26 Oct 2017

What Type of Email Account Do I Need?

Emails are an integral part of our lives these days. Not that long ago we had an email address and felt pretty good about ourselves. We’d log into our work computers and see what the digital world would throw at us. The address was probably something like “sam_jones@myworkplace.com”. Perhaps something from a colleague in a different department requiring your time or perhaps a manager seeking an answer to a business related question. Before long though, you were getting emails from vendors and customers and the world seemed pretty great. This was all very normal.

At home, we may have had an email address provided to us by our service provider which became who we were. “Hello sam437@bigpond.com”. Cool email address!! (Not). For those that were a little more tech savvy, a Hotmail address was the way to go. No more service provider address for me. I shall now be known as “sam_da_man_13@hotmail.com”. Yep. He da man!! And thus the information revolution enters a new chapter. Multiple email addresses and soon after that, multiple devices to view those email addresses on. Let’s take a look at how this all works.

Simple Personal Email Addresses

Having a personal email address is a great idea. Once you have it, it will probably be with you for life. For that reason, it is best NOT to have a personal email address associated with a service provider. It may seem unlikely but that service provider may disappear or more commonly, you may change service providers. You then need to let everyone know that you have a new address. This can be quite disruptive. This is where Hotmail, Gmail, Live, iCloud and numerous others can come into play. Your emails are available via multiple clients, such as Outlook, Thunderbird, Live Mail, Gmail and many others but most importantly, your mail stays in the cloud so that you can access it from multiple devices, anywhere. Perfect. Well, almost perfect. More often than not, you can’t have the name you want because you become a part of a much larger mail system which allows only one of each email address in their vast systems. So if like Sam, you’re happy with sam_da_man_13@hotmail.com, you’re good to go. Also, these services are free!!

If you need multiple addresses or aliases, you are now going to have some limitations. Let’s quickly discuss aliases.


An email alias is like having another email address without having to manage another mailbox. It is like a nickname. It still references the same mailbox but with another name. Public Cloud based mail services don’t give you the option of having aliases because, as stated above, you are a part of a much larger email system and the names need to be unique. There are caveats for this in some instances. Gmail for example, allow variations of your email address using . (dots) and + (plus) symbols. Aliases allow you to manage your incoming emails by giving you the ability to filter or group your emails by alias. I’ll explain how in more detail later.


Advanced Personal Email Addresses

There may come a time when you need to do more with your personal email address. You may want to create aliases. You may want to better advertise who you are and use your personal email address in blogs or on websites, literature, social media and the like. A new area of technology awaits you. You’re taking control of your email. It’s time for a domain based email address. I won’t be going into types of domains or email address hosting just now but I will be outlining the benefits of this type of email address.

A domain based email address allows you to create multiple email addresses and or aliases that are specific to you or the role you are defining. Sam will never own sam@gmail.com. But, when Sam owns his own domain, let’s call it mydomain.com for simplicity, he can have sam@mydomain.com. He can then have an alias of sam_da_man@mydomain.com (because he’s da man!) and also samuel@mydomain.com for when he is in trouble with his mum. All of these emails will arrive into his sam@mydomain.com mailbox. He can then use rules or filters to separate them out if needs be.

There is a cost associated with this type of email system. Domains vary in price depending on the type of domain you purchase but $17.50 per year would be around the average price. Your hosting method will cost you also depending on a number of factors but you’d be looking at somewhere between $5.00 to $10.00 per month depending on space and features.

This type of email account also provides you with a launch pad to many other web based services including your own website or blogging site. It’s no fluke that this structure starts to look more like a business email system than a personal one because, it is the structure which businesses should follow to compete in today’s world.


Business Email Addresses

I won’t be discussing Enterprise email systems here.

The business email system is designed for use by people working in or running a business. Whether it be a one man tradie or a small business, the concept should remain the same. The purpose of the email address is to allow your customers, vendors and colleagues to easily contact you. Let us start with the sole trader and a very common scenario. I’ll use a fictitious name but we’ve all seen work trucks with a business name, a mobile phone number and an email address. It often looks like, Sam’s Plumbing Service, 0455 555 555 and the email address is samsplumbing@gmail.com . Sam was lucky in this instance to get samsplumbing@gmail.com so, good for him. All of this technically works. It works to a degree. People know that Sam is a plumber and they know how to contact him. They don’t necessarily know exactly the type of plumbing work Sam does but I guess they could ask. Sam has a sidekick with him in the truck named Bill. Bill does some of the quotes for Sam. Sam’s lovely wife, Tara, does his accounts. Bill’s email address is bill_p_231@hotmail.com and tara uses tsmith345@bigpond.com . It all works. It doesn’t necessarily sell the business that well but the lines of communication are there internally. Getting a quote from Bill from Sam’s Plumbing with the email address bill_p_231@hotmail doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the business nor does getting an invoice from tsmith345@bigpond.com . This could be remedied so easily with a few little and inexpensive steps.

Firstly the domain. samsplumbing.com.au . ✔

Secondly the hosting platform for where the emails will live. ✔

Define the email addresses and aliases :

sam@samsplumbing.com.au . ✔

bill@samsplumbing.com.au . ✔

accounts@samsplumbing.com.au . ✔

The email infrastructure is now in place and it’s time to update the business cards and the truck but before we do that, we now have another piece of marketing available to us. The website. That isn’t the topic here but the flow on from this is that www.samsplumbing.com.au is now available to advertise the business also.


Do you need to change the way your personal emails are set up?

Does your business sound like Sam’s?

Contact us today and we’ll set you up with all you need.

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30 Dec 2016

Your Digital Real Estate

If you live in Sydney and hear the words “real estate” you are likely to get heart palpitations and need to sit down. Buying into real estate can be daunting for some and near impossible for others. Your little piece of planet Earth might as well be on Mars because that is how difficult it could be. However, you can still stake your claim in the digital real estate world. I’m not talking about a virtual reality house either. I’m talking about securing your place within the digital landscape. In the world of business, if you don’t have your domain secured, your emails sorted and your website done, then you are being left behind. This is essentially the starting point for being a landlord in the technology of the cloud.

It’s About the Domain

Before you can have a presence in the digital world, you will need a domain. Your domain is your address. It is how people see you and find you. A domain name is a registered entity that represents your business, your organisation, your club or you, as an individual, to name but a few. Let’s stick primarily to business. In Australia, most businesses get a .com.au address. The name of the domain must be in some way associated to your business name and you’ll need an ABN to get one. You can opt for a .com address which isn’t as strict in obtaining but you may find it is taken by an overseas company with the same name. If you are an organisation you might look at a .org.au name or if you provide an internet based service or similar, you may look at a .net.au. There are quite a few others but we’ll leave those for another day. You might also secure multiple domain names for strategic purposes. Your business may be known by several names or nicknames or you may want to prevent a competitor from taking the address if it is available. The expense is minuscule in the scheme of things when it comes to running a solid business.

I Have My Domain!! Now What?

Once your domain is registered, the sky is the limit. Sky .. Cloud .. See what I did there! Your domain name is the first step in getting your emails set up and your hosting space secured. With these in place you are now addressable to the digital world anywhere, any time. You can now own email addresses like albert@thebestplumber.com.au or reception@cloningsheep.com.au. These email addresses are distinctive, efficient and represent your business so much better than albert3421@gmail.com or sheepreception@hotmail.com. There now becomes very clear lines to join the world of social media, blogging and business networking all revolving around your business name and your domain.

You now have your very own piece of Digital Real Estate. Sow the seeds of technology and watch it grow!!

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30 Dec 2016

What is the Cloud?

The “Cloud” is a technical term that a lot of people use but can’t clearly define. In reality, once you strip away the technical jargon, it’s essentially your data and/or processing power running from somewhere other than your local device, whether that be your phone, laptop or even TV. Looking at the picture above you can begin to see how the evolution of the cloud has impacted services from email and security to finance and social media.

One example that I find a lot of people can relate to is taking a picture on your phone. When you take a picture, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory. However, when you upload that picture to Facebook you’re uploading it to the cloud. Another example that I normally talk about is Netflix; when you’re watching movies or TV shows from Netflix, you are streaming them directly from the cloud.

How can working in the cloud benefit my business?

Moving some or all of your workforce and business software into the cloud provides some short and long term benefits. Short term, you can expect to see an increase in performance and overall usability as you are no longer bound by your office email server or slow website. You can also expect to see more efficient workflows evolve out of what you’ve always done and a drop in capital expenditure. Long term you can expect to see a lower overall cost in a 1:1 comparison but don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending more on technology after moving, just remember to check if this increase is in line with your revenue and profit increases as well.

Now the above statements are true if a few assumptions are found correct. The first is that you’re infrastructure can support or be upgraded to support working from the cloud, specifically your internet connection. Your connection needs to be fast enough to handle your software or services in the cloud. Second, you and your work force are willing to go through a learning curve as some of your workflows and day to day processes might change. Third, I’m assuming you’ve found the right solution whether that be through working with a partner or doing the research yourself.

Final note

Whether your an existing business with decades behind you or a start up looking to scale, the cloud is something that you can’t simply ignore. If you haven’t already started moving to the cloud, I’d highly recommend investing some time and looking into it; you’d be surprised what it can do for you and your business.

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