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Sending HTML Email properly - checklist?



4:52 pm on Mar 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We will be switching to offering html or text on all our newsletters very soon.

I've been researching the proper way to send it out so that all recipients recieve a legible email regardless of how/where they choose to view it. The problem is that most sites I've come across only detail portions of this issue.

So, does anyone know if a resource that details everything we need to do to make sure our html emails are viewable by the most readers possible?


10:47 pm on Mar 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi Craig_F, I don't know of a resource on this point, however, there is always the challenge that, having created a wonderfully-coded html mail, the receiver cannot fully view it.

Try to give the recipient the option for html or ascii e-mail. I know that it is an annoyance to me if I cannot retrieve all the files on my dial-up connection as i'm offline when I view the mail.


11:18 pm on Mar 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the help Engine, but I need to figure out *exactly* the best possible way to handle the html mail. It is being done on a very large scale for 1000's of users.


11:54 pm on Mar 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm not sure if I understand exactly in which direction you're heading with your question. Obviously, the HTML message should be valid HTML, and the MIME file type should be specified as text/html. Once this is the case, I think that pretty much every HTML capable client should understand it.

You might want to consult the most recent RFC [dmoz.org] for MIME headers to look up the details. Assuming you can handle some serious techno-babble, anyway...;)


2:05 am on Mar 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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A politically correct way to approach this is to query the entire list in text on how they would prefer to receive future mailings. Then you would administer mailings accordingly with the 2 separate lists. Users are happy and you are confident about material.

Some large corporations that I have received mailings from use the approach to create the HTML mailing and add a comment at the top of the code that states something like, "If you can not view our HTML newsletter, please open your browser and visit -->LINK." It is somewhat effective but find that recipients of this type of mailing get irritated by being forced to do something that they had not intended to do.

Take a look at the situation objectively. If you have elected to turn off your HTML capabilities in your email client to save download time and your favorite newsletter suddenly came presented only in HTML format - would that please you, irritate you, or make no difference?


2:13 am on Mar 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi all this is exactly the subject I've been needing to look into more... I recently built an ezine subscription site. It offers the ability to choose ascii or html format. I have read that html format leads to a higher response rate but I have no idea how to send an html mail.

Do you just send an html coded web page? How exactly does one send html e-mails?

Thanx in advance,



3:34 am on Mar 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It is usually but not always raw HTML usually within the body of the message greektomi (love that name). A good goal is to keep it simple HTML (least headaches) and full path links (base href) for links and graphics.

There are some email clients that make it much more simple to compile and handle lists from Access, Excel, etc. Easy database management and list maintenance. Not too pricey either.


3:39 am on Mar 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

So it is as easy as I thought, there's a first time for everything :)

I like your name too :)



4:18 pm on Mar 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We use a software called broadcast [mailworkz.com] It allows you to encode the message with both a html and a text version. It then recognizes the recipients email client and shows them the appropriate version.

Some older email programs do give it trouble (they might see a text message with html code). But you can minimize this by selecting certain domains (like aol) to only get the text version.


2:43 am on Jun 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There's a good technical discussion on this over at ArsTechnica:-

And if you're using PHP this article will be of use:-



9:20 am on Jun 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Welcome to WmW frogg, and good first post!


1:59 am on Jun 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks TallTroll!

(..and fwiw, that should be ArsDigita, not ArsTechnica)


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