Issue # 14 Monday, August 31, 1998

About the Author:

Internet e-zine guru Todd Kuipers

Todd Kuipers is a software designer/Internet consultant, living and breathing, with his wife Susanna, in Calgary, Alberta. He is resident at Merak Projects currently working on Web based implementations of their petroleum software. He spends his spare time reading, writing, reading and writing about beer, tasting beer, reviewing anything that he comes across and providing pure research skills to paying customers. Things Todd and Internet can be seen at

One time proprietor of the currently defunct "E-mail-zines list", a listing of e-zines available via e-mail, Todd kept his interest in "low-bandwidth active delivery content" and currently subscribes to (and generally reads) 60+ e-mail publications on a wide variety of topics.


Special - E-mail-zine Essentials

I touched briefly on ways to promote your publication in column #5. This week I'd like to concentrate on promotion by expanding on some of those previous methods and mentioning sites and publications that will help you expose your e-mail-zine to a wider audience.


"If you build it, they will come" is a crock on the net.  Building it is only 10% of the battle; the other 90% is shamelessly exploiting whatever on-line avenues you can find to get the word of your masterpiece out to your target audience.  Nothing worse than building it and having no-one show up.

The Web Site

First off, make sure that if at all possible establish a Web site that provides users with an intro to your e-mail-zine. I know that e-mail is a great clean way to provide a publication that doesn't necessarily buy into the hyper-marketing-glitz that is the Web, but it's the single easiest way to provide quick info and subscription instructions to your newsletter. It's also provides the Web address needed to get your publication listed in indexes and search engines.

For a Web site to be minimally effective you should provide the following:

  1. Subscription Instructions - no point in publishing if no-one knows how to subscribe. Let visitors know in no uncertain terms what information they have to send you or your mailing list host to get a periodic dose of your medicine.  Even better, provide a simple script from your page that does the hard work for them.  If you use a mailing list host like ListBot (again see column #5), they will provide automated subscription scripts that you can embed in the HTML of your page.
  2. Publication Description - This is secondary to the one above, it is amazing how many people will subscribe to things they have no clue about.  (I ran an inactive, unpublished mailing list that strangely attracted 1-2 subscribers a week.)  Provide more than 10 words (unless you're a minimalist).  Hook people into subscribing.  Brag. And above all be articulate.
  3. Archives - E-mail-zines take up very little disk space.  A big issue is 5K.  This means that you have ample space to store all of your back issues on-line at your site.  This will let site visitors sample your wares before they take that extra step and subscribe.


Personal Referrals

Maybe a terrible thing to say, but: exploit your friends and family. You don't have to approach it like you're the latest cult-like convert to a really nifty multi-level-marketing scheme. Most people you know are probably happy to provide you with a plug or link from their page if they like what you're doing. If you're on the Net publishing an e-mail-zine, there's a very good chance that you know someone who you can garner a favour from. Even if their site has no traffic, at worst, it can't hurt.  (Even if they don't have a site, word of mouth works well too.)

Indexes/Search Engines

Once you have your info Web site up and running, make sure that you list it with the standard set of indexes and search engines. Building traffic to your site will increase your subscription rate.  My suggested top 5:

  1. Yahoo - The biggest categorized index and probably the hottest site on the Net.
  2. AltaVista - Run by Compaq this is the probably most popular search engine around.
  3. Lycos - As popular as Alta Vista.
  4. HotBot - Run by Wired On-line and my personal favourite.
  5. Excite - A excellent alternative to the 4 above.

As well don't forget to list with topic specific search engines.  If your newsletter is focused on "Beer Bottle Cap Poetry", there's might be an index or 50 geared to your audience out there. 

Tip: Do some searching and research on the 5 sites listed above.

Other Publications and Reviews

There are many publications and sites  out there that can help you build your subscription list.  A great list of e-zine specific ones were mentioned in column #5.

Newsletters and columns, like the OpenRoad, are there to talk about and review (or hype) your publication. 

Others like the Virtual Promote Gazette (available through provide tips on building traffic to your site and newsletter. This site is packed (really packed) full of methods to improve your on-line exposure. Of course like any really spiffy Net publication they provide an e-mail newsletter loaded full of the most recent tips and tricks at

In addition, don't forget that most media sites like Wired, ZDNet or might be interested in covering your newsletter if you present yourself well.  Brag!

Usenet Newsgroups

Last but not least, Usenet provides you with focused topic groups that you can post your latest newsletter issue to (e.g. rec.crafts.rubberstamps). Make sure that you post your newsletter to only the proper groups or you'll get a whole pile of hate mail in short order. 

Deja News is the best Web site for browsing and posting to a wide variety of news groups.

This by no means a comprehensive listing of promotion concepts.  There are dozen's of sites out there geared solely to Web promotion as well as experts willing to give any type of marketing and promotional advice.  Take a look around the Net and while you're at it don't forget to brag.


Text © Todd Kuipers, 1998, 1999. Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at