May 22, 2019

Idea: Site generator for newsletters

Per K @klevenio

Before subscribing to a newsletter I want to have a quick look at their archive/previous emails. Some newsletters have this, like Houston Newsletter https://houston.substack.com/ [I'm not affiliated]

The site would be automatically published just by subscribing to the newsletter itself and handling each incoming email like a new post.

It would work for all providers and you could choose/design theme. It would probably make sense to use Jekyll/Hugo/Hexo etc. behind the scenes and publish to something like Netlify.

What do you think?

  1. 2

    I think this is the PERFECT business for a solo indiehacker.

    Pros:
    The nature of the business is the perfect amount of work for a solo owner. Maybe a part timer or VA if necessary but probably no need to give up ownership to a partner.
    Low touch (no talking to customers)
    Subscription/recurring revenue model
    Existing solutions suck for such a useful solution
    Competitive landscape is the perfect size. Services like curated.co or substack, validate the need.

    It's the type of business that will give you a predictable workload and most likely consistently grow over time even from word of mouth without having huge ongoing development tasks for the owner/dev. Or crazy business swings in either direction.

    I wouldn't give the existing solutions too much thought except for maybe copying their customer acquisition methods....convertkit is a great example considering the landscape they launched into.

    I personally love this realistic idea. Good thinking!

    1. 1

      Thanks! I think this could work as well.

  2. 1

    Who would be able to create a publicly accessible archive of a newsletter - anyone? Does that raise copyright concerns? Or do you mean that only the authors of the newsletters could do that - but then how do you "authenticate" them? Or am I missing something?

    1. 1

      Only the authors should be able to publish, but I haven't given auth any thoughts at all, other than "it's probably doable" :)

      1. 1

        I see. Perhaps can do something similar to how Google verifies site ownership through "meta" tags in HTML or how some services use magic strings in DNS entries to verify domain ownership etc. This step is essential but can't be too onerous, otherwise non-technical newsletter authors could be turned off by all the extra friction.

        1. 1

          Yes, it should absolutely be as friction-less as possible.

  3. 1

    As far as I know all email programs have this ability already. Here is my mailchimp archive https://us12.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=ce8a5e698082549514fb4fde2&id=061337a1d3

    1. 1

      Some have and others don't. IMHO there's room for improvement. I'm not sure if it's a service people would pay actual money for though.

    2. 1

      Hey nice newsletter! Mailchimp doesn't give you a landing page/site?

      1. 1

        They can. I made my own w/ Carrd: https://influenceweekly.co
        And for me I hate the archive as it is.
        I made my own to be searchable by topic: https://influence.directory/library/
        I made that with Algolia and html.

  4. 1

    Tiny Letter from Mailchimp does something like this. They call it a Letter Archive. Example: https://tinyletter.com/forwards leads to the archive at http://tinyletter.com/forwards/archive

    But it has some limitations, per the Verge[https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/5/16855304/mailchimp-tinyletter-integration-platform-changes]:
    TinyLetter, a free newsletter service that caps users at 5,000 subscribers, is a perfect product in that it is a finicky and limited product with one function. Formatting is wonky and easy to mess up, embeds are limited to images, archives are rudimentary-looking, and your design choices are very few. But you’re writing an email newsletter, and an email newsletter is what you get every time.