Consistency is King
Subject Line: TWM’s Release – #11: Consistency is King
CONTENTS IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Editor’s Remarks by Renee Kennedy
2. How to Start Your Own Ezine – Part III
a) Ezine Formatting
b) Measuring the size of your Ezine
4. What’s New at The Write Market
5. Get Your Ad in TWM Release!
6. Administrative Information
Welcome all new subscribers!
This month’s newsletter is a little shorter than usual. We are going to try to condense the ezine a little more – for faster reading! We realize that time is money and none of us has enough of either.
This month, it’s time to get back to updating you on the search engines.
I check our ranks for certain keyword phrases every week in the top 20 search engines and directories.
I’ve noticed over the past few months that our ranks seem to be stabilized. Our ranks are almost the same for each keyword phrase in each search engine. This tells us something very important:
Algorithms for each engine are becoming more similar and perhaps you should try optimizing pages in a general way and not for a specific search engine.
Things that are certain for every single search engine:
1. you will have more success using keyword phrases – not individual words.
2. you need a 3-4% relevancy for each word – meaning each word in your phrase needs to occur 3-4% of the time out of all the words on the web page.
3. you need link popularity – almost every engine is now taking this into account.
4. you need a title that uses the keyword phrase one time, preferably as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
5. you need a killer description.
For more specific information on any of the above points – check out our search engine promotion tutorial at: http://www.thewritemarket.com/intro.shtml
The value of your online business is based on many things. It’s not just about the bottom line, anymore. Great search engine ranks, are key to a successful business – and when you go to sell that online business – search engine ranks will help you get a higher price.
Another key is your email list. How are you going to maintain this email list? Well, our current tutorial, “How to Start Your Own Ezine” – http://www.thewritemarket.com/ezine.shtml will help you get your email list started.
In this issue we will discuss the format or the layout of your ezine. Our next issue will deal with content – maybe we’ll discuss some places where you can find some content!
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by Renee Kennedy
If you’ve been following our tutorial on “How to Start Your Own Ezine” you should be at the point where you’ve decided the type of list server that you are going to use. Now it is time to decide your newsletter format. (Previous installments of this tutorial may be found at: http://www.thewritemarket.com/ezine.shtml)
TWM Release’s format has changed over the period of time that we’ve put out our ezine. We try to keep it basically the same from month to month. We highly believe in consistency in the format – consistency can apply to many marketing strategies on the web. (From consistent colors on your website to consistent categories in your newsletter, consistency helps your visitors or your subscribers understand what is coming next – it keeps them looking forward to it.)
However, there is a difference between consistency and trying new things. I highly recommend that you continually test new strategies with your newsletter – but you also need to keep certain things similar so that you do not confuse your subscribers. Confused subscribers will unsubscribe.
Things to consider in formatting:
1. Length – (Now I just broke a rule of consistency by announcing to you that we will be trying to shorten our newsletters. However, we have only changed one thing, this month – the length – everything else remains consistent. If you are going to change things, change things slowly. One change at a time is enough.) The length of your ezine will depend on how much content you can put together and how frequently your newsletter comes out. For instance, a newsletter that comes out only once a month may contain two – five articles, a newsletter that comes out once a day will do better to contain only one short article – or maybe just a tip.
You will need to find a good length for your own newsletter, one that you can handle, and one that won’t drive your subscribers away. Too much content will drive them away just as quickly as too little content.
2. Subject Line – the subject line of your ezine should always have some consistency to let people know they are receiving your ezine. We suggest:
a. Name of Ezine
b. Issue # and Vol. # (Vol refers to the year.)
c. Catchy title.
Here’s what we do: “TWM Release #11 – Catchy Title” So the beginning is always the same – but the title will always be different to catch attention.
3. Table of Contents – you should have a “Table of Contents” appear at the beginning of the email to let people know what is in this issue. I receive several ezines each week. I need that table of contents to scan the issue to see if there is an article that I am interested in. I no longer subscribe to ezines that don’t clearly state what the issue deals with from the first line.
4. Categories – I highly recommend that you choose “categories” in your table of contents that remain the same from issue to issue. For example – we have chosen the following categories:
a. Editor’s Remarks
b. Two or Three Articles
c. What’s New At the Write Market
e. Administrative Information
Now these categories have changed over the life of our ezine, however, we have slowly changed them trying to maintain as much consistency as possible, but still providing what we felt was necessary.
