Ok, so over the weekend I had the fun task of choosing a WordPress newsletter plugin for my blog. I don’t know why, but this task was extremely difficult for me. I just couldn’t find exactly what I wanted.
I had originally been using the simple email newsletter plugin for WordPress and it wasn’t a bad plugin. It just wasn’t what I wanted. It was very simple and made it easy for your users to subscribe, but I wanted to use something more professional with more options.
In the end I decided to sign up to MailChimp and I’m going to start off using their free mailing account until I receive more subscribers. I then found a simple plugin which allowed me to integrate my MailChimp account and use a subscribe widget on my WordPress blog. I now have a subscribe form under several posts and a subscribe widget featured in my sidebar and I’m happy with that.
In this article I will be providing you with some free WordPress newsletter plugins and subscribe widgets. The first three plugins are the ones that I had tried over the weekend.
Honestly though, these free newsletter plugins are nothing compared to the ones that you have to pay for. As soon as you are in a position to pay for a monthly newsletter plugin I would invest in one right away. My top paid recommendation is popup domination. Only invest when you feel you have built a good list of subscribers and are ready to go pro.
Ok, so if you’re looking for something simple then this is as simple as it gets. This is not an email manager plugin and you have to use a 3rd party service like MailChimp for it to function. The best part about this plugin is that you can place the subscribe form anywhere on your blog using their shortcodes (small code placement for the subscribe form). You can also add a subscribe form to your widget areas or embed it in your template files.
This is the plugin I am currently using. One fault I had with this plugin, was that when I would use the CSS classes assigned to the subscribe form, they would change on their own depending on what page I was on. I ended up creating a div container and styling it myself.
All in all I was pretty satisfied with this plugin. It allowed me to easily capture my subscribers emails. I could compose emails quickly, view subscribers, and view email addresses from the comments area. One thing I didn’t like was that there were no shortcodes available for the subscribe form. I know it doesn’t need to have shortcodes, but it would of made my life a lot easier if it did.
I also noticed that I could only display the plugin in one widget area. It wouldn’t let me place the widget in several widget areas. Say if I wanted to add a subscribe box to my footer. I wasn’t able to do that.
I would recommend this plugin if all you want is a simple email manager and one subscribe area.
I also tried the Newsletter Manager plugin. It’s not a bad plugin, it works perfectly fine. They provide short codes and the HTML code for the form, but if you use the shortcode you cannot edit the CSS because the div tags do not have classes assigned to them and also the form is built inside a table so it has a fixed positioning. To edit the CSS when using the shortcodes you would have to edit the plugin files. Which is not recommended if you plan on updating the plugin. A solution to this is adding and editing the HTML form code in your template files or your actual blog posts. Everything else functions perfectly.
Now these next plugins are ones that I have not had the chance of using yet. I am reviewing these based on popularity and other users experiences.
The Newsletter plugin is one of the most popular free newsletter WordPress plugins. With over 500k+ downloads. It gives you unlimited subscribers, unlimited emails, single and double opt in acceptance check box, and many more features. I’m pretty sure that the newsletter plugin doesn’t support shortcodes as they would of probably mentioned it in the description.
Another one of the top free newsletter plugins is Wysija. Wysija newsletter also has a premium plan as the free version has some limitations. There are many features that come with the Wysija newsletter such as, multiple newsletter themes, drag and drop visual editor, single or double opt in, newsletters look the same in Gmail, iPhone, Android, Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc and many more features.. Wysija newsletter is probably the best free WordPress newsletter plugin. Originally I wrote I couldn’t find information about shortcodes for Wysija, but I received a comment from Kim at Wysija who provided me with this link for more information about using Wysija’s own shortcodes.
To find out more about this plugin. Visit the download page by clicking the image below.
I have had the pleasure of using this great WordPress plugin. This plugin basically places a custom color subscribe widget in a widget area of your blog. Allowing your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed by email. This is perfect if you would like your audience to receive an automated update every time you write a new post. It requires no management as the email handing is all done through your RSS feed. I would be using this plugin if I didn’t want my own custom newsletters.
Now I know there are many more email newsletter plugins that you can download, but these are the ones I would recommend. Please remember that most free newsletter plugins are very basic and when you have built up your subscribers and blog you should really consider switching to a premium version as it is very worth it. Thanks for reading..
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