I recently came across another newsletter platform called elink and I decided to test it out by sharing some of the leftover content from my newsletter. Each week, I cut about a third of the content that I’ve collected over the week. Sometimes it’s because I felt like I was wasting too much time attempting to fit it in. Other times, I think the newsletter is already overloaded or the content was similar to stuff I already shared. Regardless, it’s great material for a newsletter platform like elink since the website also allows you to easily bookmark digital content for free. elink includes an RSS feature as well, but you cannot use it unless you subscribe to one of their premium plans. The Pro Plan starts at $12 a month. Automation features start at $36 month. None of the packages allow you to A/B test your subject line or the content inside your newsletter. Also, you cannot actually send newsletters with the freemium version. You can only share a link to your webpage. See their website to learn more about the features that come with each subscription.
The elink platform is simple to set up and use. The dashboard has an intuitive layout and they provide several templates for different types of content including a directory for your social accounts like Linktree. I haven’t used the premium features in either platform so I can’t speak to whether one is better than the other when it comes to usability or analytics.
My favorite feature is by far the bookmark tool. It’s a super convenient way to import the content you want to share since elink will automatically format and embed your links into your chosen layout. I also like that you can easily change your layout after you’ve added your content. You simply select a different layout option and that platform will rearrange your content accordingly. In addition to the ability to easily change your layout, you can custom design your header by uploading an image or using the Canva integration.
Lastly, elink provides the html code so you can embed your newsletter directly into WordPress or your website. Note that the “WordPress Emdbed URL” did not work for me. I used the “Recommended Embed Code” below. Click this link to view the newsletter on the elink website.
As I shared above, you cannot send a newsletter without a paid subscription and you cannot A/B test your content even if you upgrade. You also cannot segment your audience. To be fair, most of these features are not included in other freemium options, with the exception of ConvertKit which I wrote about in a previous post.
IMO, the biggest downside is that your readers cannot subscribe directly to your newsletter. You have to use a third-party service like Mailchimp or Zapier. That means, depending on the size of your readership, you may have to pay for multiple platforms just to allow your readers to subscribe. There is no option for paid newsletters on elink.
Another thing I noticed was that some of their pages need to be updated because they’re somewhat deceptive. For example, in their comparison with Revue and they included their premium features. This is deceptive because of the “Get Started For Free” button that is right above their comparison chart. Also, some information is simply inaccurate. You can add RSS feeds in Revue but you cannot select and integrate them into your newsletter like in elink. I also want to know how they are defining “cost-effective.” Some might argue that Revue is cost-effective since it’s free.
Links to more Newsletter issues
Overall, I think elink is a convenient way to organize and share content, especially if you don’t want to include a lot of writing. If you’re writing longform content, I don’t see why you would want to choose elink over alternatives like Medium, Revue, or Substack (e.g., see this post), since can’t actually send newsletters in elink (for free). This is the biggest pitfall since the need for third-party platforms completely undermines one of the strengths of the platform: usability. Also, they do not allow you to automatically publish newsletters at a certain time and date. This could be a strategy for motivating users to sign up for the platform but this is feature that’s available in every other platform that I’ve tested. That’s just another incentive to use a different platform, IMO.
NOTE: This post was revised on April 24, 2021 to note the inability to automatically publish newsletters and share links to additional newsletter issues that I published on elink.