When it comes to Postach.io, there is a twist to a standard blogging platform. The whole concept was built upon an idea that instead of having another separate platform, why don’t you blog from the already existing tool? So in 2013, on Evernote’s Devcup, Postach.io emerged as a blogging platform by turning Evernote into a content management system. Even if you aren’t an Evernote user, perhaps this concept is interesting you enough to try.
Signing in to Postach.io is relatively straightforward, except there is an Evernote twist. After you select your .postach.io subdomain, enter your first and last name, email, and password, you will be asked to connect this account with your Evernote account. If you don’t have one, you can decline and you will automatically be taken to the homepage. There, you can log in, but after that, you will not be able to post. Why may you ask? Well, the only way you can post on your Postach.io blog is via Evernote, so it would be best to authorize it right away when they ask you to.
However, if you don’t have Evernote, you will need to create an account and download it to your device(s). If you aren’t familiar with it, in short, Evernote is a freemium suite of software and services. It allows you to take/upload/archive notes which can be virtually anything and then synchronizes them on all of your devices which you also have Evernote on. It allows you to have notebooks, meaning you can have different notes in different collections, where you can edit them, tag, annotate and more. It is supported by all major operating systems, including mobile ones.
So, back to the sign-in process on Postach.io. Before you authorize it to access your Evernote, it will offer you to create a new note called Postach.io, or you can pick already existing notebook. This will essentially serve as your post editor. You will also select how long they will be automatically connected and synchronized, with a maximum length of one year. Next step, you will need to open your Evernote and write your first post in there. What you will do is write a new note in your Postach.io notebook, tag it published, and sync it. After few moments, you will automatically be taken to the dashboard.
User friendliness and the dashboard
After the whole “join the Evernote side” sign-up, it will essentially be divided into two camps. If you want to play with your blog, you will log in Postach.io, and if you want to write your posts, you will need to access your Evernote on the device of your choice. This is annoying at first, but it has its advantages and disadvantages. If you want everything in one place, tough luck. So let’s talk about the blog first and then later about posts.
In your dashboard, you will pop in the Site area, and on the right will be a small menu that will take you to your Account and Help areas. If you want to edit your site, you will discover another menu with Details, Theme, Add-ons and Source Code Areas. You will automatically be in the Details where you can edit your subdomain (or change it to custom one), change Evernote notebook, title, author and other useful, and basic stuff. Themes and Add-ons are self-explanatory and if you are more adventurous you can play with source code inside Source Code tab.
In the Account area, you can change your information, along with the billing method. You should also take a note, that you are limited to certain amount of sites with unlimited content and authors. However, there should be a disclaimer that will remind you that this “unlimited” is actually limited to your Evernote account. We mentioned this before, but to remind you, Evernote is a freemium tool, which means you will get free basic features, but to get more you will need to upgrade.
Speaking of Evernote, no matter what you think of it, it is a useful tool. It has a short learning curve, and we included “published” tag in there, that actually publishes posts on your blog. You will probably make a few mistakes at first, like wanting to publish a post and wrongly tagging it “publish” or “public”, but the application to working offline and being automatically synced with multiple devices when you’re online is very strong, especially if you travel a lot. Downside? It doesn’t matter how you edit your post in the way of formatting the actual text, it will always be set to the Postach.io default theme. However, if you are familiar with Markdown, you can tag your post with “markdown” and use it for editing your text.
In the end, there is a slight delay, about a minute, in publishing the actual post from synchronizing it in Evernote. It’s not a big negative, but if you take into account that there is no post preview, this gets annoying pretty fast. Looking for and editing typos or errors that you are used to seeing in the preview, will take more time, and, worse, will be live in a published post.
Themes and tools
Design themes are sleek and you can apply them with one click. The bad news is that there are currently only fifteen of them. Once you apply desired theme design, the only way to customize is to dig through its source code. Bad news for beginners, good news for tech savvy people. Bonus, you can upload your own theme via GitHub, which is easily connected with your username and password.
