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How wide should each line be? - Keep line width at 60 to 65 characters.
How long should your ezine be? - The thing you need to consider here is that many people pick up their email over dialup connections. This means same rules you use for web pages also applies to ezines. Keep your size down to under 100kb certainly, and under 30kb ideally. Remember, you are not trying to duplicate your web site in your ezine - you are trying to get people to come back to your web site.
It's also important to remember that amount of email that people can store on their email server is limited, often to just a megabyte or so. If your ezine is too large you can take up space that they need for other email.
On other hand, since you've taken time to write to your audience don't cheat them with a three line ezine either. My feeling is if you cannot send at least a few pages of text, then don't bother. Do you include original content only? - My vote is to include mostly, if not all, original content in an ezine in most instances. Why? Well, when I sign up for an ezine, I am interested in knowledge and opinions of ezine publisher (usually a single person or a small group). Unless third-party articles are very well focused, I am very likely to delete or unsubscribe if there is not enough original content. This also holds true of websites - I will probably not visit a web site a second time if only thing it contains is regurgitated content.
This does not mean you should not include articles by other authors. It just means you need to be careful that what you do publish is of interest to your readers and has not appeared on every other site and ezine on web.
Do you post an archive of newsletters on your web site? - Yes. Why? Because you've gone through some work to create your ezine and you can get more use out of it still by putting it on your web site. First, by including an archive you add credibility, especially as archive grows. It shows that your newsletter is indeed published on a regular basis. Second, you can post newsletter as a web page (convert it to HTML if it is a text ezine), add some keywords and you've added yet another page for search engines to find. This is a great way to pick up visitors.
How do you allow people to opt-out? - Include a link on your page, generally at bottom. If someone clicks link they are opted out. For your own sake, don't make it complicated for people to leave your mailing list - if you do, you will get reported as a spammer. You can also allow people to send a return email with "REMOVE" or "UNSUBSCRIBE". Personally, I prefer a link. However, it is a good idea to allow both methods to work as some people will simply reply with REMOVE no matter who you explain it to them.
This is such an important point that I will make it again. You MUST ensure that it is easy for someone to opt-out of your ezine. A single click or a reply to an email, that's all it should take. Do not require them to do any more. Otherwise, you are taking chance that you will be reported as a spammer.
What is mechanism for signing up? - I like a double opt-in system. What this means is someone subscribes on my web site via a web page. They enter their email address and click submit. Now an email is sent to their email address, which they must respond to in order to be added to list. This makes absolutely sure that a person not only wants to subscribe, but that email address is indeed his email address. This is about as safe as you can get.
Another method (which I use for my daily tips ezine) is to use an autoresponder. If you wanted to receive my newsletter you would send an email to my autoresponder address. This also ensures that ezine is sent only to someone who wants it, since you must send it from desired email address. For more information on autoresponders see http://www.themestream.com/articles/332918.html
Any other advice? Don't wait. The sooner you start promoting and sending out your ezine, sooner you will get return visitors.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge. Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net Weekly newsletter: http://www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm Daily Tips: internet-tips@GetResponse.com