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Sending HTML Email

Part 1: Using HTML to Improve Your Email Newsletters

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These days nearly every email message you receive is sent as HTML. But if you don't know how to send HTML email yourself, your messages will end up being very boring and ugly. After all, email starts out as just plain text. But if you can use HTML, images, and CSS in your email messages, you can make your messages even more interesting and exciting.

Once you start using HTML email, your email will take on the feeling of a newsletter instead of just simple notes to your friends and family. You can even set up templates to send your email in a special format depending upon what you want to write.

Secret Number 1: Your Email Account

To send HTML email, you need an email account that supports standard email protocols like POP, IMAP, and SMTP. Your email account should also support MIME types. Nearly all internet email accounts work with POP or IMAP to receive mail and use SMTP to send mail.

You’ll need an email client or web-based email program that supports sending and receiving HTML email. Thunderbird is a good free email client, or you can use a web-based client like Gmail to send and receive your HTML email.

Secret #2: Setting up Your Email

The easiest way to send your HTML email is to write your message in the HTML editor in your mail client. Most modern mail clients now support embedding images, changing fonts, and adding colors and so on.

Some mail clients will let you import HTML you've written in a separate editor. Check your client’s help files for details.

Secret #3: Images Make a Big Difference

You should think of the email message as an extension of your website. Post the images on your website, and then when you link to them in your email message point to your website for the image source. e.g.

<img src="/library/graphics/jenn3.jpg">

When adding images, be sure to use absolute paths. This is important for images so that they display. But it's also important for any links in the message. Remember, your readers are going to be at all different locations, so you need to use absolute paths in an HTML email to ensure that the images display and the links work.

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