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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Don’t Send Emails With Blank Subject Lines

March 19th, 2011

Often I get emails from clients without subjects. I know it takes a few seconds to type something in the subject field, and we’re all really busy. But here are two reasons that I will hope make it worth your while to type in a Subject:

1. Spam filters will sometimes mark these as spam – meaning your recipient never gets the message, and often the receipient doesn’t check their spam folders (I certainly don’t) and the sender gets no message their email has been marked as spam.

2. You’re sending a signal that your message isn’t important – Humans often leave messages in their inboxes – and rely on subject lines to give them a clue as to what that message was about. If there are 50 email messages all competing for attention, and yours has nothing in the subject line, it could get ignored for quite some time.

So please folks, always take a few extra seconds and put in a relevant subject line in your emails. It’s considered good internet etiquette, it’s good for email inbox organization, it’s good for the people you’re communicating with. Here’s a great blog post about 10 Every Day E-mail Etiquette Resolutions for 2011 if you’d like more tips.

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

6 Responses to “Don’t Send Emails With Blank Subject Lines”

  1. Paul Says:

    Useful post Jill. I am always surprised by the number of people that do not get the simple rules of email and this example is one of the top ones. I too rarely look in the Spam folder, especially on my gmail account because it is hidden away. Did so this last week and there was an email from someone, a real person rather than a Spammer whose email was treated as spam for exactly this reason. Luckily it was only 3 weeks old!

  2. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Paul,
    I never look in my spam folder – it captures so many per day it’s just too time consuming. You’re lucky you looked and found a real person’s email and saved them!

  3. Judith Says:

    Hey, Jill:

    Just added a new plugin to my site to help me find and thank those who are typing about e-mail etiquette and are kind enough to mention

    The Subject: field is one of the first things folks see to determine if your e-mail gets opened. Short, sweet and concise is all you need to help others know what you are contacting them about.

    Thanks for helping to get this info out there!

    At your service,

  4. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Judith,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. It is a wonderful website and you certainly deserve the link!

  5. Jean Says:

    I can’t put in a subjec. It stays blank, don’t know how to fix this

  6. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hi Jean,
    There’s something wrong, all email programs, especially Yahoo, have a way to add a subject. Contact your email provider for assistance.

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