Thanks! Definitely let me know what you think :)
Just seen this which might be a cheaper alternative www.mailerlite.com
Thanks for the pointer, I'll have a look. At the moment there's a lot of effort that might come with moving to another platform.
Email Octopus is another option, but that requires setting up an AWS account, which I'm fairly hesitant about as well. https://emailoctopus.com/
Ads seem to work fairly well on Sidebar. I sell out every one of the four weekly slots every month ($400 per slot).
I generally try as much as possible to feature interesting content even for sponsored links though. So hopefully people don't mind it too much.
Thanks for your input Sacha, I had never really been bothered by the ads in Sidebar. They don't bother me in most newsletters (though in JS Weekly the sponsored jobs take up quite a bit of space and are fairly front and center), it's just that I feel a bit weird putting them into the e-mail in the first place - email is such a personal medium, and that's one of the things that I put effort in with UX Weekly. However, if they're well targeted and controlled, it might actually be an interesting solution.
The feedback I've received just from posting these thoughts has given me a thing or two to think about. I've also had some e-mails from people saying they're happy to pay for the newsletter (and newsletters in general) directly, but were frustrated by the limited options for it.
A tiered subscription system might be one way of cracking this (with a free tier and a "pay what you want" tier), going the bandcamp route.