Did you know the first email as we know it was sent in 1971? Since then popularity with email has increased massively and nearly all organisations rely on it every single day. In 2019 over 293 billion emails are sent every day, a number which is predicted to rise significantly year on year.
With this in mind, email is in business is vital. It’s now easier than ever to create email addresses however having a custom email address is nearly important as email itself in order be seen as professional.
How do I get a custom email address?
In order to set up a custom email address, you’ll need a domain name and one of the following methods of hosting. If you have your own website chances are you’ll already have a domain name (such as lykeltd.com), but if not you can register one for around £10 per year with any good registrar. We recommend Namecheap.
Included with most website hosting packages is the ability to set up mailboxes too. In most cases, you’ll be limited to the size of each mailbox or the number of email addresses you can have however some web hosting companies do offer unlimited everything.
With our web hosting, we include up to 20 email addresses. If you’d like to know how to set up email addresses up, please do get in touch.
This is similar to web hosting, but this only hosts email accounts and is, in most cases, cheaper than web hosting. If you don’t already have a domain name, most email hosting companies offer one free.
No, we haven’t made a mistake here hosted email is different from email hosting. Here we are talking about the likes of Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Gmail for business and even Zoho Mail. If you imagine that with email hosting you are paying for a specialised server, with the hosted email you are paying for the mailbox itself. Therefore, all email is processed and stored on the email providers’ server (in a secure and encrypted way) which makes it easier to scale your email solution as your business grows. It also means you only have to consider what email addresses you require rather than the level of hosting.
What is a custom email address?
Most people are familiar with emails from the likes of Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud and Yahoo. All these offer an unlimited amount of free email addresses with various endings and a ‘username’ of your choice (as long as it hasn’t already been taken) such as email@example.com. When we say custom email addresses, we mean any email ending in your own domain such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is having one important?
- Appearance. We get it, looks aren’t everything. However, your email address is part of your professional image and that really does matter. So many times have we seen businesses spend thousands of pounds on their branding only to be let down by a generic email address that most likely does their professionalism and talent injustice. Now, don’t get us wrong – some people couldn’t care less – but if you’re serious about business you need clients that do care about your email address.
- Memorability. Statistically speaking, it is rare for the average person to only have one email address. In fact, I have about 10 different email addresses. Point is, the number of email addresses that exist is beyond comprehension so the chances of registering your ideal email address are slim. Even if you manage to though, there’s a surprising amount of domains to choose from – for instance Hotmail has @hotmail.com as well as @hotmail.co.uk and @live.co.uk. With so many combinations you’re taking a gamble on people getting in touch with the right person by using a generic email. However, a custom email address allows you to keep things short, simple and in line with your branding.
- Control. Free email addresses from any provider come with limitations and lack of control over crucial aspects. One example is that regularity of backups will be fixed, as will the length of retention. Additionally, it is not possible to enforce any rules or restrictions necessary for members of staff or set email signatures for other users. On top of all of this, it is worth noting that with any free service if anything goes wrong or the service is withdrawn the provider doesn’t really have any obligation to help. At best, these will hinder your business and at worst, they may mean failure to comply with legislation. Finally, it’s worth considering that employees come and go; with a free email account for each employee, there is very little that can be done if the account is not properly dealt with before an employee leaves.
- Scalability. Whilst there are only a couple of you, a free email address may suit you just fine with the avoid points aside. However we believe you should plan for the future and unless you have absolutely no intentions of growing, it’s important that your email system can grow with you. To be clear, we are not just talking about members of staff. Departments within your business will need email addresses too. By having custom email addresses, it makes it easy to add email addresses with all these benefits on-demand without the worry of the email address being unavailable.
Which method is best?
There are not many times this question doesn’t have the answer ‘it depends’, and this time is no different. Each method of getting a custom email is great under certain circumstances so instead of simply stating which is best we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages in turn. If, however, you don’t want to read much further I’ll start with the method we recommend and use ourselves.
Our favourite advantage of hosted email is that it takes any stress out of emails, Thanks to the fact emails will be routed through a remote email server, you don’t have to worry about any technical configuration whatsoever. Most hosted email providers also have their settings built into email clients and smartphones, making it really easy to add email accounts.
