Don’t forget the emails

Have you ever signed up for a new site or product, forgotten about it, only to remember later when you check your inbox and see the welcome email? What if that email looked nothing like the service you signed up for? It would lead to a lot of questions in your mind, rather than a delightful reminder.

A few months ago I was working to bring standalone domains to WordPress.com. It came at a time right after my team launched get.blog. We used what we learned from that project to make an impact for millions more users.

As part of our first milestone, I looked at an important piece of the flow: emails.

While important, many products I’ve used seem to consider emails an afterthought. A quick to-do item or a loose end to wrap up before launching. If you think that way, you’re not considering the whole flow.

The welcome email

After the user activates their account, we send a welcome email. Because of how WordPress.com was structured, you couldn’t have a domain without a site attached to it. So all of our emails were targeted to site and content creation.

This doesn’t make much sense in the context of purchasing only a domain. Had we just reused the existing welcome email, we would add confusion to the process and potentially increase load on our support staff.

welcome-email.png

I worked together with a great copy designer to update the text of this email. If you don’t have a copy designer on your team, I highly recommend it. It’s fantastic to think about content and tone as part of the process of designing a product.

Through the text of this welcome email we get the user excited about their new account. They’re now excited about the possibilities and we push them further to start a site on their new domain. We also provide the important information about how to access their account later.

The receipt email

The receipt we send when someone purchases a domain for their site splits registration and domain mapping (directing your domain to the site) into two separate line items. While this is technically what happens, it is inconsistent with how it’s displayed during checkout making it confusing and misleading to users.

On the backend we create a site invisible to the user when they purchase a domain. Showing mapping and registration as separate items may create the impression that when purchasing a domain only, one should pay only the amount for registration.

receipt-email-1.png

By combining the registration and mapping fees to one item, we clear up that confusion. The text at the top of the receipt is used to motivate the user again to start a site. We make starting a site or connecting to an existing site very easy and we want to communicate that benefit.

There are also calls to action below the receipt section which needed some thought. Each section on the receipt for site upgrades was, again, targeted at content creation. We had to think about what makes the most sense to put there. What will help a user make the most of their domain and answer any questions.

Working with the copy designer again we came up with a few short sentences and buttons to educate people about domains. Now, throughout the entire process of signing up and purchasing we don’t ever leave the user feeling stranded or confused.


Emails help to create a cohesive experience from start to finish. It reduces cognitive overhead and friction. It shows you put a lot of thought into every aspect of your product.When users can make a meaningful connection between the product they are interacting with on the web and the email sitting in their inbox, it instills trust and delights them.

2 thoughts on “Don’t forget the emails

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