How to Create Your Own Ezine Template

Are you sending out a regular ezine or newsletter to your list of subscribers?

Got your own custom template yet?  If not, it’s easy to create your own!

Since my last code related tutorial, How to Add Social Networking Icons to Your Blog, went over well I decided to share another one.

First, why use a custom template?

  • Brand yourself with a professional image
  • Make it easy for readers to connect your emails with your website
  • Because they’re pretty

Okay, so that third one isn’t really the best reason.  But I still like pretty things.

Here’s how to create your own basic ezine template to use in a mailing service like Aweber, 1ShoppingCart or MailChimp.

Step 1: Decide on the Basics

What do you want to include in your ezine?

A general structure might include:

  • header graphic
  • sub-header + text
  • sub-header + text
  • sub-header + text
  • closing + copyright info

Your header graphic can match your website’s header, or be customized for your ezine, but you might want to consider keeping them similar in color/style/theme so it’s easy for readers to associate your ezine with your website.

Your sub-headers might be:

– news and notes
– what’s in this issue

– featured article
– this month’s tip

– new on the blog
– new on the site

– where’s (name here) at
– upcoming teleseminars and events
– coming this month

– recommended resources
– business resources
– friends I recommend
– things to help you in your business

– client spotlight
– featured client
– testimonials
– what clients say

– featured product
– how (name here) can help you
– work with (name here)

– about (name here)
– who I am

– subscription information
– the fine print

You wouldn’t want to use everything in this list, it’s just some ideas to get you started.

Step 2: Create Your Graphics

Your header image from your website or blog might work well as a header for your template.  If so, you can just resize it to fit.  Otherwise, you can create one for your ezine with www.pixlr.com Upload your logo/photo, and add the text you’d like to include.

Here’s an example of a sub-header:

If you need an easy place to create yours, try www.cooltext.com or www.pixlr.com

You’ll want all your images to be the same width so keep that in mind as you create your header and sub-headers.

Be sure to save all your images to your computer once you’ve created them.

Step 3: Upload Your Graphics to Your Hosting Space

Next you’ll need to upload them to your hosting space.

If you’re using WordPress you can upload them under “Media” > “Add New”

Click the button to upload each image.  In the pop up, choose your image and click to upload it.

The image will show up in a little thumbnail with some info.  Look for the URL field.

Click to Enlarge

 

Now open Notepad or a text editing program (Notepad++, WordPad, etc) and copy each image’s URL.

They’ll look something like this:

http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MichelleShaeffer-ezine.jpg

If you’re not using WordPress you can upload your images through your cPanel or with FTP.  I recommend Filezilla if you need an FTP program.  It’s free and works on PC & Mac.

Step 4: Create Your HTML Code

The basic HTML code I use for my ezine template is:

<table border=0 width=750><tr><td>
<img src=”HEADERIMAGE”>
<img src=”FIRSTSUBHEAD”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”SECONDSUBHEAD”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”THIRDSUBHEAD”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”FOURTHSUBHEAD”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”FIFTHSUBHEAD”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
</td></tr></table>

You can adjust the width to the width you made your header and sub-headers.  You don’t want to make it too wide though or people will have to scroll sideways to read your ezine.

Each of the CAPS notes are replaced with the actual URL of the image.  So it becomes:

<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MichelleShaeffer-ezine.jpg”>

This is what my code would look like:

<table border=0 width=750><tr><td>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MichelleShaeffer-ezine.jpg”>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/newsandnotes.jpg”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/featuredarticle.jpg”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/newontheblog.jpg”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/recommendedresources.jpg”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
<img src=”http://michelleshaeffer.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/connectwithmeonline.jpg”>
<p>Add text here.</p>
</td></tr></table>

Add in your header and your sub-headers to the code above, then save it in Notepad.

Step 5: Add Your Template to Your Mailing Service & Create Your Ezine

Now you’re ready to test your template.  Login to your mailing service and go to where you create a new message.

Click the “HTML” or “Code” tab for your message editor, then paste in your saved code.

Click to Enlarge

Now click “Design” or whatever tab flips you back to the regular view and edit as desired.

Click to Enlarge

Continue editing, then save, test and send!

Newspaper photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bury

Comments

  1. wow… nice, but it involves too much work :)) i mean, now we’re trying to get the most with the least effort, time and money invested… I don’t know if I’d try such thing.. maybe outsource it:)
    Joe recently posted… Bootscharter HollandMy Profile

  2. Thanks for such detailed instructions!

  3. Lisbeth Tanz
    Twitter:

    Twitter: lisbethtanz
    says:

    Oh goodie! I can do this myself now! :) Of course, I’ll add that to my to-do list…. :) Very nice, Michelle. Thank you for detailing this so nicely. :)
    Lisbeth Tanz recently posted… Are You A HoarderMy Profile

  4. Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:

    Twitter: RyanBiddulph
    says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Wow, in-depth! I wasn’t even aware of the fact you could create an ezine template.

    I can see you provide great attention to detail; a hallmark of a successful person. Keep on doing things in this certain way.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    RB

  5. regarding the outsourcing part.. I guess it depends… if you’re an empoyee, working from 9 to 5 and want to make some money of out a few blogs or affiliate marketing, than you have the money, but you don’t have the time, so you can afford to outsource.. but if you don’t have the money, but you have all the day free, than you can struggle and do this:D
    Bani recently posted… Groom Wedding SpeechMy Profile

  6. Thank you so much, Michelle.

    I love this post. It’s so timely for me – I have to save this on my note+reminder, as I am in the middle of organizing my email marketing side of business.

