On November 21st, I mentioned that I was going to be switching over to Postmatic for managing my blog comments on December 1st. It’s been a great transition so far, but I thought I’d spend a little bit of time highlighting my experience with the plugin.
Migrating Existing Subscribers
Whenever you make the change to another plugin that does something similar to a plugin you used to run, the concern of how you’re going to manage prior functionality, subscribers, and so on is always a concern.
Before you even begin, the plugin lets you know if everything looks good in your WordPress installation for performing an import of your Jetpack subscribers.
This means that everyone who had subscribed to this blog via email will continue receiving updates via email, albeit dressed up a little bit differently in Postmatic’s template.
Upon installing Postmatic – that is, with the current beta at the time of doing this (that was beta 10) – I was able to import all of my Jetpack subscribers without any issue. After sending out the next post, I was able to confirm with Postmatic’s support – more on this in a bit – that the total number of emails for my subscribers had, in fact, been sent.
One of the things that I really like about Postmatic is the ability to customize the template of the email that is sent whenever someone is subscribed to the blog or subscribed to the comments of a particular post.
Granted, you can’t customize everything, but I’m a big fan of being able to creative as much of a cohesive experience as possible when it comes to people reading content be it on the web, in the browser, or in their email client.
Postmatic’s templating allows for making some tweaks that make sure you content looks as close to your blog as possible when delivered via email.
In my case, I simply added the a header that matched the header of the site as it exists on the web. To be honest, this was done at the recommendation of the Postmatic team (again, more information on this in a bit).
Managing Comments via Email
Of course, the previous features are all well and good but they are on the periphery of what the core plugin aims to do and that’s to bring comment management into our inbox. Generally speaking, I really like the overall experience.
First, all comments do come into email. Depending on your WordPress settings, you may want to change up your notifications because you’ll end up getting an email from WordPress and an email from Postmatic so you actually end up with a bit of extra email (at first and only if your settings are defined a certain way).
Secondly, replying to comments via email works exactly as you would expect. You’re able to see the comment, reply to the email, and then – usually within seconds – see the reply on your site. This saves a lot of time from the usual process of breaking out of your current tasks, logging into the dashboard, and replying via the dashboard.
Third, if you’re used to responding to comments using markdown (with Jetpack’s Markdown module), you can still do this. By that, I mean that you’re able to, say, grab quotes from the initial email, offset them with the ‘>’ to dennote a blockquote, and then reply to it within the email. From there, WordPress will render it exactly as you would expect.
Email is probably the one thing that we all use day-to-day to help us stay on top of our work and to stay organized. What Postmatic has done has made it that much easier to stay engaged with commenters through the channels that we’re already using the most.
Finally, I’ve mentioned several times throughout this post that I’d interacted with Postmatic’s support throughout my time with working with the beta and there are three main things that are worth highlighting:
- The rate at which the team responds to questions (and even just general comments), is incredibly fast. I can’t think of one instance in which something wasn’t resolved within 24 hours. As with any project, scaling support will come as the customer base widens, but the team is off to a stellar start.
- I mentioned earlier that I changed up the heading of my email template to that it more closely matched what I have here on the web. This was actually done after a recommendation by the Postmatic team. The fact that they take the time to look out for little things that enhance the user’s experience is top notch (and more rare than it should be).
- For those to whom it matters, I did mention that the team was reporting on the number of emails being sent out as well as their recommendation of the header image. I did confirm that the team was not reading through my email as they were flowing out from their server, but that they were actually subscribed to the posts and comments for several posts themselves. That is, they were dogfooding their product as much as possible. +1 for that.
Overall, I’ve nothing but good things to say about my experience with Postmatic. I’m excited to see the plugin hit version 1.0.0 and if you’re someone who lives out of their digital inbox and who is big on blogging, then I highly recommend this plugin.