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WordPress emails going to spam: how to check, fix and avoid!

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Concerned that your WordPress emails are going to spam?

With roughly 14.3% of all emails getting caught in spam filters or sorted into quarantine, there’s a decent chance it’s happening.

And with one in two shoppers buying from marketing emails each month, it’s definitely worth your attention.

Aside from losing the conversion opportunities, emails being sent to spam is also frustrating for your audience.

If you can’t tell whether your WordPress emails are going to spam, this guide will help you get to the bottom of it.

Avoid the spam folder with Omnisend’s email marketing tools.

How to know if your WordPress emails are going to spam?

There are a few ways to tell if your emails are going to spam. Let’s look at five options that will give you some insight:

1. Use third-party tools

How to know if your WordPress emails are going to spam?
Image via Omnisend

WordPress can connect with plugins designed to monitor your spam score and prevent unwanted blacklisting.

For example, the Check and Log Email plugin stores past emails in a dedicated folder. This means you can quickly check if they’re going out correctly.

You can also rely on WP Mail SMTP to track deliverability. Then, if you’re an Omnisend customer, you can use Omnisend’s plugin for WordPress to view the results of your campaign in real-time. You’ll also find detailed reports and analytics to help you make informed decisions.

2. Check your open rates

If you notice a significant decline in your open rates, there’s a good chance you’re losing emails to spam. Small variabilities may not mean much, but 5% could indicate major problems.

How do you check your open rates in WordPress? If you’re integrated with Omnisend, you can log into your account and check deliverability under the ‘Reports’ tab.

How to know if your WordPress emails are going to spam: Deliverability stats on Omnisend
Image via Omnisend

Just keep in mind that open rates shouldn’t be a standalone strategy for identifying spam. There could be many factors impacting your percentage (like time of day, subject lines, user segments, and so on), so you should consider other methods as well.

You can learn more about your email open rates in our comprehensive guide.

3. Ask recipients where your emails end up

One of the easiest ways to identify deliverability issues is to chat with your recipients. You can even incentivize their responses with a discount code or cash prize.

Not sure what to say?

Here’s a template to get you started:

Subject: Checking In: Are We in Your Spam?

Hi [name],

[Company] is committed to providing value in our emails, which is why we’re conducting a quick quality check.

Is our email ending up in your spam folder? You can tell us by filling out the brief survey linked below. Your feedback is crucial in helping us improve deliverability and ensure future emails land in your inbox.

[Link to Survey]

A Sweet Bonus: To show our gratitude for your time and assistance, we’re entering all participants into a giveaway drawing for [item/discount/cash/etc].

Thanks so much for your support!

Warm regards,

[Name or company]

4. Check your IP for blacklisting

How to know if your WordPress emails are going to spam: IP for blacklisting check
Image via MxToolbox

Your WordPress email address may wind up on a blacklist if it triggers spam filters or looks suspicious to malware blockers. It might be because of something you did (like adding one too many exclamation points to the header), but sometimes the reasons for getting blacklisted are totally out of your control.

Before you start panicking, let’s check if you’re actually blacklisted. Just type your address into the free MXToolbox checker and see if your IP comes back with any hits.

If you do see a hit, reach out to your host and ask to move servers. Then, do your best to prevent yourself from getting blacklisted again.

Why are WordPress emails going to spam?

As mentioned, you may see your WordPress email going to spam for many reasons — it may or may not have anything to do with you.

Some spam filters trigger over technical considerations, and specific algorithms vary according to the recipient’s email client.

There’s no way to accommodate every email client and spam filter, but you can (and should) look for ways to cut your spam rate.

Here are some reasons why you may be dealing with WordPress email spam:

1. Lack of proper email authentication

Email authentication is perhaps the number one reason why WordPress emails go to spam. It mostly revolves around three acronyms: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

There’s a lot involved with each of these concepts, so we won’t get into the nitty-gritty here. But suffice it to say that improper authentication can make your WordPress emails look suspicious to spam filters.

You can learn more about these email authentication protocols here.

2. PHP functions

WordPress was built in PHP, which means it also sends emails via wp_mail() PHP. This, unfortunately, is the method of choice for bad actors — which means some email clients mark PHP messages as spam by default.

The good news is that a dedicated email marketing platform can help you avoid this. A dedicated plugin can help as well.

We’ll get into both of these later.

3. Poor sender reputation

wordpress emails going to spam: A/B testing on Sender Score
Image via Sender Score

Your email sender reputation is a lot like a credit score: it can go up or down depending on age and behavior.

