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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Moving printed newsletter to website

    Our church has been putting out a printed newsletter for at least the past 15 years and probably closer to 25. We are getting closer to going to an electronic newsletter, either on our web site, or to e-mail. We will still need to print the newsletter for those people that do not have access to a computer.

    We have been putting the newsletter on our web site as a pdf for the past year or so but I don't think it gets that many looks. I don't think just adding it as a pdf and stopping mailing it will really do it. Does anyone have any suggestions for converting? An article or web site that might show the best ways to do this? Thank you.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    My suggestion would be to keep putting it up as a PDF since this is a lot easier to create than doing HTML. However, what I would do is find a nice graphic for the home page to represent the newsletter and change the link to always point to the newest issue. This will garner attention everytime someone logs on and also give them a quick way to link to the issue. You can place a text link below the graphic to link to the archive list of available newsletters on the site. The best way to get views is to keep the content fresh and new every issue, this is really the hard part but it is the one that will pay off the most in garnering readership.

    Good Luck
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  4. #3
    4 Star Lounger
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    Hi RG, thanks for the advice. This is what we are doing now. Check out our site, canyonhillspc.org and look for Newsletters on the left side links. I need to clean up the page a little bit but you will see that the graphic that I am using is a jpg of the newsletter itself.

    The thing that is surprising me is that people are telling me, some people, not all, that it is too many clicks to get to it. Short of putting everything on the Home page, I don't know how to reduce the number of clicks. I could put the link to the current newsletter on the flyout, that would eliminate a click.

    One of the things that I was kind of wondering about, our printed newsletter uses lots of pictures and columns. I'm not sure if this is as easy to read online. Would a single column be better? That's why I was hoping someone knew of a site that kind of went through some of those design issues. Thank you again.

  5. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Very nice site and newsletter. Personally, I don't see a thing wrong with it. The only thing I'd change, and only because of the supposedly too many clicks complaint, is to put the current issue graphic on the Home page. I don't know your age demographic but a little education on using PDF readers, e.g. sizing the page for reading on screen {this could also apply to the browser for the rest of the site, i.e. Ctrl+Scroll Wheel}, might also be helpful. Sorry, but you've done such a nice job it's hard to offer suggestions for improvement.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #5
    4 Star Lounger
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    Thanks RG, I appreciate the kind words.
    We have mostly an older congregation but one thing that you might find interesting. We have a weekly bulletin that we use during church services and we print about 5 of them oversized for some of our members that have a hard time reading the normal size. One of our members is in her 90's and requested that we also print an oversize monthly bulletin for her. Since we are already printing it on 11 x 17 paper, it would take some re-formatting to get it to print larger. As I said, she is in her 90's but is an avid computer user and I told her that she could view the newsletter online and zoom in to make it easier to read. She was thrilled! So that was kind of cool. Thanks again.

  7. #6
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    I think the website and the online newsletter look OK. I might suggest two other thinks that perhaps you haven't thought about:

    1) put hypertext links within the PDF document to other sections/articles in the newsletter (similar to the existing email link) for quicker access to sections

    2) create your article columns the same way newspaper do - align text (both left and right margins), for easier reading and more visual appeal.

  8. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Thanks Mikar. #1 definitely a good suggestion. Up until now we have just been putting a PDF version of the printed newsletter on the site as a convenience but if it becomes our primary newsletter, we need to think about things like that, to make it on line friendly.

    On #2, this may just be me, but I really don't like right aligned text, because it sometimes throws off the text in the middle of a line with weird spacings, to make it look right aligned. I know newspapers and magazines do this, so there must be more people that like it that way but to me it is annoying. It's a good point to bring up with our group though. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    You might want to consider the difference between "paper page size" and "screen size", if you create the newsletter in two (or more) columns.

    If you simply take the A4/Letter-sized PDF and put it as a web page, people will have to scroll down the left-hand column, then up to the top again to scroll down the right-hand column. This can be Very Annoying!

    So a rethink of layout might be required.
    BATcher

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  10. #9
    New Lounger
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    I replaced our animal rescue newsletter with an HTML version, http://www.cattalesinc.org/Library/C...ter201303.html. There are two things that make it possible. Adobe Dreamweaver does a nice job sustaining the mark-up needed for an HTML e-mail (You put the codes on every line to be compatible with every e-mail app) and PHPList, the mail delivery program. I "write" the newsletter in Dreamweaver as a web page, then paste the code into PHPList. The e-mail addresses of the recipients are maintained in PHPList (and they can sign-upon their own). I upload the HTML page, while sending it out a copy to everyone. Setting up the initial template can be a pain, but you can copy/paste text into the template fairly easily. I am aware that the letter I compose and layout in Dreamweaver looks slightly different in different mail applications, so you can't get too fussy about layout. It turns into one of those things that it "will sorta look like this when they read it." Good luck.

  11. #10
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    1. My first thought was to change way you create the newsletter so it is created in HTML. Which is what Orange Kitty does and suggests.
    2. But then I looked at your home page, your prominent newsletter link, and then your newsletter. They were all very well done.
    3. Then I read about one person wanting a larger printed newsletter. And your response that she use the PDF zoom feature.


    So I ended up thinking you already have it nailed. Maybe you could set up a computer in a hall/lobby/outside/whatever after a service to demonstrate how to view the newsletter. And stress how using the PDF instead of printing & sending saves trees. It might also be an opportunity for the people doing the newsletter to get some public recognition.

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