Create Impressive Newsletters for Your Blog with WYSIJA

Create Impressive Newsletters for Your Blog with WYSIJA

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.

Getting Started

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).

WYSIJA has its own menu on your WordPress dashboard.

As you can see in the screenshot, there are three sub-menus: Newsletters, Subscribers, and Settings.

Newsletters

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.

View all of your newsletters and create new ones.

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.

  1. 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.Enter the main details for your newsletter.
  2. 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.Sample themes for WYSIJA.
    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.

    Edit your newsletter and add content styling themes and more.
    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.

    Use the post selector to choose the items to include in your newsletter.
    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.

    You can edit your posts image title and excerpt as you would like.
    When you’re done, you can choose to send a preview to your email address, so that you can make sure everything looks ok.

  3. 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.Finalize your newsletter details before scheduling or saving as a draft.
    When you’re done, you can either schedule your newsletter or save it as a drat.

Subscribers

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.

Add remove and edit your newsletter subscribers.

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.

Import subscribers from services like Mail Chimp and Feedburner to WYSIJA.

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.

Settings

I won’t go into Settings too much; you’ll find basic things here that you can customize on your newsletter.

Customize your settings for WYSIJA.

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.

Other Features

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?

Charnita Fance

Charnita is a part-time freelance writer and blogger, and the owner of Social Web Tools. As an early adopter, she enjoys trying out new social media and Internet tools along with WordPress plugins and Web apps. You can find her at various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+

6 Comments

  1. Ian G

    Hi,

    I may be asking a dumb question but can someone tell me how I link my new blog posts to the subscriber list from WSIJA.

    Example:
    I post a new blog in WP about a product launch. I don’t want to produce a newsletter just a blog. How do the subscribers get an email to visit the blog to read more?

    Thanks
    Ian

  2. Matt Cassarino

    Nice review and it sounds good but my biggest concern about not using one of the major email marketing providers is getting past spam filters. I’ve heard that the big providers go to great lengths in communicating with ISPs and email hosting accounts (gmail, yahoo, comcast, etc) to ensure deliverability.

    I’ve also found that an email message sent from my web server that is hosting the website has a MUCH higher chance of being caught in a spam filter. No matter how great your email is, it doesn’t matter if it never shows up in your recipient’s inbox.

    Does anyone else have experience in deliverability issues when sending blasts from their site vs using a 3rd party email marketing program?

    1. Kim

      Matt, deliverability is indeed as important as designing or maintaining your lists.

      You can plug Wysija, or any other newsletter plugin, with a third party provider, like MailChimp’s Mandrill, SendGrid, or even Amazon SES. There are plenty to chose from. It will cost depending on how much you send, but it’s usually worth every penny.

      Here’s a quick FAQ we put up:

      http://www.wysija.com/email-service-providers/

      We’ve also created a simple and free spam score checker: http://mail-tester.com/

      1. Craig

        Wow, my main concerns with this whole concept (not just your plugin) was deliverability from a local mail server. This looks like it solves that massive issue… Dev environment being set up…

  3. Kim

    Good to see people making the switch. Well written review :-)

    1. Charnita Fance

      Thanks Kim!

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