Introducing the eNews Extended Plugin for Your Genesis-Powered Website

Genesis eNews Extended Plugin

With the recent announcement that Google is shutting down Feedburner’s API, we decided to get a jump start on possible replacements for the eNews and Updates widget that is currently inside of Genesis.

While the API shut down won’t affect the functionality of the widget, we will be softly deprecating it in Genesis 1.9 and removing it entirely in 2.0.

This means if you are currently using the eNews and Updates widget, it will still work — just that you won’t be able to add it once Genesis 1.9 is released.

A Great Solution for Genesis Users

One of the biggest complaints and suggestions about our current solution was that it only supported Feedburner.

While Google has a big share of the email marketing space, there are plenty of other companies that are gaining traction and claiming a piece of the pie.

So I personally reached out to Genesis developer and community member Brandon Kraft about the Genesis eNews Extended plugin that he built.

With the Genesis eNews Extended plugin, you can create a new widget to easily add mailing lists integration to a Genesis website.

Currently, the plugin integrates seamlessly with FeedBurner, MailChimp, AWeber, FeedBlitz and Brandon will be adding support for others as they are requested.

We Encourage Community Involvement

You might wonder why we are promoting the Genesis eNews Extended plugin rather than building our own and the answer is simple.

Having similar plugins developed and maintained by different folks would have resulted in a bad user experience.

Especially when the solution that Brandon had created just works.

In addition to that, we want to illustrate how much we appreciate the efforts and contributions of community members.

Take a look at the community themes and community tutorials to see how we promote those who use and build for Genesis.

A Commitment to Excellence

After talking with Brandon, we can assure you that the plugin will be updated and supported as necessary.

We realize how important it is to build your email marketing list and want to make sure you have the tools to do that.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Genesis eNews Extended plugin, feel free to leave a comment below.

Comments

  1. Way to stay ahead of the curve. Appreciate it!

    Mike

  2. Although the API that Feedburner decided to shut down doesn’t affect too much on feedburner email delivery, it’s better to stay ahead of the change :) Does Studiopress work with Brandon to improve the plugin in future updates of Genesis framework?

    • There isn’t a formal arrangement for me and StudioPress, but I created the plugin to solve a headache in my own life and for my clients. I’m open to any suggestions and, of course, if Brian, Nathan or anyone over at StudioPress wants something, my goal is to provide it.

      The plugin works out of the box with the styling currently present in StudioPress themes and if they make some changes that would require a change in the plugin, I’ll get those rolled as soon as reasonable!

    • ^ What Brandon said. ;-)

  3. A nice solution to a pending problem! Echoing the question above: will development be taken over by StudioPress developers or will Brandon continue to update as needed, with official releases taking place here?

    • We’d really prefer to allow Brandon the opportunity to continue to own the plugin. This post was part announcement of his plugin, but also part foreshadowing of the deprecation of our own. If Brandon gets to a point where he doesn’t have time to maintain it, we’d gladly take it over.

    • I don’t even use this plugin (yet) but just wanted to say that I LOVE how StudioPress is handling this. It seems to me their concern here is the user (developer) experience and how they can most seamlessly serve their customer – I’m getting that warm and fuzzy feeling – sincere thanks to all those involved!

      • Thanks Daniel, really appreciate that. We do care a lot about our users, and certainly want to do what we can to make sue their experiences with Genesis and related resources are top notch.

  4. Feeling very lucky to have run across this – just in time for me to avoid having to rework the site overhaul – and want to thank you for being so proactive! …Signed up for emails now.

    Thank you for an awesome product and for all you do. Wish I’d started with Studiopress, would have saved me countless hours of grief and debugging. No more theme speed-dating.

    • Hey Jessica, glad you stumbled across this – and glad that you find value in the tools and communication we have.

      Most importantly, nice to hear you’re no longer speed dating and off the market!

  5. One vote for Campaign Monitor please :)

    • A quick look at the sign-up form they have on their home page looks compatible with the plugin. Drop me a note at web-comments (at) brandon kraft [dot] com (no spaces) and include the code provided by Campaign Monitor.

      I’ll either let you know how to integrate it or work it into the development cycle.

  6. Woo hoo!

  7. When will this support iContact?

    We use this to to update our members on travel specials and other news but are currently using a locally made signup form. Works fine but the plugin may look more elegant I think.

    • I haven’t explored iContact yet.

      Checking out the subscribe form on your page, first and last name fields are not supported in the current version (0.1.3) but my development version (0.2) does support them.

