When hosted newsletter platforms go bad

A bad product update can seriously ruin a newsletter writer’s day.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

My friend Kevin has a newsletter writer’s nightmare early in the week:

First off, I want to apologise for the mangled newsletter yesterday. When I hit publish, I had a newsletter of content, but after I hit send, I noticed that Beehiiv had not saved more than two hours’ worth of edit.

Ouch. And what could the reason be?

I have to say that the new Beehiiv editor has been less than reliable, and I’m quite cross that they foisted the editor on us before it was ready.

Yes, Beehiiv, one of the major editorial newsletter platforms, pushed a big CMS update. The team were excited about it:

Truly one of the product updates I’ve been most looking forward to writing.

But it’s clearly not working for everyone. This is clearly one of the downsides of working with a platform-based publishing tool. If you self-host WordPress or Ghost, you can hold back on an update until the bugs are ironed out.

On a hosted platform? Updates that break your workflow can be pushed to you without you having any say in the matter.

A better way

Now, in theory, I should be living in fear of this happening to me. Why? Ghost has also announced a new version of its editor:

We just released the beta version of the latest iteration of the Ghost editor. Over the past few months, our team has been working hard on rebuilding our editor from the ground up using new technology that will help pave the way for the future.

But there’s a critical word in that sentence: beta.

Even on the hosted ghost(pro) service, where OM&HB lives, we have the option to implement it, or not:

And that’s how to do it right. Many in the Ghost publisher community are testing it — and the team have been pushing fixes to problems that cropped up. We’ve been getting a 0.0.1 update about once a day. This post is being created in the new editor — and all seems fine so far.

Mobile table stakes

Another complaint Kevin made also resonated with me:

And I often use my iPad to edit the newsletter, and while the previous editor was usable on my iPad, the new editor isn’t.

This does irritate me. We live in an increasingly mobile-dominated world. And that includes tablets, which use a version of browsers more akin to that on phones than that on desktop. The fact that these devices, given their ability to give you a focused writing environment, are commonly used by creators shouldn’t be a surprise.

(Interestingly, a see a greater proportion of students arriving with iPad Airs and Pros every academic year, with laptops declining…)

Getting your editor working in these environments should be table stakes now.

I guess I better test how well the new Ghost editor works on my iPad Pro…


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.