This post was originally posted in 2018, so I decided to check if it is still relevant in 2022. It definitely is, and I’ve added some more up-to-date information. So, here we go. This is how you pick the best email address for a business professional.
You may think that picking the best email address for your company relies heavily on a great domain name. What if I told you other factors come into play as well?
I’ve encountered the last example this very week! I bought the book 500 Social Media Marketing Tips by Andrew Macarthy. As much as the author’s knowledge of social media is exemplary, he has a great domain name for his online presence (AndrewMacarthy.com), where he dropped the ball, in my opinion, at the end of the book. There he invited his readers to write to him at email@example.com. This is just the latest example where I’ve seen an expert not getting all the possible benefits.
Looking for a shorter way to find out how to pick the best email address for your business? I’ve created this special presentation just for this occasion!
There are countless times where I’ve seen dentists use a free email service address on their business cards, construction workers putting a sticker on their truck, or business owners just telling you this awkwardly long email address from a free service.
For example, in Croatia, the telecom provider gives a free email service with the domain name ri.t-com.hr. If you look closely, it is actually a subdomain, with the first two letters saying which city it is. So the email, in the end, sounds like firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s the worst and longest combination ever, and from my approximate estimation, thousands of companies are using it.
Free doesn’t have to do anything with the wrong choice, everybody loves free, but can you imagine Jeff Bezos operating from a “email@example.com” email address? Surely, there’s a way for him to send and receive emails from @amazon.com? You don’t have to be a billionaire to do the same!Imagine Jeff Bezos operating from a 'firstname.lastname@example.org' email address. Surely, there's a way for him to send and receive emails from @amazon.com? You don't have to be a billionaire to do the same!Click To Tweet
Why waste time finding the right email address?
I am not exaggerating when I say I received hundreds of offers in my inbox for various services. Web design, SEO, domain registration, social media, copywriting, and can you guess what gives the spammer away each time?
Their email address! Here are just some of them: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org… I could go on and on. Do you want your clients to perceive you potentially as a spammer?
Imagine having an email address on a premium domain name. Better yet, I’ll share a story. One time, someone contacted me from a two-letter .com domain name. Not a two-word domain name, a two-letter domain name! Think along the lines of, email@example.com
I dropped everything and ran to read what the email was about! Obviously, this was a real person and a company of great importance, so I will keep their details private (since the nature of the email was private as well). People still check where the message originated from (including newsletter, autoresponder and marketing automation) and I think it is safe to assume you will get more replies to a legitimate-sounding email address.
For example, if you cold-email a potential investor or client, do you think they would be more inclined to answer firstname.lastname@example.org or “email@example.com”?
Your business stands a better chance if you conduct all your communication on your company’s domain name. Not to mention if you go ahead and promote your email on business cards, stickers, and ads.
Choosing the right domain name
There are countless articles online about choosing the best domain name, and they can surely help you since the domain name is an essential part of picking the right email address. In this post, I will focus on the email, and I will dive deeper into domain names another time. In short, the domain name should be:
- Exact as company name
- Short, memorable, pronounceable
- .Com domain extension (preferably)
Don’t take this as rules set in stone. Just the other day I’ve accidentally found out about “MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.” This domain name obviously doesn’t fall into the category “short,” not even by a long shot! However, after I read some free content on that website, I got fantastic value! I also got the story and remembered the name in a heartbeat! I just got it! His wife quit her job, and now they are making so much money, and they are blogging about it on “My Wife Quit Her Job”! Brilliant.
Look at me, saying .com domain extension is essential to a great email address, while writing on a .ninja domain extension. Well, webmaster.ninja is a premium domain name, so it’s a bit different. In my opinion, for a great email address, it may be better to have a premium non-com domain than a lousy .com domain.
If you have no choice, get a premium non-com domain for you, and then leave the business on whatever they have. Which brings me to….
Your email doesn’t have to be on your website’s domain name
Here’s what I mean by that. Let’s say you have a long domain name like the one I just mentioned or something like FourHourWorkWeek.com. And let’s say your name is “Alexander The Great.” Your email shouldn’t be AlexanderTheGreat@FourHourWorkWeek.com. How is that going to fit your business card? How will you say that over the phone or during a video interview?
How will someone write this down if you are sharing this over the phone or a podcast? What Alex needs to do here is register a domain name Great.com, and create an email “Alex@Great.com.” Or, if Alex, or in this case, Tim Ferriss, wants to keep promoting FourHourWorkWeek.com, he can use contact@FourHourWorkWeek.com. Short first name, nickname or some other generic short word (info, email).
Using personal emails on company websites also makes sense with serial entrepreneurs, bloggers, affiliate marketers and online entrepreneurs. Let’s say you are a website investor and have ten websites that all generate a significant income for you. Let’s also say for some crazy reason that you want everyone to be able to reach you. Surely, you can create emails on all ten domain names, and have them redirect to your best email address. Then later, you reply from that email address so that it appears like you are answering them from the address where the email came in (check “Send mail as” in a paragraph below). But here it also makes sense to use that same best email address on all ten websites, such as firstname.lastname@example.org
Which prefix do I choose for my best email address?
For example, my name is Goran Duskic. I own a domain name duskic.com. Now I can use my email email@example.com on all 10 of my websites, and it makes perfect sense. If someone wants to reach the owner of this website (webmaster.ninja), they can just write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or email@example.com, and then just have those messages redirect to firstname.lastname@example.org. This way, I am not promoting Webmaster.Ninja website, but if I own ten websites, it’s going to be very hard to have ten business cards, ten email addresses, and ten of everything else.
