Newsletter overview

When you're in the ccNewsletter "Newsletters" tab you will see all your newsletters and details of every newsletter.

  • Newsletter name: Here you can find the name of a newsletter
  • Last sent date: This is the last date a newsletter is send
  • Total subscribers: The total of subscribers at the time the newsletter was last sent. 
  • Public: Should the newsletter be shown in the newsletter archive in the site? 
  • Action: Edit, preview or delete a newsletter

Other options:

  • Creating a new newsletter: click "New" in the top right toolbar.
  • Edit an existing newsletter: select a particular newsletter by clicking on the check box and click on Edit button in the toolbar or click on the edit icon under the "Action" tab.
  • Copy a newsletter: select the specific newsletter you want to copy by clicking on the check box and click on the copy button in the top right toolbar.
  • Delete a newsletter: select the specific newsletter you want to remove by clicking on the check box and click on the delete button in the top right toolbar or click on the remove icon under the "Action" tab.

Specific ccNewsletter options in the toolbar:

  • Test: send a test newsletter to the email specified in the configuration, note that tags like [name] will not be replaced in a test newsletter, but only in the real newsletter. 
  • Send: send the newsletter to subscribers, for more information read 'Sending a newsletter" below 

New/edit newsletter view

When you click on the "New" button in the upper right corner, you will see the newsletter edit view. You will see the details, helpful hints and WYSIWYG editor area for the newsletter content. 

  • Details
    • Newsletter name/subject: specify the name of the newsletter. This is also the newsletter subject that will be shown to your subscribers. Best is to make it short and attractive. Answer the question "why should I read this?".
    • Public: should the newsletter be shown in the newsletter archive in the site? 
  • Helpful hints: these are tags that can be added in the newsletter content. When a real newsletter is sent, they will be automatically replaced by real values. They will not be replaced when you send the test newsletter. The [name] tag can also be added in the "Newsletter name" field.
  • WYSIWYG editor area: here you can add the newsletter content, in almost the same way as writing a regular article in Joomla!. Try to use as little HTML and CSS as possible. Try not to manually add div's, different colours etc unless you know what you are doing! Read the next "coding a newsletter" chapter for more information. It is possible to insert images and special characters to the newsletters content. The Joomla! editor buttons (read more, pagebreak) etc do not work in the newsletter. 

The top right toolbar options are:

  • Default Joomla! options such as Save etc. 
  • Specific ccNewsletter options:
    • Preview: view a inline preview of the newsletter
    • Test: send a test newsletter to the email specified in the configuration, note that tags like [name] will not be replaced in a test newsletter, but only in the real newsletter. 
    • Send: send the newsletter to subscribers, for more information read 'Sending a newsletter" below

Coding a newsletter

If you do not use the default template, and want to develop one yourself, you should use only minimal HTML and CSS. Designing a newsletter from scratch can be really hard, because you can use only basic HTML and CSS, primarily because every e-mail viewer (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail) uses another HTML rendering engine. These HTML rendering engines are not as advanced as the ones in web browsers like Firefox and Chrome. If you use too much advanced code (even inline css), it will show differently in all viewers. What you can do to battle this, is use only basic HTML and CSS and rely more on images. Tables also work well. You can Google this subject to find more tips "email newsletter css". One interesting resource is "Guide to CSS support in e-mail clients".

"Do not rely on external (<link rel="stylesheet">) or embedded style sheets (those contained within the <style> tag above the <body> tag). This is the most important thing to avoid. Many email services cut everything above the body tag and disable external style sheets."

What I personally do: use simple inline CSS, sometimes a table, and only images for nice graphics. 

How to create a "template" 

There are different things you can do:

1. Create a new newsletter, call it "Default template" or something. In your last sent newsletter, copy the code (use the code option in the WYSIWYG editor) and paste it into the "Default template". Every time you send a newsletter, copy the "Default template" for the new newsletter and make the adjustments you want. 

2. Do almost the same above but use a separate extension like this one:

http://www.nonumber.nl/extensions/contenttemplater

 

3. Or what I do: copy my latest newsletter, adjust and sent. I always make small improvements to every newsletter, so my most recent newsletter is the best to use as a template. When I copy a newsletter in the latest ccNewsletter version all other data (total subscribers and sent date) is empty, so you can really use it as a new newsletter to sent.