Mailing Lists

A couple of days back I finished setting up a mailing list database for two of my clients. I searched a lot on Google for one that is free and easy to use. Not many free ones out there. There are many mailing list providers which are free if you are sending out few emails like 25 or 30. Anything more than that, you will have to pay a monthly fee. Of course, the monthly fee under $10.00 per month is not so bad. But, you can do without it. I looked at many PHP scripts and other sources.

I finally ended up installing Dada Mail. The free version is available through simple scripts through your hosting account. If you do not have access through your hosting account, you can download and install it from their website. It is very simple. There are instructions for basic and advanced installation. If you are overwhelmed with all the instructions, they offer a semi automatic installation which works with many hosting services.

Here are some others that I found in the process of my search:

Bravenet Web Services
You can choose a free version and an upgraded pro version. The pro version costs $99.95 per year.

The free version offers a few templates that can be used for your newsletters. You can edit the colors and layout of the templates and just edit the main content to add your information. Very simple for new users. If you are planning to start a newsletter without outside help, this is a good start.

If you wish to add background images to your newsletters, you need to have the pro version.

The free version has ads but the pro version is add free.

Your Mailing List Provider

I have used this mailing list provider to send out monthly newsletters for a client. I liked it. It is very simple to use but is not free. If you wish to send up to 25 emails per month, then you can use the free version. There are 3 different payments starting from around $3.50 per month. I now switched the client to Dada mail as it is free.

You can find many other mailing list providers here.

CSS Tips and Tricks

When I am coding the web pages, I frequently run into problems with CSS rendering properly on Internet Explorer. So, the first place I go to for a solution is my best friend Google. Over the time, I have collected some CSS tips from the many forums and other websites and I save them for a quick reference. Here are some of them.

Margins in IE:

Margins are rendered differently in FF and IE – especially IE6. To correct the double margin showed by IE6 add the following:

display:inline

Margins for <ul> Tags:

<ul> tags have some standard margins. It determines how far the element wants to be from the elements above and below it.
If, the <ul> tag is rendering extra space above or below it, then add this to the style sheet:

ul{
Margin: 0em;
}

a:hover in IE:

I was surprised to learn that a:hover properties do not work properly in IE. When I was designing a menu for a client, I had a simple CSS for hovering over the links. This did not show up in IE. For the hover properties to work in IE add position:relative property.

#menu li a:hover{

border-bottom-color:#C30;

border-bottom-style:solid;

position:relative; /* This was added for the hover to work in IE */

}

Writing IE Specific hacks:

This is one of my favorites. If you wish to write a property specific for IE, just add ‘//’ in front of the property.

#menu li a{

color:#FFF;

text-decoration:none;

padding-left:10px; /*This will work for Firefox and other browsers*/

//padding-left:8px; /*This will work for IE*/.

padding-right:10px;

//padding-right:8px;

}

The most important thing to remember for this hack to work is that you have to write the general rule first and then the hack for IE. The first rule is seen by FF and other browsers. The next property is ignored all browsers except IE.

Feel free to add to the list and come back for some more CSS tips or better yet subscribe to my feed.

SEO

Whether you are a novice in the field of web designing or an expert, we are always looking for ways to improve search engine optimization. As we get further advanced into this topic, we might overlook the most basic but very important SEO techniques. This article here gives us a really simple understanding of SEO. If you are a beginner, this teaches you the basics of SEO to get you started.

SEO101 – Everything you need to know about SEO