Generic email addresses get abused by spammers
In some companies, there are people with the same first name. Then you can add the last name to the prefix, and even separate it with a dot. Here are a few examples:
Another example is with positions that frequently have new employees. Therefore in some cases, it may be wise not to connect an email address to a particular person, and instead create an email for that department. Such as:
And of course, there are more generic examples that work well, like:
- Town@CompanyName.com or Country@CompanyName.com
Unfortunately, spammers know this as well. So they will create an email blast and send emails to many website owners simply by adding “info” at the beginning. I had to shut down one such email address due to the constant bombardment of unsolicited offers.
If you are thinking technology is preventing you from using an email address on your domain name, that means that you’ve decided to use gmail.com, yahoo.com, outlook.com domains. Let me ask you, have you heard of “Send mail as”?
Send mail as
Inside Gmail, there’s this option called “Send mail as” that allows you to reply from the same address where the sender sent it. There are some “SMTP steps” involved, so we don’t have the time or space to go through that in this post, but if you want to set this up yourself, you can follow Google’s instructions. What this functionality allows you is to send emails from your Gmail, but the receiver will get an email from “email@example.com” instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Remember that this is different from installing G Suite or Office 365 on your domain name, which you have to pay. Think of “Send mail as” as the “free technology” + “my branding.”
Choose the right technology
This leads us to the choice of the right technology. Too often I encounter people with @gmail.com or @live.com emails. And then when I ask them why they don’t use their company’s domain name, the answer is “I am used to this service” or “I like Gmail’s functionality.” The two, do not have to be separated. As I have demonstrated in the “Send mail as” section, it is free, and it’s not that hard to set up.
Besides “Send mail as” feature, there are also solutions you have to pay for, as I already mentioned Google Workspace (previously known as Google Apps, G Suite) and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). In a few years, Google and Microsoft will probably come up with a new name for these services. If you are wondering which of these two companies is winning the race, there was an interesting research November 2021.
After you create a paid subscription, you need to install it on your domain name. This doesn’t interfere with your website in any way. I don’t want to get too technical on you, but let me just explain that the website runs on an HTTP or HTTPS protocol (you’ve seen that in the address bar of your browser), and the email operates through a POP3, SMTP protocol. After all, POP means “Post Office Protocol.”
Therefor, when you edit the MX records, it will not affect the website. As a matter of fact, your website could be down, and your email will still work without any issues!
Setting up a service like Google Workspace involves changing your MX records (Mail Exchanger), so it’s more complicated to set up than “Send mail as.” MX records are another type of resource record within the Domain Name System, also known as DNS. Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 allow us to seamlessly send text messages from one email address to another, without touching the website server. That’s because MX doesn’t impact the website or even touching the dedicated server that hosts the website. Are you now beginning to understand why I am sharing this technical information? Just one thing though, if your domain name expires, your email will stop working, regardless of being separated from a different service from your website.
If changing the MX sounds too complicated, just ask your web hosting company to do it for you. In most cases they will do it. You just have to purchase the G Suite, or Office 365 before you message them.
Google or Microsoft?
As we already covered, having a separate email service (like Google Workspace or Microsoft 365) means that if your website is unresponsive, your emails are still working! This isn’t the case with the “Send mail as” option. To receive the message, the original server hosting the website and email must send the message to your Gmail account.
I know this was a bit technical, but as I mentioned too many times, I’ve seen people blame technology as their cause for fumbling. Technology is here to help, not the other way around! Put your best foot forward and promote your company, not Gmail, Yahoo, MSN or your local telecom provider. I remember one time, a company owner shared his email address with me. Big mistake, it had a telecom provider’s domain name. I teased him by asking if he loved his telecom provider so much that he wanted to give them the extra promotion? He exclaimed how he, in fact, hated them because he had all these issues with them and then went on for five minutes listing issues with them, but he had no choice but to stay with them due to the contract. Don’t be that guy.
Are you spending too much time writing emails?
Before we part ways, I just wanted to mention one last thing when it comes to emails. Don’t become a slave to your inbox like I was. If you are having trouble handling a mountain of emails coming your way, don’t stress! You are not alone in this! Here are several steps and ideas you can take to handle your inbox.
Let’s just sum up quickly what you’ve learned here today.
- The domain name is the most important part of your email (half of your email address is the domain name).
- It’s great if the domain name is short, but also to every rule, there is an exception. FourHourWorkWeek.com or MyWifeQuitHerJob.com.
- Whatever you do, don’t let that domain name be a service provider name like gmail.com or gmx.de.
- Put your best foot forward by promoting your company or one of your brands.
- Don’t let technology stop you! Use “Send mail as” option if you are on a tight budget, or get a paid solution with added benefits. For example, your email will work, even if your webshop, company website, blog is down.
- And lastly, don’t become a slave to your email. Do whatever you can to reduce the amount time you spend typing emails.
Below you have the presentation as well. The video is no longer support, so you have to watch it on YouTube, and you can find it earlier in the article. To see the remainder of the presentation, click on the arrow to the right to skip page one (the video error message).
I’ve been an online entrepreneur for more than a decade. Back in 2011, I sold my first small business. 500 Startups alumni. I love to read and write in every shape or form. Founder of WhoAPI and webmaster.ninja and website investor.