A picture is worth a thousand words ... but how much is that picture worth
when it's blocked?
The challenges associated with sending HTML newsletters to today's email
clients, many of which block all images by default, may be reason enough to
rethink and to add a qualifier to the old saying. There are, however,
practices that can help you to overcome these challenges and to create more
effective HTML newsletters that speak to your audience, even if the images
* Urge your subscribers to add the email address from which your newsletter
is sent to their address books. This is what often determines whether or not
the images are blocked by default.
* Include a text link at the top of the newsletter pointing to a URL where
subscribers can access a Web version of the newsletter in case they are
unable to view it with their email client.
* Avoid using images for your key content. If the image is blocked, the
subscriber will see nothing but an empty square in the email message.
Instead, only use images for banners, logos and other supporting material.
Keep your key content as text, which will always be displayed.
* Include ALT text for all the images that you do use. This ensures that
even if subscribers are unable to view the image, at least they will see a
description of what the image is meant to show.
* Include width and height attributes for all your images so that the layout
stays intact even when the images are blocked. This is especially true for
table-based layouts where images are used for spacing and interspersed with
textual content parts.
* Send your email newsletters in multi-part format with both an HTML and a
text part. Despite all the work and effort that you put into creating an
HTML newsletter, not everyone is able to or even wants to read newsletters
in HTML format. Give your subscribers the choice.
Hopefully you will find these practices useful for your newsletter design.
Remember that EmailRules is a discussion list, which means that all
subscribers are welcome and encouraged to participate by asking questions or
providing their insights and experiences on this or any other email list and
email marketing topic.
Senior Webmaster/User Interface Designer
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