Let’s face it, RSS feeds are not read by ‘normal’ people.
Real, non-techie people haven’t a clue what RSS is, or how to use Google Reader.
That’s OK if your blog is about geek or tech subjects. But if you’re trying to get regular readers for a site about cross stitch, don’t expect RSS readers to hit even the double figures if all you have is a feed button on your blog.
Normal people read emails.
So here’s two easy ways to get your blog RSS feed automatically converted into an email newsletter format.
1. The Free But Google Owns You Way
Cons: More ownership to Google, limited control over email appearance and send time
Create yourself a Feedburner account (yes, Google also owns Feedburner now…), and add your blogs feed.
Once set-up, ‘Activate’ the ‘Email Subscriptions’ option. There are some limited tweaks you can make as to how the emails will look.
Back in the main Email Subscriptions page you should now have HTML code for a sign-up form. You can simply add this as a text widget to your blog sidebar. Or if you prefer, scroll below the form code, and you also get a text link option – which links to a very simple, no distractions ‘enter email to subscribe’ Feedburner page.
You can view your subscriber numbers in Feedburner, as well as the actual email addresses. You can also export them too.
2. The Freedom, But Not Free Option
Pros: Very easy, Google doesn’t own you, instant or timed delivery, fully flexible design/branding, easy templates
Cons: Not free
This is my preferred option. And if you already have an Aweber account it’s clearly ideal (and probably a feature you missed!). If not, get one, because you should have one anyway for managing all sorts of email lists and contacts!
Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to create your newsletter:-
One particularly nice feature is it can also handle digests. So if you post a lot and are worried about bombarding people with emails, you can easily set your newsletter to be e.g. a weekly digest of all posts. Neat.