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Email Deliverability Solutions

Emails Showing up In Spam Folder

This past week I ran a number of email tests using analyze.email. This website will analyze an email for the general "spamminess" of the email based on your server settings and the email content. My initial tests scored an awful 2.3 out of 10. After making several changes to the content and some server settings I have increased this to a 7.3 out of 10.

Email Content Problems

The report complained about two main content problems.

  • The email was classified based on the content as "BODY: Freedom of a financial nature." This dropped the score a few points. Being a fundraising letter for a libertarian candidate, I'm not sure what I can do about this. I left the text of the email the same.
  • The email used a message template and included links and embedded images. The email analyzer complained that the links and images contained a mixture of http and https references. I changed them all to use https.

Email Server Problems

It goes without saying that an essential part of successful email lists is a properly configured mail server. Key to having good deliverability from a server includes properly configured DNS settings. These include:

Most of these are fairly straightforward to set up. They can be tested by various testing sites. Looking at your message header of an email sent from your server will also tell you something. My email had most of this correct. But I need to tweak the DMARC record and fix the DKIM record.

Read more ...

Website Status

The website is always in a state of change. I currently have requests to update the look of the site. Prior to any update to the look of the site I need to update the software on the site. We currently run Joomla 2.5. This version is no longer supported. We need to update the site to the current version of Joomla (3.6.X). However the upgrade path from 2.5 to 3.6 currently fails (as tested on a back up copy of the site). In order to get the site updated I need to upgrade various extensions and plug-ins (and disable some that can't be updated). Below is a summary of the current status of these extensions.

For a related article see the article on Jay getting hit by a bus.

ExtensionInstalled VersionDesired VersionNotes
AllVideos 4.7.0 for 2.5  4.7.0 for 3.X  Need to upgrade post install of 3.X
DJ Image Slider 3.0.3 3.03 This is the slideshow used on the site, updated 8/12
Facebook Comments 1.2 1.2 Allows users to leave comments on articles
JO Facebook Events Pro 3.6 3.6 This update costs $12
Sexy Eye Slideshow 2.0 4.0 $12 (not sure I'm still using this)
Mini Front Page 2.2.3 (for 2.5) 2.2.3 (for 3.X) Free update (they have different versions for 2.5 vs 3.X. Need to reinstall again after upgrade.
Social Fancy Sliders 4.5 4.5 Update costs $16.25. This should fix the broken youtube slider. Need to update again post 3.X.
Community Builder 2.0.10 2.0.10 Free (unless I want to roll in CB Extensions)
CB Connect 5.0 6.0 Costs $99. Allows one to login to the site using facebook. Not sure this is really needed? Dorit requested this so I bought it in the past. (CURRENTLY DISABLED)
Virtumart 3.0.9 3.0.9 Already up to date, allows us to have shopping cart functionality
DocMan 2.1.3 2.1.3 Allows us to serve documents in a coherent way. Used for the newsletters. Update costs $69. Its pricey, but I haven't found anything else that works as well. Plus if I install something else I would need to spend too much time reconfiguring each of the old newsletter descriptions.
Fox Contact 2.0.19 3.4 This drives the contact us page. Update costs 10 Euros. 2.5 and 3.X versions sold separately. Update after 3.X upgrade.
Kunena 4.0.4 4.0.4 This is for the forum. Its a free update.
offlajn 1.0   This extension is what gave me errors on the update. Perhaps remove? I'm not sure what it is for. I think it was part of another extension. DISABLED
uddeIM 3.7 3.7 This allows for Instant Messaging between users of the site. It isn't used often, but I have been messaged a few times. This works along with Community Builder.
BitPay VM Plugin 1.00 3.3? I updated it with the latest version but the installed version number still shows 1.00??? It seems to work fine. I think its ok.
civicrm 4.4.19 4.4.19 Updated on 8/20. There is a newer version, but I'm keeping with the Long Term Support version due to experiences with bugs that they allow in the newer versions.
       

Once these are up to date I will need to:

  • take a snapshot of the website and copy that snapshot over to test.njlp.org
  • upgrade test.njlp.org to the latest version of Joomla
  • If successful upgrade njlp.org to the latest version of Joomla

Once this is done I can create a new template which updates the color schemes, layout, and logo.

Additional Notes

During the attempt at upgrading the error I got was "Joomla upgrade failed plugins/systemdojoloader/dojoloader.php (17) trying to open plugins/system/offlajnjoomla3/compat/offlajnjoomla3compat.php".

How to Accept BitCoin using civicrm

I run joomla 2.5 with civicrm. This will probably work for any civicrm installation, but the path to folders may differ. The code is found here and the developer notes are found here. When I installed the code version was last updated on 9/5/2014.

  • download and extract the zip file to media/civcrm/extensions (may need to create extensions directory)
  • Create a bitpay.com account. Link the account to your bank account. Under "Your Account", create an API key if you don't already have one.
  • Open Joomla admin panel for site and go to the extension civicrm
  • go to Administer -> System Settings -> Extensions and make sure extensions directory is media/civicrm/extensions
  • go to Administer -> System Settings -> Manage Extensions
  • Click "Add New". Then press Refresh. It should then show the Bitcoin extension - press Install and confirm to finish installation.
  • Administer -> System Settings -> Payment Processors. Add a new payment processor. Select type of BitPay (BitCoin won't work at this time), give it a name (the name will show up as an option for your users), and select Payment Processor Account for account. Paste in your BitPay api key. Uncheck the default payment checkbox (unless that is what you want).
  • create or edit a contribution page. Select the payment processors you want to be allowed for options including the new BitCoin payment processor. At this point your code will work, however transactions will get stuck as Pending.
  • set up a civicrm cron job to run every 10-15 minutes or so. I did this with cpanel. Other options may be available to you. I first created a civicrm-cron.php file in my home directory. In it I had the following:
<?php
    system('/usr/local/bin/php /PATHTOPUBLICHTML/administrator/components/com_civicrm/civicrm/bin/cli.php -u cronuser -p PASSWORD -e Job -a execute');
?>

cronuser is a joomla user with admin access. I then set the cron to execute this file. The cron command is: "/usr/local/bin/php /MYHOMEPATH/civicrm-cron.php" and is set to run every 13 minutes.

  • set up the civicrm scheduled jobs by logging into the civicrm admin panel. Administer->System Settings -> Scheduled Jobs. Enable Update Bit Pay Invoices to run every time the cron runs. (I had known nothing about this cron. I suggest also enabling the Membership Status Processor if you are new to these settings as well.)

That should do it! BitPay only transfers to your bank account once you have more than $20 in credit.

If you need any additional help feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional Notes

The cron on my system sends out an email alert to me if anything is returned. This was useful in figuring out errors. However once I got it running I was still getting a non-consequential error (. I fixed by adding " >/dev/null 2>&1" to the cron command.

It takes awhile for the contribution to be shown as completed (about 20 minutes).

The code had a problem that I fixed by adding a call to bitcoin_init to civicrm_api3_job_update_bitpay_invoices. I let the developer know. I'm not sure if the extension was updated to fix this problem.

At some point I had a problem with the display of the bitpay iframe so I added &view=iframe to the address shown in custom/templates/BitPay/Payments/page.tpl. (see comments on the authors developer page for more info).

NJLP Server Move

The NJLP has moved to a more reliable server. If you have any problems with the website notify the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Website Updated

The website software has been upgraded to the most recent version.

The changes to our membership software were extensive. If you have any troubles email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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