am struggling to get close to that. Would you say that metric refers more to online marketing, relationships, or fitness niches?


  50. Tai Lopez 67 Steps Review
    Oct 15, 2015 @ 19:33:26

    Oh Jon… you always have the best articles! Thanks so much for writing! I’m ready to get serious!