RapidWeaver FAQ - Newsletters


Does anyone know of an easy way to integrate an e-mail newsletter manager into RapidWeaver? I’d like one that is free, if possible. What’s the best way to manage the contacts? How can I build the Newsletter in RapidWeaver? How do I send it out?

Chapter 1: Adding a form for the people to subscribe to the Newsletter
Chapter 2: Managing the contacts of the mailing list
Chapter 3: Building a Newsletter in RapidWeaver
Chapter 4: Sending out the Newsletter

Chapter 1: Adding a form for the people to subscribe to the Newsletter

What I found to be the best way to create a Newsletter is creating your own form for people to subscribe and unsubscribe to the Newsletter and embed it into your website. Either create the form using RapidWeaver's integrated form or
Wufoo which works really great and has only few advertising. More details on how to build a form here.

Chapter 2: Managing the contacts of the mailing list

To manage the contacts of your newsletter subscribers I would recommend you to add a new user account on your computer.

How can I create a new user account in Mac OS X?

1. System Preferences => Accounts
2. Click the lock to make changes
3. Add a new user account

On that account set up Mail to use the e-mail address you send out the Newsletter e-mails from and to which you get subscribe or unsubscribe notifications.

Fill the AddressBook of that account with the subscribers’ contacts.

Chapter 2: Managing the contacts of the mailing list

In RapidWeaver add a new page for the Newsletter.

Under Page Info, Folder I would recommend you to put something like
newsletters and under Filename newsletter_1.html

At the top of the page write something like:

"If this e-mail doesn’t display correctly to you please click here"

Turn the "click here" part into an external link referring to the URL of your RapidWeaver newsletter page on the web and choose "Open in New Window". This is for the people whose online E-mail account doesn’t render the e-mail as it should be.

All the links on the newsletter need to be links to the full URL (not Page) hence external links and open in a new window. Don't use "Page" but use "URL" when creating links.

Keep the page as basic as possible. Best is to only have text and maybe few images. Eliminate the sidebar if there is one. Do not use iFrames and whatever. Just keep it very simple.

Of course to build the actual Newsletter you can also make a .pdf file using Pages and Attach it to the e-mail or write it directly in Mail or whatever you want...

Chapter 4: Sending out the Newsletter

Once you wrote the newsletter publish it. Visit it in Safari and hit Command(Apple)+i or go to the File menu and choose "Mail contents of this page". This will open the Mail application and create a new e-mail with the page of the Newsletter in it. Even when you sent the e-mail the page needs to stay published on the web for people to see it. Take the chance to make a Newsletter-History so people and you can see and keep track of what you worked on in the past.

Once the E-Mail is created simply select all the contacts (or the Group) you'd like to send the Newsletter to from the Address Book application and add them to the Bcc field in the e-mail. If you don’t see the Bcc field go to View and choose “Bcc address field”. The Bcc prevents everyone from seeing the addresses of the other people to whom you sent the e-m@il.
Send the e-mail and you're done.

Known problems sending out e-mails like that:
- On some online e-mail accounts images don't display for security reasons (Yahoo) on other online e-mail accounts people need to click on a link that says "Display pictures" (Gmail).
- Some people say the e-mails are more likely to go into the spam if sent this way. I don't know. I think no matter how you send out Newsletters they are likely to go into the spams. Have the people adding the e-mail address used to send out Newsletters to their contacts to prevent this from happening. Adding your own e-mail address in the “To:” field of the e-mail maybe also decreases the number of e-mails being caught by spam filters.

This FAQ is also discussed in my RapidWeaverFAQ.org E-Book (sample)

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