Newsletters on your website are a better choice than printed or even emailed newsletters. The “issues” or entries stay posted on your website easily accessible for as long as you like. A newsletter on a website can be indexed by search engines to be found by people who never heard of you. Notice of new issues can be sent automatically.
Printed and eMail Newsletter Downsides
Printed newsletters are normally planned for a certain size and length and with special features for each issue—a calendar of events, a cute quote, a joke, a feature story, news items. All these have to come together at once and get to the printer in order to meet deadlines for timely publication. Then they have to be distributed. Mailing is expensive. Address changes difficult to maintain.
An email newsletter with a predetermined format will still have to meet the same content expectations, plus being prepared by someone who understands the format and the software. Most newsletters, distributed in print or by email, have become uneconomical and of questionable value given the amount of time, effort, and coördination they take to produce.
What Exactly Is a WordPress Blog?
Blog is short for Web Log. Blogs began as online diaries in which writers posted their thoughts and opinions with discipline and openness. A serious blogger wrote every day and was followed by other bloggers. For many of the early bloggers, who were writing before the easy to use Web existed, it became both a religion and a science.
WordPress is an online software that began for bloggers to easily write blog entries using a web browser. It is open source, which means available at no cost. It has developed over the years into a “content managing program,” a CPM, which is capable of doing many more things. It is essentially a file cabinet in the Cloud. It exists on a web servers somewhere.
A newsletter blog post is like posting a news item on a bulletin board or to a news feed than preparing a newsletter for publication. It has a singular focus and is relatively brief. (Mine are typically too long!) Posts are added to a website in chronological order but can be searched and sorted in multiple ways, like notecards.
A Blog Post Is Not an Email Message
A blog post is intended for a wide audience and for “posterity.” It becomes part of the historical record, not just an announcement or press release that will be thrown away. They can be published on a schedule or spontaneously. A calendar of events for the next month might be posted on a regular date, and posts announcing births or other happenings as they occur. Posts on special topics can be posted when completed—Planning a Garden, New Lamps, etc.—or scheduled for later publication.
Blogs Convey Continuity
A blog post is part of a continuous process. Each post is a reminder of the last and the next. That continuity is established more easily than with a newsletter because each post is complete within itself but the blog is “never-ending.” Its past is always present.
Blogs Can Be Spontaneous and Informal
With the ability to post frequently, not all information needs to be collected before announcing an exciting event or be copy edited and perfect. It can be one short paragraph informally jotted down. Who wants to know about a baby born a month ago when it can be announced within minutes? So what if there is no name yet? It can be sent when available. Distribution is essentially free so three short posts can be sent as easily as one long. Frequency can be irritating, but sometimes it is a welcome virtue.
A blog post can be quickly written and distributed with little extra cost beyond maintaining a website (which you should already be doing.)
I use WordPress because it is free, well-designed, constantly updated, and used by millions of other people worldwide. I can always find advice. It can be used on your own website under your own domain or on the WordPress.com website where WordPress will host a blog for you. It is easy to learn by anyone familiar with word-processing program and the web.
What the software does is set up a framework for organizing and sharing information. Think of each news item as an individual snippet. WordPress helps you organize each snippet chronologically and by author, title, date, subject, keywords, etc. The snippet can always be found by searching any of those elements.
WordPress also keeps track of subscribers so you can distribute these news items as they are published or weekly or monthly. Any schedule you choose. It does many more things but in terms of replacing printed or email newsletters with a blog, these are some of the main advantages.