    BTW, I love your eBooks eCover – very clean and cool graphics design.
    Stella – Strategic Internet Marketing Tips recently posted… Promote Yourself and Share What You Do!My Profile

  7. Julie Henderson
    Twitter:

    Twitter: juliehenderson
    says:

    WOW! MIchelle…you sure do put out tremendous value! I didn’t know you could create an ezine from WordPress…very cool. And yes, that is where a dynamic VA who knows WP would be most beneficial! Thanks!

  8. Lynn Brown
    Twitter:

    Twitter: learnit2earnit
    says:

    Awesome information Michelle! I actually understand most of the instructions you have shared with us! But, I am one to source this out …. I love the details listed here because I can use it as checklist to give to a graphics/web person. Making sure the project is properly done :D

    P.S. I like your reason #3 too
    Lynn Brown recently posted… Want To Know How To Use Twitter For Your Small BusinessMy Profile

  9. Great tutorial… for those who like this type of thing. Me? I get frustrated within 5 minutes and am ripping my hair out.

    But that’s where you come in :)

  10. Daphne Bousquet, CMP
    Twitter:

    Twitter: BousquetCMP
    says:

    That was a great post, Michelle. I have been wondering how to do that, because I wasn’t real thrilled with the template I am using now. Thanks.
    Daphne Bousquet, CMP recently posted… Celebrate With Me!My Profile

  11. Michelle Shaeffer
    Twitter:

    Twitter: Michelleshaeffr
    says:

    Thanks, Daphne, I’m glad it’s useful for you. :)

  12. I was just talking to myself about needing a new template for my newsletter. Thanks for the push and the great tips!! :)

  13. Diana Simon
    Twitter:

    Twitter: coachdiana11
    says:

    I implemented your Social Networking Icons and although I am not ready to launch an ezine yet, I will be back here to follow this tutorial. It seems very technical but again, it’s only when you do it that you get to see how simple and clear your steps are! Thanks for these awesome tutorials :)

  14. Oh my gosh, thank goodness for people like you who I can hire to do this! :)
    Rhonda Neely recently posted… The Closing Paragraph – Life After AbuseMy Profile

    • Michelle Shaeffer
      Twitter:

      Twitter: Michelleshaeffr
      says:

      And that’s why I don’t mind sharing this type of info. I know there will always be a market for those who want to provide this service because some just don’t want to dig into code — and we love you for that. ;) But for those who want to go DIY, it’s fun to share/learn. :)

  15. Hello, Michelle. I do my AA-1 Designs E-Zine directly in my E-Mail. Do I need a code and a mailing service to use a template? One problem I’m finding is that the AA-1 Designs Associates tell me they can’t print the E-Zine. Because I like the colors, I still do the E-Zine in my E-Mail, with an attachment of the E-Zine in a Word document. I don’t take the time to make that pretty. I don’t like it because it looks so unprofessional. However, I decided that the Word document does make it easier to save in the computer system and printing is easier. I like to use the character cartoon at the end of the E-Zine. I think this is what causes the printing problem. I tested the printing myself. For some reason the left margin starts almost in the middle of the page, causing everything in the right 1/4 of the page to not print. I suppose I could delete the character at the bottom. Maybe this would eliminate the wide left margin. It’s just so darn cute, but not functional. Thank you for sharing your tutorial and free web sites. I was not aware of them. As I tell the AA-1 Designs Associates, the AA-1 Designs E-Zine will only get better because of you. We’re all learning together. Thank you for your time in reading this message. Take care. Happy Spring! Rosella Young

  16. Hello, Michelle. I think I goofed. I just realized that some of your bloggers are international. My web site is only set up to operate in the United States on a national basis. I generally don’t list my web site on blogs for this reason. I saw where you are in Anchorage, so presumed your bloggers were only from the United States. Duh! So this may be why your site is relaying an error. I just clicked on my name in your blog site. It took me directly to my web site. Then when I went to write another comment, is when I got this error message. I was really interested in the Organising Queen. When I went to her web site is when I realized, oops, she’s international. So sorry for the miscommunication and mishap. I hope this clears up things. Thank you for your time in this matter. Take care. Rosella Young

  17. Rhonda Neely
    Twitter:

    Twitter: rhondaneely
    says:

    As I Googled looking for someone to create a new ezine template for me, I came across this blog post of yours. I should have known :) ! I’m going to give it a try. Thanks Michelle!
    Rhonda Neely recently posted… CHRISTian CHRISTmas Gifts for Everyone on Your ListMy Profile

  18. Rhonda Neely
    Twitter:

    Twitter: rhondaneely
    says:

    I did it! Yea, thanks Michelle!!!
    Rhonda Neely recently posted… CHRISTian CHRISTmas Gifts for Everyone on Your ListMy Profile

  19. Great to have stumbled upon this article. Thanks for the easy step by step instructions. I sure will implement this…soon. Thanks again.

  20. Maryann Conrad says:

    That’s what it boils down to. I did it!

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