So after a false start, I started Newsletters7, and JetT has been playing the role of the reader as we find out exactly what this WordPress creature is. It seems that when a person signs up, the system defaults to that subscriber receiving new newsletter editions by email and immediately the newsletter is sent / posted.
For the subscriber, the subscription settings behave just like WordPress websites, and so it’s possible to change the default so as not to receive emails.
What Is A Newsletter?
Yes, what is a newsletter? It is something you receive in your email inbox. You don’t have to go to the newsletter: It comes to you.
I remember when I first read about things coming to you rather than you going to them. The system was described as being built on ‘push’ notifications. It might still be.
The idea that you could pester people rather than waiting for them to come to you are your website, seemed risqué and interesting. Of course, it’s not new to WordPress.com because you can sign up to a website, and one of the options is to be alerted by email when a new post is published.
A website like that is almost a newsletter, isn’t it?
Really the only distinguishing feature between a newsletter and a website is that with a website there is somewhere to go and read the newsletter, post, article, – whatever you want to call it.
With a ‘proper’ newsletter, there simply is nowhere to go. You either get the newsletter and read it, or there is nowhere else you can read it. It’s doesn’t have a home you can visit.
In the olden days, there would be a website – and a button so you could sign up to a newsletter. So if there is no website, how do you find the newsletter in the first place? How do you learn that it exists?
And what do you find when you get there, beyond a sign-up button?
In the case of the new WordPress newsletters, there’s a tag-line and an invitation to read posts, but not much at all to tell you why you should be interested to be there.
And shouldn’t it really read something like ‘Read previous newsletters’, rather than ‘Read all posts’.
I mean, that would be more newsletter-y, wouldn’t it? I shall suggest that to the Happiness engineers.
If Not WordPress, Then What?
Substack is going great guns. I can’t turn around without coming across another newsletter hosted on Substack.
As it says: ‘Substack lets independent writers and podcasters publish directly to their audience and get paid through subscriptions.’
I started one of my own (actually I started three) and I write occasional newsletters. It’s a free newsletter, not a paid one.
Look at the home page. Does it look vaguely familiar?
GetRevue Became GotRevue
There was GetRevue, a creation of Twitter, but that shut down earlier this month, with this notification:
We’ve made the difficult decision to shut down Revue on January 18, 2023.
In January 2021, Twitter acquired Revue as part of an ongoing commitment to enhancing the Twitter experience for writers everywhere. Our goal has always been to make it easy for these writers to connect with their readers and future subscribers on Twitter, opening up new opportunities for readers to better connect with writers and their content. Integrating Revue into Twitter has provided a huge amount of value, informing new product features that give writers more options for connecting with their audiences.
This has been a hard decision because we know Revue has a passionate user base. We’re grateful to everyone who has used our service over the years, and hope we can continue to help you build a community with your readers on Twitter.
Ghost and Beehiiv
Then there’s Ghost – a blogging platform with a built in newsletter. And Beehiiv.
Here’s what Adam Tinworth over at OneManAndHisBlog writes about the pros and cons of Ghost (his option) and Beehiiv.
- Ghost is a strong web publishing tool that is also an extremely capable newsletter platform. It’s open source, self-sustaining and not VC-backed. It has a lovely, clean interface that is very easy to use.
- Beehiiv is a newsletter powerhouse. Logging in and wandering around the Beehiiv interface is a bit like finding yourself at the controls of a complex aircraft. There’s a whole bunch of powerful list and revnue development tools here — but you need some skill to deploy them well. All this power comes at the price of a more confusing UI and weaker website functionality.
Oh Yes, I Have A Beehiiv Newsletter
How did I manage to sign up for this? Have I actually sent out a newsletter on Beehiiv? Don’t know. I should check. Again, notice the remarkable similarity in appearance. Maybe the first to break ranks and make a newsletter sign-up page that is les minimal, will take the prize.
Did I Miss Any Newsletters?
did I miss any newsletter platforms? Let me know.
Mailchimp expanded into the web hosting space a couple of years ago. Haven’t checked the others lately, but the push now seems to be the everything everywhere all-at-once service. 😀 Personally, I’d rather see services excel at what they do best and leave the rest of it to someone else.
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Oh yes, Mailchimp. I forgot they started making websites for users. I have never tried it. Do you know anyone who has?
Not that I can think of off the top of my head.