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From Elxis Official Documentation
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== External Links ==
== External Links ==
Download IOS Newsletter: [http://
Download IOS Newsletter: [http://.elxis.//]
Revision as of 13:49, 15 March 2011
What they do
Newsletters are the digital form of sending individual mail. They can be simple emails from a friend to a group of friends or email from companies, or in the worse case spam.
Speaking of “what”. What is it that you can send using this component? Well, the newsletters can be in three (3) formats:
- Plain text,
- Html – a formatted page using fonts and images,
- A pre-configured html webpage with text, and images stored on the server.
The html is created using a web page program or manually coded using html and css, and then uploaded to the web server.
Why use them When we have a website and we have a list of people and their email addresses, we can send emails to them for a variety of reasons. To send emails individually to a few people is easy but when you have to send emails to 20 or more than you may find that it can be a problem especially if the ISP or email account does not allow it.
As an example, you start a bowling league (a group of teams, each team is usually 3 or more persons) and let’s say that you want to send a message in two (2) languages separately. Some bowling leagues have more than fifty (50) players, and you want to advise them that after the next big bowling tournament that there will be a party.
That means that you may have to send a standardized message in multiple languages but separately to those who may only know one language.
One last reason to use newsletters is that of Visitor Loyalty, to give your visitors a reason to continue to come back to your web page whether it is only for information or an e-shop. Visitor loyalty plays an important role in SEO and can help maintain and increase the rank of your website.
When to use them As I mentioned above, email from a group point of view should be sent only periodically unless you are a company sending internal messages.
Sending a periodical email can help keep your subscriber informed that your website continues its efforts. Alternatively, sending too many mailings or newsletters can also have a negative affect on your subscribers and maybe treated like spam, tossed in the digital garbage bin.
Who are we sending email to? As we have two methods of sending email, we also have to know who we are sending it to.
The first group of people that we can send our email and newsletters to are those that are registered at our website; each group such as the administrators, the editors, authors, publishers, managers, and the simple registered user that may or may not be providing any content but may want to belong to our website. In essence, these are all the people that are listed in the User Manager of the Elxis control panel.
The second or more correctly separated group is known as the subscriber. A subscriber is the term for the recipient of email from newsletters. These are people that will receive information from us but will not be registered as a user with access to our website.
Normally the subscriber will register his or her name to receive an email as is the case for Registered Users of Elxis or in the case of the IOS E-Shop program so that they can be the first to learn about special offers.
Subscribers should always be offered the opportunity to be removed from your mailing lists and newsletters.
Which to use
There are currently two (2) methods of distributing email from the Elxis CMS.
One is the Mass Mail component that is built into the Elxis CMS and the other is the IOS newsletter component that is an add-on extension that is installed optionally.
The IOS newsletter component version described here is 1.2.
Answering which method to choose is easy, but I will describe both briefly.
The Elxis Mass Mail component is a simple method of sending an email message to each group or all registered members as users of the website. In short, the recipients must be registered users.
The IOS newsletter component allows you to send email to registered users as well as subscribers and groups that you create.
---Ηow to use it--- Administrators and advanced users can learn how to use the IOS newsletter component in the following pages.
The IOS newsletter component is a free extension that can be downloaded from the Elxis website; please refer to the end of this manual for the location or contact your webmaster to arrange to have it installed. Installing the component is very easy and the first thing to do is to download it to your local system. To complete the installation, log into your website as administrator, click on the Installers menu and then components.
Click on browse to find the file that you previously downloaded on your system and select it. Click on Upload & Install. The Elxis program will upload the file to your server and unzip the individual files to the appropriate folders. If this is completed correctly, then you should see the message, Upload module – Success. If you see an error message, then you should write down the message if you are unsure how to proceed and request assistance from the Elxis forum. Assuming that the installation was successful, you should be able to access and see the component by clicking on the main menu bar --> Components --> IOS newsletter.
