Email Hosting: What You Need To Know
We receive dozens of emails every single day. You may not have noticed but most of these bear professional email addresses and there is a reason for that-for new business owners trying to build online presence, a professional email is a significant (albeit small) part of getting business off the ground.
If you’re new to the realm of business emails, explore this guide covering all the facets of email hosting-what a business email is, how you can create one for your business and how is a business email superior to a free one. So, let’s dive in.
What is a Business Email?
A business or professional email is an email address created using a company’s domain name that clearly communicates where it is coming from. For those who don’t know, a domain name is the URL your company’s name resides at. So, if your company’s domain name is www.company.com, then your business email ID may look like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. So, setting up a business email ID comes after you have registered the domain name for your business.
Business emails cater to the organizations that require advanced, feature-rich email services such as those with large email traffic or those who want their brand to stand out. Most of the web hosting providers offer business emails as an add-on feature. But these are POP3 emails with nothing but basic features.
For availing advanced email features- unlimited forwarders and aliases, backups, online storage, robust spam/ malware protection, autoresponders, email rules-you will have to buy a separate email hosting plan. While a paid email solution is an added cost to your business, as you will read later on, it’s worth every penny spent.
The Benefits of Business Emails over Free Email Services
Many organizations use free email services in the initial stages of their business in order to curtailoperational expenses. Agreed, free email services cut costs, but they hurt your business in many ways. Premium email hosting services convey your brand in a professional light and endow upon your business a range of benefits. These include:
An apparent advantage of a business email service is that it brings consistency in the overall look and feel of your brand. When you have an official email address, every email communication you have with the client/prospect is an extension of your branding.
Your domain name is visible at the very top of the email. Because all your employees use the same email domain, you can spread the word about your business without trying too hard. It also makes your website easy to find-your domain name is mentioned in your message.
Let’s say you receive an email that reads email@example.com. Would you take the mail seriously? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. With a professional email address, you immediately convey the message that your email (and business) is legitimate and should be taken seriously.
And, the best part is, you can keep your professional and personal messages separate- they arrive in different inboxes. As a result, you don’t have to segregate your mails.
Higher Open Rate
As per a recent study, people are more likely to open an email if they recognize the sender. If one of your clients is expecting an email from you and an email like firstname.lastname@example.org reaches their inbox, they won’t be able to figure out the sender immediately. Given the number of spam emails that reach our inboxes daily, it’s possible that the client deletes the mail.
When you use a business email ID, the recipient canrecognize who the email is from even when they don’t know you personally. They are more likely to perceive your mail as legitimate.
Easier to Connect Emails
When everyone working in your company sends an email that ends in @mybusiness.com, it’s obvious that all of you belong to the same organization. Your clients/prospects will understand that anyone with an address bearing your domain name is a legitimate representative of your brand.
Business emails are far more secure to use than their free counterparts. Most of these offer advanced spam and email filtering services that ensures that your inbox is secure and not cluttered with unsolicited emails. As most of us share confidential documents through emails, it’s essential to ensure the security of your mails.
One of the biggest constraints businesses face with free email services is storage. Business email services offer ample storage space, so you don’t need to delete your messages to accommodate important emails. This also saves a lot of time.
When using business email, you don’t need to worry about issues that may arise in using these services. You always have a support agent to lend a helping hand in times of need. Hosting providers appreciate the importance of email and how important they are to your business; so you enjoy round-the-clock support.
Should you keep email hosting and web hosting separate?
Combining email hosting and web hosting may appear to be quite convenient at first, but it isn’t the best thing to do. Here are some reasons why email hosting and web hosting should be kept separate:
Web hosting isn’t meant for hosting emails. Email hosting is offered as an add-on feature which means it isn’t of the highest quality. Your hosting provider will not go the extra mile to offer you a great add-on service.
Email hosting requires adequate storage. Your messages may have heavy attachments that may eat up the space meant for your website. This can impede smooth functioning of your site.
When your website and emails are hosted on the same server and the latter goes down, both your site and emails will be affected. For businesses using emails as the primary mode of communication, this can wreak havoc.
Features commonly offered by email hosting providers
Email hosting services vary with respect to the features they offer in their plan. The following features are commonly offered:
Unlimited Email Addresses
Most email hosting providers offer unlimited email addresses in their package. This is a highly coveted feature as businesses can easily create and allocate email addresses to employees as and when required.
