My auto-email problem solved! (I t.h.i.n.k)

by | Jun 5, 2021

[Note]  Tomorrow is the 77th anniversary of D-Day, where participants from 12 countries fought as allies against the Nazi regime.
Many battles took place that day. Thank you to veterans who participated and the families who supported them back home in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, United Kingdom, and the United States.


 

 

My subscribers receive an automated email from me when new blogs post.

Those emails provide a convenient link for popping in to see the articles.

But this process came to a screeching halt at 10:00 a.m. on March 6, 2021 (three months ago, tomorrow).

Mailchimp (MC) stopped grabbing the latest from my website’s RSS feed (don’t ask). Automated emails were not going to my subscribers.

“What goin’ on?”

The article with Louise Harnby’s message about using the term ‘freelance’ posted to the RSS feed on my site, but the notification didn’t go anywhere.

I scrambled to send a personal email to my subscribers, including the blog post link.

I learned a bunch about Mailchimp quickly.
It had been working with my WordPress (WP) site,
doing all of this work for me.

The Mailchimp team, my webmaster (Karen), and I checked everything we could think of for the WordPress and MC setups.

All seemed in order. 

Mailchimp was still programmed to check my RSS every Saturday.

Is there something new in the feed?
S
end an email alert to subscribers.

And for the next nine weeks (until May 1), we tried to make it work as it had for years.

We let items post naturally – kept it organic, didn’t interfere – watching what happened when it was time for the email to skip merrily into subscribers’ inboxes.

Annnd what happened was … a whole bunch of nothin’.

We chased everything from MC not liking punctuation in titles (that wasn’t it) to the square brackets in Quick Win ( [QW] ) post titles suddenly causing a WordPress hiccup (yeah, probably what started it all).

The brackets for the Quick Win posts are part of my branding, so dumping them was not an option.

Our solution

Karen installed new coding from Mailchimp, and on May 1st, the email about creating a special tribute for a loved one zipped off to my subscribers.

Ditto for the May 15 [QW11] Fixing corrupted Windows filenames (in case you got caught in that Windows update in April).

But to be safe, we decided to dump more work on my plate 😎 instead of always wondering when the problem might return.

I now write and schedule each email in MC (which most people do, anyway) instead of expecting Mailchimp and WordPress to work together with my site’s RSS feed.

The created-within-Mailchimp email works, no matter how many brackets or other punctuation I use.

Why did this happen in the first place?

After February 20, why did my WP and MC stop working together?

We don’t know.

But I think it’s tied to software updates bumping into one another.

WordPress continually improves its product and installs upgrades.

The same with Mailchimp, which means the code Karen received in April may not work next week with whatever WP did yesterday! 

My site also has a few plugins (helper files).

With all those applications in the mix,
one update can cause issues.
This often cascades into more problems.

My recommendations

It’s a good idea to keep your tech as ‘clean’ as possible.
As uncomplicated as possible.

If you are setting up a Mailchimp account, I suggest

  • Creating a nice-looking template for emails.
  • Personalizing each message and including the link to your post.
  • Scheduling the email, so you don’t have to babysit it!

Email me if you need help copying your post’s link to the MC email. No invoice.

This is my process now.

Although it’s a little extra work, the peace of mind is worth it.
Plus, my subscribers receive a more personal email now.

For me, that’s the best part!


Join the conversation

I hope you will reach out to your subscribers using Mailchimp or another application. It’s a great way to keep up with everyone. It’s not just for scheduled posts. You can pop in at any time and send a quick update to your tribe.

For today’s conversation, please use one of these points for a comment, or bring your own:

  • Have you had problems with software ‘barking’ at other applications?
  • When do you decide it’s time to say, “Just … make it work!”?
  • Do you hire an expert to chase your computer problems?

Let’s all learn from each other!

Please share this post and subscribe (see the box beneath my photo) so you won’t miss other tech or text training nuggets. I promise: NO inbox stuffing or sharing your information.

Thanks for stopping by. I know you’re busy, and I appreciate your time.

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Hope to hear from you soon,

Kathie

Check out my other real-world tech and text tips (with an occasional just-plain-fun item about the English language). Show me! 

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2 Comments

  1. Shawn Huddy

    I KNEW you’d find a solution. You are not one to let a problem stop you!!

    Thanks, I enjoy your blogs!!

    Reply
    • Kathie York

      Thanks for that vote of confidence, Shawn.
      I’m so glad my readers enjoy these messages.

      As you might imagine, as each post didn’t ‘go,’ I got more nervous we were never going to fix it.
      Subscribers were faithful through the whole thing. Thanks for that!

      Thankfully I listened to (webmaster) Karen’s suggestion to take on the extra step and control it myself.

      Wishing you a good week.
      Thanks for stopping by to encourage me, K.

      Reply

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Kathie York, CSQE
Certified Software Quality Engineer
Master of Science in Project Management
(PMBOK based)
CopywriteMatters Confident Copywriter

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