Around the time I started self-hosting, I got really sick of using WordPress for my email subscriptions. I couldn’t figure out how to customize anything and I really wanted my emails to attract more subscribers.
So I switched to MadMimi. It was fine for a while, but still didn’t do everything I needed it to. And then someone recommended MailChimp and I jumped on board.
Both services have their pros and cons, which I’ll explain. But both are also way nicer than the mail subscription that comes with WordPress and Blogger.
Because this will be kind of long and image heavy, MadMimi vs MailChimp will be two-post comparison. This post discusses how to use MadMimi to manage email subscriptions. I’ll post about MailChimp next Tuesday!
(On Tuesday, you will be able to click the text here to see MailChimp.)
MadMimi is probably the easiest way to manage your email subscriptions. You can create a customized email template, insert the RSS reader, and then never touch it again (meaning: no maintenance).
To use MadMimi:
Create an account (which you can connect to your Twitter or Facebook pages, for easy log in), go to RSS and Add a Feed.
You’ll then be prompted to type in your blog’s RSS feed (which is your blog’s URL with /feed attached to it).
Once your feed has been imported, you can customize the look of your RSS email. (RSS emails are the kind you want to set up if you just want to send an email with your newest post at a certain time every day.)
Here’s the top (I dragged my header from the right sidebar into the top of the feed):
Here’s the bottom:
As you can see, there are a bunch of other options at the bottom. You can create a signature image and insert it. You can add a disclaimer or ways of contacting you, etc.
And the RSS feed might look long, but once you’re set up, only the most recent post will show up in the email. So it won’t be nearly as cluttered. 😛
Once you’ve finished setting up the RSS email, you click Continue. This will take you to another page where you can set up your schedule.
Click on Schedule & details. A window will pop up allowing you to choose how often you want emails to go out.
Note: it will only send a new email if something new has been posted. So if you choose for an email to go out once every hour, that is ONLY going to happen if you’re posting something new once every hour. If not, your newest post will go out and then nothing else until you next post.
Clicking Continue will, obviously, take you to the next section, where you get to choose who the email goes out to.
Note: Do not add anyone who hasn’t subscribed to your list. Doing so makes you a spammer.
If you have a list made, you’ll select that list. We’ll discuss lists in just a moment. I think it’s a better idea to have everything customized before you add a list. Just in case you accidentally send it. 😛
At the bottom, I typed in my own email so I can see what my emails look like and fix anything that goes wrong (because chances are good that your subscribers aren’t going to be rushing to tell you when something goes wrong in your emails). It also lets me send a test email to myself, so I can see how it looks before it goes “live.”
And then we click Continue to go to the final page.
Here, you’ll choose a name for the subject (it will probably start out as “RSS Feed for URL HERE.” You can choose what social media sites you want people to be able to share your email on, etc.
And then you Save and you’re done! You can change any of these details at any time by simply logging into your account and clicking on RSS. It will show every feed you’ve created and allow you to edit them. However, you can only create one theme if you have a free account.
To manage subscribers:
Log in to your account and click on Audience.
You can then create multiple lists. So if you do an email subscription and a weekly newsletter, you can keep them straight by giving them names that will help you remember. This way, no group gets the wrong email.
And, yes, you can add people yourself. Which is handy if you have subscribers on a different account. Anyone who subscribed to my newsletter via WordPress was moved to MadMimi when I switched over. All you do is click Add Contacts.
A box will pop up. Here, you can either import a list that you exported (which works differently depending on which site you’re switching over from, so I’m not going to include that in this tutorial. If you want a tutorial explaining how to export a list from a certain site, let me know and I’ll see if I can make it happen). This is nice if you have a lot of subscribers. If your list is short, though, I find it easier to just load them in manually. To do that, click the tab that says One by one.
All you do is type in a first name (optional) and an email address (not optional), choose a list for them to be added to, and click Add Contact. The contact will be added and you’ll see the form go blank so you can add more. Once you’re finished adding, you just click on the X in the top right of the box.
If someone on your list is causing issues or you don’t want them to receive your emails, you can add them to the Suppressed list. Also, anyone who unsubscribes from your list (or who never confirmed their subscription) will be added to this list automatically. You can view it at any time. Please do not abuse this power.
You can also view recent signups, which is nice if you like to send people a personalized, “Hello and thanks!” email. I don’t really recommend emailing people out of the blue, because it probably freaks them out a little. (I know I would be kind of freaked out if someone used my subscription or unsubscription to send me other emails…but that’s just me.)
Cons of MadMimi:
Your templates can only be customized so much. I’m sure there are ways to customize it more if you know what you’re doing and/or you have a paid account. But with the free account, you’re extremely limited.
You can also only have ONE RSS Feed, unless you switch to a paid account. This is only a problem if you have multiple blogs, obviously. Since I do, it was a huge reason why I don’t use MadMimi anymore.
Do you use MadMimi? What do you like and/or dislike about it?
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