There are many ways to share the content that you’ve created on your blog; however, the most reliable method of promoting your blog to your intended audience is through email. Most people check their social networks regularly, but everyone reads – or at least checks – their email at least several times each day.
There are three very simple methods of sharing each blog post you create via email, and you don’t ever have to worry about spamming anyone because all three methods are opt-in. The tools to share your blog posts via email are WordPress, Feedburner, and Mailchimp, all probably already familiar names.
Using JetPack by AutoMattic (the people who operate WordPress), it’s very simple to activate the “Subscriptions” functionality of Jetpack, and then let WordPress.com handle all the rest. You’ll add a widget to your WordPress blog, and the software does the rest. Every time you post, everyone who has opted in to receive your blog via email will get a nicely formatted email containing the full text to your blog and a link to read the blog on your site.
To implement Jetpack Subscriptions, follow the following steps.
- Install the Jetpack plugin.
- Go to “Settings” under the Jetpack menu.
- Scroll near the bottom and find “Subscriptions” and activate the service.
- Click “Configure,” which will take you to a new page to configure all email options for WordPress. At the bottom of this configuration page are two check boxes to allow you to choose whether Your visitors follow your blog, or your blog’s comments, or both. We recommend choosing the blog only.
- Activate the Subscriptions widget, by going to Appearance → Widgets.
- Drag the widget labeled “Blog Subscriptions (Jetpack)” into one of your sidebars.
That’s it, and it really is that simple.
Feedburner is a service from Google that creates an RSS feed for any web site. When you create a Feedburner RSS feed, you have a lot of other options, but one of the most basic is to allow people to subscribe to your blog via email.
Follow these steps to create your Feedburner RSS feed and offer email subscriptions through Feedburner.
- Login to http://feedburner.google.com/ with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you’ll need to create one.
- Just below the words “Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:” enter your blog’s url, e.g., kevinsandlin.com, and click “next.”
- If Feedburner finds more than one valid feed on your blog (there may be a separate feed for comments), choose the RSS feed for posts.
- Give the feed a title, something simple like “My blog feed” or the name of your blog.
- Click next and you’ll have your RSS feed URL, which will look something like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/kevinsandlin.
- At the bottom of that page, click on “Skip directly to feed management.”
- Click on the “Publicize” tab at the top of the page.
- Scroll down to Email Subscriptions and click on that link.
- Click “Activate” at the bottom of that screen.
- Then you’ll see this success message at the top of the page:
- Copy and paste the snippet of code on the resulting page into a widget on your blog, and anyone can now opt-in to get an email every time you post to your blog.
Mailchimp offers simple forms and code for widgets to add to any blog. Mailchimp’s documentation and instructions are simple, thorough, and very friendly to the new user. The concept is the same as using the WordPress plugin or Feedburner:
- Setup an email list at Mailchimp.com.
- Configure the widget code.
- Copy/paste the widget code into a widget on your blog.
The complete instructions from start to finish for using Mailchimp to create an email subscription service for your blog are on Mailchimp’s website tutorial called “Mailchimp for Bloggers.”
Each of these service options is very simple to setup, and each is popular and reliable, so it’s a personal choice. The best part about enabling your readers to subscribe to your blog posts via email is that you are also creating a very powerful marketing tool: an opt-in email list.