Sign-up:Remove distractions from the sign-up page.
While consistency is usually good, it's actually bad to include a 'Sign up' link on the sign-up page, even if it shows on every other page on the site.
Confirmation page: Say exactly what you're confirming right up top.
Send confirmation email ASAP, with a readable 'from' field and an unambiguous 'subject field'.
From: Liberal Democrats
Subject: Thank you for signing up for Liberal Democrat email news
Subject: Thank you for signing up
Emails:'From' field: either a recognised institutional name or a celebrity in his/her own name.
Subject line: add some actual content to summarise, and enhance the "open-me" attractiveness of the email.
Publication frequency: Be consistent, and consistent with what you promised. And not too often.
Feature prominent links to Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
Write at a year 8 reading level (suitable for a well-schooled 15-year-old.)
More info on catering for visitors with low literacy >