First of all, what services are out there?
There are a number of companies that deal with online newsletters, such as Constant Contact, VerticalResponse and iContact. These all have monthly fees after the initial one to two months of a free trail. They all have support systems and link to social networks, like facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. VerticalResponse looks to be the most flexibilty. For example, you can pay 1¢ per email or a monthly fee of $8.50. Then if you want to send a survey or special event announcement, there is another price.
I did find an inexpensive service called letterpop; for up to 25 contacts and 10 newsletters, a basic plan can be purchased for $4.95/year. But that's not a lot of contacts... Their personal plan ($24.98/year) jumps to 500 contacts and 52 email/year. That's one email a week. Plus you can add many more photographs than the basic plan allows and you don't have to worry about ads. Ugh!
But I'm looking for a free service. When I modified my search, I was surprised to find so many opportunities.
"We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time."
If you use WordPress for your blogging software, there's a free email newsletter service.
The easiest way to send out a newsletter is using your gmail account. All you need to do is create a new account name for the newsletter. eHow has a good explanation of how to do this.
Has anyone ever heard of tinyletter before? Their logo: "email for people with something to say." They make it possible to import and add new contacts, respond to individuals, and customize to a certain extent.
Nabble is a bit different than the other newsletter sites I found. They make it possible for you to start a newspaper online. That's kinda neat!
There's another option available, if you don't want to go through an newsletter service, and that's using a distribution service for your blog, like Google's FeedBurner. This will allow you to redistribute your blog posts and monitor the traffic you get. Here's some instructions on setting up FeedBurner on Blogger.
There are alternatives to FeedBurner; you can read about them here on makeuseof.
So, there's a lot of opportunities out there. I'd love to hear your feedback on this.
What are YOU doing to distribute your newsletter?
Or, if you're interested in starting a newsletter, which service at are you thinking of using?