Let’s face it, newsletters are great. They are a wonderful way to provide interesting content to subscribers on your child sites, spread the word on deals, and effectively message users. Email newsletters still work and are well worth taking the time to create and send.
Use the server where your child sites are hosted for what it is meant for;
- Query the site database
- Render as PHP
- Generate the content
- Allow customers to purchase products
- Allow users to view a brochure
- Allow users to submit a form
But do not use the server for sending out newsletter emails.
There are a number of plugins which allow you to send newsletters from WordPress on your child site, but in turn, it means you then have to deal with a whole bunch of data being stored in the site’s database. The data could include which emails were sent out, email newsletter lists, the list of subscribers to those lists, and email newsletter templates.
Email Subscribers & Newsletters plugin will create 18 database tables. The plugin on deactivation and delete will not remove any data it has created. One of the database tables, wp_ig_sending_queue, has been found on some sites to end up storing tens of millions of records, and get as bloated as 7-25GB in size. Using this plugin can create issues on the site’s database, as well as maxing out the PHP workers which have been set on the site’s server. You should be able to export out the emails from the plugins settings to a CSV file. Once you have exported the subscribers, you can delete the database tables that the Email Subscribers & Newsletters plugin created.
Another plugin which might be used for sending newsletters on your site is called (aptly enough) Newsletter. The Newsletter plugin will only add 5 database tables. The Newsletter plugin does work with a number of SMTP plugins and providers like Amazon SES, Mailgun, Mailjet, SparkPost and Mandrill. You are going to run into deliverability issues, as the plugin relies heavily on wp-cron. It is possible to get around deliverability issues by using an external cron or using an external transactional provider for sending the emails. But you still end up hitting CPU and PHP execution timeouts issues. To add to the growing pile, you still have to deal with email sending issues.
The last plugin we are going to cover is MailPoet. MailPoet will add 27 database tables to your child site’s database. Something to note, if you delete and deactivate the plugin, none of the 27 database tables will be removed. Those tables will need to be removed manually. It is possible to export subscribers to a CSV file. MailPoet does at least address some of the many issues including why you should not use your host for sending out emails, but the plugin also makes a heavy mention of their own sending service. MailPoet covers a large list of WordPress hosts and their email sending limits that they set.
Now that you know the three plugin newsletter options not to use on your child site, let’s discuss newsletter services..
There are a number of dedicated services for newsletters, the best known being Mailchimp. Mailchimp has recently made a change to how their pricing structure works, so that is something to be aware of. Other options include EmailOctopus, ActiveCampaign, AWeber and SendinBlue. There are also other services to look at which have solid feature sets, as well as reasonable pricing.
What should you look for when finding a dedicated newsletter service? The key thing to note is, are they are built and designed to handle sending high email volumes, as well as dealing with larger subscriber lists? Most of the main form plugins have add-on plugins for newsletter services. Gravity Forms has plugins for Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber and SendinBlue. This means the form plugin you are already using can still be used but the form submission will be automatically sent into the correct list you want, as well as allowing the user to double-opt in.
Using a dedicated email marketing service, rather than trying to send out email marketing newsletters using the resources of your child site server, will free up valuable resources and use the server for what it is designed for.