Most people will prefer to use sites like Aweber and MailChimp to create and send HTML email newsletters. In fact, I have recently been using iContact for a client and I’ve found their email building templates to be easy to use and intuitive.
However large organisations prefer to do it all themselves. When this is the case you have to write HTML that will show the same newsletter across all browsers and all email clients (including Outlook). Note: this is not about sending an email from Outlook.
Marking up HTML email is totally different to marking up a website in HTML. Be warned, getting an email to look the same across all clients is actually more difficult than getting a website to look the same across all browsers.
I recently had to re-do an HTML
email newsletter for a client as their emails were not displaying properly in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. I ended up completely re-writing the HTML as there are so many elements that don’t work in the Windows XP mail client. The job was a complete nightmare but I was left with HTML that would render the same across all browsers and email clients. Here’s what I learned:
You are better off writing your HTML emails in XHTML 1.0 Transitional. There’s not much point in putting anything else in the <head> of the document but the “Content type” and the title, so here’s the basic structure of your HTML email.
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<title>Insert email subject here</title>
<table width="600" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0" valign="top" align="center">