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Email updates of new blog entries a must

Christopher Knight, an email list marketing expert and publisher of the Ezine-Tips newsletter, has a nice piece on why blog publishers need to have a way non-RSS users can receive email updates of new blog entries. Could not agree more that it’s absolutely necessary.

I can also tell you LexBlog’s experience that doing so is easier said than done. Most blog software does not include an email update component. Bloglet, offering an email subscription service for bloggers and their readers, works poorly at post. Moveable Type’s (MT) email notification works poorly in the latest versions of MT.

LexBlog has worked its tail off in developing a email notification system for new blog posts which can handle thousands of email addresses. In addition MT tells us a new release coming this next week will correct some of its email notifier problems.

Knight nails it on the need for an email notifier.

  • Only a tiny fraction of even the very best or most popular blogs allow readers to receive an email notification when there is a new entry. It’s as if they have all falsely assumed that because they know what an RSS reader is, that all of their readers will have RSS readers installed.
  • Unless you’re ‘Mr. or Ms. Super Blogger,’ there is a good chance that you don’t have the draw or the popularity or the amount of time blogging to have a solid RSS readership base yet.

Knight says it’s a 4 step process on adding an email update’s system.

  1. Figure out how you’re going to add an email list to your blog. It must be automated, not manual, to collect email addresses of people who want to subscribe or unsubscribe to your blog updates as well as manage the distribution of each post, processes bounces, provide reporting, etc. You must use an email list server or the email notification module built into your blogging software or CMS (Content Management System).
  2. Create your blog email template. This is the design of the emails, whether they are going to be HTML or TEXT. Do TEXT format with the TITLE, Date and ARTICLE SUMMARY with a link to the full article. The goal is to bring readers from email back to the blog so they can read the rest of the entry.
  3. Determine if you’re going to automate the sending of the emails or if you want to send each email manually after a new blog entry is created. Full automation may not be best because posting 2-4 new blog entries in a day may turn off subscribers.
  4. Promote your new blog email notification service. Let your RSS readers know about it. Promote it on your website and on every page of your blog template.

In the next year or so, RSS will surpass email but for now an email notifier is a must to obtain maximum results from blog publishing.

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