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What's the best way to set up a paid newsletter site?

by clamenza / April 2, 2011 7:49 AM PDT

I'm open to a full range of ideas. The requirements are few: a login, and tracking of visitors.

Basically, my friend and I want to start a newsletter for subscription. To publish online, I can think of several options. We could forget the whole thing and just email PDFs. Obviously least desirable.

1) A blog that requires invitation and an account set up.
2) A forum format (eg. vBulletin) that's set up from the start with user accounts in mind.
3) Whatever else is out there.

You can probably tell I don't have a lot of web design experience. We're looking for something dead simple, with minimum maintenance costs.

What can you recommend?

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Do you want...
by Sovereign Forum moderator / April 4, 2011 4:29 AM PDT

a newsletter that is delivered via email, or a blog that sits on your website, or both? The term "newsletter site" currently seems to imply both?

~Sovereign

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everything's on the table, although...
by clamenza / April 4, 2011 6:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Do you want...

The one thing against emailing is there's no room for public discussions, so a blog or website is far more preferable. But how that site's constructed is still an open question. For instance, everything can be on the blog. Or we can post "blurbs" on the blog, and use Publisher to create PDFs that one needs an account to access. And then the question becomes, do we want to host our own site or use a blogging service? The latter's advantage is cost - we don't even need a domain name if we don't want to get one.

As you can tell we don't even have all the questions to ask, so it'd be helpful just to start thinking about it and clarifying our needs.

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Where I would start
by Sovereign Forum moderator / April 5, 2011 3:09 AM PDT

Maybe use a blogging platform, such as Wordpress, and then use a plugin for managing paid memberships. You can also take a look at the Drupal platform. To get started, if you Google "Wordpress paid membership" you'll find quite a few discussions on it. I haven't used any one particular plugin, so I can't recommend any. I've used other methods to accomplish what you need, however it's not "dead simple" to setup, since you'll need a developer to help you. After it was setup, it could be easy to manage though.

Answers to your other questions:

"Publisher to create PDFs that one needs an account to access" -- would not recommend doing this.

"do we want to host our own site or use a blogging service?" -- host your own. It's relatively inexpensive nowadays.

"we don't even need a domain name if we don't want to get one" -- I recommend you get one.

~Sovereign

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Thanks!
by clamenza / April 5, 2011 4:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Where I would start

I'll look into your suggestions.

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