Can Your Subscribers Read Your Ezine?

news-226931_640This time I have just one small but important tip for getting your newsletters read.

How readable is your ezine or newsletter on mobile devices?

Many people read their email on a smartphone these days so you want to make sure your email messages are easily read there.

In years past, an ezine template often included a banner at the top and was designed to be in a box so it looked nice in subscribers’ inboxes. I designed plenty of clients’ ezine templates that way myself. It wasn’t uncommon for these templates to have two columns – one wide column with the main content, and one narrower one with boilerplate copy, a menu, or links to upcoming events, etc.

The problem with a template like that today is to fit on a small smartphone screen, the entire template shrinks down in size. So the text you want your subscribers to read ends up teeny tiny, as you can see in the example below.

ah-email

It may be slightly more readable if the phone is turned to landscape mode, but my old eyes can only read this by zooming in on the message which necessitates scrolling from left to right as well as top to bottom.

So what’s the answer?

A Better Template Design

First, only use one column. It’s much easier to read, and even was in the “old” days. When you’re holding a paper newsletter in your hand, multiple columns are easy to peruse. When you’re in your inbox, you don’t want to have to scroll down to read one column and then scroll back up and down again to read another. So put all your content in one column.

Second, don’t put a box around your content. This is the biggest culprit in everything being shrunk down. Just leave the sides of your template open and that will allow mobile devices to reformat your text to fit the screen and be readable.

And last, don’t use a full width header at the top. On some devices, the text will be shrunk down just as much as the header needs to be, which may make it too small. Instead, use a logo or other narrower graphic at the top. It won’t need to shrink as much, which means your text won’t shrink as much either.

So this is what you’d like your subscribers to see on their smartphones instead:

SWE-ezine

Note that while I’ve been talking about your ezine or newsletter content, the same advice goes for any emails you send to your list. Make sure they’re easy to read!