- Do you need your own email address?
- Registering a domain name
- Setting up a mail service
1. Do you need your own email address?
Yes, you do. Using the email address your ISP gave you is unwise for a few reasons
- You cannot change your ISP without losing your business email address
- It makes you look less professional
- What if your provider decides to change or stop offering email?
So what can you do?
You could register a free email address at Gmail or Outlook but it still doesn’t look professional, and you remain subject to changes by those services. So you should register a domain name and set up an email service
What are the options?
When you register a domain, the service you use will offer you the ability to add an email account. This may be the cheapest option but comes with limitations.
I recommend setting up a Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 managed service. Not only will you get email, but integrated services such as calendar and contacts which are very useful, especially if you have more than one employee.
2. Register a domain name
You can buy a domain name from a domain registry like Hover.
I like Hover because they are not pushy about you buying additional services (they do offer email hosting) and they don’t make it hard for you to change to another provider in the future if you wish to.
Choosing the domain name is important. The name you want may already be taken, especially in the .com area. You may need to be creative. Hover makes some useful suggestions for alternatives but take care. Don’t get stuck using yourname.biz as your main address because a lot of people will type in yourname.com and potentially go to a competitor.
You should register your business using the Australian domain .com.au Getting your business name in .com.au should be easier because Australia sensibly didn’t let anyone but the owner of a registered business or trademark register the associated domain name. Australian domains also have a number of big advantages, such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to correctly locate you being in Australia. I recommend registering .com if it’s available as an additional defence of your online brand.
The steps to register a domain name are fairly straight forward but Hover offer a very useful step by step guide.
For a 10% discount, use the promotional code “twit” during the checkout process.
At the end of this process, you now have your own internet domain.
3. Setting up a mail service
I recommend setting up a Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 service to manage your email.
I personally use Google Apps, but the Microsoft offering includes access to Microsoft Office productivity software, which may be more suitable to you.
The benefit in these services is the way they will allow you to manage not just your email, but your calendar and contacts too. It’s all hosted ‘in the cloud’ so connecting with multiple devices is easy and it all syncs together. This lets you make an appointment when you’re on your computer, then simply look up and change details on your phone later.
Google Apps offers a free trial to get started, after which you pay per-user you set up, monthly or annually.
Here’s what you do
- Start the sign-up process by clicking on the free trial button here
- As part of the setup process you will define your main account name. Note! This is your email address email@example.com
- Go back to Hover and follow the instructions in the Google Apps help guide to change your mail records to point at your new mail server
- It may take some time for the new mail (mx) settings to work their way through the Internet. In my experience it’s been 5-30 mins
- You should then be able to log into Gmail using the acount name you set up while setting up your Google Apps account
- This email address is now a fully functional Google Account. That means you can use it everywhere you could use a Gmail account, including to set up your Android Phone, or for Gmail settings in your iPhone.
That’s pretty much it! You’ll now have a working email address firstname.lastname@example.org which will make you look a lot more professional. Your next question may be how do I set up a website? I wrote something else about that.