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How To Avoid Emails Being Marked As Spam?

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SPAM is an unsolicited email message, and it is a common issue nowadays. This article will explain how you can improve your regular emails.
There are a few general aspects that you should check periodically or every time you make changes in each of them. Make sure they are correct and don’t affect your emails in the wrong way.

Check server

Mail server – you should periodically check if your server isn’t blacklisted. There are plenty of tools for that online, like this one. If the server is blacklisted, you can contact Hostens support and ask for instructions. If it’s a shared hosting server, we will take care of it.

Protect with SSL certificate

SSL certificate – mail servers can use the SSL as well as SMTP Authentication, these settings are set by default on web hosting packages and are required in most cases. We have detailed instructions on how to use these settings.

Is your domain blacklisted?

Domain – in rare cases, a domain can be blacklisted as well, if, for example, it was used in spam activity previously. You can check if the domain is blacklisted on the same link that is given in the previous paragraph. If the domain is listed, you will have to manually delist it, since the domain is the customer’s responsibility.

DNS records

There are a few important records for sending emails that help to verify the sender, and verification means it is less likely that such an email will be marked as a spam message. SPF is the most common and very effective record.  If you use our nameservers, it is created automatically on Hostens. We have a tutorial for SPF as well. Also, there is a DKIM record that allows signing the email with a digital signature. This also makes the email much more trustworthy. DMARC record allows to strengthen the email’s trustability as well, however, it’s not common, as a good SPF and DKIM are enough.

Pay attention to email content

Another important thing is the message itself or the content that you send. There are quite a few things you can check and make sure they will not cause any issues and your emails will be clean. Keep in mind that you can ignore the suggestions below if you send emails locally, the local server doesn’t check email content in most cases.
Keywords – spam filters are smart, and in most cases, they will instantly mark emails with the most popular keywords like “best offer”, “discount”, “massive sale”, or more specific ones like “sex”, “drugs” etc. So be aware of what words you use in the message. It does not mean that you can’t use them, it’s just that you should replace them with synonyms if you use them more than once.
External  URL links – email messages shouldn’t contain too many external URL links. The external URLs have their own server and domain name, usually spam filter checks if any of them is blacklisted, and if your email contains such a link, it will most likely be considered as spam. Also, public URL shortenings should be avoided, you can easily hide the long URL with HTML for convenience.
Attachments – every archived attachment in the email leads to email ending up in a SPAM folder or rejected in most cases. It’s best if you upload the file somewhere and just add an URL link on the message content. Some file formats like ‘.exe’ are rejected or marked as spam by most receiving mail servers, so just think twice before adding an attachment and avoid it if it’s not necessary.
List-Unsubscribe header – if you do send periodic emails to some subscribers or one-off recipients, you should always add an option that allows them to unsubscribe. Having this option generally improves your emails.

Take care of your email reputation

These are just some objective factors that could affect your email reputation, but you can never know for sure if someone on the recipient side hasn’t blocked you after the third unsolicited email from you.
P.S. Each receiving server might have a SPAM filter of their own, with particular criteria, so the tutorial doesn’t guarantee email deliverability. Your emails may still trigger SPAM filters due to some other reasons.

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