Welcome again to our regular Friday Lunchtime Live Q&A! Gary & Andrew are live on Facebook every Friday to answer your WordPress questions, so don’t forget to Like our Facebook Page so you can watch and ask questions yourself. Today we address sending emails from WordPress, WordPress Multi-Site and Speed optimisation!
Gary Weis: [00:00:00] Good afternoon folks. Gary and Andrew here at WP Butler. Afternoon mate.
Andrew Marks: [00:00:05] Hello!
Gary Weis: [00:00:05] And welcome to WP Butler’s third Lunchtime Facebook Live. We’ve got some questions from our Facebook fans and also some customer case studies we’re going to run through with you today. By the way, if you got any questions, just punch them in and we’ll see if we’ve got the technological smarts to work it out.
Andrew Marks: [00:00:31] We’ve been struggling a little bit actually. We have all these bells and whistles set up in this room but when it comes to lunchtime live, we’re like, “Put it on the laptop! No use the iPad!” We’ll get there, we’ll get there. Bear with us.
Gary Weis: [00:00:44] Luckily we build good websites. Ok, Natalie says “I’m sending newsletters from my website and they are being marked as spam. What can I do about that?”
Andrew Marks: [00:00:57] Okay. Well there’s a few things to unpack there. The first thing is WordPress isn’t really designed to send out bulk emails. So realistically you should be using a solution like MailChimp or Aweber or one of those, iContact whatever it is. So that is a better option than sending out mass newsletters from your website. Now I have a customer myself who has a website with lots of members and he just wants to bulk email from there and that is a recipe for disaster. There’s no unsubscribe link in those emails. It’s just, you know, it’s going to get you into trouble. So to answer your question, though, the reason they’ve been marked as spam could be twofold. WordPress will send emails out every time you create a new user you get an email with a link to set a password, that sort of thing. What WordPress does is sends an email using the PHP function “mail” which is functionality to essentially create a dynamic email, and try and post it to a mailbox. The problem is because it’s so easy to do – a few lines of code and you can send an email pretending to be anyone you like, from anyone you like, to anyone you like, to millions of email addresses if you like – because that functionality has been used maliciously over the years what often happens is your larger providers like your Office 365 and Google G-Suite, that sort of thing, that’s an indicator that the email may be spam. So number one – if you’re sending out newsletters from WordPress and you are sending them the default way, they’re using this page function which is usually been used as an indicator for, you know, “Hey this is probably spam.” So even if it’s not, even if it’s a legitimate newsletter, that is a bad way of doing it. So WordPress has a plugin called… Well there are multiple plugins that allow you to convert the e-mail sending from the PHP mail functionality to using the correct SMTP protocol. So you know when you’re sending an email from your Outlook, even from Google in your browser, what happens is that gets sent out via SMTP – Simple Mail Transfer Protocol – and that’s how e-mails should be sent. So the plugins will convert your WordPress website in to sending emails the correct way. However what you need to do is tell WordPress, “Hey here is a mailbox that you can actually use.” So again it’s not it’s not an automatically generated e-mail. They generate the email and then they actually use a proper mailbox to deliver their email to the recipient. So number one – that is a better way of doing it. Number two though is the set up of the MX records for your domain. So let’s say we hope wpbutler.com.au is the website that we want to send emails from. Let’s say again our emails may be set up a Google’s G-Suite. So the MX records for that domain would point to another IP address different from the IP address of the website. So when the emails get sent from the website, the recipient looks at that and says “Actually it’s come from this website IP address, not the mailbox IP address” so that’s another indicator that it might be spam. In your DNS setup, there is a record you can create – I think it’s called the SPF record -and you can actually say, well look – emails that are coming from this IP address are legitimate and that helps with your delivery. But again the bottom line should be I wouldn’t send newsletters through your website. It’s just a recipe for disaster. Better to move over to your MailChimp or something like that. What do you reckon?
Gary Weis: [00:05:24] Regardless of what service you end up using or the solution that you implement, I think the thing here to highlight is that that’s one of the main reasons that hacking goes on is that most hacks that we see aren’t actually malicious. There’s nothing going on on the website except that the hackers have accessed the mail PHP with inside the website and are sending out tons of spam email and that’s typically where your hosting provider will get rather upset and tell you to secure your website because it’s been hacked and that’s the main reason is that the hackers are sending out spam.