If you have a younger email domain, you’re going to have a lower score. If you’ve had multiple spam complaints, it will drop further still.

But take a deep breath — your reputation is repairable.

You can use Sender Score in conjunction with A/B testing to remediate your domain over time.

4. Current WordPress plugins

Believe it or not, your plugins may be the reason your emails go to spam.

In an effort to protect your identity via spoofing, some contact form plugins trigger spam filters and wind up quarantining your messages.

You should check if your plugin is masking your email address. If it is, you can turn off the setting. If there’s no option available for this, you should switch to a different plugin.

Great email deliverability is our #1 priority.

How do I stop WordPress emails from going to spam?

Here’s how to prevent your website email from going to spam in WordPress — starting with the quickest and easiest solution.

1. Install a reliable SMTP plugin

WP Mail SMTP
Image via WP Mail SMTP

As mentioned earlier, WordPress uses its default PHP mail function to send emails. This could trigger certain spam filters and significantly reduce deliverability rates.

To combat this, you can use plugins like WP Mail SMTP to configure your site to use SMTP.

Some pointers:

  • Make sure you choose the right settings. Change your encryption to TLS, set the plugin as your default mailer, and use the ‘force from email’ option to maximize deliverability.
  • You need to verify your DNS records before sending emails. You can use this step-by-step guide to send a test email and be on your way.
  • Check to see if your plugins are compatible with one another. This is a common issue while troubleshooting WP SMTP.

2. Proper email authentication

Email platforms need to know if your emails are legitimate. If they can’t be sure that you are who you say you are, there’s a much larger chance your emails will get marked as spam.

To avoid this, you can set up email authentication methods like SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). These three protocols work with Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) to build greater trust with ESPs.

3. Use a professional email address

a professional email address example

As tempting as it is to use an existing email address, a professional sender’s email has a much better chance of avoiding spam.

Domain-based email addresses (like [email protected]) are less likely to be flagged compared to generic free email services.

And while emails aren’t case-sensitive, be sure not to add anything ‘unprofessional’ to the address (like numbers, hyphens, or lots of periods).

4. Regularly update your WordPress site

If you want airtight security against spammers and malicious actors, your website needs to be up to date at all times. If that’s not something you can manage yourself, it may be worth hiring a security expert to help you.

You need to update everything on your site to avoid potential spam, including:

  • Themes
  • Plugins
  • WordPress itself

Be sure to upgrade your site’s backup as well to avoid vulnerabilities spammers might exploit.

5. Implement reCAPTCHA on forms

 reCAPTCHA on forms
Image via reCAPTCHA

Spam submissions on WordPress are a dime-a-dozen, which unfortunately raises your risks of getting flagged as spam.

Thankfully, reCAPTCHA is a great way to avoid the brunt of the spammer’s attack. It’s simple and easy for any (real) human to use.

Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

6. Manage email content and frequency

Some email marketers feel like writing something is better than nothing. But this isn’t exactly true, especially when it comes to deliverability.

Sending out poor-quality, high-volume emails could negatively impact your domain’s reputation. It also won’t do any favors for your brand, since badly written emails typically lead to bad conversion rates.

Be sure your emails are relevant to your audience by writing quality content to ensure deliverability. Spacing and timing also have a role to play — avoid sending too many emails in a short period of time.

7. Clean your email list

wordpress emails going to spam: Omnisend healthy email list
Image via Omnisend

Bad data hurts good businesses, especially when it comes to emails. Sure, those 2,000 subscribers look great on paper, but if half of them are inactive, it’s really just a vanity metric.

If you want to maintain a healthy deliverability rate, you need to remove inactive subscribers and bounced email addresses.

8. Monitor your email deliverability

As you can see, email deliverability is all about washing, rinsing, and repeating.

Once you’ve implemented one or more strategies, you can review your campaign’s metrics to see how the latest email fared.

Keep an eye on your email deliverability rates and check for any emails marked as spam. This can help you to assess your progress and change your strategy if necessary.

Advanced email deliverability techniques

When it comes to email deliverability techniques, we’ve barely scratched the surface.

If you’re interested in more complex strategies, you can dive into the solutions below.

1. Use subdomains

Subdomains can be a game changer, especially if you’re using WordPress to send many different types of emails.

For example, instead of sending all your emails through a single domain, you can splice departments into subdomains to set expectations with your customers.

This could be:

The more effectively you use subdomains for email campaigns, the faster you can boost your brand authority and authenticate your emails.

