I am getting close to 20 years of putting together websites for myself and other people, and I have seen a shift happen with email, both in what is possible and what the expectations are.
In the “old days,” you would get a hosting account for your site, and the email would magically work every time you would need to send one.
This setup worked because the email protocol itself is very open and interoperable, so it is straightforward to send an email to someone, as long as you have their address.
This openness also invited spammers, who abused the system, making it harder for everyone to send and receive genuine and relevant communication.
Today, most people expect that email will work “like it used to,” but what is more likely to happen is that all the emails you send out of our WordPress site will not reach their destination. You will not notice this problem unless you specifically test for it. Instead, you will see a lack of engagement or customers complaining they did not get their download links.
There are a couple of solutions to this problem that are free, but I will present the most effective one: buy a paid email delivery service.
When you pay for your email delivery service, there are some significant advantages over a free solution:
- you immediately set yourself apart from the spamming crowd that is using the free solution
- you have dedicated tools and reports to monitor that your email is delivered and reaches its destination
- you get support with configuring the email sending process correctly, which is not trivial
- you get analytics – which is essential for a business owner
- someone (the service provider) is directly responsible for delivering your email and making sure the process works as expected
Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of people shy away from paying for email. Put your business hat on and think of it this way: how much money and (more importantly) how much time are you wasting with lost emails, with dealing with un-happy customers, with the uncertainty that your outbound messages reach their targets? I bet that the numbers you come up with more than make up for the cost of a paid email service.
What email service should you use?
In the past, I have worked with SendInBlue, SendGrid, and Mandrill. Today, my favorite one is MailGun. I am not an affiliate; I recommend them because (as I write this) they offer the best value for money.
To connect WordPress to Mailgun, the plugin to use is WPMailSMTP.