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BUGS BUGS and more BUGS

Let’s Fix your site and email

If you’re like me, you’ll spend a lot of time finding bugs with your business. Nothing worse that spending weeks trialing products and testing ideas then noticing that the marketing material says something else than you wanted. I wanted to talk about bugs today, common problems on websites and email that you can fix with simple edits and tweaks.

Websites first!

Let’s start with our beloved websites… a website is such a time consuming beast, we hear all the time how SEO is ever changing thanks to Google’s alogrimum. One month you need to write content that speaks to uses about x, then month it needs to do x&y, the month afterwards its x&y&z then it changes to x&z… it’s a difficult task to keep up with. So our advice is to stop playing the game. Great content will always win, and if you’re talking to the right people you’ll get rewards. So start by running some tests on your site, first set your baseline;

  1. Go to Dareboost and audit your site

This report is over the top, containing more detail than you’ll ever need but it’s free! So using my site as a guide let me show you around

Summary

So you can see i have some things to fix, but i’m mostly there. Click on the ‘See your priorities’ button…

There’s a lot in here and its tempting to get caught up in it all, so prioritise on what you can can fix. If you’re not a web designer ignore the CSS,  !important declaration, CSS duplication etc… these are all things you’ll need a developer to fix or a lot of patience, and the rewards are minimal. Think of this like building lego, a piece could be red and work but if it black it’ll look better, i’m not saying this isn’t important (they really are in the long run), but move on for the faster results that you can do that will save money!

Find out if you have issues with images… like this one;

Dareboost Image Example

So with this i know i’ve got two images that are being resized by my website, this takes time and is better for everyone if you upload optimised images in the first place… but what happens if you’ve got 100’s already up there that need re-sizing. Let me introduce my first plugin.

WPSmush. Go and install this in WordPress, the free version lets you smush up to 50 images at a time. Once you’ve done, leave the plugin screen go back in and repeat. Once you’ve done that you’ll site SEO will take a big leap in the right direction

Next look for your H Tags

H Tags

As you can see i’ve already got mine sorted… you have to avoid having two H1’s on the same page, but h2/3 can have multiple. H1 is your title, right at the top… it also is what google looks for when you haven’t done your meta tags. This is time consuming but get it right and it’ll further help your site.

Since i mentioned Metatags, lets look at them next

Dareboost Meta Tags

Again i’ve managed to get mine sorted but this clip shows you what a meta tag is and how it works. Save yourself a lot of coding and get this plugin Yoast it’ll let you define the meta tag on each page. Make sure it’s written as you want people to see it, but also relevant to the content of the page, it’s no good writing what you want people to see and then having different content on the site, google will punish you for this.

There’s loads more on that report have a look at it and google around, you’ll find solutions out there, just remember to backup before you start. (We backup your site nightly free of charge).

Email! Why don’t they get through

Okay again, lets do a baseline test. Go to this website mail-tester.com you’ll get a screen similar to this;

Mail-tester.com opening screen

Now for the easy part, send an email from your email (the one you use for business, not hotmail/google etc… for example hello@solblu.uk). Once its sent, click ‘Then check your score’

If you get this…

Perfect Mail Score

Well done. You probably don’t need to do anything. If you have anything other than this, scroll down to see the errors.

Authentication is a killer

Spam filters and mail servers all work on the theory of authentication to ID spam and various other *dodgy* emails. It does this using a combination of Blacklists, reverse lookups and signatures (not the one that says what you are, but special ones). So lets’ talk about these and how to fix them;

DKIM/DMARC

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a method for associating a domain name to an email message, thereby allowing a person, role, or organization to claim some responsibility for the message. It’s the email equivalent of SSL certificates. You have a public and private key, the email sends part of this out with itself and then the receiving server asks for the other part using the safe part it received. If everything matches then your DKIM passes!

DMARC policy allows a sender to indicate that their emails are protected by SPF and/or DKIM, and give instruction if neither of those authentication methods passes. Please be sure you have a DKIM and SPF set before using DMARC.

Basically if you want to use DKIM, you need DMARC. This is all done from your web host and is normally a button click to solve. Login to cPanel and go to the email section and click Authentication. Then click enable for DKIM, this will sort out both your DKIM and DMARC

SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email validation system designed to prevent email spam by detecting email spoofing, a common vulnerability, by verifying sender IP addresses. It’ll look something like this;

v=spf1 a mx include:spf.protection.outlook.com ~all

You can enable this in the same place as DKIM, so Login to cPanel and go to the email section and click Authentication. Then click enable for DKIM, this will sort out both your DKIM and DMARC

Reverse DNS

Reverse DNS lookup or reverse DNS resolution (rDNS) is the determination of a domain name that is associated with a given IP address. Some companies such as AOL will reject any message sent from a server without rDNS, so you must ensure that you have one. You cannot associate more than one domain name with a single IP address.

Good news we sort this one out for you, so just ignore it.

Blacklisted

Email servers check databases to see if you’ve been naughty or nice (just like father christmas). These are the list that are commonly looked up;

  1. Spamhaus SBL Advisory
  2. Spamhaus CSS Advisory
  3. Spamhaus XBL Advisory
  4. Spamhaus PBL Advisory
  5. Barracuda
  6. Hostkarma
  7. IMP-SPAM
  8. BACKSCATTERER
  9. China Anti-Spam Alliance
  10. inps.de
  11. LashBack
  12. mailskipe
  13. NiX Spam
  14. REDHAWK
  15. SORBS (Relay)
  16. SORBS (last 48 hours)
  17. SORBS (last 28 days)
  18. SPAMCOP
  19. SEM-BACKSCATTER
  20. SEM-BLACK
  21. RATS-ALL
  22. PSBL
  23. SWINOG
  24. GBUdb Truncate
  25. Weighted Private Block List

If you’re on a list, get yourself removed and stop doing whatever put you on the site in the first place.


So that’s it, do all this and you’re site will run better, your emails will work and we’ll all be much happier!

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