We all know that email is critical to our businesses. Most of us would be lost without it. But there is more to email then simply keeping in contact with others. Let’s look at some of the basics of email.
- Free email is great! But not for business! If you have a website you can have what is often called domain email. It’s email with your domain name after the @ symbol. I could set up an email for this website that was firstname.lastname@example.org. This is by far the most professional way to go. So how do you get domain email? Talk to your host provider! GoDaddy and Hostgator both provide email as part of their hosting packages. It’s easy to setup from the Control Panel. Already established with a free provider? That’s what forwarding is for. Setup Hotmail or Gmail to forward to your domain email and start replying to email from the new address. Over time everybody you come in contact with, will be using the new address.
- Keep personal and professional separate! Free email is awesome for personal use. Give your friends and family that email address and use your work email for work. There is nothing worse than getting distracted by your friend’s silly emails in the middle of your work day. It also helps reduce the clutter in your inbox. A top tip here is to have what I call a slush email. If you surf the web like I do you’ll often sign up for things, freebies, newsletters, etc. Not all of it is business and some of it you probably aren’t even sure about. I have a free email that I use just for those times. It’s great for those websites you just know will be sending you 10 emails a day.
- Outlook is just software. Outlook is not email, it’s not an email provider. It is software that you setup or configure to retrieve your email from whatever email account or accounts you want, whether it’s free or paid for. For me personally, it’s not something I would ever use and here’s why. It’s local to your computer! You are downloading all of the email onto your computer. Wondering where all your hard drive space went? Email takes up tons of space!
Also what tends to happen is that because you’re using Outlook you forget your password or in some cases don’t even know how to check your email without using Outlook. So if you don’t have your computer with you, you can’t check! My strong suggestion is to leave email on other people’s servers. It’s safer, it takes up less space and it’s more convenient because it can be accessed from anywhere.
- I get it. Accessing your domain email from your host provider is about as convenient as a root canal. Set up Google Apps for Business and run your business email through there. Then it’s as convenient as checking your Gmail account. Access it from anywhere at any time. It integrates beautifully into the Gmail apps on most smartphones. Plus you have all the benefits of using Google with other apps like Google Drive. You can setup your virtual assistant with an account through Google Apps for Business and it’s almost as if she’s a member of your staff with an email that carries your domain name and access to shared files through Google Drive.
- Now, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t remind you about safety. Don’t open email and in particular email attachments, from people you don’t know. Those files often contain viruses. Make sure that you have your anti-virus software setup and running. Some of the more expensive anti-virus software will have email scanner options right in them. Norton and McAfee are two that come to mind. Many of them, if you are an Outlook user, will integrate right into Outlook. It is important, if you are using Outlook and downloading all of your email onto your computer, that you use a big full featured anti-virus program like Norton because it will provide additional protection for your email.
So what’s the moral of the story? Spend some time thinking about your email, how you access it and what type of email you use. It has to be convenient, professional and safe. Look at getting a domain email for your business and save the Hotmail addresses for personal use!