Productivity + Email Deliverability

Well, hello to you on this bright and early Monday morning. 🥰

In this week’s issue, I’m going to talk about why sometimes we “work” all day and not a lot got done. And then we’re going to switch gears and give into the topic of email deliverability… and those big changes coming up soon for Google and Yahoo accounts.

This week is short for me. My family and I are flying up to Maine on Wednesday to visit family. And so…

This Florida boy is about to go into “winter mode”. 😂 I’m not built for it, man. Why people like to live in places where the weather will KILL you, I dunno. 🤪

But, should be fun. There should be some snow on the ground, and on one day we’re apparently going skiing. Toss me on that bunny slope and watch big ol’ blogger boy roll down a hill. Wish me luck. 😉

So, for my clients, just know that I won’t be in full “work mode” for a few days there. I might be frozen solid, actually. You never know.

But, I will have the laptop. I will be monitoring things, taking care of small things and answering questions. For my Concierge clients, I’m always available one way or the other. Back in the office starting on the 31st.

OK, let’s roll with this week’s issue…


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The Reason Why You Work All Day And Nothing Gets Done

The day is young and you have big plans.

Today, you’re going to be productive. You’re going to make the world your biatch. 🤨

By lunch, you realize that things have been a little delayed. But, you’ve still got a shot. So, after lunch, you’re really going to buckle down. This time you mean it.

Except, by the end of the day, you’re feeling a little disappointed in yourself. Because, once again…

… you worked all day and yet don’t feel like anything of substance really got accomplished.

What the heck happened? Why does that seem to happen so often?

You ARE working, of course. You’re answering emails, dealing with phone calls. You might have even done some social networking. Hmm? 🧐

But, you feel like a feather in a breeze you didn’t make. The weird thing is, the stuff you were doing during the day isn’t exactly unimportant… but yet STILL, you don’t feel as if you made any real forward progress on much of anything.

The Reason Why

Having been through this way too many times, I can tell you EXACTLY what the reason why is.

It is because you can’t actually NAME your product. Or you simply haven’t.

See, every task that you embark on has an end product. Something is supposed to exist or be in a different state when that task is done. That outcome needs to be clearly stated.

When you can’t state it, then you engage in busy-work. You’re working but getting nothing done.

What is the actual PRODUCT of your job or position?

I doubt that the end product of your job is to simply act as a conduit for emails. If you’re hired to do something, then that position has SOMETHING that it is supposed to produce. If you can clearly identify and name what that is, then it becomes the orientation point for everything you do all day.

If you don’t have a regular job and are managing your own day, the same applies. What is the end product of your business? What is the outcome that you’re producing in the lives of others?

And bringing it down to a task-by-task basis, it works the same way.

Is the task clearly stated? What’s the outcome of it being done? Name it.

My most productive days are when I go into the office knowing full-well what product I want to be DONE before I leave for the day. When each task is clearly named with a clear outcome I can envision. When that outcome is clear to me, then I can fully focus on that and it gets done.

Funny thing is… often this is when I know I have LESS time to get it done. Because when there’s less time to do it, you’re way more focused on just getting the outcome instead of fudging around. 😇

My least productive days are when I go into the office just… to work. I’m “going to work”. I don’t really know what I’m going to accomplish that day. I haven’t stated my product. I just… go to work and serve some time. And more often than not, it is THOSE days where I get to the end of it feeling like I didn’t really make much forward headway on anything of substance.

A stated product of “2 blog posts done and ready to publish” is much better than “I’m working on my blog.”

One is a noun. A stated and clear outcome.

The other is a verb. It is just action with no orientation.

Get clear on your product and name it. Then you’ll get things done.

Let Somebody Else Deal With The “Tech Stuff”

With WP Concierge, you no longer have to deal with the tech stuff. We’ll provide all the software, maintain it for you, and provide personal support along the way. All included… and you’ll be on a first name basis with your “web guy”

Important Email Deliverability Changes Starting Shortly

In case you haven’t yet heard about it, there’s some big changes starting next month when it comes to email deliverability. Especially with Google and Yahoo email addresses.

And to be clear, this especially applies to you if you are using a hosted email service provider for your email list.

So, if you’re using something like ConvertKit, Aweber, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign or any email service provider that hosts your list for you, these changes are especially relevant and there’s a decent chance your service provider has already been in touch with you about these changes.

PostMark has a nice guide to this: Your 2024 guide to Google & Yahoo’s new requirements for email senders

It comes down to this:

  • Ensure proper domain authentication (DKIM and DMARC)
  • Ensure you have proper one-click unsubscribe.
  • Tighter spam thresholds

The one that most people need to pay attention to is the first one – DNS settings on your domain for proper DKIM and DMARC. If you don’t know what that is, check out my guide on email deliverability.

