There are a lot of nerds out there- like me for example- who think that RSS and feed readers are the only way online information should be consumed. We feel bad about being nerds, until we remember there is a whole class of uber-nerds, who think that not only information, but every part of life, is derived from Twitter. Or, God forbid, via Google Buzz(kill). Just kidding, both of those guys are smart dudes and friends of mine, in addition to being uber-nerds.
But enough about those so-called social networks.
Because today I want to show you how to do a subscription service that someone with tan lines might actually use. An email subscription. You remember email, right? That service that millions of people who either (a) have never heard of or (b) laugh hysterically at those who use Twitter use every day. All day.
So let’s assume that (1) you’ve been outside in the past 48 hours and (2) you’d like to put together an email subscription service for your blog.
Step 1: Pick a Service
If you use Feedburner for your RSS feed, this is pretty easy. Use Feedburner. The other major choice is Feedblitz. I used Feedblitz for a while, but its navigation structure makes Facebook’s byzantine navigation system seem downright GPS-like. Plus, Feedblitz wants you to to (cover your ears webkidz) pay for its premium service. So as a part of my forced march to WordPress and Blogger Custom Domains, I decided to take my email party back to Feedburner.
Step 2: Configuring Feedburner
Here’s how to configure your Feedburner account to permit and manage email subscriptions.
From your Feedburner dashboard, click on Publicize and then Email subscriptions.
From the Subscription Management page, you can get code to embed a form or a link on your blog. You can also enable a notification feature that will inform you when someone unsubscribes. I wish Twitter had that feature.
Next, go to the Communications Preferences page. From here, you can set up your email address and the subject line and message for your email confirmations.
The next stop is the Email Branding page. Here’s where you can really customize the look and feel of your emails. You want the email to have the same branding, look and feel as your blog. Note that you can create and upload a custom logo that will appear in your emails.
Finally, you can set your time zone and preferred delivery time via the Delivery Options page.
Step 3: Displaying the Subscription Option on Your Blog
Once you have configured your email subscription service, you’ll need to make potential subscribers aware of it. Many WordPress themes and Blogger templates are pre-configured to display email subscription information. See the top of this blog (WordPress) or Err Bear Music (Blogger) for examples.
Even if your theme or template doesn’t come pre-configured, you can easily add a subscription form or link, by adding the code that Feedburner provides on the Subscription Management page.
In addition to displaying the option on your blog, you should consider adding a link to your email signature, as those who would be most interested in an email subscription may not visit your blog, but do use and see email.
Step 4: Post as Normal and Let the Service Do the Work
After setting up your service and displaying a subscription form or link, your email subscribers will receive one email each day containing your blog posts for that day.
Here is a sample, from one of my recent subscription emails.
Step 5: While You’re Thinking About It, Subscribe to Newsome.Org Via Email
By clicking here.
That’s it. Let the emailing begin!