Update: Wow, talk about an instant response to this article! That's the beauty of the blog format. See Comments below.
Sarah and I will try to answer more fully your questions about the specifics of creating an e-newsletter with WordPress. Sarah has written a technical explanation on her own blog. Note that I still send the newsletter out via EmailLabs, my email service provider. All I do is copy/paste the “code” behind the WordPress page we've created. And yes I still get the reporting on click-throughs, opens, etc. via EmailLabs. – Debbie
By contributing writer (and Web designer) Sarah Lewis
Blogs and e-newsletters have a lot in common. They are both made up of valuable information presented in short article format, and they both use the Web language HTML for attractive presentation. However, HTML e-newsletters usually require some knowledge of coding. And an understanding of how to FTP files and images to a Web site. It's time consuming and not something that most folks want to mess around with.
In short, e-newsletters aren't as easy to create and update as blogs. That can make it harder to keep to a regular publishing schedule (ahem… you might have noticed that Debbie's publishing schedule has been a bit irregular of late). It makes sense, then, to take some of the easy-to-use technology that has made blogging so popular, and apply it to e-newsletters.
No more mucking around in Dreamweaver
That's just what Debbie and I have done. When Debbie wants to create an article for her e-newsletter, she logs in to her blog site at debbieweil.com and creates a new post. She assigns the entry to a special category (“Newsletter”) that we set up for this purpose. Each issue normally has several “articles.” So Debbie creates a new blog post for each article (like the “entry” you're reading).
When she's ready to send out the new issue of WordBiz Report, the issue is *automatically* created for her by WordPress. We won't get into the details (unless you're really interested). Suffice it to say that we're using both the “blog entry” and “Web page” features of WordPress. Leave a Comment below if you want to know more about this.
An e-newsletter with all the benefits of a blog
Not only is it quick and easy to publish the e-newsletter, it also has all the benefits of blogging:
Readers can leave Comments
- The “comments” feature encourages conversations and feedback from newsletter readers. (Hey, you can test this out by leaving a comment below!)
You can receive the e-newsletter via RSS
- The RSS feed alerts subscribers that a new article has been published. At the same time, the blog-a-zine can be sent as an HTML email message.
Search engines can find the newsletter articles
- Most importantly, the e-newsletter is now easily findable by search engines. That's because the “articles” are now “blog entries” and search engines love blogs.
Combining an e-newsletter with blogging technology increases “circulation” (i.e. the findability of the newsletter online) and also provides more value for current subscribers who can more easily interact and leave feedback. In short, it benefits both the publisher and the reader.