You’ve got some choices when it comes time to decide whether to hook your blog up to email in some way.
You can do what most people seem to do, and slap a Feedburner Subscribe button on the blog, then let Google’s Feedburner send your new posts by email to your subscribers. It’s free, there’s no limit on the number of subscribers, and it seems to work well. You also don’t have to make additional decisions about things like segmentation or templates.
But there are disadvantages, too, in using Feedburner:
- You can’t schedule when the emails are sent.
- You can’t do much in the way of adding a bit of additional content to the emails. Basically, it just spits out your RSS feed, so you’d need to find a way to add things like a list of Featured Posts to your RSS feed before Feedburner gets a hold of it.
- It looks like everyone else’s email – there’s really no customization available.
So I went searching for others, and soon became immersed in a wonderful service from Aweber. It’s a full-on email marketing solution, and the cost is pretty reasonable – about $20 per month to start. Not so bad. I held onto that for a while, hoping that I’d have time soon to get my darned email newsletter off the ground, and actually start making use of the service I was paying for.
Now I’m taking a different route – I decided to cancel the paid plan (Aweber only offers paid plans, unfortunately), and instead go for a free plan with MailChimp. There are many free providers out there (at least, they are free when you are at a small number of subscribers or emails). I’m realizing that it’s probably the better choice for someone like me, who is just barely finding enough time to fit this into his day even now. So I start with something free, and then if I am able to grow a list to any significant amount, only then make the decision whether to upgrade to a paid account with that same provider, or think about migrating to a different provider.
But the truth is, I’m thinking that MailChimp may have all the features I would ever need anyway. And I like the free-to-paid business model anyway, since it lowers the barrier to entry for the new casual user (like me).
By the way, this post was written just as an excuse to try out the new RSS feed subscription on my MailChimp account. 🙂