Andrew Marks: [00:05:57] They’ll tell you that after they shut you down.
Gary Weis: [00:05:59] That’s right.
Andrew Marks: [00:05:59] Yeah, you want to avoid that.
Gary Weis: [00:06:02] We’ve suspended your account. Please fix it. Ok. Mate, thank you. Another one from Christine. Christine H. “What is a multi-site and how do I set one up?”
Andrew Marks: [00:06:17] A multi-site. WordPress multi-site. Ok, WordPress… Where do we start with this one? WordPress used to have a separate product called WordPress MU. And now that functionality is built into the standard WordPress installation. Essentially what it allows you to do is run multiple websites all from the installation of WordPress. The way that works is every website that you have set up just has a different database to store that information. So all the themes, all the plugins, all the uploads, everything gets added to your website gets stored all in the one location but from within your “super-admin” dashboard you can say well for this website I want to make these themes and these plugins available. Or potentially you say, well look, here’s a good idea and I’ll make that available to all the installations of our website. So WordPress multi-site allows you to do is run multiple websites it all from the one installation. So then you only ever have one form plugin to update, you only have one SEO plugin to update, and it updates that across all your websites. Now it’s not really designed to have vastly different websites all run from within one place. It is more so designed for having a group of similar websites. What I’ve seen, rather than having them set up with their own completely separate domain, I’ve seen them set up to have either subdomains. So for example if you sign up to WordPress dot com, you’ll have yourname.wordpress.com. So that’s a sub domain set up. That’s one way of setting up. That WordPress.com actually uses the multi-site technology to allocate – auto-allocate when you sign up your own blog using WordPress multi-site. The other way you can set it up as the subdomain and I’ve seen that set up, for example, if you wanted to have separate country setups. So you might have domain.com/au for your Australia website, domain.com/nz for your NZ website and that way all of those sites are very similarly set up, similar content, similar layouts, same themes, same plugins, but then distinct installations so you can potentially have our sales staff in New Zealand look after the NZ website, our sales staff in AU look after the AU website. So that’s what it is. The problem is it kind of needs to be set up from day one. So it’s very difficult to take an existing website and then convert it to multi-site the better way to do it is to create a new website from scratch using multi-site, to do a new multi-site installation and then import your existing web site into the first of the blogs on that multi-site and then you can create additional multi-sites after that. I see Geoff has joined us. Hello Geoff, I hope you’re enjoying lunch while we slave away here. So yeah that’s the answer. Multi-site, again it’s a great tool and shows you just how powerful WordPress can be to allow you to run multiple websites all from the one installation. Technically infinitely scalable. Realistically though, you’d get to a certain size and then you start load-balancing and then start setting up additional servers. But again, the same code in all instances.
Gary Weis: [00:10:05] Well done. Well timed, just the iPad goes to sleep. Thanks for that mate. Quick little case study here from a client that we helped out recently. I’m going to paraphrase. He basically had a good looking website and it was getting plenty of traffic. But his problem was that it just wasn’t converting, he wasn’t making any sales. Couple of things to look at if this is remnant of what’s going on, resembles what is going on with your website. The bottom line was that speed was the problem. Now with an 80 percent bounce rate, because the site was taking more than 4 seconds to load was the was the root problem. Now the site was taking a hell of a lot longer than 4 seconds to load, but that was the underlying problem was that people weren’t waiting around for the site to load. Therefore, of 100 visits that were coming to the site on average per day, 80 of them were pretty much just bouncing and no even waiting. So you really only had the option to be able to really sell and convert 20 percent of his traffic. So if it was a 100 visits a day, he had the option to sell to 20 people. Now if he had a 10 percent conversion rate, he was only selling two sales for those visits that were coming through. But if he was able to open up the website to the other 80 percent of the traffic that he was bouncing and a 10% conversion rate he could have had another 8 sales a day.
Andrew Marks: [00:11:39] And if you’re buying that traffic, if you’re buying it in using Adwords or a Facebook campaign or something along those lines, that 80 percent of your budget down the toilet.
