Announcing the Rob Blatt newsletter

I spent most of my day putting together a newsletter. After speaking with some of the more commonly used services, I was sure that I could cobble together an email solution from free services. After a few hours of work, I managed to send myself my first super secret first ever newsletter. Want to sign up for the Rob Blatt newsletter? Here’s a handy dandy form for you to fill out:

Subscribe by entering your email address:

If you want to see the site, check out the Rob Blatt newsletter at

I adhere to a strict “Don’t be a jerk” policy. I’m not going to spam you. I’m not going to sell your email address.

The simple solution was to create a second WordPress installation in a /newsletter subdirectory. After trying a few different methods of building the newsletter from inside of, I decided that it was too much hassle to try and exclude the posts from the RSS feeds and main page of the blog without screwing up the code.

Once I installed WordPress, I uploaded and activated my usual set of plugins (I’ll post about what those are later) and went about creating the homepage. I have a tendency to make things big, so I wanted the form field to be giant, which provided to be a little difficult because the FeedBurner code has inline styles, so I had to remove the inline styles that I was able to change and incorporate them to the CSS. The ones I wasn’t abel to accomplish in CSS, I left inline. That was the width of the input field. If I changed the width in the code for the form, it worked because of how the code is structured.

There was three different input fields in the code. Modifying any of the “input” values breaks the form, so I inserted the “width=600” to make the form wide enough. The height was determined by the text size inside the field.

Once the site was working, the next was to use FeedBurner’s RSS to email service to send the updates. The downsides of using the service is that the emails go out at a scheduled point each day instead of instantly and a lack of styling options. I can live with those, as the blog is minimally designed and these are newsletter emails, not blog posts. I should be planning them out.

In review:

  1. new WordPress installation at /newsletter
  2. FeedBurner’s FeedSmith
  3. Ask your friends to sign up!