By using PHP creatively and intelligently, creating small, powerful application such as a mailing list manager can ease your administration tasks, and automate much of your busy work. Using an all file-based system such as this means you can put it to immediate use without access to a database. As mentioned before, the one major drawback of using files for storage is scalability – with lists over 500 names, modifying these scripts to use mySQL tables would be a wise move.
These ideas can also be extended to other applications which can really be a boon to your users, and keep them coming back. One of the best simple applications these scripts could be easily modified to perform is a "Question of the Day" sort of setup.
Putting a number of questions in a mySQL database, and using cron-activated scripts to grab a question a day from the database would be a near-autopilot solution which looks very sophisticated, but requires almost no administration. Think about innovative uses of these techniques and how you can use them to encourage visitors to register with you and return for more.