EZine Tips and Techniques: Using HTML or Avoiding HTML

More and more email is coming in HTML format. Should you do your own ezine in HTML, or should you stay with text?

While most new computers ship with an email package that reads HTML email, you have to remember that most of the web population is using a relatively old computer. If you check your website's logs, you can easily see that quite a number of visitors are using old browsers. While this will change over time, at this point quite a large percentage of people out there would be unable to read HTML and would just get a 'garbage message'.

HTML newsletters are also much larger than regular text messages, especially if you include graphics. So a subscriber that gets a HTML message may have to wait a while for the message to download. If the subscriber has a slow connection, this might not please him or her.

On the up side, HTML newsletters can be very pretty. If most of your subscribers are techies and are on the latest version of mail, and are using cable modems, they might not mind the size of the message and might enjoy the pretty graphics.

So it really depends on your audience. Are you writing to stay-at-home moms to help them care for their family and educate their children? You should probably stay away from HTML. They'll want quick, easy to read information that they can easily print and save.

Is your newsletter a how-to-HTML that is going out to computer enthusiasts? That might be a great reason to use HTML newsletters, so that you can show your code in action, and help make your examples nice and clear.

You can also offer two versions of your newsletter, one in HTML and one in text. While this means more overhead for you - you have to create two newsletters for each mailing - it means that your users get exactly what they want, and both types of users are very content.

EZine Tips and Techniques

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