You can select IOS newsletter or choose one of the sub-menus to directly access a particular panel.
The IOS newsletter component offers three (3) email format options, language selection assuming that your website uses multiple languages, and it also offers you the option of sending email to either registered users as well as subscribers.
The Elxis Control Panel
The IOS newsletter component control panel has six selections.
- Configure :configuration options
- Subscribers’ :subscriber information and list
- Newsletters :newsletter creation and selection
- Export :backup of subscriber data
- Import :import external subscriber data
- Is Open Source :the creator of this component
The IOS newsletter component configuration options. Most of the parameters are explained on the right side but some require additional technical knowledge. Ask your webmaster if you are not sure or ignore this if they have been preset. Some of the basic parameters noted here are shown with a red block next to them.
Subscribe – You can choose to use: none if you want total control, only those registered on your website, or everyone.
E-mail validation – If you allow visitors to sign up, then this is recommended to avoid wrong email addresses because the program will send an email to the subscriber for verification.
Language – If you only use one language then it is recommended that you do not place a check mark here. One per recipient – means that each email is sent to an individual but this only works is you are using the PHP mail option selected in the Send Method. Also, if you only want one email per person then set Recipients per step to 1 otherwise the email will be sent using a method that the receiver of your email will also see the email addresses of others.
Sender name – this should be either the name of your website or the person’s name that is sending the email, otherwise when the person receives the email they might consider it spam. If you use more than one language, then you can provide this information in the base language of the website and a second language.
Sender e-mail – is a valid email address that you use. This will also have an effect if you choose to use the Reply to option. Best to use Latin based characters.
Reply to option – allow or disallow recipients to reply to your email.
If you have problems sending email, please visit the Elxis Wiki and/or Forum to learn more about the Send Methods such as PHP Mail, SMTP, qmail, sendmail, and their parameters.
The subscriber screen provides you with a list of all the people or recipients.
They are listed here by either:
- Manual entry
- User entered from the IOS Newsletter Module discussed later.
Importing User Entries
To import user entries means that you already have a list of user names and email addresses.
The list of users can be created from the Windows Address Book, Outlook, Outlook Express, Excel or any program that you use that has an Export feature. It is not necessary to include users that are already registered. If you are not sure how to export your list, contact your administrator.
For this to work correctly, the export file must have the following fields and be in the following format, and be encoded using the international UTF-8 to display foreign characters correctly.
One record per line must have a field followed by a comma, e.g.: Userid,Name,Surname,Email,Language,Group
If you omit the language or the group, then you must include a comma for each at the end.
The userid is a sequentially increasing numeric field. If you are adding to your existing list, then it is recommended that you use the last userid plus 1.
Once the data is ready, the exported file should be saved as a .TXT type.
Manual User Entry
To manually enter a new, enter the: User – if this person is already a registered user, you can select their name from the drop down list box and click on Get data from user. This will automatically complete the next three fields.
- First name
- Last or Surname
- Email address of the person that will receive the newsletter.
Group – None is the default but you can add them to a group that you create by simply writing the name of the group in the field marked as New. This may be helpful if you work with multiple groups.
Confirmed – if you know that the email address is valid click on Yes. Note: this is a way to also exclude someone from receiving an email.
Receive message in Any Language or select the language that is preferred by the user.
Note: If you use multiple languages including English, then any language will be considered as the base language of the website.
Date – this will automatically be recorded by the program on the date entered.
When the form is completed, click Save.
The Subscribers User Entry List
This screen shows what the list may look like after users have been added to it.
It displays all of the fields and the date that the entry was made.
If you need to change any of the information, simply check the record box next to the record number and click Edit.
If you or a user wishes to have their information removed from the list, then check the record box next to the record number and click Delete or Unpublish to prevent email being sent to them. Deletion is permanent while Unpublished is temporary.
