subscribe-by-email is going away. bloggers, what are you going to use instead?

Blogger will soon stop supporting the function that allows readers to subscribe to blogs via email. This is occurring because Google is killing Feedburner. Like the deceased Google Reader, Feedburner is very popular, used by millions, but Google has not been updating it, and is now officially killing it.

There has been some concern that Google might kill Blogger, but over the past several years, they have been answering Blogger-related questions and upgrading some Blogger features. I am still waiting for an update that will allow me to restore 14 years of lost comments! But it does seem like that will happen, and it appears that Blogger will survive.

However, as of July of this year, Feedburner and Subscribe by Email will be no more.

I very much want to offer readers a subscribe-by-email option, and I also want to use that option for several blogs that I read. I've tried many alternatives, but email subscriptions work best for me. 

Things I will not be doing: switching to WordPress, using Twitter instead of blogging, turning my blog into a newsletter. 

I've been researching alternatives to Feedburner, and there are many good ones out there. However, most are paid subscription services. 

I'm not in the camp that expects everything to be free. I subscribe to many paid services: a ridiculous number of streaming platforms, plus software licenses, news sites, and apps that I use frequently and want ad-free. But my blog is not a commercial venture; it is simply my writing outlet. My blog is not monetized, and never will be. So adding a monthly fee so that a few hundred readers can subscribe by email seems wasteful.

I think the simplest solution is IFTTT. IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That (a coding expression), allows you to create applets that link various apps and services, enabling you to do things that neither app alone will do. (This is a good explanation.) I've used IFTTT before, and it has always seemed simple and reliable.

IFTTT lets you create three free applets, This free option allows you to connect an RSS feed to a Blogger blog

I'm pretty sure I'm going with this one. But if you blog and you've found a solution that you like, please share! And I hope all the bloggers I read will all provide some kind of email option.


Dusty said...

I follow via Feedly, so I'll still be here.

laura k said...

Good to know, thank you!

Amy said...

I follow by email, but also when you post on Facebook. I have Feedly, but I rarely look at it because there's too much on my feed. I am sure I will find you.

Canada's Magic said...

I hadn't considered IFTTT but will now look into it. Thanks for the tip!

I'm testing Follow.it. Seems like a solid turn-key Feedburner substitute.

Thoughts so far:
- uses feed directly from Blogger / Blogspot and not the Feedburner feed (which means I've lost the feed snippet feature created by Feedburner)
- free account emails are not configurable (much like Feedburner)
- unable to configure specific send time for the emails (appears to send approximately the time the user signs up for the email subscription)

- company has a whole page on GDPR compliance
- the free default emails sent out have the Follow.it physical mailing address on the footer

The emails that get sent from a service like MailerLite are much more customizable and can be made to look very professional.

There may be an option to do this on Follow.it with a paid account, but I don't know.

I'm not in a rush to move subscribers over. Using this time to learn more about options.

At the risk of losing some readers, I'm going to make them subscribe to the new service, in lieu of importing them into a new service. (And if I'm feeling ambitious, I'll potentially send emails to the folks that haven't subscribed, encouraging them to.)

I'm looking forward to reading other people's thoughts and experiences!

laura k said...

Thanks, Amy. I am going to have a follow by email option. I was just deciding which one to use.

Your issue with Feedly is why I don't use feeds. Every time I tried it I became instantly overwhelmed.

Canada's Magic said...

In case you are interested, Adam at Too Clever By Half has a couple of posts about this topic:



Amy said...

Good to know I am not the only one! I know people who use the WordPress blog reader, and I could never do that for the same reason.

No matter where you end up, I will be reading!

laura k said...

Canada's Magic, thank you! I will definitely check that out.

johngoldfine said...

First I read JoyofSox (I have a shortcut on my desktop) (and I have a legacy desktop computer. no phone, no tablet, no FB.) Then I click the link to Tested by Research because I worry that my blood pressure may not be adequately triple-digited unless I read the latest horrors as only your partner can present them. Then, every few days, I click Allan's link to WMTC because even though we've never met, you've become an acquaintance I want to keep up with.

laura k said...

I have and love my desktop computer. I do use a phone and a laptop, but I love my desktop and would not want to be without it.

John, I think of you as a legacy member of the JoS/wmtc community. It wouldn't be the same without you -- your dogs, garden/farm, horses, students, Jean.

Canada's Magic said...

We're in the final month of Feedburner email and we've made the decision to have subscribers migrate themselves to Follow.It

laura k said...

I won't deal with any company that sends spam.

Canada's Magic said...

Laura, I didn't realize that they did. How did you learn about the spam they send? I haven't made the transition yet, and don't want to get involved with them if they're associated with spam.

Thank you for possibly saving us from making a big mistake!

Canada's Magic said...

I took a quick look at IFTTT but was unable to make any progress. Did you get it to work? If so, are you able to share the results?

laura k said...

Hi Canada's Magic :)

To be fair, you may not consider this spam. But I HATE receiving unsolicited emails asking for for a "guest post" -- in other words, free advertising in exchange for links -- or offering any services. I consider this spam -- it's automated, it's being sent to emails found on blogs, and it's advertising.

For me, that's a deal-breaker. But YMMV.

One good thing, though -- the unsolicited email reminded me I have to resolve this issue.

laura k said...

Many readers read this post as "what will you do to stay updated on wmtc". But the post was meant for bloggers -- blog creators rather than blog readers.

I'm looking for something I can put in a sidebar widget, a new way for readers to subscribe by email.

laura k said...

I took a quick look at IFTTT but was unable to make any progress. Did you get it to work? If so, are you able to share the results?

I worked with it a bit. It's very easy to make an applet. That's what connects two or more services. But I don't know how to embed the applet in the blog sidebar to offer it to readers. It's possible that it doesn't work that way, that applets only work in the background.

For example, if you wanted, every time you post to your blog, that post was automatically posted to your other social media -- your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. That's very easy to do using IFTTT. And you can create 3 of these applets for free.

However, can you create an applet that can then be added to your blog, for readers to use? I can't find any way to do that. So either I'm missing something obvious, or this is the wrong service.

I hope that helps. When I figure out what I want to do, I will definitely post about it!

laura k said...

This is likely stealth marketing, but it may be helpful anyway:


Canada's Magic said...

We completely understand your stand about unsolicited emails asking for guest posts!

Thank you for your update about IFTTT. That you couldn't quickly find a solution makes us feel better about our lack of progress. ;)

The Jenryland.com link is great and closely aligns with our research.

Canada's Magic said...

If we had a snail mail address to put on all emails we'd be going with MailerLite.

Canada's Magic said...

Also, thank you for making a space where people can come and thrash about possible solutions! :)

laura k said...

Canada's Magic, thank you so much for that affirmation. Best of luck. :)

laura k said...

Funny postscript: I inadvertently tested my IFTTT applet. When I posted to this blog, I received an email through IFTTT telling me the blog had been updated! So it did work. But not in the way I wanted.

I'm now pretty sure that one could create an applet through IFTTT, and then embed it in a Blogger widget, for readers to subscribe by email. But someone would have to walk me through the steps, and I'm not finding those instructions anywhere.

Canada's Magic said...

It sounds like if you created a third party email list that the IFTTT applet that you have could send the contents of that email to the list.