Article Title: Ezine Tips:
Hosting Your Ezine
Author: Richard Lowe, Jr.
Contact Author: mailto:email@example.com
Publishing Guidelines: May be freely published w/bylines
Web Address: http://www.internet-tips.net
So you want to start an ezine and you don't know what to do next. You've got
a great web site, perhaps a product to sell or just some information to
disseminate. Now what do you do?
One of the tasks that you need to perform is to find someplace which will
distribute the newsletter to your subscribers. Well, actually, there is a
lot more to it than just distribution. There is a whole plethora of tasks
associated with a newsletter (besides writing and formatting the copy
Handling subscriptions - People must be allowed to subscribe and unsubscribe
from your ezine. The hosting service should send an acknowledgement for all
Reporting - You will want to know how well your ezine is doing. This should
include statistics like how many people subscribed and unsubscribed, how
long they lasted and so on.
Double Opt-In - Don't even think about creating any kind of email
publication that is not double opt-in. This means a person has to sign up
for your publication. He then receives an email which he must acknowledge.
This is vital because it eliminates the possibility of someone getting
subscribed accidentally or by someone else.
Sending the newsletter itself - Of course, you should be able to send out
I tried several different services and methods as my ezine publication
Free hosting - I started with Bravenet, which is an excellent service for
beginners and small users. If your list is fairly small (less than 500
members) their services are free. Larger lists, or lists without
advertisements, can be purchased if needed. If memory serves, these services
generally do not archive older newsletters for you - that's up to you.
There used to be a large number of companies which did this kind of thing,
but lately I've noticed many of them seem to have disappeared (including the
bCentral offering). I suspect this has to do with the current status of
Groups - Another way to handle a newsletter is to use a service such as
Yahoo Egroups, Topica or Smartgroups. These services are all free and they
do an adequate job of automating signups and deletions. The reporting is
weak to nonexistent, but if that's not something you need than you won't
The main disadvantage of these groups, in my opinion, is the amount of
advertising that your readers get exposed to. If you don't mind the
advertisements and don't need the reporting, then they will probably be
A significant advantage of groups over free hosting services such as
Bravenet is the groups can get as large as you want and still remain free.
The groups also support archives of your newsletters and have quite a few
other nice features.
Self-submitting - I outgrew Bravenet and tried hosting my newsletter on my
own website. This worked for a while, until my host had trouble with their
sendmail routines. At that point I had to find a new way to send out my
There are several problems with hosting your newsletter yourself. I sent out
my newsletter through my web host (using a set of CGI routines), and they
really were not set up to do that kind of thing. Thus, the service was
sporadic and spotty at best.
In addition, sending your own list through your ISP or web host has a number
of other associated dangers. First, they may decide you are sending too many
emails, especially if they do not provide that service as part of their
offering. This could result in cancellation. Some user could also report you
for spamming (even if you are not) and this could also result in account
Professionally hosted - I finally decided it was time to look for a
professional service. I settled on a service called Talklist, and I must say
I am now very happy with their offering. It is a little expensive (about $30
a month), but the service is perfect, the newsletter goes out quickly and I
have no worries.
With a professional service, everything is done automatically. The only
thing I have to worry about is (a) promoting my newsletter, and (b) writing
the copy. Additions and subtractions are handled for me, and the reporting
However you decide to host your newsletter, try and find a method which
allows you to concentrate on your newsletter. You don't need to add the
complications of managing subscriptions and sending emails to your life -
it's just wasting time.
Personally, now that I've tried professional newsletter hosting, I would
never even consider going back to any other option. It works and it works
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