Why aren’t my emails going through?

As of February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo are tightening up restrictions on bulk email sending, the same as what Microsoft has been doing for years.

Domain authentication will be required by Google and Yahoo by April 1st. Any emails sent from domains that haven’t been authenticated will be rejected ☹️, and frankly, we’ve seen how email companies are already cracking down on emails!

This is a big change – and a GOOD change, as it helps to ensure your emails don’t end up in spam folders and that no one can send emails that look like they’ve come from your website.

Disclaimer: The links below may be affiliate links. If you purchase any products after clicking on these links, at no additional cost to you, Called to Design will receive a small commission for making you aware of these important resources.

Be careful with this message warning for emails

Many steps to email domain authentication…

Unfortunately, domain authentication is not just a single step that will get you into a good position, but I have outlined some of the steps below for reference.

For several of these steps, you will need access to your DNS provider to be able to add CNAME or TXT records. Some examples of DNS providers are Namecheap, Go Daddy, and Squarespace. Google Domains used to be another option, but unless you manually switched to something else, it is now part of Squarespace.

For editing in NameCheap, go to your Domains, click the Manage button next to the website domain name, and select Advanced DNS.

Advanced DNS in NameCheap

Other domain name servers should have instructions on how to update the DNS on their websites.

Step 1: Check for Google Site Verification

In Google Postmaster Tools, check to see if you have your domain verified. You will need to add a TXT record with “google-site-verification” as part of the value, and click the button to authenticate through Google.

examples of DNS records
Examples of DNS records

Set up one SPF record

You can have only one SPF text (TXT) record per domain/website, and it needs to include all of the places where you could send emails from (up to a maximum of 10 sites):

  • Google Workspace
  • your website
  • Stripe/PayPal
  • email services (e.g. Mailchimp, Convertkit, Active Campaign)
  • and other platforms, (e.g. Thinkific, Circle, Freshbooks, etc.)

An example that will allow Mailerlite (mlsend) and Google to send emails would be this:
v=spf1 include:_spf.mlsend.com +a +mx include:_spf.google.com ~all

Honestly, I have found this to be the most difficult step – finding the values that need to be plugged in for each platform.

Set up DKIM records for your emails

Set up DKIM records for each one of the platforms determined above. The values will be provided by the platforms.
For example, for Google Workspace, you need to set up a new record by going into

  • https://admin.google.com
  • Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail
  • Authenticate email
  • Select domain
  • Generate new record (2048 if possible); default is google
  • Click the Generate button.

This will give you a google._domainkey with the value similar to v=DKIM1; k=rsa; p={really long string} that needs to be added as a TXT record in your DNS.

You may need to add other DKIM records such as mail._domainkey as TXT records as well.

Set up DMARC

This is a single TXT record in your DNS that is your policy for what to do if something goes wrong.

An example would be v=DMARC1;p=none;pct=100;rua=mailto:XXXXXX@YYYYYYYYYYY.com;ruf=mailto:XXXXXX@YYYYYYYYYYY.com;ri=86400;fo=1 where the mailto: parts are your email address or someone that will be handling monitoring your email process.

This means that you may start to receive several emails a day with reports. What to do with those reports? That’s a whole separate topic.

Once these are set up, I like to use a tool like Easy DMARC to ensure it is set up properly. This tool will check SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for issues.

Other things to do to get your email compliant

Use a domain email address

This is a critical piece. If you are sending bulk emails from a @gmail or @yahoo email address, it will NOT get delivered. These need to come from your domain now – such as yourname@yourcompany.com.

Don’t have a domain email address? Google Workspace is easy to set up and is just $6/month for one user!

Remove old emails

If you have an email list, remove anyone who hasn’t opened your emails in 60-90 days. This is especially important if you have more than 5000 subscribers. There should be a way to query within the email provider platform to either mark them as Archived or Unsubscribed.

Note that for some providers (like MailChimp), marking an email address as Unsubscribed will still count towards your total number of subscribers. It is better to use the archive option. Also, if you mark someone as Unsubscribed, the only way they can get back into your Active list, is if they re-subscribe.

Unsubscribes for emails

Make sure that your emails have proper Unsubscribe buttons or links so you don’t get flagged as SPAM.

And more…

There is much more that you can do to ensure your email deliverability and engagement rates stay high and people flagging your emails as spam stay low, but I wanted to focus this post mainly on the changes that are happening. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter for more tips!

Need help with your emails?

If all of the steps below seem overwhelming (believe me, I completely understand, because I’ve been struggling myself!), I can help out. Just let me know and I will schedule in some time to get this set up for you. I will need access to the owner of your domain (DNS) – and getting me logged in is often the hardest part of the whole process.

Are you a current client? You can just email me to have me schedule time for this setup.
Not a current client? Part of the process will be to meet with me and to have you sign a contract for setup.

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