Making an html enhanced e-mail
or e-zine using Dreamweaver

This is a guide to how you can create your own formatted e-mails with images - useful for press releases, special offer notices, club newsletters or important letters when you might wish to include your logo or an image embedded in the body of your letter rather than as a suspicious looking attachment.

Design your page layout in Dreamweaver within a 600 pixels wide table - the limit for some e-mail clients. Split into rows and columns as required, or using smaller tables nested within the main one. Avoid using unusual fonts or risk their substitution - stick to the default list in Dreamweaver.

E-mail reading software is not as advanced as current browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Explorer and Safari, so do not use CSS, layers and complex dhtml and test in a wide range of e-mail clients. Provide a link near the top of the email to a similar looking Web page for those recipients whose email packages mangle your fancy html email beyond hope and who have to resort to a standards compliant browser (or Internet Explorer).

Insert images as jpg or gif. To save your recipients from having their e-mail storage used up by your potentially horrendously large e-mails, you should replace all the image links with 'absolute links' in the style of:

These images must be uploaded to a corresponding folder on your website or a photo-sharing site such as Flickr or photobucket (and maybe even Facebook) and they will only work once you are online. So only change the links once you are close to finishing and do it on a copy of the original html file. A safe working practice is to right-click on the online image in a browser, choose to open it in a new window and then copy and paste this complete web address (url) into Dreamweaver replacing the previous link. Note that MailChimp allows you to freely upload as many images as you need.

To send it out switch to 'code view' or 'split view' in Dreamweaver and then copy and paste the entire html code into a new email, or better yet use a package such as MailChimp. Make sure that your first line starts with the <html> and edit the code to clean up anything else from this tag. Last time I tried xhtml it did not work until I deleted some of the extra code. Not all e-mail accounts seem to permit sending these html-formatted letters - Hotmail/Outlook used to work and is free, but all Web-based email packages seem to be making it harder to send them, forcing you to a dedicated package such as MailChimp.


Read the MailChimp pdf for designers:


Send copies to yourself FIRST to preview the look in a range of browsers and e-mail packages such as Outlook and Web-based mail solutions such as Hotmail, Yahoo and GoogleMail/GMail before you mail it out to anyone else! It is worth setting up free accounts with Hotmail/Outlook Gmail and Yahoo to check how it looks with them.

Freddie MailChimp If you have less than 2000 people to send to, try MailChimp, it's free, Web-based, and has a lot to commend it. No expiring trials. No contracts. No credit card required.

If you have more subscribers they have monthly or pay-as-you-go rates, or try one of the following alternative bulk mailing packages:

Mac & Windows options include MaxBulk Mailer

Windows only options include eMill which allows up to 3million addresses

1. Don't upset your recipients by sending out their email address in plain view of all the other recipients. This causes concern about being spammed or pestered in future. Create a group or add the target addresses as BCC (Blind Carbon Copy).

2. Don't fall foul of anti-spamming regulations. Even if you avoid prosecution you may offend some of your readers and turn them against your brand. Provide an email link that makes it easy for people to request that you remove them from future mailings. Interesting offers, competitions and prizes may make your email more welcome, discounts requiring a code will help you identify whether your email marketing is converting to enquiries and sales.

3. If the aim is to bring more Web traffic to your site beware of overloading your servers by creating too much demand in response to your mailing - you can smooth out the peaks and troughs if you stagger a series of mailings each targetted at part of your address list. More work for you, but happier customers as they will not have to wait as long as they would if everyone tried to access at once. Also consider how you will be able to meet demand for your product/answer telephone calls promptly - sending the emails in smaller batches will also allow you to respond more quickly to any interest generated.

Researches advises that you send consumer e-mails on Friday night to be read Saturday - business mail gets the best response on Wednesdays and Thursdays. People are usually happier to spend money in the afternoon when full of lunch & hopefully a lunchtime pint.

For more info try:

7 reasons why HTML e-mail is EVIL