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Scott Spence

Switching from Brevo to Buttondown

4 min read

Ok, so, back at the start of the year, I switched from Revue (remember that? 😅) to Brevo (Send In Blue at the time) and made a concerted effort to use it as I paid quite a premium for it! There was some fun around setting up DKIM records for the domain too.

It soon became a chore to use though, the email interface was clunky and everything had to go into a campaign which you had to schedule to send. In particular, I didn’t like that I couldn’t just write something down and send it! There’ were all these weird parts of the UI that kept being buggy, namely adding in links, the interface was dreadful.

Enter Buttondown

I’d had a Buttondown account since 2018 but never used it, or considered it! It wasn’t until I was checking out one of Geoff Rich’s newsletters that I decided to check it out again.

One of the key features for me in an email service is being able to have people sign up for the newsletter through my site via API. This isn’t a free feature of Buttondown but for $90 for the year it was over three times less than what I paid for Brevo!

There was a bit of work that went into setting up the API access, I already had a server endpoint I was submitting to but I wanted to use a form action instead of a fetch request. You can check out the changes over on GitHub if you’re interested.

Emails are sent from the domain with my Buttondown username so, [email protected]. I’m intentionally not sending from my own domain. I absolutely can send from my own domain if I want to but, reasons! I’ll get into that in a bit.

If you’re on the mailing list you’ll probably notice the reply email address is a bit weird, this is a Fastmail masked email address. I use it because I like to have individual email addresses for different services. I’ve seen old primary email addresses end up in too many data leaks to mention.

Markdown is bae!

Another big plus for using Buttondown is that I can write my emails in Markdown! It’s where I write all my blog posts and it’s where I’m most comfortable.

Want to add something to the email that’s not supported by the platform? Sweet! Just start adding in HTML and it’ll render it as you’d expect.

Copy paste links and Buttondown will show a preview card if it’s supported, I can even copy paste an image (like on GitHub) and an Amazon S3 bucket link will be generated for me linking the image in the Markdown.

Other services considered

I sent out a tweet asking for recommendations and got a few replies, my old GraphCMS colleague Frederik Eychenié suggested that sending from your own platform has become nearly impossible which was an interesting read.

Several suggestions from Svelte Society community leader Kev I’ll list here if you’re interested:

There was also resend, which I set up and account for and was testing out but I was also a pain to get set up, so canned it after reading that post from Frederik.

The main thing with the ‘roll your own’ services is that the work that goes into them was far beyond what I was willing to put in.

Again, thinking back to that post from Frederik, I’m not sure I want to be setting up MX records for another service and having them associated with my domain. I still have Brevo set up for my domain and I’ll have to rectify that at some point.

Also the crafting of the emails in something like Maizzle then shunting them off to be hosted on my site somewhere was a bit of a faff.

Interested in the newsletter?

You can sign up here! One of the reasons I prefer creating my own platform if for things like this! 😊

I can import the component and use it in this Markdown file. 🔥

I mainly share what I’ve been working on, blog posts and upcoming Svelte Society London events.

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Switching from Brevo to Buttondown has streamlined my newsletter management process, rendering it less of a chore and more of an enjoyable endeavour.

Being able to integrate the newsletter sign-up on my website via API was a highlight, ensuring a smooth transition.

While there were alternative services the additional setup and management they required didn’t align with my preference for a hassle-free solution.

The ability to compose emails in a familiar Markdown environment, insert HTML when needed is all I’m after.

If you’re on a lookout for an email service that simplifies newsletter management Buttondown might be the right fit. Plus, with a referral discount awaiting, it’s worth giving a shot.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this useful.

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