Newsletter home hunting

So TinyLetter has announced its forthcoming demise and while I have been pretty sure it was going to happen it is nonetheless a sad day. 

The simplicity of it as a platform is a big reason that I started – and maintained – my jobs newsletter. It is light on features compared to other products but I never cared about anything beyond being able to write and send the emails with the minimal amount of analytics (that I barely look at and never really trusted anyway.)

Oh and it was free.

A previous attempt to migrate was a stressful disaster and I’m loath to go through that again.

So I need to decide what to do – and soon.

So my needs are a simple email newsletter platform for 2,500-3,000 subscribers, with an easy editor, some lightweight analytics, provides an archive and doesn’t break the bank given the newsletter is totally free and doesn’t attract sponsorship or much in the way of other support. Oh and I don’t want to self-host anything.

The issue is subscriber numbers tip things into the paid end of the market and in some cases on the cusp of a second tier of costs as well.

I see why/how Substack is so popular. Not only is it free for free newsletters no matter the numbers it also has a nice UX for writers and seems easy to use. I’m just not a fan of some of their business practices and was hoping to avoid taking the easy option. It looks hard though.

These are the alternatives that have been recommended after a bit of a cry for help on the (fragmented) socials;

Ghost – $50 a month

I really like Ghost and use it for my little viewed alt-blog (bristolburnout.life) but the jump from free to almost 50 quid feels too much.

Beehiiv – Free (quickly rising to $42 as the newsletter is right on the edge of the lower subscriber limit)

A few newsletters I subscribe to use Beehiiv (including Emily’s) and I like the look of it but I’m right on the cliff edge of going from free to $42 a month – in fact I’ll probably crossover by February if trends continue.

Buttondown – $29 a month

This is the service I tried to migrate to last time. I really wanted to support it as it is a proper indie web kind of thing but it was a nightmare. For reasons that were never explained to me it deleted my mailing list three times – I could literally see it vanishing in front of me! It is also more expensive these days as well.

Mailerlite – $40 (quickly rising to $50 as the newsletter is right on the edge of the lower subscriber limit)

This was recommended by a few people but it isn’t that Lite price wise and I wasn’t overwhelmed by the UX. I suspect it would be fine but if I was going to spend that much I’d use Ghost.

Email Octopus – £12 a month

This was recommended and their social media team also followed up which was nice rather than creepy. I haven’t spent much time checking it out yet but the first look is positive and the price is right.

GetResponse – £22 a month (quickly rising to £39 as the newsletter is right on the edge of the lower subscriber limit)

Again the price is okay now but soon will be at the top end plus it just feels better suited to email marketing than a simple newsletter.

ConvertKit – $49 a month

Too much and too marketing-y. It has lots of cool features, none of which I need.

If money was no option I would go with Ghost and Beehiiv looks decent but won’t be free for long and at that point I might as well go with Ghost…which is too much money.

Aaarrrgggghhhh. None of these options are great.

Back to the drawing board I guess.

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