Really Simple Sending

MailChimpLet’s say you’re one of the many people out there for whom the current dissatisfactory state of RSS readers effectively prevents you from using this site’s feed to keep up with what I write here at Or, let’s say my rather erratic publishing habits — sometimes several times a day, and other times not for days on end — make it difficult for you to remember to tune in on a regular basis. Well, have I got the solution for you.

For several months now I’ve been testing a new feature over at the just plain cute MailChimp service that they call RSS-to-Email Newsletter; which does exactly what the name implies — automagically convert what I publish on this blog into email form. And now it’s finally ready for the public.

Direct Mail

I’m a big believer in the less-than-glamorous power of email newsletters to drive traffic to sites, and how effective a conduit it is between a site and its audience. For a long time, I had wanted to put together a regularly mailing of some sort, but when I endeavored to start one a while back, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the bandwidth to reliably produce a second channel of content. A good email newsletter is powerful, but it typically requires a lot of effort.

That’s why this feature was just the thing. It simply repurposes what comes over my RSS feed into something that, for many people, is infinitely more consumable than XML. It’s really like getting this site’s home page dropped into your inbox once a day (or the morning following each day I post something, to be more accurate), and for the low, low price of totally free.

If this sounds like the sort of thing that you’re interested in, I encourage you to enter your email into the little subscription form in the right column of the site — those reading via RSS exclusively will have to point your browsers to to access it. I’ve had this mail form up for a while, but the feature has been in a prolonged testing period, so thank you to the brave souls who signed up without really knowing what you were getting into. The newsletters should start arriving more regularly now, and most of the kinks have been worked out, but I also have to thank everyone in advance if there are a few more hiccups still while I get the hang of this.

  1. I’m planning on starting a blog for my I know I should do a newsletter because it’s effective marketing but I don’t want to. I figured there HAD to be a service like this out there and I would just hook it up to my blog.

    Now I know, there is one, perfect 🙂

  2. I prefer to keep my emails separated from my reading texts. I think of my emails as to-do items with only few of them requiring more than 2 minutes processing effort. While reading news and articles, for me, is rather a thoughtful and relaxed learning experience.

    I have developed a habit of taking quick action while processing my emails, therefore I do not feel comfortable staying there reading an article for too long.

    I use Google Mail and Reader (and my own messaging web app), with 0 unread items after each check.

  3. Clive: youch, that’s terrible! But I can see why it would read like that. The folks at MailChimp were just so helpful that maybe I let my enthusiasm get out of hand. At any rate, I’ve toned down the text a bit.

  4. I’m like Sina… I like to keep my articles separate from my email. I hate email newsletters.

    I think it’s great that you’re making another option available. That’s the beauty of digital data… you can mold it into so many different forms with minimum effort.

    Heck, I bet if you set up an automated snail mail option (mailed biweekly for $1.50/month or something) you’d get at least 1 or 2 takers.

  5. As Dennis Eusebio mentioned, FeedBurner does offer this functionality, and in my experience it works pretty well. I’d be interested to hear a comparison from someone who has tried both the FeedBurner and Mailchimp services.

  6. Khoi, I figured it was just enthusiasm. There was just so much of it I had a hard time believing it was genuine! Seeing that it was, however, you’ve made me a believer. Thanks for that.

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