Are you using Jetpack?
Jetpack is a free WordPress plugin created by Automattic, the company run by WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. It doesn’t have a specific function but rather a wide assortment of functionality including built-in stats for your site, easy sharing options, shortlinks, instant sharing to search engines, and more. I’ve had it hooked up on this site ever since its release last year, but with my recent re-launch I utilized one feature I hadn’t before: Email subscriptions to my blog posts.
I don’t currently do much for an e-newsletter (though I should), so people being able to receive my latest blog posts by email is somewhat of an alternative, especially for folks who don’t use RSS aggregators like Google Reader or Flipboard.
I use Feedburner to serve my blog’s RSS feed and it has a built-in subscribe-by-email option, but it’s nothing WordPress-specific. With Jetpack, creating a signup widget in the sidebar was a piece of cake and the emails that it generates are clean, easy to read, and contain the full post information including title, content, images, categories, tags, author info, and even a link to leave a comment. Here’s a screenshot of one of my posts:
Here’s a shot of the email footer:
One minor negative thing about using the Jetpack email subscription widget is the inability to brand the generated emails. They are actually WordPress-branded and you can’t add your logo or color scheme. For my purposes this is not a big deal as I really like the set-it-and-forget-it functionality. I actually subscribe to other blogs that use the Jetpack plugin and honestly, I don’t think twice about the lack of branding. The readability and convenience make up for it.
While much of the overall functionality contained in the Jetpack plugin is somewhat random and I don’t use even half of the options, it works well for what I need it to do. And if you want a super simple way to allow people to subscribe to your blog posts by email, Jetpack will do the trick easily.
A quick side note
Almost as soon as you hit “publish” on your post, that baby is going to get emailed out to your Jetpack subscribers. One benefit of this is you’ll do a better job making sure things are spelled correctly, linked to external sites, etc. However, you still might click the button by accident. I have that tendency, so I installed a basic publish confirmation plugin that double-checks that you actually mean to publish the post.