Unsubscribing Users from Entry List
One very important aspect of any mailing list is to allow users to unsubscribe or remove their own email address and information from the mailing list. The subscriber must use the exact email address that they are receiving in their email account.
To give the user the ability to unsubscribe, create and insert a link in your newsletter like the example here. Again, if you use multiple languages, you can include the languages in the link as well.
Simply remember to replace mysite.com with your actual website within the link.
- http://www.mysite.com/com_newsletter/ – base language
- http://www.mysite.com/xx/com_newsletter/ – other language
Here is an example of the html code
<div align="center" style="font-size: 11px; color: #555; margin: 20px 0px;"> If you do not wish to receive newsletters you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on this link <a href="http://www.mysite.com/com_newsletter/" style="color: #69c; text-decoration: none;"> unsubscribe</a> from our mailing list.</div>
IOS Module User Entries
If from the IOS Module is installed and displayed on the web pages of your website, then users can enter their own information to be included in the newsletter mailing. This module will be discussed in a later section of this manual.
The Newsletter list
This screen shows what list of newsletters looks with two examples.
The first sample is installed when IOS Newsletter is installed and includes plain text and an html file.
The second sample was created to show the use of multiple languages, in this case Greek and English. In the image below are examples of plain text (left) and html text (right).
Under the column headings Plain Text, HTML Text, and HTML File there are small icons with a plus sign that when clicked on will show the sender a sample.
Additional information in the list shows when the newsletter was last sent, the statistics of how many recipients each was sent to, and the language of the newsletter.
To save time, the Copy button shown on the top right can be used to copy an existing newsletter message that can be modified for a new mailing.
To create, edit, or delete a newsletter, the user can use the buttons shown on the top right.
If the user has created an HTML File, it can be uploaded using the Upload HTML Template button shown on the top right.
Newsletters can therefore be saved for future reference.
Finally, to send a newsletter, put a check on the line number of the newsletter and click Send now!
On the right side of the send newsletter, statistics are shown about the user list. The total number of subscribers and the number of subscribers by language.
Before sending the newsletter, you may choose to send any of the Plain Text, HTML Text, or HTML File that you created previously. The default is Plain text + HTML text.
The next choice is whether to send your mailing to all subscribers regardless of their language by checking the Force Send this message box.
The last choice is the selection of groups that you may have in your user list.
After the send button is clicked, a window showing the progress of the messages will open and will display a progress bar until it is finished.
If you do not see sent successfully and dispatch completed, then an error has occurred.
IOS Newsletter Error Messages
Could not instantiate mail function
This error message means that there is a problem with the method of sending the email. If you did not setup your method using Php Mail or if you made a change to this setting in the configuration, then please review your settings to correct them.
No valid recipients found!
You are trying to send a newsletter and after you click send, you see this error message but you see subscriber counts on the right side:
- Subscribers total: 4
- Subscribers in English: 1
- Subscribers in Greek: 3
Why does this occur?
Very Important: If you use multiple languages, then when you send to any another language other than the base language of your website, then you must check FORCE-SEND because the program does not recognize the other languages as the base language of the website.
So, even though you chose the language that you want to use in your newsletter and the content of your newsletter is written in that language, no newsletter will be sent except in the case that you have a subscriber that has a declared language set as Any Language.
Other possible problems
This error message means that there is a problem with the directory or folder permissions.
Directory or Folders on the web server should have permission settings of 755.
Please check the permissions for this folder and sub-folders.
- And if you use the IOSN Module
If you continue to have problems, please visit the Elxis Wiki and/or Forum.
Subscriber list backup
The IOS newsletter component has a separate backup function that can be accessed through the IOS newsletter component control panel menu by clicking on IOS newsletter.
From there, clicking on the selection of Export will immediately start in a separate browser tab or window asking you where you wish to save the data on your local system as a backup.
As always, it is highly recommended that periodical backups of all files and data are done to protect them.
Download IOS Newsletter: http://www.elxis-downloads.com/downloads/newsletters/8.html