Scriber Blog | 11 ways to make your email newsletter more mobile friendly

The competition for our attention has never been greater. And on mobile the reader is only ever a swipe or tap away from leaving for something better… or at least something that looks better. That’s why knowing how to make an email newsletter more mobile friendly is so important to digital publishers and content writers.

According to Statista’s recent survey, mobile accounted for 54.4% of all global web traffic in Q4 2021 – meaning the majority of all online content consumption now happens on smart devices. As a content creator, that means you need to be mindful of how your content reads on smartphones, tablets and the constraints of the smaller screen.

If you’re already using Scriber for your content creation, you already know that our editor is designed to allow your content to work seamlessly across all devices. However, it's still good practice for content creators to think about how their newsletter will display on mobile screens.

So, to help you make your email newsletter more mobile friendly, here's 11 tips straight from our editorial and design team.

1. Use responsive design

Responsive design is a staple of contemporary web and email infrastructure and is considered to be the gold-standard for anybody looking to create any kind of web content. Though you’ve probably heard the terms “responsive” and “mobile friendly” used interchangeably, there is a clear difference between the two:

  • Mobile friendly content: When web content is designed to work the same way across multiple devices. This is usually typified by simple, static content and design that doesn’t change from device to device, but is still user friendly.

  • Responsive design: When web content is designed to respond to the device it’s being used on. The obvious example of this is when an email or web page shifts its layout and ordering when you open it on two different devices.

Using the specific example of newsletters, responsive design is critical as email newsletters are often very copy heavy. Ensuring that content is both legible and accessible on a mobile device is of vital importance.

Fortunately, Scriber’s email and web template is all responsive as standard (see below) – so you can always be sure your email newsletter is mobile friendly. If you’re not currently using Scriber, we’d recommend enlisting the aid of a seasoned web designer to help you build your responsive templates.

Scriber mobile preview
Above: Scriber gives mobile previews of your content.

2. Watch your word count

On mobile, word count matters when trying to make your email newsletter more mobile friendly. It goes without saying that a physically smaller screen means less space for your content to render on, so ensuring that your copy is as concise as possible is vital to avoid scroll fatigue or loss of reader interest.

Short punchy sentences work well, but variety keeps things interesting. Mix it up with the occasional longer sentence (but not too long). And, once you've finished writing, it's always good to go back over your work and trim as many words as possible that don't need to be there.

3. Keep your paragraphs short

This ties in with the previous point about keeping the reduced screen size of a mobile device in mind. Remember the early internet when pages were crammed with stuff? Nowadays, web users realise it’s a distraction and that less is more.

Enormous blocks of copy are difficult enough to read on a desktop. On a mobile screen, a large paragraph can seemingly go on forever. So, keep your paragraphs short – 3 to 4 sentences maximum. No one enjoys reading a long unbroken stream of text on mobile.

4. Keep it single column

The single column really is a best practice standard for all mobile-responsive design and it applies to both email and web templates. The reason for this is the unique shape of smartphone screens – they are longer and narrower than their desktop (or tablet) counterparts.

By keeping everything in one column, you’re automatically producing mobile-friendly content. The same logic applies to tables – lots of columns can render off screen and reduce the overall quality of your content.

The good news? Scriber’s templates are single-column by default – so you can check this one off your list.

5. Use relevant images sparingly

Images add variety and value to your email newsletter. A killer chart can show in an instant what would otherwise require hundreds of words to explain. But using too many images in your newsletter can result in a never-ending scroll for your reader – and create the impression that you are padding out your content.

Example of irrelevant image.
Above: Not a relevant image.

Keep them sparse and keep them relevant (unlike the example above).

6. Use high quality, optimised images

Every time you add an image to your email newsletter, you are increasing its download size and loading time. Large images can severely impact the speed at which your newsletter opens, or even set off spam filters that could stop your newsletter being delivered altogether. Conversely, small, blurry and pixelated images look amateurish.

When using images, optimise them for web and email by either saving them as a JPEG or PNG, and keeping them below 100kb where possible.

If you’re not sure how to optimise your images, there are some great free options online that can do the job such as as TinyPNG and Optimizilla.

7. Start with a summary

On smaller screens, only a relatively small amount of content is visible – so there is no time for a long ponderous opening. Kick off your email with a snappy summary of what your newsletter is about, why it is important and why the reader should read it.

If you are not sure why your newsletter is interesting, relevant and the best around on the topic, take it as a sign that you may need to adjust it.

On Scriber, our template includes a Subtitle section for your summaries. So you can also check this one off the list.

8. Use sub-headings

This might seem an obvious way to make your email newsletter more mobile friendly, but you’d be amazed at how many writers forget to use sub-headings effectively. The vast majority of your readers will skim-read your newsletter to find something that interests them. As such, you need to make that skim-read process as easy as possible.

That’s where effective sub-headings come in. It should be possible to read only the sub-headings and have a good summary of the whole newsletter. Sub-headings also create white space in your newsletter, which helps draw the eyes of your reader back to your content. And snappy, well-written sub-headings will grab a reader’s attention even if it’s something there weren’t specifically looking for. Triple win.

9. Use bullets and lists

Another obvious way to make your email newsletter more mobile friendly is to use lists in your copy. On mobile, short lists or a few bullets are a much easier way for a reader to absorb information than a long paragraph, and it may help to structure your thoughts better too.

Clearly, not every newsletter needs to be a series of lists. But if you have a sentence explaining three or four key points, try dividing it into bullet points. You’ll make it is easier for the reader to grasp your point quickly.

10. Don't over-style

It is tempting to get funky with formatting, but there really is nothing worse for a reader than a newsletter full of bold paragraphs, underlined sentences or needless capitalisation for emphasis. It's distracting and makes it hard to know where to look.

At Scriber, our simple editor uses a clean, crisp style that provides an enjoyable experience for the reader and ensures your writing is the focus. We also provide pre-set heading styles and link formatting, so there is no need to try and remember different font sizes or underline any hyperlinks.

You may want to use italics for publications you are referencing, or perhaps very occasionally if you really want to emphasise a particular word.

Don’t go overboard though...

A lesson in over-styling your newsletter.
Above: A lesson in over-styling your newsletter.

Image Source: Swiftdigital.

11. Test. Your. Newsletter.

We cannot stress the importance of this last point enough. Once you've crafted your newsletter, you should always send yourself a test. And, once you've seen it in your inbox, you should ALWAYS view it on your mobile, too.

As mentioned in our earlier post on how to improve your newsletter, testing should always be a vital part of your writing routine. You'll see your work in a totally different light and spot potential issues you didn't even know were there.

Make your newsletter more mobile friendly with Scriber

Whether you’re starting from scratch or already publishing your newsletter, Scriber’s responsive templates and simple editor can help you make your email newsletter more mobile friendly.

To get started, just sign up for free today.