If you’ve been following along with the Traffic Wave tutorials, you’ll have your autoresponder set up and your thank you pages done. All that’s left is the opt-in page.

Traffic Wave does provide an opt-in page for you, but I don’t use their pages for a couple of reasons. One is that I like to host my own opt-in pages so I can use my own analytics system (in my case, Google Analytics) to get insight into who is visiting the pages, and what percentage of visitors make it on to the various thank you pages (e.g. through the sign up funnel). Another is that the Traffic Wave opt-in pages only give you a limited selection of templates. Even though the opt-in pages I come up with aren’t that great, at least they’re my work…and when I want to, I can pay someone to create a custom opt-in page for me.

On to creating the page.

Pick A Template

Unless you’re the sort of graphical genius that can create an opt-in page from scratch, you need to pick a template. There are tons out there, just look around (or join The Advisory Panel and download a few packages from the free library there).

Your two basic choices are a squeeze page, or a sales page.

A squeeze page is a short page that can be seen all at once. It’s designed to catch the visitor’s attention and entice them into submitting their name and email. A sales page is a longer page that is designed to overcome the visitor’s reluctance to sign up by bombarding them with claims about how your product will cure all the ills in their life.

Which you use is up to you. Long sales pages are popular these days, even though I never read them and think they’re horrible tools. But they’re popular, so maybe they’re working for someone.

Whatever template you find will provide you with an HTML file and possibly some image files. You’ll need to edit the HTML file to add your opt-in form.

Creating A Capture Page

You have a template that has a space where it says, “Put your opt-in form here”. But where do you get your opt-in form?

Login to your Traffic Wave back office, and go back to the autoresponder you set up in previous tutorials. Choose the option titled “Capture Pages”.

That will take you to the area where you can define what information your capture form requires, as well as defining custom capture forms. I recommend you stick with just name and email for the information. After all, the goal here is to get them as a subscriber, not to get their life story. Time enough to get more information later once you have permission to contact them regularly.

For now, click on “Create New Hosted Capture Page” to be taken to a screen with a lot of information to fill out. For the most part, we don’t care about all of this, because we are not going to use this capture page, we’re only going to swipe the opt-in form from it.

You should put something meaningful into the Page Nickname. You must also put something into the Headline, Paragraph 1, and Signature Name, although it doesn’t matter what.

Down at the bottom, under Subscription Landing URL, put the full URL to your opt-in thank you page. This will show after they subscribe, but before they confirm. Under Confirmation Landing URL, put the full URL to your confirmation thank you page so it shows after they click the confirmation link.

Click “Create New Capture Page”.

Note that if you didn’t care about using your own analytics, and liked one of Traffic Wave’s templates well enough, you could put real information into the Headline, etc, and use the capture page as hosted on Traffic Wave.

Getting The Opt-In Form

You’ll be taken back to the Capture Pages area, and now the information for your new capture page will be listed at the bottom.

Copy the URL of your new capture page and paste it into the address bar of your web browser. The capture page will show…if you’d decided to use it hosted on Traffic Wave’s system, this is the address you’d direct traffic to to get sign ups.

I always host my own, though, so I just grab the opt-in form from this page and integrate it into my own squeeze page. To grab the opt-in form, view the HTML source for the capture page (on Firefox, use the View menu, and the Page Source option).

Somewhere in the HTML that shows will be a line that starts with something like this:

<form METHOD="POST" ACTION="http://www.trafficwave.net/cgi-bin/autoresp/inforeq.cgi" onsubmit="return myValidate.Apply('errWin')">

This is the start of the opt-in form. Copy everything from that line down to the line that has this in it:

</form>

All those lines together are your opt-in form. Remove the onsubmit section from the beginning form line, so it reads like this:

<form METHOD="POST" ACTION="http://www.trafficwave.net/cgi-bin/autoresp/inforeq.cgi">

Also remove from inside the form any script tags (these make the form check for required information, which is a good idea, but requires Javascript…I prefer to keep my forms as simple as possible).

You’ll also have to modify the table inside the form to get the look you want when integrated with your squeeze or sales page. I can’t provide advice on that since it depends on the template you’re using. Do some searches on HTML tables, background colors, etc, to tweak it to fit the page you’re using.

After you finish, you’ll have an opt-in page that you can host yourself, but will sign people up to your Traffic Wave autoresponder. Now you just need some visitors, so go submit it to a giveaway, traffic exchange, etc.

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