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Christopher Knight

HTML Ezine - Does Yours Render Right? CSS vs. Inline HTML
By Christopher Knight

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One huge mistake that many ezine publishers do when sending HTML email newsletters is that they will test their design to their email client (software they use to check & send email) and wrongly assume the rest of the world uses the same email software. Truth is, every email client (MS Outlook, Eudora, LotusNotes, and web-based mail services) all render HTML a little differently... leading me to ask you this question: "Are you sure your HTML emails are being received exactly as you intended them to be received?"

You have (3) basic choices when it comes to constructing the style of your HTML code email template:

  1. Inline HTML:
    No style defined Every line of code has to be defined

  2. Internal CSS: (Cascading Style Sheet)
    Stylesheet added to the header of the HTML template and defines how the rest of the html document will be rendered. Email recipients receive the CSS within each email.

  3. External CSS: (Cascading Style Sheet)
    Stylesheet file resides on webserver and is called when the email is opened.

What do I use for my HTML email template styles?

I've used Internal CSS for the majority of my ezines and Inline HTML for my segmented mailings. From an ezine production viewpoint, Internal or External CSS are much easier to work with because each line of text does not have to be font defined... resulting in a huge savings of time. But according to a Lyris research test performed with 36 different email clients comparing Internal & External CSS vs. Inline HTML - Inline HTML had the best 'render right' rate of 94%. Bottom line: Inline HTML is a pain because it typically requires more time and may even drop your consistency of style if more than one set of hands are in your ezine production department, BUT in terms of rendering right for your email recipients, it rocks. What's more important to you? Rendering right for the majority of your recipients (Inline HTML) or saving ezine production time (Internal or External CSS)? Choose carefully. :)

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:

Ezine-Tips for May 25, 2006

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