2. Follow opt in/opt out guidelines

Follow opt in/opt out guidelines
Image via Omnisend

You should only send emails to contacts you know have opted in. This is to ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR and the CAN-SPAM Act (and avoid the ire of unhappy recipients).

You can use Omnisend’s contact forms to get opt-in consent right away. We also encourage enabling double opt-in so people can’t be accidentally added to your list.

Don’t forget to include an opt-out clause so subscribers can leave at any time.

3. Segment your emails

Email segmentation
Image via Omnisend

Not every contact loves your brand for the same reason — which means not everyone on your list engages with the same type of content. That’s where segmentation comes into play: it’s a powerful way to target individuals based on their interests and behaviors.

Let’s say you want to send a marketing campaign specifically targeting people who have purchased from you in the last six months. You wouldn’t want to send this to everyone on your list, because most people won’t fit the criteria.

With Omnisend, you can segment your audience based on behavior and boost overall engagement. You can also create automated workflows that nurture relationships and sell your products on autopilot — such as sending an abandoned cart reminder to anyone who added items to their cart but didn’t complete the checkout process.

Not sure where to start? Discover our list of the top 10 segmentation ideas.

4. Avoid shared servers (for large senders)

If you’re a high-volume sender or an enterprise brand, you may want to investigate a dedicated IP. These boost your reputation and email delivery rates — provided you’re willing to do what it takes to maintain your score.

You may want a dedicated IP for emails if:

  • You send 300,000 messages or more per week
  • Youo email sending practices and data management techniques are excellent
  • You regularly clean your contact list and use double opt-in to verify consent

You may not want a dedicated IP for emails if:

  • Your bounce rate is above 4%
  • You aren’t willing to wait and ‘warm up’ the new IP
  • You don’t send a high volume of emails per week

5. Focus on IP warming

You wouldn’t give your credit card to someone you just met, would you? The same concept applies to new email domains.

You need to establish a reputation before spam filters (and customers) know what to expect. Move too quickly, and you might start to look suspicious.

IP warming is the best way to show your (good) intentions to ISPs, ESPs, and recipients. All you have to do is slowly increase your volume of emails — your deliverability rates should climb over time.

Here’s a sample schedule to get you started:

 Focus on IP warming

Check out our guide to our automated warm-ups feature so you can launch a domain in the safest way possible.

Omnisend — ensure good email deliverability

good email deliverability with Omnisend
Image via Omnisend

If you’re looking for a reliable email marketing platform, Omnisend is trusted by over 100,000 ecommerce brands just like yours and has 5,000 5-star reviews on the Shopify App Store.

Here’s how we avoid WordPress email going to spam and ensure better email deliverability with any WordPress campaign:

  • Email authentication: By linking your bulk-sending domain with our email marketing software, you can prove to providers you’re a real and legitimate business (and stay out of spam folders).
  • Double opt-in signup forms: As mentioned earlier, Omnisend supports double opt-in forms so users can confirm their subscription to your list. They’ll be far less likely to mark your emails as spam and inadvertently damage your domain reputation.
  • Warm-up automation: Omnisend automates the IP warm-up process so you don’t accidentally overstep your email boundaries. We go into detail on our email sender reputation management process here.
  • Regular email list cleaning: Cleaning an email list helps you get rid of bounced email addresses and unengaged recipients, and focusing on active subscribers. With Omnisend, you can easily clean your list, segment contacts by quality, and consider opportunities for improvement at the touch of a button.
  • Managing email engagement: Engagement tracking is a major factor in spam filters from Yahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. We suggest monitoring your email engagement rates and removing inactive recipients who don’t open your emails.
  • Coaching on best practices: To avoid spammy content, we recommend avoiding lots of exclamation points, reducing the size of your emails, and maintaining a good text-to-image ratio.

Wrap up

WordPress is a fantastic platform for websites, but it has a reputation for triggering email spam filters too.

By implementing the strategies outlined above, you’ll significantly enhance the chances of your WordPress emails reaching the inbox instead of going to spam, thus ensuring better email deliverability.

You should start with the basics to check for improvement, including an SMTP plugin to avoid spam filters. Then, you can branch into more advanced techniques like IP warming and email subdomains.

For WordPress users at either end of the spectrum, Omnisend offers an easy way to check, fix, and avoid the spam folder — and our free plan is free forever.

Say goodbye to WordPress sending spam email. Sign up for Omnisend today.
Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.


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