Do you have an email newsletter for your WordPress blog? If you do, you may be using an advanced service like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact to manage your email list(s) and create newsletters. For some WordPress users, these tools might be a bit complicated or just too much work.
I’ve wanted to create a newsletter for my blog for a couple of years now, but I figured that it would just be too difficult to switch from Feedburner to another service. However, recently I came across WYSIJA and quickly realized that it doesn’t have to be difficult at all.
WYSIJA was previously featured in our Top 10 WordPress Plugins of the Month for April. Tom mentioned that it’s “well supported and growing in popularity quickly,” and I can certainly see why! It is indeed an impressive WordPress plugin that lets you create stylish email newsletters in a matter of minutes.
In case you’re wondering, WYSIJA stands for What You Send Is Just Awesome. Does it live up to the name? Well, you can be the judge, but I definitely feel like it goes above and beyond its name. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at this awesome newsletter and blog post notification plugin.
WYSIJA is very easy to get started with. After you install and activate the “Wysija Newsletters” WordPress plugin, you’ll find the settings under its own menu (above the Appearance menu).
As you can see in the screenshot, there are three sub-menus: Newsletters, Subscribers, and Settings.
On the Newsletters page, you can see all the newsletters that you’ve created (including drafts) and sent out. The status for each newsletter is displayed so that you can see if it has been sent out or not. You can also see data regarding opens, clicks, and unsubscribers.
To create a new email newsletter, you can do so from this page by clicking on “create a new email” at the top of the page (next to the title “All Newsletters”). What this does is walk you through a series of steps needed to create a newsletter.
- You’ll need to choose a type of newsletter to create (standard or automatic), enter a subject line, and choose the list(s) to send the newsletter to. Lists can be created under the “Subscribers” sub-menu, which we’ll take a closer look at below.
- Next you can start adding the items that you want included in your newsletter. You can add content (plain text, WordPress posts, dividers, social bookmarks), images, styling, and themes.
Even though you can create your own themes in Photoshop, all of this can be done without the use of HTML or CSS. This is great for those that are not familiary with Web coding; you won’t need to know any of that stuff to create your newsletter. WYSIJA comes with one theme, but you can install more themes (free and premium) via their website.
You can click on the sample text and images already in your newsletter and edit as needed. Placeholders for WordPress posts are dragged into the newsletter, and from there you can select which post(s) to insert. You get to choose whether you want to insert the entire posts or just excerpts. Since you still want people coming to your blog and since your posts are bound to be fairly long, it’s probably best to keep it set to display excerpts.
Don’t worry about how long the excerpt is. Once you insert a post, you can edit the actual text and make the excerpt short if you’d like, or add more text to it. You can also edit the featured image, title, and add formatting to the excerpt text.
When you’re done, you can choose to send a preview to your email address, so that you can make sure everything looks ok.
- In step three you can finalize your details – Subject line, list(s), sender, reply-to name and email, and choose to schedule your newsletter. If you do choose to schedule, you can select the day and time that you want to send it.
When you’re done, you can either schedule your newsletter or save it as a drat.
If you have open registration on your blog, you’re already one step ahead because each member or your blog will automatically be subscribed to your newsletter.
If you have contributors, authors, editors, etc as members of your blog, then they’ll be automatically subscribed as well. This is also a great way to contact your team all at once and in a stylish manner, since you can add them all to a list and send out a newsletter just to them.
Each subscribe can be edited; you can change their email address, add their name, change their status (subscribed, unconfirmed, unsubscribed) and change the list that they’re a part of. You can also add new subscribers and new lists, edit your current lists, import subscribers, or export your subscribers.
The import feature is great if you’re currently using services like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or even Feedburner. This allows you to import your subscribers from any other service you’re using into WYSIJA.
I won’t go into Settings too much; you’ll find basic things here that you can customize on your newsletter.
For instance, you can add your company address, choose to be notified of new subscribers and/or unsubscribers, send out sign up confirmations, choose your send method, choose to let people subscribe from your comments section (via a check box), customize the roles and permissions for WYSIJA, and much more.
- A sidebar widget is included, making it easy for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter(s); you can also add a subscribe for to any page or post via a shortcode.
- WYSIJA creates responsive newsletters, meaning they will look good on almost all screen sizes, devices, and services: iPhone, Android, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and more.
- If you have more than one list, you can opt to let users choose the list(s) that they want to subscribe to.
- You can choose to have a single, or double opt-in method – one requires email activation, the other doesn’t.
- With a free account you’re limited to 2000 subscribers, so if you think you’ll have more than that you should upgrade your account.
- There are even more features offered to those with a Premium account.
Bringing It All Together
In a nutshell, WYSIJA is one of the easiest ways to create newsletters for your WordPress blog. You don’t need any technical knowledge to use it; if you can drag, drop, and click then you can use WYSIJA with ease and flexibility.
It’s really convenient that you can access WYSIJA right from your WordPress dashboard – no need to visit another service. Plus the fact that you can schedule your newsletters whenever you want is an added bonus. Instead of your subscribers receiving a daily email from Feedburner, you can send out a weekly, bi-monthly, or even monthly newsletter if you choose.
I’m ready to make the switch to WYSIJA, how about you?