If you decide to change your newsletter sending service, then you'll need to do a bit of work to make the switch. It's a little like moving house. Here's what I did:

Before the switch, get the new house ready by doing some basic setup and cleanup:

1. Choose a new newsletter provider (I've just done several posts on this topic, so I will leave out the details here) and sign up for their services.

2. Inform your mailing list that you're making a switch. Let them know in a couple of issues, and possibly even a special mailing right before you move the list over, just so they know what's going on. This is especially important if your new service will make them confirm their subscription or re-opt-in.

3. Test your newsletter template thoroughly on the new service. The last thing you want to do is switch over and find out that your template doesn't work on your new server. I had to move all my images over and switch the URLs for those in the HTML code out.

4. Set up the options in your new newsletter provider. 

For Aweber, I needed to create a few web pages on my site:
  • An "Already Subscribed" page: http://www.elf-design.com/newsletter-already.html
  • A sign up confirmation page: To see this, sign up for the newsletter at: http://www.elf-design.com/newsletter.html . For the move, I first created a special version of this for my existing subscribers, thanking them for moving along with me and mentioning that they'd need to reconfirm their subscription to continue receiving the newsletter after the move. Then, once some time had passed, I opened the list up for standard subscriptions and changed out the opt-in message.

These pages are called for in Aweber's control panel. I also had to walk through and complete the setup process on their site.

5. Thoroughly test the entire sign-up process. Make sure your subscription pages look right, and that everything goes smoothly and loads properly. 

Stay tuned for the next post to see the next set of steps!