Fixing The Issue of Not Receiving Gravity Form Notifications

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First off, we love Gravity Forms. We use it on pretty much all of our website projects, and in my opinion, it’s the best form product out there.

But, sometimes a common error comes up: you don’t (or your client doesn’t) receive form notifications for some reason or another. That’s obviously a big problem when the forms are the primary way of contact and you/your client may miss out on a lead.

So how do you fix it? I’ve worked through a lot of possible solutions dealing with this issue, and after a lot of searching online and piecing together information, I thought I’d write a post about some things you might want to check out to try and resolve it, including the order that I usually try resolving it in.

If you’re having problems receiving notifications from Gravity Forms, here are some things to try:

Step 1. Double Check the ‘Send to Email’ address

Ok, so this one seems obvious, but you never know, so just to get it out of the way, make sure that you have the ‘Send to Email’ notification value being sent to the correct email address.

Step 2. Spoofing

The Problem – Sometimes, it’s nice when you receive a notification about a form being completed showing that it came from the user by defining the ‘From Email’ value as the email variable that the user has filled out on the form. A lot of hosts will think of this as spoofing though as the email, technically, isn’t coming from that email address.

The Fix – Instead of using the email variable value, change it to an email on your host. You can use something like: noreply@[thewebsiteurl.com]. For this, make sure you use the same URL that the website with the form issue uses as it’s main domain. I’ve had success with both email addresses that actually exist and ones that don’t, so I don’t believe that it actually existing at the host is a requirement.

Step 3. The wp_mail Function

The Problem – By default, Gravity Forms uses the built in wp_mail function to send the emails. Normally, that isn’t a problem. In fact, it works fine on some hosts, but on others, it doesn’t.

The Fix – The solution here is to replace the wp_mail function and have emails sent from the website use SMTP instead. To do that, you’ll want to login to your hosting account, and actually create a functional email address that you won’t really use for anything else. Something like: noreply@thewebsiteurl.com will work (you could actually use a live email address, but things could get mixed up that way AND you need to include the actual email password, etc in WordPress). Then, you’ll want to install a plugin for the SMTP email function. That will allow emails to be sent by SMTP rather than from wp_mail. I’ve had good results with this plugin. Once you setup the email address, and install/configure the plugin, you should be good to go.

Step 4. Outgoing Emails Blocked by the Host

The Problem – Has your site been hacked lately or been used as part of a phishing scam? If so, your host may have blocked outgoing emails at the server level.

The Fix – Contact your host and ask them to check if outgoing emails are being blocked. If they are, ask them to unblock them. I’ve found that this isn’t really noticeable as you can still send/receive emails fine via your email client, so it isn’t easy to notice it.

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Did I miss something? Do you have another solution for not receiving notifications from Gravity Forms? Let me know about it so we can make this post for useful for other people having the same frustrating problem.

WE’RE SPONSORING WORDCAMP TORONTO 2014

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We’re sponsoring WordCamp Toronto again this year. If you’ve never been, but you use WordPress as part of your day-to-day, then you should definitely check it out this year!

No matter what your skill level is, there’s always something for everyone. While they’re still putting together the schedule, tickets, etc, it’s usually a fairly inexpensive event that offers a lot. We hope to see you there!

You can check out our sponsorship page right here.

WHY WE BROKE UP WITH BASECAMP

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We’ve been using Basecamp at artifakt Digital since day 1. I think it was even one of the very first tools I added to our workflow when first setting up artifakt, which I probably found by Googling ‘Website Project Management Apps’.

Project management is pretty key for me; I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to project management workflow, and it became apparent to me as I began to manage more and more detail-orientated projects that #Basecamp just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore, and that it wouldn’t satisfy my compulsive, obsessive-like view of project management.

Where Basecamp Worked Well

Basecamp’s beauty is in its simplicity; and Basecamp does that really well. A main part of Basecamp’s philosophy is to limit what features they add, keep it super-simple, and instead, focus on providing a base project management tool that’s easy to use and simple to set up, and that it certainly is. It’s dead-simple to begin managing projects, onboarding new people (even those with limited technical ability), and get setup and running in no time at all.

Where Basecamp Fell Short

In my opinion, simplicity has its drawbacks though; for one, Basecamp was just too simple. I remember about 6 months ago they finally introduced the ability to have a task list that you could identify as one that anyone you identified ‘the client’ couldn’t see. How we worked for so long without that feature is really beyond me. But even this feature was a bit too simple as you could only limit it to the group you identified as ‘the client’, and not individual people instead.

Basecamp is a bit spammy too, or so most of the people on our team and clients say (it’s even earned the nickname of Spamcamp internally). It has a habit constantly emailing the people involved on a project when tasks are added, when a comment is added to a discussion, etc. Most of the time, I’m told, the emails they get have nothing to do with them at all, so they end up deleting it, and inevitably, ignoring Basecamp emails all together. One person on a project we were working on actually had an email folder called Spamcamp with a rule that sends Basecamp emails there to keep his inbox clean!

Finding Something New

I’m always looking for new tools that will improve our workflow, so of course I’d thought about changing project management software before, but couldn’t find anything I really liked; until I met Teamwork.com, and it was basically love-at-first-sight for me.

