Part One Email Basics
Electronic mail, better known as email, is the most important
tool used on the Internet. It's much faster than snail mail, less expensive
and enables you to instantly communicate with your visitors and customers.
Although most Internet Service Providers include email accounts for their
customers, these accounts really aren't adequate for a Internet business
-- especially if you get a large amount of email. Not only do the email addresses
contain your ISP's name, but they are also very limited on features and
There are many email programs available on the Internet. However, the best
program I've found is Eudora. Eudora is a standalone email program that works
with any ISP. It will enable you to easily organize your email by filtering
your messages into specific mailboxes. This feature alone can save you a
great deal of time. What's more, your email address will be your own domain
-- not someone else's. One of my favorite features is the ability to create
an unlimited number of personalities. What this means is that you can specify
the "from" address depending on the message you're writing. For example,
if you're answering a support request, you can set up a personality that
displays firstname.lastname@example.org or whatever you'd like as the "from" address.
Best of all, it's free. For further information about Eudora, visit:
Basic Email Guidelines
Although writing an email message may seem simple, there are some important
issues that need to be taken into consideration.
Email Subject Line
The subject of your email is the most important part
of your message. Your subject should be short and provide a summary as to
what your message is all about. This is especially important if you need
to grab your readers' attention. For example, if you send out a mailing to
your ezine subscribers, you want the subject to instantly grab their attention
and intrigue them to open your message. Just because they subscribe, doesn't
mean they'll actually read your publication.
Formatting an Email
Although there has been a great deal of controversy over
the best email format -- HTML or text, text is still the best option. HTML
messages may look nice; however, not all of your readers will be capable
of viewing your message. If you'd really like to use HTML, the best way to
accommodate all of your readers is to create two versions and allow your
readers to make the choice.
Email Line Length
When you begin typing your email message, keep in mind,
some email programs don't automatically wrap the text. What this means is
that although your message may look great to you, your email recipient may
receive your message as one long sentence or it may look something like
Thank you for your interest in our
We are dedicated to providing you
products to assist you in your
To prevent this problem, limit your line length to under 65 characters per
line. This can be accomplished by using a hard carriage return (hit enter)
at the end of each line.
If you'd rather not have to manually format your text, you can do so online
at the following web address:
Linking Within an Email
When placing web addresses within an email message, some
email programs will automatically create live links with web addresses beginning
with "www." However, other email programs will only create live links when
the web address begins with http://. To alleviate this problem, always include
the full URL beginning with http://.
The America Online email program is in a class of its own. Their email program
won't create live links with any form of web address. In order to create
a live link within AOL, you must include a complete HTML link. To accommodate
all of your readers, consider including two links for each URL -- one beginning
with http:// and the other with the complete HTML link code.
When including an email address within an email message, always include "mailto:"
directly in front of the email address. This will enable most email programs
to create a live email link. AOL will require the complete "mailto:" HTML
Another important consideration is the use of punctuation with web addresses
-- especially periods. Some email programs will include periods within a
live link. When clicked on, the browser will return an error. There are a
couple of ways to alleviate this problem. You can enclose your web address
with brackets and place a period after the closing bracket
<http://www.yourdomain.com>. Or, you can place your web address on
a separate line like this: http://www.yourdomain.com
When including a long web address within your message, some email programs
will force part of the URL to the next line. When the live link is created,
only a portion of the URL will be live. When clicked on, the browser will
return an error. To avoid this problem, try to keep your web addresses short.
If necessary, you may want to consider creating a redirect HTML page with
a shorter URL.
The appearance of your email message is an important part of your professional
image. If you follow these simple guidelines, you can almost completely alleviate
these potential problems.
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web Design
And, Ebook Starter - Give Your Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book.
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