Also, if you save your ezine from issue to issue, you can use the last issue as a template for the present issue and you can choose one thing to change to make the present issue better than the last. This way, the ezine is always improving – but in a slow and consistent manner.
5. Every issue needs “General Information” or “Administrative Info” – a section that tells people how they can put ads in your newsletter, how they subscribed, what the copyrights are, ESPECIALLY how they can unsubscribe. Other things that may go here:
a. contact info
b. If they can refer people to the newsletter
c. article contributions
d. privacy statement
e. advertising info
f. subscribe and unsubscribe info
6. Format – You may choose from 3 different formats for your ezine. However, the only one that is successful – in my meager estimation is – regular, old ACii text format. This is readable by everyone.
a. HTML email – while this type is becoming more and more popular and they may be neat to look at they are generally slower to download – especially if you aren’t expecting it.
b. Acii text – regular email format
c. Web based – putting your ezine on the web.
7. Font – use a generic font like Times, Courier, Arial, or Helvetica – something cross platform if possible (Times is probably your best option.)
8. Special Considerations –
a. Do not do anything special like bold, underline, italics. (We’ve even had problems using single and double quotes – but we’ll continue to use them even if some people’s email programs can’t handle them.)
b. If you need to indent, use your space bar, not your tab key.
c. Don’t center anything – use all left justify.
d. You will need to manual return after around 65 character spaces per line. Some email programs will mess up your formatting if you go beyond 65 character spaces. I’ve heard experts recommend formatting a newsletter in a text editor. Personally, I don’t do this, because I’ve had bad experiences transferring text from the editor to the email program. However, you will find a way that is right for you. Experiment with different text editors. If you are doing this alone, continually ask your subscribers for feedback – they will tell you if they are not seeing the newsletter correctly.
—Things to remember —
1. Consistency – follow a template – if you must change things – do it slowly.
2. Spell Check
3. Proofread – have someone else proofread. (Unlike a web page that you can go back and edit – you can’t go back and edit your ezine once you hit that send button.) Trust me, it gets more and more unnerving to hit that send button as you get more and more subscribers. It’s downright scary. I read this newsletter about 3 times through – that’s after Terry has edited it a couple times.
And you know what?
We still make tons of mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes – there is nothing you can do – except make the correction in the next issue.
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MEASURING THE SIZE OF YOUR EZINE
this article is a collaboration of a few people – credits at the end
Why do you need to measure the size of your ezine? Because – a lot of the free list servers will tell you that the message that you send out to your mailing list must be less than 75K. It’s really hard to exceed 75 K – even our longest newsletters never even came close to 75 K. Not only that, 75K is A LOT of information – I don’t think you’d even want to send out a message or newsletter that long.
If you stick to ACII text format – most likely – you will never exceed 75 K. It’s when you decide to use HTML format or some other funky thing – like including banners – that you will use more space.
However, to be safe, you will need to know how to measure the size of your newsletter. Here are a few ways to do that:
1. Most accurate way: save the issue as a text document (use Notepad or Wordpad) go into “Exploring”, right click on the file that you have saved and check the file’s properties to see what the size is.
2. If you have access to Microsoft Word, it can tell you the exact count of your total characters and a count of total character including spaces. It will also tell you file size. Save your newsletter in Word, go to “File”, then go to “Properties”, click on the “General” tab. (Lots of neat information here!) However, realize that saving the document in Microsoft Word will cause the file to look larger because of Microsoft Word formatting.
Similar to Windows, save out as text, then with the newly created document selected, go to FILE/GET INFO and you can see the file size. Use the right hand number that’s in parentheses, this reads in bytes. An example: this newsletter came up as 13,674 bytes, about 13K. The left hand number is sort of inaccurate because it fluctuates on each machine based on each machines smallest block size. Some systems have a block size of 32K and others 64K so any file, even smaller than 32 or 64 still takes up that amount of space.
Credits for this article (thanks to everyone who contributed!): David Handlos http://www.crosslinkz.com/ Roger Whittaker http://www.giftfriends.com/ Terry Kent and Renee Kennedy
WHAT’S NEW AT THE WRITE MARKET
Visit our new pages in the graphic’s mine: http://www.thewritemarket.com/Gallery/literary-people.htm weird pictures of famous writers.
http://www.thewritemarket.com/Gallery/stpatrick.htm cute little buttons and banners for St. Patrick’s day.
GET YOUR AD IN THIS EZINE
Get an ad into TWM Release:
We do ad swaps with other ezines or you may purchase an ad – $5 per issue – up to 10 lines –
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