Do Not Host Your Email Images on Your Web Server
There are three things that are certain in life – death, taxes and the need for email image hosting.
The images in your emails cannot be embedded in the email itself but rather are called from a location where they are already online. This is where you have to make some key decisions about the future of your images and this in turn will decide the fate of your email archives and/or newsletters as well as control of your online destiny.
For Whom Does the Inbox Chime Toll for?
Sounds like the beginning of a Space Opera? It’s actually quite simple – many email deployment services will certainly host your images for you, and there are many commercial, professional image hosting services out there as well. But what happens to your images when it’s time to move on from that service? Someone who still has your emails / newsletters will have the images disappear because your email HTML & image paths reside in someone’s inbox and not on the web. That means you won’t be able to export your information and keep it intact, and therefore you are limited to using that one service – a service that may or may not even allow you to export your images.
Why not simply set up your own domain to host your email images and newsletters? You could use a sub-domain on your existing website (i.e subdomainforemailimages.yourdomain.com) but that does not avoid the dreaded “double-whammy” effect. For example, you can register yourdomainforemailing.com and even create sub-domains for different campaigns such as thiscampaign.yourdomainforemailing.com. This should be on a completely different server ideally at a different hosting company and even a geographically distinct location help avoid traffic overload issues by being on different node altogether. This is because when you send out a campaign with, say, 50,000 emails there will (hopefully) be thousands of visits to your website – but combined with the opened emails calling thousands of images from the same server at the same time and you’ve got the double-whammy effect and a risk of a slow loading website or even a crash due to too much traffic all at once.
The Postman Always Sends at Least Twice
A good email service will allow you to throttle your delivery rate throughout the campaign deployment. If you are sending out those 50,000 emails at the same time, what is going to happen when there are 10s of thousands of image requests for the same image from your website host server? It will probably crash your server and your email campaign has actually caused damage to your brand. By establishing a separate domain and server service specifically for email campaigns, you avoid this aspect of the double-whammy effect and your inbound sales team will also thank you for spreading the responses to a manageable level.
Yes, you could use Social Networking platforms to achieve some of the same results – Flikr or PhotoBucket – but this will result in the same obstacles when it is time to migrate / export this data. Separate image hosting on a domain you own ensures you have full control over the space where you can put all of your images, newsletters, articles, landing pages and web pages versions of your emails.
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