I recently read an article about adding an option for visitors to subscribe to your website by email. At first I was a little reluctant to mess with it mostly because I get more spam, junk, and other garbage in my inbox every day then I care to deal with. I don’t have a clue if other people delete their messages as fast as they get them, or if they spend time looking them over or not.
So I figured what the heck if they do sign up and check them out great. If not no big deal either. All I am out is the initial time of setting it up and configuring it the way I want. After that there shouldn’t be much else I need to do.
Then came the fun part. I thought about adding an email subscription where people could sign up and join a mailing list where I could send them updates, tips, possibly a little marketing, and that type of thing. I saw Mailchimp, AWeber and Icontact mentioned fairly often so I started looking into each of them. AWeber and Icontact wanted a monthly fee, which are fairly reasonable, but since Mailchimp had a free option I figured I’m not out anything if it didn’t work out.
Well it turns out that setting up Mailchimp is not as easy as it looks. It is packed with tons of features, options, and things you can configure. After spending a couple of hours, trying to get the hang of things I gave up at least for now. I am sure it is a very good program if you have plenty of time to your hands. It might be a good idea to have a bottle of aspirin handy too.
I have no idea if AWeber or Icontact are any easier to set up and configure or not. After all the time I spent with Mailchimp I wasn’t about to drop money into a monthly subscription just to see if they were any easier or not.
So at this point I was getting a little frustrated and decided to go with Feedburner instead. Feedburner is kind of limited in my opinion, but at least it is very simple to set up. You basically allow your visitors to sign up and receive email notifications when you have a new post. Not everyone is familiar with rss and feed readers so Feedburner gives a visitor the option of signing up to receive new posts right to their inbox. They must confirm their subscription, and they can easily unsubscribe. There are a few basic options you can configure in your Feedburner account settings, but overall it is fairly limited. You can’t send out a monthly news letter from your account like you can with Mailchimp, AWeber, and Icontact. You could potentially export email addresses from your Feedburner account and manually send everyone a message, but that might be interpreted as borderline spamming.
For the time-being Feedburner does what I need. One of these days when I have a few extra hours of time to waste I might log back into Mailchimp and see if I can get the hang of it.
Do you use some form of email subscription on your website? If so which one and is it easy to handle?