Effective HTML Email and Newsletters
Illustration by Richard Downs

Coding HTML tables


From:

Effective HTML Email and Newsletters

with Tim Slavin

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Video: Coding HTML tables

In this video, we'll code a one-column HTML email. Typically, this design is used to send an announcement or advertise a single product. Here's the email, in JPEG format, that we'll code. Now, as we did in earlier videos, let's convert this design to a grid and call out the design elements: the logo, header, content area, and footer. The first step is to focus our eyes an inch or two off the screen, so we can begin to see this design not as a design, but as a set of blocks.
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  1. 2m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
  2. 13m 12s
    1. Understanding differences between HTML email and web pages
      1m 21s
    2. Seeing how HTML email displays in different email programs
      3m 27s
    3. Finding Acid tests and compatibility checklists
      2m 35s
    4. Understanding MIME types: HTML vs plain text
      4m 3s
    5. Exploring the future of HTML email
      1m 46s
  3. 15m 12s
    1. Defining spam
      2m 6s
    2. Examining legal issues with permission-based email
      1m 33s
    3. Planning email campaigns
      1m 36s
    4. Creating content for email campaigns
      2m 34s
    5. Understanding design constraints of HTML email
      1m 53s
    6. Designing effective HTML email
      2m 5s
    7. Building email address lists
      3m 25s
  4. 7m 28s
    1. Choosing tools for coding HTML email
      1m 27s
    2. Coding email versus coding web pages
      1m 14s
    3. Preventing problems with email coding
      2m 49s
    4. Understanding the ideal coding process
      1m 58s
  5. 17m 27s
    1. Planning
      1m 8s
    2. Coding HTML tables
      4m 38s
    3. Adding content
      4m 49s
    4. Adding inline CSS
      6m 52s
  6. 10m 44s
    1. Planning
      43s
    2. Coding HTML tables
      2m 41s
    3. Adding content
      3m 39s
    4. Adding inline CSS
      3m 41s
  7. 13m 13s
    1. Planning
      1m 13s
    2. Coding HTML tables
      3m 4s
    3. Adding content
      2m 37s
    4. Adding images
      1m 9s
    5. Adding inline CSS
      5m 10s
  8. 7m 32s
    1. Designing a plain text email
      4m 49s
    2. Designing a plain text email from an HTML email
      2m 43s
  9. 20m 45s
    1. Automating HTML email creation
      2m 5s
    2. Automating HTML email by category
      1m 6s
    3. Automating HTML email with WordPress
      5m 32s
    4. Automating HTML email with ExpressionEngine
      4m 27s
    5. Automating HTML email with FeedBurner from an RSS feed
      4m 27s
    6. Automating HTML email with FeedBlitz from an RSS feed
      3m 8s
  10. 6m 42s
    1. Deciding when and how to test email
      3m 18s
    2. Using testing services
      3m 24s
  11. 13m 56s
    1. Outsourcing your email campaign
      56s
    2. Sending email with MailChimp
      2m 40s
    3. Sending email with Campaign Monitor
      1m 51s
    4. Sending email with Constant Contact
      2m 20s
    5. Sending email with iContact
      2m 9s
    6. Sending email with VerticalResponse
      1m 52s
    7. Sending email with canned templates
      2m 8s
  12. 14m 34s
    1. Solving layout and spacing problems
      2m 50s
    2. Solving image problems
      3m 12s
    3. Solving Gmail display problems
      2m 19s
    4. Solving Lotus Notes display problems
      1m 55s
    5. Solving Outlook 2007/2010 display problems
      2m 40s
    6. Adding video to email
      1m 38s
  13. 1m 36s
    1. Next steps
      1m 36s

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Watch the Online Video Course Effective HTML Email and Newsletters
2h 24m Appropriate for all Jun 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course provides hands-on training on all aspects of email marketing, from crafting emails and setting up effective marketing campaigns to managing spam filters and evaluating delivery services. Author Tim Slavin introduces the fundamentals of email marketing, including the differences between HTML email and web pages, how to code emails that display properly on receipt, and ways to stay current with HTML email standards and capabilities. The course includes several project-oriented tutorials on creating multi-column newsletter layouts and multi-product offer emails, and also explains how to automate email creation, test emails prior to delivery, outsource campaigns, and address common coding problems.

Topics include:
  • Understanding MIME types
  • Reducing spam potential in an email or email list
  • Creating content for email campaigns
  • Understanding the design constraints of HTML emails
  • Building email address lists
  • Understanding the ideal coding process
  • Designing a plain text email from an HTML email
  • Deciding how and when to test an email
  • Sending email with canned templates
  • Troubleshooting layout, spacing, and image issues
  • Adding video to email
Subjects:
Business Web Marketing
Author:
Tim Slavin

Coding HTML tables

In this video, we'll code a one-column HTML email. Typically, this design is used to send an announcement or advertise a single product. Here's the email, in JPEG format, that we'll code. Now, as we did in earlier videos, let's convert this design to a grid and call out the design elements: the logo, header, content area, and footer. The first step is to focus our eyes an inch or two off the screen, so we can begin to see this design not as a design, but as a set of blocks.

Then what we'll do is put a grid around the most common elements, and we have a set of boxes. So, let's look first at this large box that goes around all of the email itself. You'll also notice that the plum color is a box in itself, so the email is a box and the plum color is a box. So let's look at these boxes in HTML code. We'll start there. I'm using Notepad++, and I'm using it to highlight different tables.

So here we have the pseudo body table, which represents the plum-color area that is around the email box. The next table that gets nested inside is a wrapper table that contains the email itself, and this represents this box that goes around the footer and around the News area. Now let's look at the News area and the footer as they sit within this box that contains the HTML email. In Notepad++, let's unclick this table, and you'll see that we have a table here that represents the start of the actual email.

Above it, we have generic information, a link to a newsletter version if one exists, and a brief note about how people became readers of your email and how they can unsubscribe. So at the start of the email, you'll notice that we have HTML tables and table data cells. This first table data cell contains a background image, so that's the entire design that we have attached to this larger box. So instead of cutting up the image into many images, we've created a single background image to make it simple.

Now let's focus on the News box. Here's the News table, and it's nestled within that larger HTML email. And you can see that it's very straightforward. It has a width, just whatever is needed. You'll see here in this design, we don't need the width to be the full length. It only needs to go across perhaps halfway. And then the other point to mention here is that we've started HTML tags, in this case the paragraph or P tag, on one line, we put the content on the second line, and we've closed the paragraph tag on a third line.

This is simply good coding practice, as you'll discover, because this allows non-technical people to update code in your HTML email without getting tripped up with the HTML. They can focus simply on typing content here. So let's look at the last element of this design, which is the footer. Here in our design we created four boxes within a larger footer table. In fact, however, we only need three. We need one area for the links on the left, we need a middle table to give us some space over this image of the bottles, and then we need a third area, which are the links off to the right, that are wider.

So let's see what that'd look like in code. Let's scroll down, and here's the footer table. This is the first area where we have the links that go here in the lower-left corner of the footer for Tours, Find a Store, et cetera. The next area, we've created a blank space, and we've put in the HTML code for that, the ASCII character code, and we've forced it to be a width of 70 pixels, and that represents this middle space with the bottle images, so we're basically layering our table over the images in the footer.

Finally, we have a wider area here in our table that has a pixel width of 200, so that we have plenty of room for our links. Now, it's not expected that you know HTML brilliantly to understand all of this HTML. There are other courses on lynda.com that can help you learn basic HTML. At this point, however, we've created a very basic table structure that corresponds to our design as a grid. In the next lesson, we will take this basic HTML table code and we will begin to add content.

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