Ezine Width - How Wide Should An HTML Email Newsletter Be?
By Christopher Knight
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A fan writes in and asks, "How wide should an HTML newsletter be?"
There are two basic widths that you can produce your HTML ezine in:
Full Width or 100%
Defined Width to a specific pixel size
Let's explore "Full Width" first:
Full width means that the size of the HTML newsletter expands to the width of the readers email client. The screen resolution and monitor size also factor into how wide your HTML newsletter would be in "Full Width."
"Full Width" is the less popular setting for html ezines as most go with a defined width for the purposes of controlling how your ezine will be viewed by the greater majority of readers.
Use full width only when your email newsletter format will look good in both 800x600 resolution monitors and 1600x1200 or greater monitors. Typically, HTML newsletters that are made to look like plain text newsletters are the best type to use this format.
Example: When I send out a customer newsletter where it looks like text but it's really HTML so that I can track open rate or click through - I will typically use full width as my default setting.
Now, the more popular "Defined Width" setting:
Defined Width means that you specified a specific width that your email newsletter will be, regardless as to email client, monitor size or screen resolution. The majority of my newsletters are defined width around 620 total pixels wide.
Let's look at some HTML ezines that I've received recently to see what they use for pixel width and whether they use left or center justification:
Andrea J. Lee in Creating What Matters uses 433 pixels wide (left justified)
Alexandria K. Brown, the EzineQueen uses 491 pixels wide (centered)
Sirius Satellite Radio uses 538 pixels wide (left-justified)
Christopher Guerriero of MaximizeYourMetabolism uses 557 pixels wide (centered)
Red Hot Copy (Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero) uses 595 pixels wide (centered)
Michael J. Katz's E-Newsletter uses 595 pixels wide (centered)
Gary Ryan Blair's The GoalsGuy Newsletter uses 628 pixels wide (centered)
eMarketer uses 790 pixels wide (centered)
Once you decide on the pixel size of width for your HTML email newsletter, the next decision is to LEFT justify or CENTER it. I left justify mine, but most folks CENTER them. Gut feel is that 70% of fixed width HTML newsletters are centered and 30% are left justified. This is personal preference.
What you don't want to do: Define an abnormally large width that will force your reader to horizontally scroll to read your ezine. This would be a big mistake.
Analysis on the above sampling of HTML fixed width newsletters:
Anything under 620 pixels is "safer" than anything greater than that. eMarketer takes a great risk with their 790 pixel ezine width and they are really making a statement: Our readers are early adopters and the technologic elite who can afford and have the larger monitors and higher screen resolutions to view our email newsletter.
If you want to play it safe, shoot for anywhere between 500 to 600 pixels for your HTML fixed width newsletter.
HTML Ezine Pixel-Width Acid Test:
How does my email newsletter look when I print it out? If it's all messed up, time to re-tools your HTML templates. :-)
This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur.
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Ezine-Tips for August 31, 2005
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