For a long time, people who use these service would just blindly trust their provider for email deliverability. Your list is sitting there in, say, ConvertKit. And you hit send and it just happens.

But now, you’re going to need to properly authenticate your domain. Otherwise, your emails are a lot less likely to get through when you send.

If you’ve been self-hosting your email list with something like FluentCRM, you likely already have less to worry about. Connecting your site to an outgoing SMTP service already requires proper domain authentication or it wouldn’t even work. And word is, a new update to FluentCRM is coming out this week that will enable one-click unsubscribe.

Ironically, then, it is the folks using a hosted provider who need to think about this more than those of us self-hosting. And that is only because so many people never bothered to authenticate their domains for sending email because they just figured their provider takes care of everything.

Here’s a few guides from some common providers…

What the heck is DMARC?

DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance.

Whew! I know. But, basically, here’s what it is…

DMARC determines what happens when emails don’t pass the authentication tests. DMARC specifies if the email is allowed anyway, quarantined, or outright rejected. And in your DMARC settings, you can specify an email address to which to send reports.

Those reports are nerdy as hell. Big XML documents and you wouldn’t even know what to do with it.

Now, there’s the thing…

Most people don’t even think about DMARC. I know I didn’t until more recently. If you even did anything with regard to DMARC, it would just be a copy/paste job when your email provider tells you what to drop into your domain’s DNS settings.

Many people have a very relaxed policy and NO reporting. Because they didn’t know where was another option.

DMARC is how you will be able to monitor your email deliverability. It is how you would know if there’s anybody out there attempting to send email from your domain by spoofing.

If you don’t monitor your DMARC reports, you just have no clue what’s going on.

So, there are DMARC monitoring services out there. A couple of them are DMARC Digests and EasyDMARC. Then, once you can actually see what’s going on, you can be more intentional about things here. Google has a useful tutorial on this: Tutorial: Recommended DMARC rollout. Basically, once you are satisified that all valid emails from yourself are being properly authenticated, you can begin to increase your enforcement level so that all others are automatically rejected.

ATTN: CONCIERGE CLIENTS

This DMARC stuff is kinda nerdy. Plus, DMARC monitoring usually entails another bill as those services aren’t typically free. There are some free ones, but they’re usually quite limited.

Well, if you’re an active client of WP Concierge, I can now offer DMARC monitoring as part of your ongoing service. I would be powering it through DMARC Report, a service I am now using for the Blog Marketing Academy to monitor this stuff.

So, if you’re already a Concierge client and are interested in getting this set up, just send me a request and I’ll make it happen.

And if you’re not yet a Concierge client, you can now add DMARC monitoring to the list of nerdy stuff I can take off your plate for you.

And together, we’ll see about maintaining your email deliverability rates.

WordPress Quick Bits…

FluentBooking 1.2.5 Released. The appointment scheduler from the “Fluent” folks has been updated and this version includes RoundRobbin scheduling, additional guest field (for booking meetings with more than two parties), and more options for your custom field types. This product is moving along beautifully. Learn more about this update here.

FluentForms 5.1.7 Update. Yep, the team also released a new update to Fluent Forms. This one brings in admin approval for entries, the ability to import entries via CSV, global inventory management, a migration from Contact Form 7, and more. Check out the full announcement here.

FluentCRM Update This Week. And yes, let’s not forget FluentCRM. Well, the update got delayed a week, so I expect it to come this week. Coming in this new version will be one-click unsubscribe (important for those coming deliverability changes with Google and Yahoo), multi-threaded sending (to make sending emails to your list faster, and some new feature. Stay tuned.

RoadmapWP Launches. RoadmapWP is a brand new plugin for public roadmaps, allowing your users to submit ideas and vote on them.

BuddyBoss launches Reactions. If you’re using the BuddyBoss platform, your site can now support reactions. Basically, instead of just liking a comment, they can respond with more granular emoji reactions. More like Facebook. Check it out.

Advanced Custom Fields Pro makes waves with a small maintenance release. ACF was upgraded to 6.2.5 as a security release, but this one made more waves than normal. For one, there’s an important change to how the_field works. If you’ve custom-coded anything using ACF shortcodes or the_field(), this update could change how that works. Secondly, ACF. Read more about the changes here.

ACF Pro License Changes. Also with ACF Pro, starting with the next version, they will now be enforcing active licenses for PRO features. In fact, word is they’re going to disable anything built with the PRPO features if you don’t have an active license. This move has garnered some mixed reactions. The plugin has definitely gotten more aggressive about the ads if you’re on the free version… and the plugin was fully GPL. Moving forward, you will need an active PRO license to be able to use the PRO features. Read more about it here on the 6.2.3 announcement, but the changes will be made official in 6.2.6.