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Developing HTML Efficiently

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To develop an HTML email you need to know how to code HTML.   Beyond your basic understanding of good ole HTML tables, you also should understand and practice good image optimization along with the art of knowing what should be an image vs system text.  Once you have all these down pat, then you’re done… right? Wrong!

There are plenty of little nuances you will pick up with your many years of experience. But what I want to talk on is the ‘art’ of building HTML emails.  There are some little tricks and techniques you can use to speed up your process while still providing quality code.

Create a base file
You can use this file as a starting point for each email you have to create. This will save some time during the initial setup of your files.

Make a plan of action in your head
Take a look at your design file and set out a road map of how you want to build your HTML file. Take this time to look over the file; look for things that you cannot do in HTML that the designer may have not noticed. This will prevent you from having to double back on your work if design elements need to be changed.

Start with the layout
If you get the basic layout built and then work on the inside elements, this will usually save you some time because if you get pulled from the project early, someone with little HTML knowledge can easily pick up the email and place elements.

Double check in browsers
Always check your email in Internet Explorer and Firefox before sending through email client tests. Usually you can catch most rendering issues before having to send test emails.

Find and Replace
Utilize the tools provided to you.  Using the find and replace tool can save tons of time in any changes that come in at the last minute.  Also, Dreamweaver has a very nice feature of looking for tags that don’t have certain elements. For example you can search all img tags and if they don’t have an alt tag you can add a blank one in with one click.

Create a checklist
If HTML development is something you do every day, then creating a checklist is a good thing to do. This will allow you to keep track of the important things needed in an HTML file and will assure that you put out quality code!

What are some techniques you use for developing efficient HTML emails?

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