Storage, reliability, and uptime
There are no limitations on your storage, however, depending on your Evernote level of service, you may be limited to 60MB of uploads per month on free, or upgrade to business level and get unlimited upload. Any serious blogger knows that 60MB is cookie crumbs, especially if you get into other media formats besides plain text. On the other hand, are those formats supported? Not really, so you will need to link them from other sources.
Help and support
There are no official community forums, so if you want a community support, you’ll have to rely on search engines, but there is a Help Center. It covers a lot of basics, but we noticed that it could use a bit of refreshing. Pictures that should help you are from outdated versions and some things aren’t where they used to be. However, inside your dashboard, there is a green button with a question mark that will allow you to send a message, essentially an email, to the support. They will answer relatively quickly, except on weekends. A mishmash of a lot of things, but help somehow works.
Hosting and pricing options
Postach.io was once freemium, then it went to paid service and now it is back to free service. However, those things are not mentioned anywhere on their page. The only thing you can see is that you can pay for the service monthly for $9, or yearly for $90. You will automatically get a .postach.io subdomain, but if you want to set up your own domain, you can do that easily. The only catch is that you will need to search for the third party domain registrar.
You will get 14 days of free trial and after that, you can pay and upgrade or downgrade to the free plan. All plans include unlimited authors, any theme, and unlimited content. However, this is the place where things get a bit confusing with (additional) pricing. While on their main Pricing page, you will see that you can buy their service for $9 a month. But on your billing part of the account, you will see that you can additionally pay $5, $15 or $25 a month for 5, 20 or 50 sites respectively or downgrade to free plan where you can have only 1 site. All plans will get two months for free if you pay for them annually.
There is also 60 days money back guarantee if you are not happy with the service, so you have double of monetary safety nets if you include the free trial.
You can connect your blog with Disqus, which will allow you to have comments on your blog, but that is something which should already be integrated. It is not clear why the developer team took this route, but it’s not a deal breaker. They claim that they have good SEO integration, but when it comes to editing your metadata and other SEO related things, they are nowhere to be seen. You can change purpose and category of your blog and that is it. We already said that there is no way of previewing your posts, so this is severely limited.
HTML and CSS knowledge
There is some need for HTML knowledge, especially if you need to upload and/or link multimedia files. If you want to embed some simple things like Youtube video, you can learn that in a copy-paste instant, but if you want to customize your theme design, you will have to dive into the code, which is not for beginners. As for the CSS, there is no direct way to adapt it, so you will have to play in the source code.
Promotion and monetization
Promotion is relatively well-handled. You can connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts for automatic publishing and add buttons for your profiles on those. Additionally, LinkedIn and Google+ can be connected. There is also one-click integration with Google Analytics, which makes up for the lack of any autonomous analytics. Last, when it comes to monetizing on your content, there are zero integrated tools so if you want some profit, try another store.
- Evernote integration
- seamless Google Analytics integration
- good social networks interaction
- nice customizable design themes
- no post previews
- need of source coding knowledge
- not free, with double billing
- “dashboard” is divided between Evernote and Postach.io
In the end, Postach.io is a platform that is primarily an extension of Evernote, or even better to say, it converts Evernote into a blogging platform. It is great if you are a pro procrastinator using Evernote as a notebook for ideas and bookmarks. The rest? Eh, not so much. Some things are good, some things are bad, some things are redundant and split into two places, and, all in all, it is a bag of mixed goods. Building a platform on an existing and successful tool is a great idea, in theory. In practice, it is somewhat satisfying, but only if you are already using that tool. Personally, Evernote is very useful, but we’re not sure that Postach.io is a blogging platform that can stand on its own. If you already have Evernote into your “using every day” toolbox, consider Postach.io. But if you aren’t, perhaps you should look elsewhere, especially if you don’t plan on spending more than $10 on a blog.