Help Me as I Look to Update Cranky Flier


If you’re a subscriber to Cranky Flier emails, you know that there have been some delivery issues lately. Of course, posts have gone live on at the right time, but I’ve spent too much time trying to fight our current mail partner (MailPoet) to stop suspending delivery. I’m stick of it, and I’m guessing you’d rather have it work better as well.

So, I’m considering a big change that would see me leave WordPress which I’ve used for over a decade. I’m thinking about turning Cranky into a true newsletter that would also happen to publish on a website. This might not sound different to you, but it is really about changing the thinking to be newsletter first, making sure delivery happens quickly and on-time.

If I’m able to get all my posts transferred, I’m leaning toward using Beehiiv. You can see a test website with the most recent 70ish posts at (Don’t subscribe there, just look.)

So, what would be different? Other than the layout and design, the only significant change I can see would be in the comments section.

  • Existing comments would likely not port over. I don’t imagine this is a huge problem since there are rarely comments on old posts, but it is a change.
  • You would have to be a subscriber to be able to comment. You don’t need to use your real name, but you would have to enter a valid email address that you can confirm by clicking the email in order to leave a comment. (Anyone would be able to see the comments on the website without subscribing.)
  • Comment emails would look something like what you see below, but unlike today you wouldn’t be able to reply to a comment email to post a response. You’d have to click on the post or “view all comments” to go to the website to post.

Overall, I don’t think this is a real problem. Maybe it’s actually an improvement, weeding out some of the one-off comments that don’t add value anyway. But I want to get your opinions first.

Go check out then come back here and leave a comment. Or if you’d rather, shoot me an email at I really just want to hear if anyone finds this to be a problem.

No post on Thursday, so Happy Thanksgiving too all my American readers!

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52 comments on “Help Me as I Look to Update Cranky Flier

  1. I’m not seeing an RSS feed on beehiiv site. I guess I’m probably in the minority, but with no RSS feed, I’d rarely remember to check the website, and email newsletters are just… Annoying, not to mention easily lost in the volume.

    1. CF,

      was going to say that I don’t see a problem with your proposed change, but Patrick makes a good point. I’m not an RSS guy, but I know a lot of people are, so you may want to take his comment to heart. Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. RSS reader here as well. I don’t understand how other people do web without using RSS, but apparently I am the minority :(

      1. I also would be missing almost all posts without an RSS feed. feedly == amazing for keeping my inbox email clutter low!

      1. Ok, then I don’t have any other complaints, just the suggestion to make sure the link is available on the front page if you switch!

  2. I think those of us that think we’re in the minority aren’t really ;). I have to be able to have an RSS feed ;)

    Bret – I like the new layout as well!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at Cranky Concierge!

  3. Format is very readable. I’m a long time follower and tend to know when new articles happen through email. So the system that alerts the amount of followers to your content the better.

  4. At the risk of sounding ‘both sides-y,” I’m an RSS guy, but I’m also love newsletters. I prefer Substack, but Behiiv is a great ESP, and if they have what you need, then I’m all for making the jump.

    1. I would echo Kevin: love substack and am wondering what made you decide against them? Even Molly White uses substack ;-)

      1. Honestly, I just started with Beehiiv based on a recommendation from someone else, and it turns out Beehiiv checked all the boxes. No need to really look elsewhere if I’m going to make the move.

  5. Will RSS still work with the new site? I don’t want to subscribe to an email newsletter, my email is already over run. Nor do I want to try to remember to come to the site, because I will forget. RSS is the perfect solution for me. RSS is so underrated and under promoted.

    Also, like the green bar at top showing where one is in the article.

  6. I like the Beehive format. Seems a little crisper and easier on the eye than the current format. I’m not particularly fussed about the RSS element, and I’d be happy with the move.

  7. Dunno if this is a problem, but:

    All posts on the front page have their proper graphics associated with them. But posts listed under “keep reading” at the bottom of other posts just have a generic airplane graphic.

    1. grichard – That is just something that’s going to happen. I have to manually associate featured post images, so I went back and did it to cover what’s on the front page but not for ones further back. It’s just not worth it and most people won’t scroll and care anyway.

  8. Just want to jump back in and say how happy I am to see other RSS fans here! Sometimes I think I’m the only one that still uses them.

  9. New site looks good! Clean and easy to read. I use a bookmark to remind me to come back and read posts so am ok without an RSS feed.

  10. I’m curious and a bit concerned about the comments not porting over. I understand that is an issue, but the packrat historian in me wants to keep those available.

    I’m curious if the current site can continue hosting them, but at or something like that.

