Nimble Industries

We moved our newsletter landing page off of Substack


When we launched VimTricks, our Vim email newsletter, almost two months ago, we started in the simplest way we could: With a hosted newsletter built on top of Substack. Here’s a look at the minimalist landing page they provide. (Completely free of charge, I should add. Thank you, Substack.)

The old, ugly VimTricks landing page powered by Substack.
The original VimTricks landing page, provided by Substack.

Substack Landing Page Limitations

There’s a few issues with this landing page. First of all, there is no way to customize this design. If you’ve seen one Substack landing page, you’ve seen them all. Every Substack landing page has this same format: Logo, newsletter name, tweet-sized description, email box, and link to skip past.

That link to skip past is another issue with this landing page. I really don’t want to give out all of our content for free to every passer-by. We’re trying to build an audience, maybe even a business one day. Our goal is to build a list of people who love Vim so much that they want to receive tips and tricks about how to improve their Vim skills twice a week via email. To that end, it’s not helpful to us to give out complete access to

Lastly, and this is minor but somewhat annoying: Substack puts the account owner’s name in the lower left and there’s no way to change that. I have no problem associating my name with VimTricks. However, this newsletter is a team operation. Currently involving myself, and my business partner, Andy Libby, having my name so prominently associated, and his nowhere to be found, rubs me the wrong way. It certainly makes us seem small and approachable, but I’d rather legitimize us in other ways.

Enter our new landing page:

VimTricks’ New Landing Page

The new VimTricks landing page.
The brand new VimTricks landing page.

Built using the fabulous Neon Glow theme for Bootstrap by Alexander Rechsteiner, the new VimTricks landing page features a dark theme (and only a dark theme!) for that real hacker look. I also just loved how this theme had the blinking cursor out of the box (called the .vim-caret in CSS!).

Aside from the much more audience-appropriate design, we’ve improved on a number of things. In the upper right corner, we publish a selected post so that a visitor can see the kind of content we provider in our newsletter, but we don’t make all of the posts available.

There’s a short description that describes what VimTricks does and what kind of content you can expect from our newsletter and how often. It expands a bit on the small snippet that Substack allows on their landing page. And underneath that we’re able to put both of our names and even include little avatars we had drawn.

Lastly, my favorite part of this landing page is the social proof: Real quotes from real VimTricks subscribers. Each of these real messages hopefully helps reinforce to potential subscribers just how great VimTricks is.

For now, we’re still using Substack to compose and send our emails. Stay tuned for future developments on that front: big things are coming to VimTricks! Are you a Vim user? Sign up for VimTricks today! It’s free.

About the author

Colin Bartlett

Colin Bartlett is co-founder of Nimble Industries, creators of StatusGator, VimTricks, and many more. He has been building web applications, managing software development projects, and leading engineering teams for 22 years.

Nimble Industries