If your visitors like your website and want to stay in touch and sign up to your newsletter, it is not a reason to make it an effort for them to sign-up.
Make it easy, and quick. Invite them. There are plenty of ways to do so, we defend email sign up pop-up as the best way to do so, but there are other solutions out there too. What really mater is to be proactive.
Yes, you need to push your newsletter signup. You can think it two ways.
1. If a visitor want to sign up, he will find where on my website to do so.
2. I want my visitors to sign up, and I will invite / tease them to do so.
We have done many tests, lot of us have done many tests, and whatever the website is,
results bring the same conclusion: inviting your visitors to sign up get much higher results than the passive way.
“But it will annoy my visitors!”: If you think that way, it means you have no trust in the quality of your content. You feel like it is such a luck than a visitor is on your website that you don’t
want to lose him. Bad thinking. There are millions of websites out there. If a visitor is on your website more than 1sec it means he has interest. It means you have a shot to create a connection.
Our recommendation: take advantage of it, tell me (user) why I should sign-up and stay in touch with you, and make it easy for me to do so. It does not matter how you ask, what matters is what you offer. Have it clear why should a visitor sign-up your newsletter and you will get immediate results.