      I don’t have a timeframe for releasing the 0.2 version (my wife is due any day now), but if you’re willing to be a beta tester, drop me a line at http://brandonkraft.com/contact/

  8. Another vote for icontact :-) please

  9. As someone who switched from Feedburner to Feedblitz, and then couldn’t get the standard eNews plugin to work, I installed Brandon’s. I couldn’t quite work it out, emailed him, and got a fix within about an hour. Tremendous support and great plugin – great to see it official. :)

  10. Genesis eNews Extended plugin works perfectly with MailChimp :D I’ll install this awesome plugins on all of my blogs :)

    Thanks Brian ;)

  11. Very nice plugin for Genesis. The UI seems to look good in my Eleven40 child theme.

  12. Great stuff (as always) guys, been looking forward to you guys putting out something like this. Thanks

  13. I have had an experience with Brandon that I must say was exceptional!
    Using the Education Child Theme for my website, he; within minutes of my query had the home page ‘call to action’ widget working perfectly with his plugin, replacing Feedburner.
    Thanks Brandon, well done, all the best!
    P.S. Studiopress gets a pat on the back, but when they constantly exceed my expectations with their service you come to expect excellence!

  14. Bruno Tellier :

    Another vote for Campaign Monitor

  15. Since Feedburner is going away, which free blog to email service would you recommend? I want something to tell my students they can use that will be reliable for them to post to their blogs and have an email go out to their subscribers

  16. Thanks for this blog post that helped me know about that plugin. Hope you will add more features to it and make it more powerful.

  17. This looks like a winner! Thanks to you both for making this happen and serving the StudioPress community. It’s the best money I’ve spent in long, long time. Great job!

  18. Thanks so much for this great option Brandon! Psyched to see you’re already looking into Campaign Monitor (that was going to be my first vote). The other one not mentioned that many of my clients use is Constant Contact, so I’d also like to recommend integration there for future consideration.

  19. Campaign Monitor and MadMimi please!

    And thank you for getting ahead of this. This is what I love about StudioPress. You are not hobbyists or simply geeks doing clever things, you are business people who are aware that we your clients have clients who depend on good service. As a business owner providing websites to my clients I feel totally supported by you guys and that I why I stick with the Genesis framework and StudioPress.

  20. Hey gang– my wife had a baby this afternoon (all are good… http://teresa.kraft.im ), so I won’t be responding to messages/requests as quickly as usual.

    I’m excited that there is so much interest. The good news is I think the plugin can handle the requested services already; the bad news is the documentation isn’t there yet. The MailChimp instructions on the plugin’s homepage can help if you’re interested in “figurin’ it out”.

    If you do, drop me a note with what worked and it’ll be compiled into future documentation.

  21. Awesome…. Converted to Mail Chimp a while back (it rocks… don’t Miss Constant Contact one bit) and I’ve been waiting for a great solution. Thanks guys!

  22. Can u get back to me whether this plugin can do auto emails when new posts and pages are added?

    • Hey Sam,

      By itself, no. The plugin works with many third-party services (MailChimp, FeedBlitz, etc) to subscribe folks. You can configure those services to automatically send out e-mails when new posts are published. In MailChimp, it is called a RSS-to-Email Campaign.

      I’m not certain if there is a way to have notifications when new pages are published without work beyond the scope of what I’m able to support.

      • ok cheers, i still think the subscribe2 plugin is a more automated and better solution… what are your thoughts?

        • Depends on your exact needs.

          Positively, it doesn’t rely on a third-party service to operate.
          Negatively, it doesn’t rely on a third-party service to operate.

          Out of the box, it appears subscribe2 isn’t as powerful as other services and would have an higher initial cost. Full HTML content emails require buying the commercial version of the subscribe2 plugin. The enews widget is free (with or without a StudioPress license).

          MailChimp, for example, allows you to setup some cool things not offered on subscribe2. For example, you can setup new subscribers to get a series of welcome emails ‘dripped’ out to them over time, etc.

          The biggest issue, though, with using subscribe2 is the server. Sending bulk email is hard. Between having to ensure you’re legally in compliance, you have to ensure your server environment is best configured for it.

          On a shared host, which I’d imagine most users are on, you’re hoping that no one else on the server has a bad rep that would at best mark your messages as spam or worst be blacklisted outright.

          In short, would subscribe2 be a better solution? Maybe for some people, but not for me or my clients.

  23. I have a couple of questions which I’ll also contact Brandon with.
    a) Can you add InfusionSoft to the list of supported email handlers?
    b) Using the plugin, is it easy to add your own graphics to change the way it looks?

    I’m off to try it out now – thank you.
    Liz

    • Hey Liz —

      a) Sure. Send me a link to an example of their form too.
      b) Depends on your definition of easy ;-) – There are no styling options within the widget itself. All styling is done is CSS. The plugin is designed to use the eNews CSS styling in most StudioPress themes, so you can edit that to do what you’d like (e.g. make the widget height taller and add a background-image to put a graphic in).

