When the Internet first started, email programs could only handle text messages. Plus, the access to the Internet was so slow that downloading a HTML email newsletter was unacceptable for most recipients due to extra time and fees.
But the computer and Internet technologies are more and more advancing, and a simple text email message is losing popularity. Nowadays, HTML messages have come to the fore. Almost all email programs are designed to display HTML emails. This means designing a HTML email newsletter is becoming essential for successful email marketing.
If you want to have more attractive and exclusive HTML email newsletter, you can request the newsletter design from some newsletter design agency, or you can download newsletter design software available in the website, and following its tutorials get the newsletter done. Of course, if you want better results, the professionalism is required. At the fixed price newsletter designers can create various newsletter templates for you. If you find a design that you like, they will make any changes to it for you, to finally get the newsletter design you are looking for.
You should also decide on the newsletter format you will use. The email newsletter layout is also as important as the newsletter design. Layout is the position of the different elements of the email newsletter so they go well together and enhance the value of the newsletter to the readers.
If you are going to design a HTML newsletter by yourself, most modern email newsletter applications include an HTML editor that is as easy to use as your word processor. You simply type in your text and most of the time it's formatted for you.
Using the basic HTML editor features, you can play around with the font font and size, use bold or underlined text, emphasize the most important elements of the text with bullets, insert pictures into the message, and create hyperlinks. Those are the simplest HTML features that you can use to create more appealing HTML email newsletter.
The important thing to remember is that there is a variety of email applications out there and they render HTML format differently. This means that the same HTML email may display nicely in one email program and may not in another one. Don't forget about web-based email applications. They have their peculiarities too.
For example, if you insert an image from your local disk into the message, this image will be seen as an attachment in a web-based email service. To prevent this, host the images on your web server and include the links to them into your email. Thus, the pictures will be automatically loaded when the recipient opens your message in a web mail application.
There are, however, common rules that apply to a good HTML design. You can follow them to get your HTML email newsletter to be displayed as you expect it.
1. Set the Width to 500-600 Pixels
Since your HTML email will be displayed in the email client's preview pane which is a small part of the available screen, you should design the emails about 600 pixels in width. For example, when MS Outlook Express is maximized to a full screen, the preview pane is only about 440 pixels wide.
2. Keep HTML Formatting Simple
Since email applications can distort the HTML message in the different ways, you need to keep your email design nice and simple. Avoid complicated layouts, too many tables, and tables with too many rows and columns. Plus, a complex HTML newsletter will take a longer time to open, and you recipients won't appreciate it.
You can send the HTML emails with Flash files in them, but the majority of your recipients won't be able to view them. This is because only Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail use the operating system's built-in browsers to render their email. Plus, most people have anti-virus and anti-spam applications that block the code used to embed Flash files. Flash was built for the web browser and that's where it should stay.
4. Don't relay too much on CSS in HTML Email
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is nice for websites, but don't relay too much in it with HTML email. For instance, you shouldn't expect DIVs to work. And definitely avoid CSS positioning – it won't work. Use old-fashioned tags for your layouts in HTML email, and only use CSS for simple font formatting and colors. Always design your email so that it looks decently if someone removes your CSS. Before you send your HTML email, delete the CSS and see how it displays.
If you are not a professional HTML designer, you can search for ready email templates on the Internet. There are various template packs available for purchase. A good source is here http://www.hotemailtemplates.com . This site offers free and commercial HTML email templates. The template package also includes the source template file so that you can edit the design if you wish.
A nice idea is to test your HTML email design with as many different email applications and accounts as possible. Before sending your newsletter out to the world, you'll want to check how your email design behaves under different scenarios because there are lots of email applications, and they all handle HTML email differently.