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Christopher Knight

HTML Emails - 7 Fast Tips
By Christopher Knight



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Sending HTML emails can be a pain. You have to overcome more variables than a plain text newsletter but the rewards are worth it! If you send HTML emails, here are 7 fast tips that can help improve the quality of how well your newsletter is received. If you do not do the HTML coding for your email newsletter, pass today’s Ezine-Tips to your HTML coder.

Tip #1: Unlike ASCII PLAIN TEXT emails, HTML emails require more testing time to ensure all of the code and links work. Never assume that a link works without testing every link before you send to your list. You should also test what your HTML email looks like when received in MS Outlook, Yahoo/Gmail/Hotmail/AOL and Eudora. Every email client interprets code differently. Note: If your audience is enterprise level email list members, consider also testing your HTML email as viewed by LotusNotes.

Tip #2: Define the size/parameters (horizontal and vertical height in pixels) of each graphic in the IMG SRC tags. If you don’t, you may find that different email clients may interpret your images falsely and distort the visual effect of your email.

Bad Example: <img src=”http://your-company-name.com/image.gif”>
Good Example: <img src=”http://your-company-name.com/image.gif” width=”50” height=”50” alt=”Title of Image Here”>

Tip #3: Include ALT (alternative) text in your image tags. Why? For your readers that have Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express and are blocking images. Many of your members have email settings to block your images from loading (it’s an anti-spam feature), but some of those same email clients will be able to see your ALT TEXT.

Tip #4: Remove unnecessary bloated code. For example, there is never a good reason to include any of the following HTML code in your HTML ezines:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <TITLE></TITLE> <Any Commented Out Comments> <META TAGS>

Tip #5: Be careful to not include any special symbols, odd characters, or Microsoft Word smart quotes. These will often show up distorted in various email programs. Replace with standard quotes or apostrophe's. It's best to edit your HTML ezine in a plain text editor such as EditPlus, Notepad, UltraEdit, etc.

Tip #6: Recognize that sending HTML emails is not the same thing as sending a copy of your website. Your HTML email code must be self-contained. You might have CSS stylesheets defined or other code that would work for your website but would need to also be defined in your HTML email. Most non web-based email clients will process your stylesheets, but be sure they are defined properly for your HTML email specifically.

Tip #7: Lastly, avoid JavaScript in your HTML emails. Most email clients disable this automatically or may block your email as potential security risk.

HTML emails offer so much more than the plain text format. You can track open rates, click-throughs, and your emails are often easier to read or scan by your reader. The price you pay for these benefits include increased complexity in assembling and increased time in testing to make sure your email is received visually as you intended it.

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter: http://www.emailuniverse.com/subscribe/.

Ezine-Tips for November 16, 2004

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