The simplest way to create an e-mail invitation is to do it in text only. This will be displayed on all platforms uniformly, but to design one that captures the full flavour of your event, do it in hypertext markup language (HTML). The following instructions assume you have basic page layout skills.
Use an HTML editing program like Dreamweaver. Select the "File" tab, then "New" and "Create a Basic Page in HTML" from the drop-down menu. Make sure that it's not too wide; 650 pixels is about right. You don't want your readers to scroll right to left as well as up and down. For recipients who cannot view the invitation in HTML, provide the words "If this invitation does not display properly, click here," with a hyperlink to a Web page where the invitation will show as you intend it.
Lay out your invitation as you normally would with any Web page. Essentially you are creating a portable Web page in HTML that you'll e-mail. Your headline should hook the reader with a reason why the event is important. The first paragraph should explain what the event is and when and where it will be held. If it is an event that requires a purchase, the amount of the ticket price should come only after you've made a strong pitch for the event's worthiness. Buying tickets should be exceptionally easy with a hyperlink to your site's credit card processing page. If you don't already have a credit card processing capability, see my article on eHow, "How to Accept Credit Cards as Payment."
Look at the size of your images. If an invitation takes too long to download, it will be passed by. Use a program like Adobe Photoshop to cut the size of your images. Under the "Image" tab, choose "Size." Cut the display resolution to 72 dots per inch (DPI), and set the dimensions of the photo to the actual physical size that you want displayed on screen. Save the photo. I like to save them as separate files in case I have to tweak the image quality later.
Remember that the images in your invitation are saved on your computer, so only you have access to them. Simply sending them as attachments won't guarantee that they will display properly when sent. The best way to make sure the images are embedded correctly is to store them on your website and link to them. It's easy to do in Dreamweaver. Any image inserted in Dreamweaver creates an SRC box in the descriptive menu. Simply preface the link to the image in the SRC box with the URL where it will be stored on your site host's server. In HTML, the following code works: Notice that the HTML keeps the layout consistent with the height, width and border.
Normally when you establish a website with a host like Linkline or Go Daddy you are given a URL for access to your site through file transfer protocol (FTP) and a password. If you don't have this access, call your host's customer service number and be prepared to verify who you are. Once you open the files on the site with FTP, all you'll have to do is open the corresponding files on your computer and simply drag and drop all your files used in making the email to your site.
Now that all your photos uploaded to the site, and linked to an absolute URL in your e-mail, preview the results in multiple browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Netscape. You might have to tweak your invitation further for the best display. Save whatever changes you make, and upload your invitation to your site.
Use the browser preview function one last time. Highlight the entire invitation and copy it. Open your e-mail software, like Outlook, set to work in HTML. To change it to HTML go to the "Tools" tab, select "Options" and format in HTML. Paste in your invitation. Do one last check. You still might have to alter some last aspects of your invitation, like fonts. Simply use the email editor to highlight and change fonts to suit your taste. When you are satisfied with your result, you are ready to send it to your intended recipients.