Starting an ezine can be a large undertaking. You work hard to find contributors and advertisers and you’re all ready to go and put your layout together. This is about the time you may realize that the hard part isn’t quite over. Developing the look can be just as difficult as deciding what goes in it. But don’t worry – if you follow a few tips, putting together a great looking ezine is not that hard to do. Here are some tips:
* Start simple. Before you get started putting everything together, come up with a master layout. This way you can make sure everything is visually appealing, like areas are grouped together, and there is a good balance of pictures, bullets and regular written content. Before adding any words or pictures, try just adding random words and graphics to see what it looks like as a whole and that it makes sense. If you’re having trouble, you may want to consider hiring someone to come up with the design for you.
* Balance content with advertising. Most people can figure out that if their ezine has very little content and all advertising, they’re not going to get a lot of dedicated subscribers. However, you have to have some advertizing to keep yourself in business and to have variety in what you offer readers. It’s important to find a good balance for your ezine and not go overboard either way. If what you try doesn’t work, you always have the option to tweak your proportions.
* Be consistent. It’s important to find a format and stick with it. Sure, you can update your layout and style every so often, but if you do it all the time, people aren’t going to be able to find the information they’re looking for. You also want to be fairly consistent within your layout. This means using similar fonts, colors, and graphics throughout.
* Don’t rely on pretty graphics. A great format and beautiful graphics are a great way to add to the appeal of your ezine, but they can’t be the only thing. Many programs automatically disable pictures and the user has to opt to have them included, and many people don’t bother. That means your emails should have a readable and informative layout, even with graphics disabled, otherwise you’ll be missing out on a huge amount of readers who don’t want to deal with downloading all the extras.
* Remember the opt-out. Every good ezine has an opt-out option that’s easy to find and use. Sure, you’d rather they’d stick around, but you don’t want people to be so frustrated with the difficulty of opting out that they report you as sending junk or spam email. The opt-out is also a great opportunity to add a short survey and collect data on why they no longer want your product.
* Back up your presentation. You may have the best looking, well organized ezine in the world, but if it’s not backed up with quality content and products, it’s not going to be successful.
While these few tips will get you started, you’ll probably have to make a few adjustments once you’ve put out your first few issues. If you can, try to include a survey to see how people like it and start making your adjustments from there.