Gary Weis: [00:11:48] Absolutely wasted. Now you extrapolate that out. If you’re doing some Facebook advertising, if you have Adwords, even if you’re spending money on search engine optimisation, your traffic has got to be coming from somewhere. Just because you’ve got a website doesn’t mean that the traffic is just going to magically turn out. So typically you’re either investing cold hard dollars or you’re investing your time to drive traffic to your website. So if you’re not getting the conversions, quite often the problem can be just purely speed. People aren’t hanging around, therefore speed matters. If you want more conversions, then you need more speed.
Andrew Marks: [00:12:23] Absolutely. I mean in this instance it was very much a speed issue. Think about your own behaviour, if you do a search, click on the first link, five seconds later the website hasn’t loaded, there comes a cut off where you just go I’ll try the next one. Some people it’s two seconds, some people it’s ten seconds, but if you think of your own behaviour, you’re not going to wait an infinite amount of time for that page to load. I would say 10 seconds is ridiculous. Most people would be around that 4-6 seconds. You get to “Is this page even working?” Hit the back button. Go to the next page. So speed is a massive issue. But even if your website is quite fast, there are a number of elements that probably need to be added to a website if they’re not there already. I was on the phone to someone actually just before this Live who had a good looking website built, it worked for the first month or so, and that she hasn’t made a sale since then. So as we pull that apart, there are things like calls-to-action. You know, if you don’t ask someone to take an action on your website, you can’t expect them to take an action. They’re only going to call you when they’re in desperate need. So it’s almost subconsciously planting the seed to say “give me a call for a free quote” or “an obligation free this or that” or “fill out this form, get this free thing.” If you don’t ask for them to take an action, they arrive, they absorbed the information, if they’re not ready to make that decision, you know, they’re gone. So again, something to think about with your WordPress websites – what is it that you want your customers to do when they arrive. Have you asked them to take an action or are you just saying well look, look I know my information is… I hope they take an action. But that just doesn’t work. You really need to make it very simple for them to contact you as soon as they arrive. Put your phone number there. Whatever it is – watch this video, download my free e-book, whatever action you want them to take, ask them to take that action – it’s very very simple.
Gary Weis: [00:14:37] That’s a great, great segue. If you want to have a look at how your sales and your online performs can improve, give us a call at WP Butler. You can also go online and get a wpbutler.com.au/speed and today we’ve got a call to action for you, we’ve got an offer. So our speed optimisation service is $299. So if you’re tuned in and you’re a Facebook Live, lunchtime Facebook Live watcher of WP Butler, you can use the coupon code “speed”. That is S.P.E.E.D. “speed” to get two hundred dollars off that service. So the $299 with your “speed” coupon, $99 for a website speed optimisation service. So effectively, we go through top to toe and make sure that your website is absolutely lightning fast. Now that investment alone will pay you back easily 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 times I would say in the first month, possibly even the first week depending how slow it is. So jump on board, get that $299 site optimisation service for $99 again using the coupon code “speed” at wpbutler.com.au/speed.
Andrew Marks: [00:15:58] Awesome. Well okay so we’ve got a few viewers, no questions, now’s your chance. If anyone has any desperate questions they want to ask us ‘Butlers, they can ask us live. But of course if you don’t want to do it now, feel free to send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’re standing by to help you with all of your WordPress problems.
Gary Weis: [00:16:21] Beautiful. Well that’s about it for this week.
Andrew Marks: [00:16:24] No questions, no? No one’s typing. So that’s fine. We’ll be back next Friday. In the meantime feel free to get in touch with any of those WordPress issues that you have. Emails us your questions, anything you’d like us to address on this lunchtime live. We’re doing it for you guys as part of our commitment to becoming the home of WordPress in Australia. So we’ll be here every Friday answering your questions. We may even drag in a guest to have a chat. We’ll have to make room on the couch, see if they can fit in between us. It’s a, it’s a cozy little couch. We’ll see.
Gary Weis: [00:17:01] We’ll work it out. Again, thanks folks, thanks for tuning in. See you next week.
Andrew Marks: [00:17:05] Bye.