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Teamwork.com is some serious project management. If I could send all of my feature requests to Basecamp over the years, and they actually implemented them, I’d have something like Teamwork.com already. It fills all of the holes that I thought Basecamp had, and it still presents all of the information to everyone in a way that’s easy for everyone on the project to understand.

Some of things Teamwork.com does that I really like are:

  • It sends way less emails: It has a really nice daily email that gets sent with the information people need, and, when it’s created, it lets you decide whether a task, task list, etc should send a notification email to everyone involved or not.
  • You can make multiple people accountable: When you’re creating a task, milestone, etc, you have the ability to assign it to multiple people, instead of being limited to one.
  • You can set project milestones: Milestones can be set to let you know if everything is moving along at the pace you want it to.
  • It’s private when you want it to be: When you’re creating task lists, tasks, etc, you can control the privacy so that you, your team, or your client can see as little or as much as you need them to.
  • You can set dependencies: If you have a task that you’re creating that is dependent on another task being completed, you can indicate that so that the task cant be marked completed unless the dependent one is.
  • It has a high-level view of projects: Once you set the milestones and the project’s start and end dates, the Project Chart view gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s going on and where each project should be to be completed on time.
  • They listen: I’ve sent a bunch of requests to the folks at Teamwork.com; some they implemented, some they didn’t, but they always acknowledge the feature request. The bottom line is that they listen to what the community wants, and implement it if it makes sense to.

We’re really loving using Teamwork.com so far. If you want to check it out, click here to use our referral link (which we’d really appreciate).

– Andre Bodnar

We’re Looking for a Front-end Developer

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We’re currently looking for a front-end website developer to join our team on an initial part-time, contract basis. Here’s what we think the perfect person will be able to do:

  • have a strong background and experience developing with HTML and CSS
  • have a good handle on working with #Git version control
  • have the ability to setup/run a local #WordPress environment as part of our development process
  • have a good handle on developing with #Bootstrap framework
  • have the ability to work towards and manage project deadlines
  • have the ability to work independently as part of a remote-based team

If you’re interested, please apply on our website here. Please be sure to include your ideal rate of pay. We work collectively 1 day a week in the office, and the rest of the time we work in the cloud, so you can work remotely and independently on those days.

Why We Changed Our Name

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In the past couple years, we’ve grown a lot. When I first started artifakt, I had dreams of it being a communications company, with a focus on writing and communications work, but it didn’t quite turn out that way… As we took on more digital products, and I became more interested in digital, like UI/UX, #WordPress, #Bootstrap, and digital workflows, and as we grew by taking on some really talented people passionate about the same, our collective focus shifted to digital, and away from my vision of general communications.

So today, I’m proud to tell you that we’ve changed our name, and we’re no longer operating as ‘artifakt Communications’; Our new name is: ‘artifakt Digital Inc.’ We think this new name better helps align our business’ core values and our focus on digital experiences. If you haven’t seen it yet, feel free to check out our newly relaunched website at www.artifakt.ca, which we think helps showcase our love of the digital space, and our new commitment to it.

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement over the past couple years. We couldn’t have done any of this without you.

– Andre

Our WordPress #Hashtag Plugin Released

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Awhile back Adam and I got to talking about how cool it would be to introduce a way of hashtagging words/phrases on a WordPress website, just like you can on Twitter, and in no time at all, Adam had our first working version finished and running. We’ve been adding it as a default feature on a couple client sites, but the other day, we decided to make a few upgrades, and then release it into the wild at WordPress.org.

Right now, it’s still pretty basic, but we’ve been talking about how we can improve it and add more features, which we plan to do later. For now, you can download it here (and if you do, please remember to rate it ;). Want to see the plugin in action? Click here to see it working with the #WordPress keyword.

UPDATE: We just updated this plugin to include custom taxonomy, better search results, and a couple more tweaks.

artifakt.ca Relaunched and Completley Rethought

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In the last couple years, we’ve learned a ton about what we do, and we’ve worked hard as a team to improve our design and development processes, and so, our old, templated site didn’t make sense; it didn’t represent us anymore at all. We wanted to move to something more custom (using #Bootstrap of course), more personal, and more reflective of our our love of creating websites that authentically represent their brands; and we think our new website really does that for us.

First off, we wanted to streamline our site. There was simply way too many pages and way too much content to reflect the simple, minimized page structure and layout that we always pitch to our clients. This less-is-more approach allowed us to ditch a lot of the stuff we simply didn’t need on our site, like separated services. We wanted our new site to show just a couple things to the user: who we are, what we do, who our team is, and how to contact us; and that’s it! Everything else felt unnecessary.

 

We also wanted to push what we did a bit by incorporating some functionality that we thought was pretty cool, like the animated ‘Get a Quote’ button and popup service panels on the homepage. We even spent a bit of time on a fun 404 page.

You can check out our new at www.artifakt.ca.

For our blog (which you’re looking at right now), we decided to go with a free #WordPress template called Writr, because the look-and-feel of it still fit our redesign so well. We just spent a bit of time going through old posts, and deleting what no longer made sense or was no longer relevant.

We’d love your feedback on our new redesigns folks.