  24. Thanks for the heads up on the plugin and for staying ahead of the curve. #appreciation

  25. Just updated.
    Thanks Brandon and thanks Studiopress.

  26. Thanks for staying ahead of the pending Feedburner API shutdown. I will be switching all my sites over using this new plugin “Genesis eNews Extended plugin.”

    I know feedblitz is an alternative once feedburner goes, but does anyone else have another suggestion for RSS feeds? I want to weigh my options.

    • Hi Regina
      I’m in the same position as you – I’m looking at alternatives to Feedburner for my email subscriptions.

      The three front runners appear to be MailChimp, Aweber and Feedblitz.

      Mailchimp offers a free service, with limitations, so I thought that I would try them first.

      This article from the MailChimo blog looks like a good place to start – it only covers exporting your Feedburner list as a CSV file, but there are links to setting up lists, email subscriptions etc.

      http://blog.mailchimp.com/moving-your-subscriber-list-from-feedburner-to-mailchimp/

      As soon as I have time I’m going to move over to the free MailChimp service and see how it goes.

    • As someone who has recently switched over about 15 RSS feeds from Feedburner to FeedBlitz, I can say that their automated Feedburner import tool is magic. We also “found” about 1500 subscribers on one feed that Feedburner never accounted for.

      Still some minor quirks at play when it comes to podcast RSS feeds and third party measurement services, but I’m 200% happy with what FeedBlitz has done for our regular RSS news feeds.

  27. Do you have a release schedule for Genesis 1.9 and 2.0? Thank you.

  28. How about Mad Mimi support? :)

  29. Hello Brain, I was wondering if I can use Mailchimp with the Newsletter widget I have on my site right now. I currently use feed-burner but don’t want to left out in the cold with my widget in my hand :) thanks so much for any help on this.

    • I am using eNews Extended plugin since 2 months and I am just like you, shifted from feedburner.
      You just need to configure plugin correctly, and it will work as good as default eNews widget (or even better). :)

  30. The integration with Mailchimp and Aweber is more than welcome!

    Thanks!

  31. Please add Mad Mimi

  32. Thanks a lot for the solution to the problem. StudioPress makes it possible.

  33. Thank you for the heads-up. You guys always stay ahead of the game. I am considering switching to Jetpacks subscriptions. I am testing it on one websites and so far it is way better than feedburner.

  34. Assuming I am not using this with feedburner but with aweber, can someone explain to me why using this plugin is better than just pasting the script aweber provide into a text widget? What are the benefits of using it with aweber or mailchimp or a similar service? Thanks.

    • Hi Penny,

      On a technical level, there’s not an advantage. In effect, it all works out the same. If you’re setting up the site for a client, it would likely be easier for them to change the text around the form elements than having to edit pure HTML,.

      If you’re using a StudioPress theme (or modified one) and would like the subscribe form to look like the ones designed as part of the theme for use with the original widget, the plugin would allow you to relatively easily get the form up with the same styling without having to mess around with CSS.

      As the plugin develops overtime and services are added naively (so you can drop in your user name or something similar and it populates everything correctly), it would be much easier to get a form up, but as for now, it is simply a convenience on styling or for future non-technical site editors.

      Thanks!
      BK

  35. Is there a way to add the first name to the form? I collect both. Thanks!

  36. Looks and sounds great–I WOULD HUGELY appreciate any tips/ ideas/ general place to look for how to customize it to look like/ fit in with my sites’ Studiopress themes, generally speaking that is…Thanks.

  37. I’m waiting for the next version of this plugin (First Name + Email Opt-in form), I just can’t wait to get it installed in my blogs :) Thank you Brandon for releasing such a cool plugin :)

  38. I would like to have integration with WYSIJA.

  39. That is a great addons for all Genesis users. I have noticed about feedburner API shutdown, happy to see this released :-)

  40. GetResponse support, please! Been using them for 4 years and they have incredible deliverability. Plus, GetResponse has a simple API that makes it easy to integrate.

    http://dev.getresponse.com/

  41. I wonder , how it’s going to work with GetResponse for example ? Any help will be much appreciated :))

    Regards

  42. Thank you Brandon! My vote is for Constant Contact. I have several clients who use that mail service. I know that there are many other services out there as well. Thank you for your expertise and craftsmanship!

  43. Thanks Kraft for making such nice plugin, I’ve given 5 stars to this plugin on wordpress.org.

  44. Great stuff. I look forward to the updates with more fields, like first name.

  45. Hi Brandon
    Does your plugin work with iContact, or will you make it work in the future?
    Thanks for giving us this great plugin!

    • How’s the iContact coming? I am needing to get it working for a client.

