HTML Tip #1: Subjects in Mailto Links

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

This tip is dedicated to all the W3C working groups that keep writing things like “you may send your comments to the W3C XSLT/XPath/XQuery mailing list, public-qt-comments@w3.org. It will be very helpful if you include the string [UPD] in the subject line of your comment, whether made in Bugzilla or in email” in their drafts. I’ve gotten tired of making the following suggestion to each and every working group, so let me publish it here publicly for all to see.

It is easy to code a mailto link such that the subject line you’d like correspondents to use appeard automatically in their mail client. That way they don’t have to waste time typing it, and you don’t get so many messages where the correspondent forgets to put the magic keyword in the subject line. Here’s how:
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Put The Login on the Front Page

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

What’s more important? Attracting new customers or keeping the ones you’ve got? Almost any sales text will tell you that it is far, far easier to keep an existing customer than it is to recruit a new one. In fact the cost of attracting a new customer can be measured. The exact cost varies from depending on what it is you’re selling and what industry you’re in, but you usually don’t even make your money back until the third or fourth sale, especially on relatively low-priced consumer goods.

Given this simple fact of business, you’d think that online businesses would do everything they could to make life easy for their existing customers, especially when they can do so at almost zero cost. You might think that, but sadly you’d be wrong. I remain amazed at sites that manage to recruit customers and retain them for multiple transactions but still can’t do one simple thing to make these customers’ lives easier: