We work with a variety of businesses from all different backgrounds and on a regular basis, we are asked to help configure their email clients for them. I’m kind of an email snob, so I have a lot of opinions about it. Hopefully, this helps someone else out there on how to handle their business email accounts!

To Gmail or Not to Gmail?

A lot of people find the easiest option to getting started with your email is to set up a free email address on gmail.com (ie. kennysnewbu[email protected]). There are a few benefits to going this route:

  • It’s free.
  • It’s quick.
  • It’s familiar.

While the above three things are true, it has some major disadvantages, the primary disadvantage is that it makes you look unprofessional. Your customers can tell how much you care about your brand image simply by seeing your email address. Trust me on this one; it’s very very true.

So stated clearly, whenever possible, you should not use a @gmail.com account as your primary business email address.

If not a free Gmail account, then what should I use for my business email address?

There are a ton of options when it comes to email solutions for your business. Most of them are not free, especially not the good ones. In another post, we talk about the different parts of a domain name. Here are some quick highlights from that post.

Should I use the same domain for my website and my email address?

Yes! You can and should use the same domain for both your email addresses and your website. The congruency of both locations using the same domain helps build consumer confidence with you and your brand. There are some scenarios where using a different domain for email might make sense, but for most small businesses out there you should definitely use the same domain on both.

How do I use my domain for my email address?

As we’ve outlined in our other post about the different parts of a domain, each part of your domain can be managed by different services. Your main marketing website might be hosted with Godaddy, your emails with Google and your user website with SiteGround.

All of the traffic related to your domain is managed with your Domain Name System (DNS for short). It’s like a giant traffic controller standing in the middle of the street routing the different types of traffic to their proper destination.

“Oh hello there email, you head on down this way over to the email server.”

“Oh you’re looking for the marketing website, right this way!”

When you log in to your DNS, you can make adjustments there that allow you to use an outside service for your custom email addresses.

Which custom email service should I use?

There are quite a few options when it comes to email services out there, but the primary two are Google and Microsoft. And as a long-time avoider of all things Microsoft, my recommendation is Google all the way. The greatest part about using Google to host your email addresses is that you get the perks of using an @gmail.com email address, but with your custom domain name instead! (ie. [email protected] 👎🏼 [email protected] 👍🏼)

Use G Suite for your Custom Email Addresses

Use G Suite for Emails

Many years ago Google realized the exact predicament I’ve described previously, using Gmail for email is great, but without a custom domain name, it looks very unprofessional. G Suite is the solution they came up with!

We’ve been using G Suite for almost 10 years now (it used to be called Google Apps) and we’ve never been happier. Here are some of the reasons why we recommend G Suite:

  • The uptime is 99.99999%, we never experience outages.
  • We haven’t ever had deliverability issues.
  • Our emails are accessible from any device at any time.
  • Easily able to add new email addresses when needed.
  • Free “group” email addresses.

How much does G Suite (Google Business Email) cost?

G Suite runs on a per “inbox” model. This means that you only pay for accounts that you must be able to log into. This is often confusing, so I’ll break it down a little further with some examples.

Each inbox with G Suite is $6 a month on their basic plan, or $10 a month if you go with the enterprise solution. As a small business guy myself, I haven’t ever needed to upgrade to the $10 account.

Group emails are free and you can have as many of those as you’d like. Group emails are like forwarders to groups of people. So [email protected] would forward to [email protected]. Follow?

So you could have those above 6 email addresses for a whopping $12 a month. Pretty dang affordable.

What do I need to set up G Suite?

The only thing you need before you get started on setting up G Suite is access to your DNS. With that, you would just go to G Suite and click the big blue “Get Started” button. Their walkthrough is very straightforward, but for the untrained eye, it might get a little confusing. If it does, of course hit us up and we’ll gladly help get it done.

What email services should I avoid?

GoDaddy Email

don't use godaddy for email

A classic place everyone goes for their email service is to GoDaddy itself. Let me put it this way, GoDaddy is NOT in the business of email services. They are domain registrars primarily, that is what gets their undivided attention. Their email service is born from necessity and it shows. If you’re using GoDaddy and are frustrated with the solution, rightfully so. Run as fast as you can to a different provider.

Office 365 Outlook Email

don't use office 365 outlook for email

Microsoft’s Office 365 solution is another one a lot of people use. Let me tell you why I do not recommend using Office 365… it’s too dang technical. Every time one of our clients asks me for help on an Office 365 email problem I cringe because I know it’s going to be way harder than it should be. I don’t have a reason for why that is, but trust me, it’s confusing and hard to manage… But if you’re a huge Microsoft fan, by all means, give it a go. I wish you the best. 😉

Other “Free” or Low-Cost Alternatives

There are a ton of other free or low-cost email options out there, be wary of all of them. If they’re free, that means they’re going to monetize your inbox by some other means. For example, you may see ads in your inbox (which means they’re possibly reading your emails) or they’ll be constantly trying to upsell you on other services they offer.

Worst than them trying to monetize you in some other way is that if they’re giving away their email, it probably isn’t their priority. They aren’t focused on uptime, ease of access, and constantly improving their platform. Paid services mean they want you to stick around for a very long time so they’ll do everything they can to make sure you’re impressed by their service.

Don’t Use an @gmail.com Email Address for Your Business

Moral of the story, try to avoid using an @gmail.com (or @yahoo.com or @aol.com or @hotmail.com for that matter) email address for your business. The sooner you migrate to using your own domain, the better. Your brand will thank you for it by rewarding you with more, better, business.