      • Drop me a note at http://brandonkraft.com/contact. I can check out the html provided by icontact and follow up from there. (Note: the contact form will strip out the html, so drop me a note, I’ll reply, then you can send me the html!)

        Cheers!

        • Thank you but I now have decided to go with MailChimp.

          I got everything setup including custom message design for my client using just the plain text widget and my test signup didn’t work. Looks like her 30 day trial ran out and there isn’t an option to make it their free plan for under 100 contacts.

          But before I figured that out, I searched out alternatives and found that MailChimp has a “Forever Free” for less than 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails/month. That seems better anyway.

          My thoughts for new/small websites is to just use a free one to start building their email list till they are properly utilizing the service to justify paying for it.

  46. just gearing up to get into Genesis: what version (1.9, 2.0) are you releasing as of today Nov 23?

  47. How do i configure with Mailchimp? Thanks

  48. @Brandon Kraft

    Personally, I’ve never been a fan of “Paid” email services. I don’t believe any of them provide a value that is worth paying for. The problem is, most of the time, It’s way to hard to try them out and switch, if you don’t like it… meaning your stuck with them, if you don’t want to kill hours of time.

    I like free services, including self-hosted services. I would like to recommend that you add support for a couple of these types of mailing list systems.

    1. I would think that SendPress, a free WordPress plugin, should be at the top of your list.
    2. OpenEMM is another great option. It provides a framework, for a business to run a dedicated server, for a complete, self-hosted, email marketing campaign. What’s more is that there is already a PHP class that abstracts the webservice interface of OpenEMM and provides the same functionality as native PHP code.

    3. My third suggestion would be to develop your own, within the plugin, giving people options. “Use the ones my plugin supports, or use the one built into the plugin.” With Premise’s ability to manage landing pages, Genesis’ construct and functionality already built into WordPress, there is no reason you and StudioPress couldn’t find a way to capitalize on a premium version of your plugin, which works with Premise, to manage complete email marketing campaigns from within WordPress/Genesis. Heck, this would probably be more valuable than all the other options offered by Copyblogger, combined, if for nothing else than a reason to make sure you purchase both Genesis and Premise, along with your plugin.

    • Hi Bamajr,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment and suggestions. I have to disagree about the value that dedicated services provide, after managing an outbound e-mail relay for the non-profit I used to work at. Keeping a server off of blacklists and generally trying to keep e-mails as deliverable to inboxes (vs bulk folders) can be a challenge.

      If a user is on a dedicated server, this is a relatively minor challenge. If they’re on a shared hosting environment, they are somewhat at the mercy of the other customers on that server and pray that they aren’t sending out messages that are being marked as spam, etc, to get your server’s IP blacklisted. Dedicated IP addresses could solve this, but nevertheless, still an issue.

      If you have the time, skill, and desire, self-operating an e-mail newsletter is fine. If you don’t, at least some paid options aren’t bad. In my experience, transferring lists from ConstantContact and Vertical Response to MailChimp is a pretty straightforward process. I like MailChimp since they do have a reasonable free tier that works for my personal needs. I’ve never paid for the service (and haven’t tried any that are exclusively paid), so can’t comment there.

      I digress. The third suggestion is interesting, though, my fear would be the negative reaction by customers who paid good money for my plugin and have issues related to their server infrastructure. While it wouldn’t be my fault, I’d bet that my reviews would suffer.

      • Personally, I haver never found managing an email relay, nor an email marketing service to be that difficult, when it is done correctly. Yes, I know that challenges exist when IP addresses get blacklisted, but proactively working with ISPs to get whitelisted is an easy way to help reduce that chance. I’ve never had an issue with blacklisting, even on shared ip hosting, so long as I have managed the hosting environment. Yntil just a few days ago, I had been doing exactly this, among other things, for several years, without a single blacklisting issue.

        I also don’t think you would have to worry too much about a negative reaction from customers, who buy your plugin/service (my 3rd suggestion). All of the email marketing companies, mentioned above, have quite a few negative reviews, alongside their positive reviews. It is all about how those reviews are addressed, which makes the difference. I would go so far as to say, that if you put the same quality and effort into this type of plugin/service, as you do your other work, this wouldn’t be an issue.

      • One more thing…

        Even if we disagree on the value of a dedicated email marketing company and using your plugin to connect to it, I still hold that there is equal value in connecting to other services, which are free, especially those already built to work with WordPress (I.E. SendPress). In fact, this exact feature is something I find lacking in Gravity Forms as well.

  49. Hey Brandon!

    Great plugin and effort on your part. Appreciate it !

    Could you please add WYSIJA newsletter plugin integration as I use it? Pretty cheap when compared to Aweber and others. Thanks!