Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

Are You Protecting Your Blog’s Most Valuable Asset?

This guest post was written by Neil Matthews of WPDude.

Are you protecting one of the most valuable assets of your blog—your email list?

The majority of us rigorously backup the content of our blog, but do we give the same thought to our email lists?

Why back up your email list?

“The money is in the list.” is a mantra we often hear in Internet marketing circles, and we hear it so often because it is so true. An email list is still the best way to communicate with your tribe and to make offers to them. Those people are on your list because they know, trust and like you, and are prepared to give you their attention.

Our attention is the most valuable thing we can give to a marketing message. Bombardment with online ads and the resultant ad-blindness means your list is incredibly valuable. You should be protecting this golden asset: the details of those people who have given you their attention.

You email list also represents a huge investment of time. Over the months and years, your list has slowly grown because of all the work your have done creating quality content on your blog and sending great newsletters.

Don’t let your list slip through your fingers! What would happen to your business if you no longer had that asset?

How you can damage your list

There are a number of ways you could kill your email list.

User error

You could accidentally delete all of your subscribers. Email software systems such as Aweber or Mailchimp are not the easiest user interfaces to navigate. You could accidentally wipe your email list.

Being banned

If you go against the terms and conditions of your email provider, there’s a chance that you could be banned from that service and lose access to your list. This is not a far-fetched as you may think: one time I sent out an email to my list which generated a 1% unsubscribe rate, and Mailchimp temporarily suspended my account. I was given the IT equivalent of a call to the headmaster’s office so I could explain my actions before my account was re-instated.

Persistent breaking of your mail service’s terms and conditions will result in your being banned from that service—and the loss of your entire list.


Your list is held by a third party, and can be taken from you if you fail to pay for the mail service because, for example:

  1. you have no cash
  2. you forget to make the payment—perhaps when your credit card expires.

Don’t loose your entire list because of a temporary glitch in your finances or oversight with your credit cards.

How to back up your list

All of the mail services I have used have an Export function. When you create an export, your email data is exported from that mail service as a CSV (comma separated values) list, which can then be stored away from the email provider as your secure archive.

Here are links to the major email providers’ support documents on exporting a CSV of your email subscribers:

  1. AWeber
  2. Mailchimp
  3. Infusionsoft
  4. Getresponse

Once you have your CSV file, you can re-add your subscribers should you accidentally delete your list or move it to another hosting provider if you’re banned.

How often should you back up?

The answer to that question really depends upon your list. If you are adding a substantial number of subscribers to the list per day, you’ll need to back up your list more often; personally, I do this once per month.

But if a recent marketing effort has added a large number of people to you list, do an ad-hoc backup to protect this work.

Even though your list is one of your most important blog assets, I bet many of you don’t back your list. When was the last time you backed up your list. And how did you do it?

Neil provides WordPress coaching and technical support services at WPDude.com.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Thanks for the post we’ve been using mailboto.co.uk excellent email system. With great stats to show which subscribers are clicking on links and converting.

  2. When I read the title, I assumed you’d be talking about us – the blogger behind the words. If we’re not taking care of ourselves, our words will suffer. But, I like this information, too. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. ” most valuable assets of your blog—your email list” – of course, please remember that not always the email list is valuable at all :). There are different niches, and sometimes email list is just a waste of time and money.

    • That’s true. I run English grammar sites and although I have a decent number of subscribers, they are hardly a good source of income. Sure, my list brings me repeat visitors, but do they really click on my ads? Email lists may be valuable if you sell your own products on the blog. For blogs that are monetized by PPC ads, search traffic is far more important.

  4. Asset Protection for bloggers! I love it! Email lists are definately one of the top assets for bloggers. Long ago I had an email list that I lost on a bad harddrive. Now I use services that help back up lists and send emails.

  5. I like this post for it is a very nice reminder. BTW, how many of you back up your blogs especially when self-hosted? Or, given the number of hours we spend creating content on third party platforms such as Facebook, how do we back up our profiles? Have you ever given that some thought? I’ll definitely look into this…

  6. I’m constantly backing up my forum, blog… a few times a day. I’ll keep this in mind and add it to my list of backups once I start making an email list.

  7. Another email problem not mentioned, is accidentally including your entire or large parts of your email list in the ‘To’ field of emails. You don’t lose your hard won contacts, but you do give them away for free. Remember to use the BCC field.