    1. Nick – I can understand that. If I make the switch, I could look at some sort of archive. I’ll keep that in mind.

  11. I’m not thrilled about having to subscribe to a newsletter to comment. I visit multiple times a week, but don’t subscribe to the e-mails — I get way too many e-mails as-is.

    1. Ryan – You wouldn’t have to receive the emails. As long as you sign up, you can then unsubscribe. You’d still have a login and can comment with that. No emails required.

  12. I’m a long time RSS reader (15+ years) – this is a must have in my opinion.

    From a making WordPress work, it’s a highly flexible platform that should be able to be bent to your will. I’ve got a good bit of experience with my own sites and have generally been able to figure out how to do things.

    The major concern that I would have as a site owner to a Bee Hive or Substack is a loss of control over your own platform. Your success will be tied to theirs including your brand equity in the world of organic search. You’ll also lose the ability to run programmatic advertising (which, I’m guessing isn’t huge for you as it looks like you’re running AdWords, but that can be improved). You’ll also lose the ability to own your own subscriptions – if you want to charge a fee for premium content, you’ll be giving them a healthy percentage and again, subject to their ability to stay in business.

    I’m willing to help if you’d like – would be glad to look at your current setup and things you’d like to fix… Shoot over an email if you’re interested…

  13. It looks good to me. I don’t use RSS feed but after reading these comments I think I want to use RSS feeds again.

  14. I like things as they are. Being disabled this makes things much easier in terms of formatting & usage. I’m not comfortable subscribing just to leave a comment.

  15. The proposed new layout is fine, but I have to admit I prefer the old one…I like websites that flow across and then down rather than only scrolling down.

  16. My only thought is that you should do what works best for you. I’m pretty sure those who truly want to follow you will adapt.

    Happy Thanksgiving and happy upcoming holidays to everyone – no matter which ones you celebrate. I’m writing this in this manner because there are many different holidays, both religious and secular, celebrated at this time of year – and each has a special meaning to those who observe or celebrate them.

    1. I’m with DesertGhost as well. We are grateful for the time you put into this, Cranky, so whatever works for you will work for us.

  17. Hi Brett,
    I am an ardent follower of the Cranky website. The one irritation that I have had for years is that as I scroll down the comments using my ipad the “reply” button repeatedly activates and I have to cancel it before I can continue reading the subsequent comments. I appreciate that this is a “first world problem” but if the new platform stops this from happening then it will massively improve the user experience for me at least.

  18. It works for me. I’m not sure the “Travel Directory” is the best title for that section but it made me look so maybe it is.

  19. It looks like some other sites I’ve seen so not drastic change that should bother anyone.

    Do what is best for you.

  20. Keep the emails coming!!! I’m not even sure if I have ever visited the website. With no emails, I probably would never see the posts. That applies with me and all of the other bloggers, I strictly read off of emails or the links within the emails.

  21. Format is nice — just a reminder to keep SEO and Google News in mind. I’m unfamiliar with Beehiiv, but hopefully, it has the tools you need to optimize traffic.

  22. Layout seems simpler, cleaner, and I like the updated masthead. I also like that the posts are linear on the potential new site, as opposed to side by side. Easier to scroll back and find things. Hope that helps! Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. Really not sure about having to give out my real email address to interact with your blog. Have seen enough websites claim to be super-secure only to be hacked later along with my credit card details. There is a reason many sites get fake or partially fake credentials from me… or don’t get interaction from me at all if they insist on email verification.

    1. David – I have no interest in asking for anyone’s credit card details or any other information other than an email address. I don’t care if it’s a throwaway address either. It would just have to be verified, and there’s no risk of any other information being taken in a breach.

  24. CF – Good work.

    I would miss the repartee that develops after some of your posts. I realize that you have had to step in and ‘moderate’ at times but beneath the ‘snarky’ comments there are some nuggets that bring value! It’s up to us – the readers – to be more respectful!

    Some readers have suggested and that would be my first instinct also.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  25. I read this site casually and would probably stop if it was ported to a third party newsletter platform. I also would not want to get emails from Cranky Flier.

    Is there a reason for moving away from WP in the first place? As someone with a background in web and marketing, moving from a self-hosted blog to a third party newsletter platform doesn’t seem like a smart move.

    1. Daniel – Nothing would change if you don’t want to comment. You would still be able to read on or via RSS. As stated, deliverability has been a huge issue, and I’m sick and tired of dealing with it.

  26. Hi Brent:

    I like this new layout, and as all my email is quarantined in the cloud anyway, an email newsletter is no problem for me personally as opposed to RSS. This proposed change away from WordPress will also benefit us who exclusively use tablets and phones for our online content consumption.

  27. Brett, I like the look of the site. I suggest that you include links to all of your social media accounts at the top of the home page.

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