Read the full episode transcript below:
00:28 David Blackmon: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of wp the podcast i’m David Blackmon
00:29 Tim Strifler: And I’m Tim Strifler.
01:30 David Blackmon: Today we’re going to talk about deliverability of your emails from contact forms believe it or not, this is kind of a “pita”, pain in the ass, and WordPress websites, because it’s terrible it always has been terrible and you’re forced a lot of times to use a third-party product this is one of the places where you’re kind of forced to use it and stuff to get good deliverability. And there are a few of them that are pretty popular Syngrid, Mandrel, Mail Gun, these are some of the most popular deliverability softwares or plugins for WordPress and Tim’s going to kind of dive into why you may need these and stuff and more more of the technical of what the hell is wrong with WordPress. So go Tim.
01:20 Tim Strifler: Yeah, so basically WordPress like if you’re using a typical hosting company even if it’s a premium host the host is the servers are tuned to serve web pages, right? That’s their goal, that’s the main purpose. They’re not made to send emails and so when a WordPress website sends an email it uses phpmail. However it’s not super reliable and it has a ton of drawbacks. And so um yeah that’s that’s kind of the main thing, so whenever you send uh a uh someone sends a contact form submission on your site and your contact form goes and says “hey this person contacted you and sends you an email” that’s by default is using WordPress mail phpmail, and it’s just not super reliable because it’s not made for that. Same thing like a password reset email or if it’s an e-commerce site um a email receipt or a you know new purchase email that gets sent to the site owner those are all fall into the category of transactional emails right it’s uh someone does something and it triggers an automatic email, so that’s what’s called a transactional email. You know opposed to like a marketing email using like Mailchimp or or something like that. So these are all transactional emails. The contact form is probably the most popular because it’s it’s a lead right it’s a customer wanting to contact you and so you need to make sure that you get that email because uh you could be missing out on business. And so there’s there’s basically two different ways to get around the issue with WordPress mail and phpmail being unreliable and that’s to use um two different methods of basically outsourcing the email sending to something else besides your main web host. And so David mentioned deliverability services, he’s going to talk about the different ones or did you want me to talk about those David?
03:15 David Blackmon: No no no, you talk about them, i’ve already given you who they are and stuff and okay let’s cover the rest of the tech stuff..
03:29 Tim Strifler: Yeah so the most popular one i would say is probably Sendgrid. It’s what uh David uses what we use on wpgears.com um it’s super popular. Tey have a free plan still I believe, um and then it’s very affordable and so um, and then Mandrel is what i use on divi life.com and the reason i use that is because it integrates with Mailchimp, but you have to have a paid Mailchimp account to use it. And then you still have to pay for it so it’s uh there’s no free plan or anything like that. And you can’t use it unless you’re using Mailchimp. And then another one is Mail Gun by Rackspace. I’ve never used it don’t have experience with it so unfortunately i can’t really comment on it but Sendgrid and Mandrill ar are very comparable. In terms of the the different features they have one thing that’s really nice about using a deliverability service like that, is you can log in and you can see all the emails that went through it and you can preview them and you can see if they were delivered if they were clicked on that sort of thing. So there’s some basic level of reporting and you can actually resend emails so if a customer says “hey i never got my email receipt”, you could log into Woocommerce or whatever email whatever ecommerce platform and then click that resend receipt button. But you could also go into Syngrid or Mandrill and resend it that way too, or you could see that hey it was delivered successfully. So it’s probably in their spam folder you know so there’s different metrics that you can see in there as well and you can get overall stats of its different um deliverability uh percentages as well, as like complaint rates if someone is if a lot of people are complaining and marking a spam that affects your complaint rate. And then you’re like you need to figure out what why is that happening like your complaint rate for transactional emails should be zero because they’re emails that are just sent after someone does something submits a contact form. Does a password reset purchases a product so opposed to using like Mailchimp to send a marketing email yeah people don’t like to get marketed to all the time so people aren’t going to be as happy about it, so anyways those are the types of things you can do in a deliverability service. The second option for uh ensuring deliverability for your contact form emails and other transactional emails is to use a smtp uh plugin. So we have a link to one of the show notes wpmail smtp by wp forms it is a free plugin you don’t have to use wp forms you can use a different form plugin but basically what it does is it lets you connect your email sending to an x an external email account. So for example i’m pretty sure you can connect your gmail or your office 365 or your zoho or whatever email you’re using to basically send the emails through that and it’s going to drastically improve deliverability opposed to sending it through, through your website. So between the two i prefer a deliverability service it’s just a little more professional and it’s a little more i would say higher deliverability, because that’s what these services do and they have a lot of servers that are are made to do big email sending. But for a small site you don’t have a lot of emails going through it a lot of transactional emails but you just want to make sure that they’re delivered um using an smtp plugin is is free and and easy to set up so, boom very technical topic but yeah!
07:06 David Blackmon: That’s it hopefully that helps. Tomorrow we’ve got another great topic how to easily change http links to secure links https in WordPress. Tim until tomorrow we’ll see you.
07:17 Tim Strifler: Take care bye-bye
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