Last Friday, I was chatting with a couple clients and one mentioned that he was amazed when I said I would be working on publishing my whole magazine over the weekend.
I replied that I was not only lucky to have a bunch of terrific writers, but also had a very cool web application that pulls it all together, quickly. The Web-based tool
is called the LEI
Ezine Power Publisher (LEPP) from Logical
Expressions, Inc. The tool makes putting content online extremely fast and
So as I was sitting here, zipping through putting this issue together I thought I'd explain exactly how I use the LEPP to put all the articles in TechTrax online.
Not surprisingly, since so many of my authors are Office or HTML gurus, they
give me articles in Word or final HTML format. (I've cracked the whip and asked
them to stick to a few formatting rules, which makes my life a lot easier!)
When I receive articles in Word format, I save the documents in Word as HTML
and then dump them into Dreamweaver and use the easy "Clean Up Word HTML"
command to clean them up.
However, you don't need an expensive program like Dreamweaver to use the LEPP
because you can add articles in either plain text or HTML format. The authors
could write articles in Notepad for all I care! (As an aside, for articles on
their own LEPP sites, the folks at Logical Expressions use a cool Word add-in
they wrote that generates clean HTML code, unlike the HTML junk that
usually comes out of Word!)
Anyway, once I have my articles ready here's how I add them to the site using
1. I create a new issue. Note that I click the "hide from public"
checkmark until I'm ready to go live. That way no one can accidently find articles
that aren't quite ready for "prime time."
2. In Dreamweaver (or, like I said, another program), I copy the article by
highlighting it and pressing Ctrl+C to copy.
3. I create a new article in the LEPP. I add the title, summary, choose a department,
and type in the keywords. These keywords are turned into the HTML meta tags
when the page is generated on the TechTrax site. I paste the article from Dreamweaver
into the text box by pressing Ctrl+V. When I'm done, I click
the Save button.
4. I upload the images for the article.
5. I can Preview my article in a browser by pressing the Preview button in
the article list.
6. I can assign topics, so when visitors view the Excel article and want to
learn more, they can click the Related Articles link and they'll find other
TechTrax articles about Excel.
7. Once I have the new issue done, I remove the "hide from public"
checkmark and go into the site configuration to change the current issue using
the drop-down box. And I'm done for another month!
Granted, I then do have to notify all our readers that it's available, but
that's pretty easy, too. The subscriber list is saved in an Access database
on my server. I just download the current database, copy the current column
of 3000+ email addresses from Access into Word, remove the table format by selecting
the table and clicking Table and then Convert Table
to Text and all the addresses are dropped into Outlook and the notices are emailed out.
And those cool HTML notices you can opt to receive (from our subscriber page
are simply a Microsoft Publisher document emailed directly as an page rather
than an attachment.
So thanks to all my wonderful writers...the cool LEPP
web app...Microsoft Office 2003 and Dreamweaver...I can publish a full
blown Ezine in just a day. Okay, a day and a couple extra hours...I need some
time to write my own articles.