Newsletters published from your website are a better choice than printed newsletters or separate emails. The entries stay posted on your website and are easily accessible for as long as you like. A WordPress plugin such as MailPoet can automatically format and send emails to subscribers with no or little cost. Since the newsletter content is available on your website it can be indexed by search engines and found by people who never heard of you.
Printed and Emailed Newsletter Downsides
Printed newsletters are normally planned for a certain size and length and with special features for each issue—a calendar of events, a cute quote, a joke, a feature story, and news items. All these have to come together at once and get to the printer to meet deadlines for timely publication. Then they have to be distributed. Mailing is expensive. Address changes difficult to maintain.
Most newsletters distributed in print have become uneconomical and of questionable value given the amount of time, effort, and coördination they take to produce. Maintaining a service separate from your blog like Constant Contact is a duplication of your work on the website. Unless your audience is large enough to support a staff member who manages the separate newsletter publication it isn’t necessary or even desirable.
What Exactly Is a WordPress Blog?
The word blog is short for Web Log. Blogs began as online diaries in which writers posted their thoughts and opinions with discipline and openness. A serious blogger wrote every day and was followed by other bloggers. For many of the early bloggers, who were writing before the easy-to-use Web existed, it was both a religion and a science.
WordPress began as a way for bloggers to write blog entries online using a web browser. It is open source, which means available at no cost to you. It has developed over the years into a complete “content managing program,” a CMP, which is capable of doing many more things than just posting blog entries. It is essentially a file cabinet in the Cloud—it exists on a computer that can be read by other internet users.
A blog post is more like a news item posted on a bulletin board or to a news feed than preparing a newsletter for publication. It has a singular focus and is relatively brief. (Mine are typically too long!)
Posts are added to a website in chronological order but can be searched and sorted in multiple ways, like notecards.
A Blog Post Is Not an Email Message
A blog post is intended for a wide audience and for “posterity.” It becomes part of the historical record, not just an announcement or press release that will be thrown away. They can be published on a schedule or spontaneously. A calendar of events for the next month might be posted on a regular date, and posts announcing births or other happenings as they occur. Posts on special topics can be posted when completed—Planning a Garden, New Lamps, etc.—or scheduled for later publication.
Blogs Convey Continuity
A blog post is part of a continuous process. Each post is a reminder of the last and the next. That continuity is established more easily than with a newsletter because each post is complete within itself but the blog is “never-ending.” Its past is always present.
Blogs Can Be Spontaneous and Informal
With the ability to post frequently, not all information needs to be collected before announcing an exciting event or be copy edited and perfect. A post can be one short paragraph informally jotted down. Who wants to know about a baby born a month ago when it can be announced within minutes? So what if there is no name yet? It can be sent when available. Distribution is essentially free so three short posts can be sent as easily as one long. Frequency can often be irritating, but sometimes it is a welcome virtue.
A blog post can be quickly written and distributed with little extra cost beyond maintaining a website (which you should already be doing.)
I use WordPress because it is free, well-designed, constantly updated, and used by millions of other people worldwide. I can always find advice. It can be used on your website under your own domain or on the WordPress.com website where WordPress will host a blog for you. It is easy to learn by anyone familiar with the word-processing program and the web.
What the software does is set up a framework for organizing and sharing information. Think of each news item as an individual snippet. WordPress helps you organize each snippet chronologically and by author, title, date, subject, keywords, etc. The snippet can always be found by searching any of those elements.
WordPress also keeps track of subscribers so you can distribute these news items as they are published or weekly or monthly. Any schedule you choose. It does many more things but in terms of replacing printed or email newsletters with a blog, these are some of the main advantages.
Categories: Your Own Website
Tags: Blogs, Newsletters, Wordpress, Your Website