Malware and Spam Protection
Paid email services come with advanced malware and spam protection that filters out unsolicited emails by making use of smart rules. This prevents spam from making way into your inbox. Many of them have a spam scoring technology to weed out such messages. Many times, you also get the option to whitelist or blacklist email addresses, domains and IP addresses depending upon your preferences. Some email services also provide users with spam reports for review.
Auto responders are programs that let you create automated replies for the messages received by you. You can customize these replies depending upon the circumstances. For example, you can create an automated reply for messages received on your support ID that reads ‘Thanks for the mail. Our support team will reach out to you within an hour.’
Email forwarders let you forward an email received from one of your email address to another. So, if you are on leave and don’t want your messages to remain unaddressed, you can forward the emails received on your ID to that to one of your colleagues. You can set up a forwarder by changing the settings of your account by adding a new email address to your domain name.
Email hosting services offer you a webmail software for checking and managing emails. With a webmail program in place, you can access and read emails from any device of choice. While the quality of webmail can vary from one provider to the other, the software is almost always available as a standard feature.
Setting up a Business email account
Let’s now have a look at the steps you need to follow in order to get a professional email ID for your business.
Step 1: Register your Domain
Typically, your business email ID bears your domain name. So, the very first step in setting up an email account is registering a domain name with a reliable domain registrar. This way, you’ll also be assured of getting the domain name of choice.
That said, finding the right domain name can be challenging-it’s possible that the name of your choice would already be taken. Use a domain search tool to research the words and phrases that represent your business accurately. Once you find a name you like, get it registered as early as possible. If your preferred name isn’t available with .com extension, consider buying it with .net and .biz extension.
Step 2: Sign up for web hosting
Merely signing up for a domain name isn’t enough. You need a web hosting solution to get your domain up and running. Choose a web hosting plan that includes email functionality. By doing so, you can enjoy a web presence in the form of a website and access the features required to send and receive emails from your business email ID. Go for a plan that lets you create unlimited email addresses, especially if you own a medium/large-sized company.
Step 3: Login into the cPanel account of your host to create a business email ID
The details of this step will vary from one hosting provider to another, though the process will largely remain the same.
- a) Log into the cPanel account of your host.
- b) Find the ‘Email’ section and proceed to the ‘Email Accounts’.
- c) A form will appear. Type in the name you want for your business email in the Email field.
- d) Choose a domain name for your email address from the dropdown menu in the ‘Domain’ field.
- e) Select a secure password for your business email account. Click ‘Create Account’ to proceed with account creation.
Step 4: Choose your email client
Once your business email ID is created, you have to decide how you’ll access it. And that’s where an email client comes into the picture. Most of the hosting providers offer a basic webmail option that you can use to send emails directly from your cPanel account. But considering how much we are accustomed to the Gmail or Outlook interface, most of us would prefer to have a popular email client-Gmail or Outlook.
If you’re comfortable with Gmail, you may want to create your email account on G-Suite. In a G-Suite subscription, you get much more than Gmail-Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Sheets and Google Hangouts. All these tools help you organize your business in a hassle-free manner.
Microsoft 365’s Outlook is yet another popular email client used by businesses across the world. Outlook also lets you access other powerful business features such as cloud-based access to Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This is similar to 365 but for Microsoft’s set of tools.
Tips for Creating a Business Email Address
Setting up a business email address is the very first step in bring professionalism to your business communication. Here’re some expert tips to get you started:
1) Have a Consistent Naming Format
If you are a small business with not more than 10-15 employees, you may not consider getting a proper naming format for your business IDs. However, as your business grows, you’ll realize that a consistent naming format makes things easy for your employees as well as for your prospective clients trying to get in touch with them. Some of the common naming formats are:
2) Have Email addresses for Departments and/or Functions also
In addition to an email address for each of your employee, consider having an email address for each of your departments and/or functions also. This will make it easy for your prospects to get in touch with the people within your company.
For instance, if you have a email@example.com address for the sales department and firstname.lastname@example.org for the support department, people can immediately reach out to the concerned department instead of trying to figure out individual email addresses.
3) Create an Email Signature
No business communication looks complete without a proper email signature. An email signature should include a signoff (Regards, Sincerely), employee name, designation, company name, contact details, email address, website URL and company’s physical address. When your email bears a proper signature, it becomes easy for your contacts to get all the information they’re looking for in one place.