Hints on Better Emails

Preventing Spam-Blocking

If a large part of your email messages are not delivered, chances are they are being deleted or blocked by anti-spam filters by mistake.

Here is a list of guidelines you should always follow when creating your email messages.


  1. If you’re using HTML emails, include a text part in the email as well, for recipients (and anti-spam checkers), and keep that text as close to the HTML copy as possible. The closer they’re related, the less likely your email will be seen as spam.
  2. Keep your message’s layout as simple as possible. Avoid complex formatting (yes, it will make it look better, but less people will receive it).
  3. Pay particular attention to your subject: never use exclamation point (!), CAPITALIZATION, and words as “free”, “guaranteed”, and gappy text (t h i s i s g a p p y t e x t)
  4. Avoid generic salutation formulas as “Dear User”; it is even better to avoid salutation at all.
  5. If you’re using HTML emails, use high quality HTML emails. Don’t use tools which generate horrendous HTML (example: MS Word). They often leave signs behind (like empty tags, eg: ) which are generally found in spam. Unbalanced tags and invalid tags will also flag an email as spam. If you use a title, make sure the title is meaningful — the default titles generated by HTML tools are often used as spam indicators.
  6. Don’t insert active components (javascript, ActiveX, plug-ins) in your message. If you need rich media content, just link to a media-rich page on your web site.
  7. Don’t insert too much graphic in your message. The fewer images you use the better the chances your message will get through.
  8. Don’t link to IP addresses: avoid linking to IP addresses (like 192.168.xxx.xxx) into the message text, your e-mail will be marked as ‘scam’. Link to real domain names only (i.e. www.domain.ext).
  9. Use email composition and mailing tools that work correctly. Well constructed emails (technically correct) can be readily identified as not-spam.
  10. Avoid useless or needless encodings. Don’t use base-64 encoded text unless you need to.
  11. Don’t include a disclaimer that your email isn’t spam. Don’t claim compliance with some legal criteria, especially one which is not actually law in your country. Only spam needs to claim compliance: non-spam is supposed to already be in compliance.
  12. Use normal conversational language, be sure not to use excessive spacing and or capitalization on your subject.
  13. Do not use “cute” spellings, Don’t S.P.A.C.E out your words, don’t put str@nge |etters 0r characters into your emails.
  14. If you’re using HTML emails, do not use invisible web-bugs to track your emails. If you must track your emails and whether they’re read, use visible graphics as part of your email, not invisible graphics.
  15. Don’t include gratuitous references to spam subjects. Don’t talk about rolex watches, sexually oriented activities or drugs, or debt treatment, unless those topics directly relate to your email. And if they do, limit your email to one topic at a time. An email which mentions rolex watches, Viagra, porn, and debt all in one email will very possibly hit several rules that flag it as spam, even if everything else is clear.
  16. Don’t use tools used by spammers (i.e., advertised in spam).
  17. Use a well performing, well administered and trusted SMTP server. Most undeliverable mails come from poor SMTP services, which often lead to being blacklisted: make sure your SMTP service’s staff is ready to help if you are blacklisted by mistake.
  18. Make sure your privacy policy, including enforcement, and including query contact information, is easily found and clearly stated on your web site. It’s good to include this information (where to find this policy, contact information), in your emails. Again, people who need to find out whether you’re spammer will often look for that information: this will help you in staying out of blacklists.
  19. Be careful where you advertise, and be careful which advertisements you carry. If you advertise with companies that send out spam, your domains will be flagged as being related to spam. If you carry advertisements for those who spam, your domains will be flagged as being related to spam.
  20. Be careful which domains/companies you allow to advertise in your emails (if any). Allowing spammers to advertise will get your emails flagged by the URI blacklists. On the other hand, don’t advertise your domains with spammers — having your domain name listed in their spams can also get you flagged by some URI blacklists.