file attachments vs links in emailDo you

  • receive emails with attachments that really turn out to be the senders’ logos and other gewgaws like professional credentials?
  • find that emails with attachments are often sent to junk mail by accident?
  • discover that legitimate (but large) email attachments are turned away by your recipient’s server?

There are lots of great reasons to stop attaching and start linking — it’s kinder to your Internet connection and, most important, to clients and others whom you may be inconveniencing.

Attachments can be annoying.

  • If you add your logo to an attachment, your email displays a paperclip icon to recipients, which signals an attachment. Unfortunately, your recipients can’t predict whether your email has a “real” attachment or just an image file of your logo.
  • Some attachments will be too large (i.e., heavy) for some servers to handle, and you may find that some of your emails bounce back.
  • Attachments labeled “logo” or “picture” or other generic terms may signal spam filters that you’re sending junk mail.
  • Some email clients (aka email programs and applications) want to re-attach attachments and send them right back to the sender. This is crazy making.
  • Logos that haven’t been saved correctly can be viewed as enormous in some email clients and the right size in others. (Because this happened to a friend of mine, I have written this entire blog to save you from the embarrassment she felt when she discovered that her design business was using the wrong version of graphic file.)

How to link instead of attach

You can embed your images to avoid these misleading and even harmful attachments.

To embed an image, you’re placing the file on another server (whether that’s in Google Docs or another web site directory). You then copy the link from that file and paste it into your signature. Here’s one set of directions for embedding image files. If this doesn’t work for you, try googling “embedding images using Google Docs” and see what you get.

By embedding your images with a link instead of an attachment, you’re sending an email with no added “weight.” In addition, many if not most email clients have an “images off” default (check your Preferences or Settings panels). In other words, recipients can choose to see images or not, and turn them on on an email-to-email basis.

If you’ve been smart and added Alt and Title text to each image, your recipients will at least get a sense of what your images are, even if they choose not to view them.

By the way, this “images off” default is handy when you want to avoid viewing spammy emails, where much of the message is included in the image files so as to avoid detection by spam filters, which can only read text.

One last note — keep images to 25% or less of your email real estate. That way, you’ll have plenty of words to convey your meaning and your messages won’t end up in the junk pile.

Plus, your friends and clients won’t chide you every time you attach 12 images in your signature, all related to you and your business — not to their needs.

Voila. Life is good.


Email 101: How to link instead of attach

by susan time to read: 2 min

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