I run a weekly newsletter called Frontend Weekly that is a curated list of articles related to frontend development. As of October 2017, it has been running for almost a year and half now and it has a reach of over 10k. I created the newsletter for fun and I have not made any money from it so far, I am just focusing on growing it for now. I publish stats once every 3 months, here is my last post on stats.
I read tons of articles on programming in general and frontend development specifically. It’s hard to keep up with all the innovation/churn/noise/frameworks of frontend programming, which is why I created a weekly newsletter. I know there are a bunch of other great newsletters out there but my biggest problem is that they have way TOO MANY links and articles, it’s overwhelming. That’s why I only include 7 or 8 links in each newsletter edition – I think that’s a manageable amount of weekly reading.
My other motive for creating a newsletter is marketing. My favorite marketer – Seth Godin – always talks about having a “tribe” or an “audience” or a “platform”. I wanted this newsletter to be my platform. I am always working on one side project or another and if you are an entrepreneur or a startup founder, you know how difficult it is to find customers without an audience or platform. Most of my products are somehow related to developers, so having a “tribe” of frontend developers could help launch some of these products (see examples below).
Enough rambling, here is how I manage and automate the newsletter. I use curated.co to curate the links, it’s an extra cost but it saves me time. I just didn’t want to write each email by hand every week.
I collect links in a google spreadsheet – now my assistant does it for me. I gave him certain parameters and instructions on the sort of articles we need and are looking for. He usually curates 10 to 20 links which gives me enough content to review/reject/accept.
I use zapier to automate a bunch of tasks:
- Pull link from spreadsheet
- Generate a snip.ly link (example)
- Add link to pocket (for reading and tagging)
- Add link to curated
- Add link to Buffer to be queued on my social networks: twitter, facebook and linked-in
- Sync curated, mailchimp and snip.ly subscribers (I probably don’t need mailchimp)
- Once a week, I login to curated and curate 8 of the collected links into a newsletter issue – my assistant does that for me now.
- A day later, I login to curated to review the email, make any changes and schedule it for 10am Wednesday.
* I now have an assistant that helps me with these tasks and my only task is about 30 minutes of reviewing the email then sending it out.
Here is a list of projects that are in the works:
App Starter Kit (ASK) – a killer starter web starter kit that has everything you need to get from zero to web app in hours not weeks. We are actually using ASK to build the other projects ;)
Hyperlogs – a time tracker for small teams that will have a generous free plan and is very affordable (because $12/month/user for a time tracker is ridiculous).
Ubercamp – a simple project management web app.
I also have a medium publication that has now over 5000 followers and is growing rapidly. The links in this publication are different than the newsletter but occasionally you will see an article in both.
Also published on Medium.