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How to Format Your Email Newsletter
While some people have access to sophisticated HTML capable e-mail viewing programs, many people don't. Lots of people are still reading plain text messages.
To maximize readability of your e-mail messages, including your opt-in ezine, ads and articles, not to mention personal e-mail use these simple tips:
- Use short lines (65 characters maximum): Many people's Ezine programs insert a line break after a set number of characters on a line. This can lead to your messages have odd line breaks, unless you plan ahead. Stick to a maximum of 65 characters per line, and you shouldn't have problems.
- Use the asterisk character to emphasize words: Preceding and following a word with the asterisk, like this *example*, makes it "bold". Some e-mail programs will recognize this and do the conversion for you when your message is read, but even people who don't know what you mean will know what you mean.
- Use the underline character to italicise a word. Preceding and following a word with the underline character, like this _example_, makes it "italic". You can even use this technique for _a_string_of_words_.
- DO NOT WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS! IT'S HARD TO READ - AND FOR THE READER FEELS LIKE THEY'RE BEING SHOUTED AT.
- Use white space to separate paragraphs or different areas of interest
- A line consisting entirely of = or - characters, can be used to separate different parts of your message.
- If you're sending your ezine as text, avoid placing HTML tags in your text (for example if you're writing a tip about HTML - it would be better to simply link to a web page containing the tip): The reason is that some people's email programs, even when reading text messages, try to display things that look like HTML tags, as HTML. This can lead to some very odd and unpredictable effects when your message is displayed.
- Don't use cool buzzwords or obscure abbreviations. If your message isn't going to be understood, there's not much point in sending it...