That’s not the only benefit though, the second is up-time. Hosted email providers split their load between many servers and have many more backup servers, making the likelihood of any downtime whatsoever extremely low. What’s more, as you’ll be using a separate email server if you’re website ever goes down you’ll still be able to send and receive emails and vice versa.
You’ll also benefit from some of the best functionality available such as well-refined user interfaces; powerful search and advanced email filtering (such as junk email and malicious content). All of the providers we have mentioned offer additional features and functionality that integrate into your emails too.
Something not often thought about is the deliverability of emails you send. The increasing number of malicious emails is forcing junk email filters to get more sophisticated and we are seeing that the origin of an email plays a large role in determining how genuine it is. Whilst it is nearly impossible to keep an email origin 100% trustworthy (unless you’re willing to part with a serious amount of money), hosted email providers actively work to maintain their servers’ reputation. Thus, of the three methods, hosted email maximises the chances of your email getting to the right place.
The downside to all of this is that it comes at a cost, as you may have guessed. Hosted email is the most expensive option, though with prices starting at around £3 per email per month we don’t think it is unreasonable for the service provided.
As emails are handled by a different server you’ll need to change some settings on your domain name server in order to use hosted email, so this does add some complexity. However, this only needs to be done once and is definitely something we can help you with.
Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss using Hosted Email for your business.
If you have a website you’ll probably already be familiar with web hosting. The concept of email hosting is exactly the same, only email hosting servers are not able to do anything other than handle emails.
As your email server would be different from your web server it does also mean this method shares the same benefit of not being affected if your website goes down. However, unlike hosted email, your emails will only be processed by the one server and it is unlikely backup servers will be offered. This does mean uptime will not be quite so high but this does vary from host to host.
Again, because the email server is separate there is the added complexity of the initial setup. In general, though, email hosting providers offer simple interfaces and make it easy to configure settings/accounts. What’s more, email hosting tends to offer a wide range of settings and email filters. It also tends to offer more flexibility in terms of storage and other limitations, however, the overall service is unlikely to be quite as refined as with hosted email and isn’t as widely supported.
The most notable benefit to email hosting over hosted email is that it is much cheaper. It’s worth remembering that’s because there isn’t as much functionality and deliverability rates may not be as high, but if these aren’t important to you than email hosting is worth checking out.
If you don’t already have a website and don’t plan on getting one soon then you should consider one of the other methods. However, if you already have web hosting chances are you can also set up custom email addresses at no extra cost.
This method is most appropriate for companies with only a small number of employees, in our opinion. The main reason for this is because only people with access to the hosting control panel will be able to change passwords for email accounts. Conversely, there is generally not a way to apply settings across email accounts such as company signatures or attachment restrictions. For larger businesses, these are often deal-breakers.
The biggest benefit of this method is flexibility. Quite often there are no limits on how many mailboxes can be set up and how they are configured. You even have the ability to control settings such as maximum attachment size, level of junk email filtering and how emails are routed, depending on your control panel.
With that said, emails and attachments that are kept on your server will use up storage that you may be limited on and need for your website.
Setting up your email accounts on the same server as your website provides you with one less control panel to worry about, but does mean that if your website goes down you’ll be unable to send or receive emails whilst it’s down.
The last point to consider is that unless you have a dedicated web hosting it is common for email addresses to become blacklisted due to the inability to prevent other people from sending malicious content from the same server. Blacklists aren’t generally used without considering other factors, but this will harm your deliverability and open rates.
There may not be a ‘golden bullet’ for custom email addresses but there is no excuse not to have one, and we think they are almost imperative to succeed online! Our overall recommendation is G Suite (Gmail for business) as it offers the best value for money and is one of the most well-known email providers.
We hope this guide has been useful, but if you have any questions or would like any help/advice please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would also love to hear your feedback so we can continue to improve and offer helpful information.
It is important to note that if you wish to send bulk emails then none of these solutions are ideal and using them to do so has consequences. This is a separate topic altogether, with different solutions.