Big MailChimp is a powerful plugin that provides an abstraction level and handles many tasks in the background. Hence, we are able to provide an easy to use interface with only a few options to modify. In most cases the default settings will suffice. However, some of us like to have a 100% control over the code and performance of our sites. Some of the options have already been explained in the plugins page and Adding MailChimp Forms to your WordPress Site.
The first set of options you can modify is when you adding or editing your lists. Go to `Big MailChimp` > `MailChimp Lists`. Here you can add or edit an existing list. There are four options here. The first two are necessary for Big MailChimp to locate your MailChimp list and retrieve information. These options have been explain in greater detail in Adding MailChimp Forms to your WordPress Site.
The next option is the `Subscribe to list` button text. Simply change the default `Subscribe to list` text to something that you prefer and is relevant to your list.
The double opt-in option is currently only available through the plugin. This option is enabled by default. When this option is enabled subscribers will receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription. Otherwise, they will be added to your list upon completion of the form.
Please read How does double opt-in work? by MailChimp before disabling this feature. As explained in the aforementioned article disabling double opt-in will increase spam complaints and decrease your engagement levels.
You can add Big MailChimp form the `Appearance` > `Widgets` menu to you widget areas. To insert a form inside your content area (Posts, and Pages) enable the Big MailChimp from the screen options and a meta box will appear on the right side of you page.
When adding a list as a widget item you can specify a title for your widget or provide a short description for your form. These options are very important and can help increase subscription rates. For example, you can set `Newsletter` as the title and adding `Sign up to our newsletter. We will no spam you.` as the description. This will inform the visitors to your site what this form is intended for and how you intend to use the obtained information.
Both the shortcode generator and the widget allow you to choose one of the forms that you have already added to Big MailChimp and decide between displaying the full list or just the required options. There are many articles and studies that argue having a shorter form will increase the conversion rates. When you select required options only the user is shown the form with fewer fields. Users can always modify their subscription and add information once they are subscribed to your list. When users subscribe to your list they get a `Thank you` email sent from MailChimp that shows the details of their subscription and allows them to modify their information.
The plugin options are solely available to increase the performance of the site when using Big MailChimp and to extend the forms and create your own markup. The latter is intended for for programmers only who have an understanding of Object Oriented Design and have proficient PHP skills.
The file that needs to be included can be found in `bigMailChimp > views > js > bigMailChimp.js`. This file depends on jQuery to work properly. If you choose this option make sure to load jQuery before this script is run.
The `Load CSS` option is similar to the `Load Scripts` option except it disables loading the styling sheet. As mentioned before we want to have the lowest number of requests when our page loads. Big MailChimp contains a very small css file. This plugin does not attempt to style the form. Your theme should already contain styling for the form and input elements. The few lines of CSS that are included here style the results area of the form.
You can copy the contents of `bigMailChimp > views > css > BigMailChimp.css` to your main style sheet and modify the results section to suit your site’s design.
This option requires coding and is intended for advanced developers. It enables the developers to extends how the form elements are displayed. This section deserves its own tutorial. Read more on Extending Big MailChimp Form Builder (coming soon).
Big MailChimp comes with two layout built-in (Forms_MC and Forms_Plain). All Big MailChimp version prior to 2.0 used the Forms_MC layout and it is included for backward compatibility. The difference between the two layouts is that Forms_MC wrapps the elements in an unordered list and Forms_Plain outputs elements one after the other.