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Posted on March 9, 1999

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  The Add Me! Newsletter           *** ISSUE #18 ***
  "Free tips for promoting your website"
  
  Add Me, Inc                   http://www.addme.com
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          >>   Ezine Publishing 101   <<

  ........................................................
  March 9th, 1999                   *** ISSUE #18 ***
  ........................................................



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           .....THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE.....



               Ezine Publishing 101
             ========================


  Why should I publish an Ezine/Discussion list?

  An e-zine/newsletter is an excellent way to keep in touch 
  with your visitors and customers and keep them coming back 
  to your site. It is also a great opportunity to share your 
  knowledge with thousands of other people and build the 
  elusive "online community".

  Ezine or Discussion list?

  An ezine is more or less a one way form of communication 
  although of course you solicit feedback and publish comments 
  in your newsletter as well as opinions of guest writers etc. 
  On the other hand a discussion list allows your subscribers 
  to discuss whatever subject your ezine covers and share 
  information with each other. In most cases these discussion 
  lists are moderated, meaning there is an overseer keeping 
  the discussions on track and publishing a daily/weekly/bi-
  weekly/monthly summary digest and sends it out to all of 
  the subscribers. The challenge with running a discussion 
  list is getting people to participate with good, informative 
  posts and keeping the discussions going.

  For the purpose of this article I'll assume you are running an
  Ezine, although much of the information is applicable to both.


  What do I need to publish an Ezine?

  1. Time
  2. Dedication
  3. Software for writing the ezine
  4. A way to send your ezine out.

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  The first two I can't help you with, that's up to you, but for
  the 3rd and 4th ones I can offer you some advice.

  A good text editor with a spell checker is essential for writing
  a quality ezine. You have to properly format the ezine for a
  variety of email clients, screen sizes and resolutions to make
  sure your ezine is readable on as many different configurations
  as possible. Personally I use TextPad (www.textpad.com),
  and I have the program set up to start a new line every 65
  characters, which is generally considered the standard. After
  writing this newsletter I generally like to let it sit for at
  least one day, so I can come up with better ideas and
  improvements although that doesn't always happen. I then open
  The Webmaster Tribune in Word 97 which has a very solid spelling 
  & grammar checker and fix any mistakes that I might have made. 
  Then I send this newsletter to two volunteers who proof-read it
  for me, making suggestions and corrections. I then re-read this
  newsletter, and send it out.

  Your 1st option for sending out your newsletter is to use one 
  of the free services (although I did pay $60 to get rid of the 
  ads) like the one I was using, http://www.egroups.com for 
  sending out this newsletter since its inception. Egroups was a 
  good service, although with its growth problems have arisen. 
  It was often down for maintenance which forces me to wait 
  upwards of 3 hours before I could send The Webmaster Tribune 
  out. One other important factor that made me move away from 
  them is the number of steps required to subscribe. The simpler 
  you make it for people to join your list, the better. For a 
  list of all the free mailing list server services see:

  http://www.webmaster-resources.com/mailserver.shtml

  Your 2nd option is to use one of the commercial services or
  software packages for sending your newsletter out. There are
  several commercial software packages (like

  http://www.lsoft.com/listserv.stm) that run on your server or
  commercial services for which you don't need the software
  installed on your server. Each of these 2 options has its Pros
  and Cons:

  A) Commercial Software 
  Pros: Very powerful, easy maintenance once its setup. You don't
  have to rely on another server being up.
  Cons: High Entry cost, often difficult to install unless you pay
  someone to do it for you.

  B) Commercial Services 
  Pros: No need to spend hours installing software on your server,
  or spending money for someone else to do it for you. Low entry
  fee.
  Cons: The cost can add up fast for many of these services.

  Your 3rd option is to use one of the freely available CGI Scripts
  for sending out your newsletter as I have chosen to do. These 
  scripts are less powerful than using commercial software or
  services but they are relatively easy to setup and maintain, 
  and you don't run the risk of problems when dealing with a 3rd 
  party. The script I chose is Subscribe Me which can be obtained at:

  http://cgi.elitehost.com

  There is a 4th option, which is using software to run the
  newsletter from your own computer. Although I know of one person
  who does this, it takes over an hour at 33.6 to send out a
  newsletter to 1000 people. Unless you have a very fast connection
  I don't recommend this option.

  It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons of the 4 methods of
  getting your newsletter out and decide on which one is right 
  for you.

  How often should I send it out?

  For most people, a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter is the best way
  to go. It gives you plenty of time to come up with new content,
  time for proof-reading etc. A daily newsletter is overkill for
  most unless your newsletter is something like "Fishing Tip of the
  Day". If you intend on running a discussion list the frequency
  will depend on how many subscribers you have and how 'active'
  they are.

  How do I promote my Ezine?

  The majority of your subscriptions will come through your site.
  Put the subscription form on every page if you can (the new
  design for Webmaster Resources will have the form on every page, 
  the current design wasn't built with the newsletter in mind. I 
  started this newsletter as an afterthought, a couple days before 
  the launch of the re-design in June 98, but I'm glad I did!).

  There is an excellent resource on newsletter promotion available at:

  http://www.zinebook.com/publicz.html

  Don't expect a flood of subscribers from getting your site listed
  in all of these ezine directories; the only one that brought in a
  measurable increase in subscribers was a posting to the NEW-LIST.

  One last e-zine promotion tip: Offer something for free in
  exchange for people signing up. It can be anything; a free
  report, a chance to win some sort of prize, it's up to you to
  find something that grabs the attention of your sites audience
  and gets them to subscribe.


  ------------------------------------------------------------
  This article was written by Matt Mickiewicz. Matt is the owner
  of Webmaster Resources which helps thousands of webmasters
  every day find information and resources to help them design
  and promote their site. You'll find his site at:

  http://www.webmaster-resources.com

  You can also subscribe to his weekly newsletter for web developers 
  by sending a blank email to mailto:subscribe@webmaster-resources.com
  ------------------------------------------------------------



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