Web Design Poole and Bournemouth - Neon.

Creating brighter websites.

Charlotte's web.

How to build a bulletproof HTML email

I’ve been building HTML emails for a while now, and I have some top tips which I hope will save others new to the field a bit of time! Here are my top tips for building an HTML email which works well in all web and desktop email clients.

  1. Don’t bother with the <head> tag…

    …many web email clients simply strip it out, as they would have two tags in the page otherwise.

    It’s a shame as the desktop email clients seem to keep it in and it would make life a bit easier with it there. Anyway, any CSS you add to your email needs to be inline.

  2. Outlook 2007/10 need close attention

    Microsoft have chosen Word to render HTML emails for Outlook 2007/10, instead of using Internet Explorer like the previous versions.

    This means you cannot use the ‘background’ HTML attribute to assign a background image to a block element and there is not much CSS (albeit inline) that it will render.

    This Guide to CSS support in email is extremely helpful for wading through what you can and can’t use.

  3. Do not use CSS unless you really have to…

    … but for Hotmail – ensure all image tags contain:

     style="display: block;"

    If you don’t the email client adds whitespace beneath your images which will muck up your design.

    Also if you have underlined links, style anchor tags with:

    text-decoration: underline;


  4. You’ve heard it before – tables all the way!

    Tables, tables, tables is the name of the game – forget web standards – we’re going back to 2001 coding.

    Do not use divs to align your elements, use tables with as few colspans and rowspans as possible (as this can confuse some older email clients).

    Give each table, td and th a width and height and set cellpadding and cellspacing to 0. Style text as much as you can using the <font> tag.

  5. Finally test, then test again…

    As with browsers, all email clients render code differently, therefore test your email in the most popular email clients for your recipient list.

    You also need to do a spam test to check the email will get through spam filters (ensure the IP address you send your email from is authorised by your domain).

    Litmus can provide screen shots of your email in numerous email clients and spam test and although primary used to send emails, Campaign Monitor has a similar app which is pay per test.

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Happy Clients...

  • Charlotte and the team at Neon Web Design have recently completed the re-development of our wonderful new website www.creategiftlove.co.uk to a high standard.

    It was an absolute pleasure to work with Neon throughout. Charlotte has always been approachable, breaking down development issues into 'normal' language which has helped enormously to get the result we wanted.

    Charlotte went out of her way to troubleshoot any problems that arose and always came back with options for a solution.

    Thanks so much, we would highly recommend Neon for any future web development.
    Liz Deans, Create Gift Love
  • Neon provided Suttles with an excellent, professional service from start to finish of our project and the results are amazing. We now have a brilliant new website that massively improves and updates on our previous site.

    Charlotte was extremely helpful and easy to deal with and we can recommend Neon Web Design highly!
    John Suttle, Suttles Group
  • I have just had a new author website built and am thrilled with it. It's fresh, contemporary and stylish. My publishers, Simon & Schuster, are also delighted with it, saying it is one of their favourite author websites.

    Charlotte is efficient and talented; if I need to update or add to the pages, she does it quickly for me. I feel in very good hands and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Neon Web Design.
    Alice Peterson, Author
  • I have been commissioning website development for over 10 years now, and can safely say that Neon Web Design are the best supplier I have ever used.

    The work is always on time, of the highest quality, and very reasonably priced. I can highly recommend Charlotte and her team, they are also very flexible, always available to talk and open to new ideas.
    Clive Percival — Director, 2pm Design
  • Neon Web Design are terrific and I’ll be going back to them for more promotional materials. They really listened and understood exactly what I wanted—even better than I could explain.

    I love the website Neon created and I’ve had great feedback from everyone who’s seen it. The site’s functions are excellent. Their prices were very fair and as agreed, and they kept to the promised time scales. I recommend them wholeheartedly and without reservation. Quick, get in their queue!
    Sara Pascoe, Children's Author — sarapascoe.co
  • Working closely with Charlotte, we are delighted with our new website from Neon. Our new site is not only aesthetically strong, the back end functionality really is top drawer. We were suitably impressed, however our clients were really impressed. Neon have delivered a solution that provides tremendous ease of use.

    The price was reasonable for our requirement, and the deadline was met comfortably. If you require a high quality website, especially with enhanced functionality, you'd do well to contact Neon. We're delighted, and would recommend Charlotte whole-heartedly.
    James Nash, UK Sales Director, Shadehaus Ltd
  • Charlotte, I would like to say that I am delighted with what we have achieved here. I showcased my funky new website to a select number of clients, family, and friends to gauge reaction... I have been absolutely delighted with the feedback so far.

    Every person who has seen my new site has reacted in the same way. “WOW” “Your new site looks amazing” we'd like to thank you for listening to the brief, and delivering a funky, slick new website that gets the Total Creative Talent message across perfectly... We’re Absolutely Chuffed!
    Steven Martin, Director - Total Creative Talent
  • I am thrilled with the new website Charlotte has created for our company. We have received great feedback from colleagues and I will not hesitate to endorse her.

    In particular, Charlotte provided extra value with her continued advice throughout the project based on her prior experience. I am very impressed with the service received.
    Richard Field, Chief Executive, Richard Field Property Search Ltd
  • We are extremely pleased with our new website. The team worked hard to ensure all our requirements were fulfilled, including creating a user registration and log-in area.

    They were committed and professional throughout this long-term project and Charlotte was always more than happy to be flexible to fulfill our changing demands.
    Oliver Scott, Partner and Fund Manager, Kestrel Partners
  • Just a note to say that I am extremely pleased with the new website you created for me. It was done very efficiently, with the minimum of fuss and incorporates many features which I have not previously considered were within either my competence or reach.

    You made the whole process very easy and used considerable flair in envisaging how it would best be presented. I shall not hesitate to tell my clients of your excellent service.
    Roger J Gould, Copywriter
  • Charlotte’s advice and recommendations in putting together the initial website for our new event and wedding planning venture were terrific. From the outset she understood absolutely what was required, but also she added that certain indefinable “je ne sais quoi” which helped to elevate the project beyond our most ambitious expectations.

    Not only would I recommend her to anyone looking for the design and build of a new website, I would also unhesitatingly go back to Charlotte in the future, knowing that I could expect the best possible results.
    Nigel Passingham, Director, Infoplan Event & Wedding Planning
  • Charlotte worked with us to develop powerful web design strategies and translate those concepts into an actionable, cost-effective website.

    Her proprietary approach to online marketing and web design was results-oriented and focused on our individual needs. She was utterly committed to doing things right the first time.
    Isabel Camano, Shave the Bush
  • Charlotte listened to our brief for a new company website and understood our needs.

    She provided a very prompt and efficient service – often pushing us to adhere to deadlines and assisting with corporate redesign in addition to the original brief.
    Janet Sealy, Director, Janet Sealy Partnership Ltd
  • A really positive experience and am keen to use services again and again.
    I’m very pleased all round.
    Graeme Ogilvy, Jardine Lloyd Thompson

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