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 “firstname.lastname@example.org”. 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 email@example.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 “firstname.lastname@example.org”. 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. But, when Sam owns his own domain, let’s call it mydomain.com for simplicity, he can have email@example.com. He can then have an alias of firstname.lastname@example.org (because he’s da man!) and also email@example.com for when he is in trouble with his mum. All of these emails will arrive into his firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com . Sam was lucky in this instance to get firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and tara uses firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 email@example.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 :
firstname.lastname@example.org . ✔
email@example.com . ✔
firstname.lastname@example.org . ✔
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.