If you run a newsletter, you will probably want to put an archive of old issues on your website. This is useful for a number of reasons:
Promotion: people are more willing to sign up for your newsletter if they know what they're going to receive. They can simply click on one of your previous issues and take a look at what it contains. It helps to convince some people that you're not some spammer trying to get their email address when they see that there are genuine old issues around.
Less Attrition: you're likely to have a smaller attrition rate since those who have signed up would be the people who have seen your old issues and didn't mind receiving it.
The trouble with putting up an archive is that it can be quite a hassle to have to update it every time you send out an issue. When I was still running a newsletter alongside thesitewizard.com, I was often numerous issues behind in my online version of the articles.
Here are some (free) ways that you can use to ease your task of maintaining a newsletter archive. They are listed in the order of convenience: the most convenient and hands-free method is listed first, and the most time-consuming method is listed last.
Some mailing list services provide an additional service of archiving old issues of your newsletter or mailing list. Every time you publish an issue, it automatically goes into the archive. If you use such a service, you need only link to the archive page and your job is done.
The setback to using such archiving services is that you often have little or no control over the appearance of your archived pages. If you are using a free mailing list service, the pages displaying your archived issues might also contain their advertisements. This may or may not be acceptable to you, depending on your purposes.
The advantage of using such facilities is of course its sheer convenience. The entire archiving process is handled for you automatically. You do not need to waste any more time or effort in getting your archive online.
You can find some free mailing list services on my Free Mailing List Hosting Services page at http://www.thefreecountry.com/webmaster/mailinglists.shtml
It is possible to also use a third party archiving service. When you use such services, your newsletter archives will be hosted on their web server. Typically, they will receive a copy of your newsletter each time an issue goes out, and it will be automatically available for access on their web server without any further intervention from you.
This alternative to archiving back issues of your ezine or newsletter shares the same setbacks as the use of your mailing list service's archiving facilities. There is often little or no control over the appearance of the pages that display your newsletter issues (particularly for the free services). The advantage, however, lies in its convenience. You really need to do very little to get that archive on the web.
One mailing list archiving services that I know of is Mail-Archive. To get them to archive your mailing list, you merely have to add their email address (shown on their website) to your subscriber list.
One text editor that has built-in features to do this is NoteTab. There are a number of editions of the editor, two commercial (the "Pro" and "Standard" versions) and one free (the "Light" version). All of them allow you to convert your a text-based newsletter into a web page.
Simply open the newsletter text file with the editor and select the following menu items:
This converts your document to a HTML file which is opened in a separate window. The HTML file is a complete fully functional web document, complete with all the necessary HEAD tags as well. It creates a dummy title "*** Your Title Here ***" for your visitors' bookmarks, and you can replace it easily from within the editor itself.
I find NoteTab Lite's HTML conversion rather good for newsletter purposes, and it even handles your indentations correctly (which few other editors, even the commercial ones, do).
All you need to do after customising your title is to save the HTML file and upload it to your web site. And link to it, of course.
There might be other free editors that do the same job as well. You can find a list of them on the following pages:
When I used to publish thesitewizard.com's newsletter, I archived all the articles manually using a text editor to type in the changes. To ease my task somewhat, I kept a template of my HTML page for the articles, leaving a blank space in the template for the part where the article was supposed to be inserted. Each time I converted an article from an old issue of the newsletter, I simply cut and pasted it into the template.
The advantage of manually archiving your pages is that it allows you to customize your page to your satisfaction. It also allows you to do things like what I did with the articles on thesitewizard.com, namely, archive each article on its own page in its own category. I did this because it makes the website useful in its own right as a repository of information for webmasters. Since my newsletters typically contained at least two original articles per issue, simply using the automated method made it harder for visitors to find the article they wanted.
The disadvantages of this method are obvious. Indentations and paragraph tags have to be added manually, adding to the amount of time spent on each issue of the newsletter.
Which method you choose for your newsletter, ezine or discussion list would depend on your needs and purposes. As can be seen from above, each choice has a trade-off between convenience and the amount of customization you are able to make. With such an array of possibilites available, you can archive back issues of your publication in a manner that best suit you.
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