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Choosing A Newsletter Format - HTML or Text Version?

by Maggie Lietz - Copyright 2005

For all their value and benefit, newsletters frequently come and go like traffic at a busy downtown intersection.

For one thing, most people don't realize how much time and effort it takes to publish and distribute a newsletter on an ongoing basis.

Secondly, most newsletters are just plain worthless. There's no quality and meaningful content. And in many cases, they are either one long body of redundant sales copy or just a collection of paid sponsor ads.

With hundreds of thousands of newsletters available across the Internet, there are only a very small number of really good ones. So the important thing is to make certain your particular newsletter doesn't prompt viewers to reach for the unsubscribe link right from the getgo.

And that means providing quality content. Assuming you're prepared to do that, another important consideration is deciding what format of newsletter is best... HTML or text version.

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to start out with a text version, at least until you feel comfortable with the whole publishing process. Then, if you'd like to do something more advanced, you can include the HTML version as well.

Keep in mind, though, that a large percentage of viewers still prefer straight text. If nothing else, you'd want to offer them a choice one way or the other. Of course, that's going to mean more work, but if you want to offer an HTML version, you still need to allow straight text for those who either prefer it or can't view HTML email.

Another option would be to create an online version of your newsletter. And since archiving back issues for those who just subscribed (or purely for reference purposes) would require HTML coding, you might just as well provide a link from your text newsletter to the corresponding web page.

Plus, you can do a lot more online than you can in a text newsletter such as including pictures, charts, forms, etc. Naturally, you could accomplish that with an HTML version of the newsletter, but again, many viewers might not want something that heavy coming to their Inbox. Or, they might be using a program that doesn't allow for HTML coding altogether.

At any rate, it's wise to start with straight text. Then, if you decide to create an HTML version, offer your subscribers the option of choosing which one they prefer.

Regardless of what format you go with, it's important to make certain your newsletter presents the most professional image possible. And the first rule is to edit properly. Yes, an occasional spelling error can slip through, but there's no excuse for not making every possible effort to prevent them.

If the text editor you're using doesn't come with spell check capability, then you might consider copying and pasting your document into a word processor program that does. Then, once you're certain there are no errors, you can simply copy and paste back into Notepad (or whatever editor you happen to be using).

One thing you need to realize, though, is the fact that the average spell check software won't help if a certain word has been used improperly (for example, "their" instead of "there"). Sure, it's spelled right. It just happens to be the wrong word entirely.

If you intend to be a newsletter publisher and don't personally possess good editing skills, make certain you have one or more people available who can either help you "polish things up" or, at the very least, read the entire content thoroughly prior to publication.

For more detailed information about this topic, make certain you grab a copy of the free distribution ebook entitled "Generate Income Month After Month - Publish A Newsletter" at

Maggie Lietz

Maggie Lietz specializes in writing, creating, and publishing ebooks. Plenty of valuable information about ebooks, online business, and Internet marketing is available on her website at Professional services include website and graphic design, copywriting, and ebook cover images.

Feel free to use the above article in its entirety. All I ask is that you include my "About the Author" resource box. Thanks. Maggie Lietz

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