  8. This is a solid idea. It never occurred to me to back up the email lists on my website.

  9. You know,

    I should probably get to backing up my whole blog and list
    real soon. I have never done it since I moved to my
    self-hosted blog and I have only backed up my list when I
    switched services, so the same story. Thank you for this
    post as I now remember to do that! :)

    Thanks again,
    -Gabriel Johansson

  10. Backups also help when you’re moving from one service to another, we just recently moved our whole CRM system to a new platform, because we could export our contacts and data, this made the move swift and easy.

  11. Good thinking. Email lists are as good as gold–well, a good email list that is, not a spammy one.

  12. You are right Neil. Email is the most powerful weapon to make the readers believe us and help to build reputation.

  13. i am a newbie, an can use all the advise and tips i can get so thank you

  14. ur list is that you have earned after a lot of hardwork and backup is a must. thanks for reminding.

  15. I think the point about being banned from using a service is a very good one – it is important to always remember the service provider can stop access to your site, email, blog space etc. for all sorts of reasons – some of which you may not even be aware of. If it is your data, look after it yourself!

    • Denys

      That’s a very good point we spend a lot of time on other systems such as twitter. facebook, hosted blogging systems we rarely consider that our content be it lists, followers or blog posts can be taken from us if we go against that companies T & Cs

  16. It’s a good idea to keep a hard copy of everything important ‘off site’.

    I’ve got backups on DVD, my external hard drive and I also give my brother copies of my backup.

  17. Ashley i agree with you. Probably the writers are the most important asset for a blog.

  18. Really Valuable post. Email list too valuable. If one of that mistake occurred Our Hard work we did for getting that list will go away from us. Thanks for Posting this!

  19. Great advice

  20. God you got me there – I’ve backed up everything else but not my email list. I do keep a handwritten copy of everything though where applicable like emails and phone numbers locked away as an old fashioned fail safe. Now you’ve got me thinking what else would get my back up if I didn’t back it up (discounting the Mother In Law of course!)?

  21. Interesting and thanks for the links. Now we know how to backup our list. How about importing it to a new email provider just in case you decide to?

  22. Never backed it up until today. Thanks for the great tip!

    Read Aloud Dad

  23. Wow, I hadn’t even thought of this! I am about to create and begin promoting an email list. Thank you so much for pointing this out.

    Being banned, user error, and non-payment are so common it’s crazy! And so easy to accidentally do.

    My future email subscribers thank you! lol

  24. Aweber actually has a much easier way to backup all your leads and follow-up and broadcast messages. Click on “Create and Manage Lists” at the top of your home screen and then click the “Backup” button on the right. They send a VERY nice zip file with everything really nicely organized. Thanks for the tip to back it up in the first place. I thought I’d also pass along the easier way to back up using Aweber, since I know you use it, too.

  25. Good advice, thank you! I will do that today and btw I clicked over to WPDude and found it very interesting so I signed up for that mailing list.

    Fran :)

  26. I use my web developer’s version of email system at this time. I was never explained just how easy it is to create a CSV back up. Before I even knew any better I lost a few email sign ups from simple mistakes before they even received anything from me; not a good thing at all. What I now do is back up the list every single time a new sign up comes through. That way if I delete it by accident, I will always have it on hand. It has saved me so much time as well as unwanted headaches. I appreciate that this post reminds me to keep on saving a back up, ALWAYS!

  27. Just happened to back up my email list for the first time yesterday – and not for the reasons you mentioned. Now I am super glad I did! Thanks for the setting me straight. I will do it more often now.

  28. I was not aware of this “damaging the list”. Thanks. I will do backups ;)

  29. I had never thought of doing this.

  30. My blog is still infant and I never do this before. It is useful information for me, in case I need in the future..

  31. Adam Smolkowicz says: 04/18/2011 at 11:19 am

    Hey thanks for this article it really helped

  32. Very wise advice I also am thinking that maybe in the near futire the list is going to become less effective due to the abuses they are getting right now. The opening rate is dropping and lists must becoming less effective. I know I have an account with over 12,000 unopened mails. The key is to not send your list junk unless your one of those that just destroy there list by alientating them by sending multiple junk mails a day. Backing up your list is imperative for those of us that value it as a legitimate marketing tool other than a legal spam system.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…