I find the best way to get your free content online and to build relationships directly with your audience is with your own blog. There are tons of reasons to have your own branded space on these Internets. Remember our goal is to make money online. Long term we build a property with huge traffic, engagement and conversion it is an asset we can sell.
I have used both, and I agree with your analysis. The great thing about MailChimp is that it lets you see the email in different clients. That is really the hardest thing about sending emails. However, you can use that service without doing everything else through MailChimp. Also, once you get the hang of it and develop templates, it no longer is much of an issue.
Their Follow Up feature is the perfect way to send introductory emails to new subscribers (say you want to introduce them to your most popular posts or send in a 5-series email campaign covering your latest project) before they receive your usual newsletters. Many users prefer AWeber for its comprehensive phone support and ability to integrate seamlessly with other web apps.
MailChimp does not allow content that references the terms “make money at home”, ‘get rich quick’, or other similar terms. These keywords overlap keywords used by ISPs and SpamCop organizations to block content associated with spammers from those industries. This generates too much risk for us to encounter automated spam filter blocks for all of our customers.
In my opinion, Aweber is The Best email autoresponder on the market today. As someone who is a HUGE FAN of Aweber, I find it sad that you left them without calling customers support OR MYSELF, JUPITER JIM, (on skype, of course) to help walk you through things. It is so easy, breezy when they just walk you through everything step-by-step over the phone.
The primary thing to keep in mind, the supermagic key, is that HTML is used for meaning and CSS is used for presentation. HTML is nothing more than fancy structured content and the visual formatting of that content will come later when we tackle CSS. You might find different approaches elsewhere on the web but HTML Dog focuses on best practice from the outset and getting into the frame of mind of doing things the right way from the start will lead to much better results in the end.