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Squiffy formatting in ConvertKit emails is often the absolute Bane. Of. My. Life.
Having set up, scheduled and sent 100s of ConvertKit emails for myself and clients, I’ve learnt a thing or two about taming the email editor.
The tips below are what works for me personally. Depending on your computer (I’m a PC girl!), your browser, and a number of other factors, what works best for me may well not work best for you.
Without further ado… my top tips for nice formatting in ConvertKit emails:
1. Always use the email preview
Do not rely on the browser preview. For quick checks as you go, it’s absolutely fine. For actual checking, make sure you send a proper email preview to yourself. Sometimes it will look fine in the browser preview and super squiffy in the email preview. The email preview is completely accurate and is exactly how your subscriber will receive the email.
On the note of email previews, I find that deleting the email before you send your next preview is best. Otherwise (especially in gmail), you can get this weird ‘quoted’ text hidden underneath thing going on.
2. Know what you’re looking for in the html view
If you click on the <> button, you switch to the html view of the email.
It wants to mostly look like this:
- <p> </p> for regular text
- <h1> </h1> for heading 1
- <h2> </h2> for heading 2 (and so on)
- <em> </em> for italics
- <strong> </strong> for bold
- <del> </del> for strikethrough
- <ul> </ul> for bullet points
- <ol> </ol> for numbered lists
If you’re seeing a load of <span> code or <div>, then you’re potentially starting to get into a bit of a mess. The main times where <span> type code is okay is if you’ve set bits of text to a certain colour or size in the ConvertKit email editor. If you didn’t do that, and you’re seeing the <span> code, it’s probably a bit messy.
If you just have text (without any codes around it), then that’s almost definitely going to show up funky when you send it (which is why I don’t recommend plain text in Section 3 of this post).
The more copy/pasting you do from places, the more messy everything is likely to get. So I usually hop into the html view and search (CTRL + F on a PC) for ‘span’ and see how it’s looking.
Code should generally look fairly neat and make sense, even if you don’t really know what it means. If there’s random <___> stuff in the middle of a sentence and it’s just a regular sentence, then that’s probably not quite right.
3. Find out where best to copy from
For me, the absolute worst place to copy text from is Google Docs. Closely followed by Notepad/plain text.
I find that Microsoft Word is nearly always the best. So I copy the text from wherever it is, paste it into Word, copy it again and paste it into ConvertKit.
(Annoyingly, I go to screenshot some utter mess from Google Docs and alas, it’s perfect today – womp womp).
4. Align pictures centre, left or right
When you upload a picture, the default is ‘position: none’. This never really looks good:
If you change the alignment of the picture to left or right, then you need to be mindful of how that’s going to look on different devices. When you preview in the browser, you can resize the window to get an idea of what might happen on a table or mobile device.
I usually like to centre my images because those nearly always look good on all devices.
5. Use the horizontal rule to create sections
If you’re missing MailChimp’s drag and drop builder (it’s okay, I do sometimes), and you want to talk about a lot of different things in your emails, I’ve found that using the horizontal rule (aka horizontal line) to break up the sections can work really well.
Little screenshot of how it looks. In this example I’ve also used the heading text for the section titles.
Want to learn how to make a template like this? Check out my Template Toolkit!
6. Don’t try to embed code that doesn’t explicitly say you can put it in emails
Yep, I’m afraid that means no embedded videos. Sometimes you’ll embed some code and it’ll look great in the browser preview, and then you’ll hit send, and you’ve got yourself a mess. See #1 – always send yourself an email preview.
(For alternative ways to put videos ‘in’ ConvertKit, see my other blog post here: 3 ways to put videos into ConvertKit emails)
7. Emojis! ????????????
Before anyone asks, you can put emojis in ConvertKit emails. They may not display on all email providers and devices, but they have been proven to increase open rate. There’s a good blog post about using them in email marketing here.
Those are my top tips for how to get your formatting nice in ConvertKit emails
If you’d like to learn more from me about using ConvertKit to its full potential, check out ConvertKit Club! There’s loads of training in there that you get immediate access to, so no more mistakes because you didn’t know better!
Alternatively, if you’re new to ConvertKit or even just considering it, check out my free 40 min A Beginner’s Guide to ConvertKit video.