Category: Uncategorized

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