A professional email address, which uses a custom domain and clear naming structure (such as firstname.lastname@example.org), is critical for all businesses that want to build trust with customers. This trust ultimately results in better brand reputation and, over time, increased sales. Follow the three rules below to create your own professional email address.
An email address that doesn’t use your own domain name will always look unprofessional. Avoid this by getting a free custom domain name from Bluehost, as well as five free business email addresses and web hosting, for as little as $2.95 per month. Get free business email today.
Here are the three rules to choosing a professional email address:
Rule #1: Always Use Your Own Domain
For an email address to appear professional, it needs to use its own domain. In other words, use email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Every business should start by getting their own domain name in order to avoid looking unprofessional, to maintain control, and to create an easily identifiable email.
How to Find a Domain for Your Business Email Address
Domain names are available through domain name registrars and many web hosting companies. Ideally, your domain name will be the same as your business name. If it’s too long or not available, consider these domain name tips from the pros. You can find available domain names using the domain search bar below. Once you have found your domain name, complete your purchase by following the checkout steps.
We recommend purchasing your domain through Bluehost since you can create up to five email accounts with a website hosting plan for just $2.95 per month. Those who need a domain name, but do not need web or email hosting, should consider Domain.com. There you can search and buy domain names for around $12 to $16 per year.
Reasons to Use a Custom Domain
Businesses need to use a custom domain name for a number of reasons. These reasons include everything from creating a professional and trustworthy appearance to maintaining continuity across an organization by having a standard email address format for your staff. Email addresses that use a custom domain are also more memorable while providing additional administrative control.
Here are five reasons to use your own domain for your professional email address:
- Avoid looking unprofessional: Business email addresses don’t look professional if they come from a generic email host, such as Gmail or Yahoo. By using a custom domain, it also ensures your branding is consistent.
- Email availability: With your own domain, every email address handle (what appears before the @) is readily available. If you use a generic provider such as Gmail, common usernames like JDoe@Gmail.com won’t likely be available, leaving you with something like JDoe4855@Gmail.com, which looks even less professional than just having a generic domain.
- Allows for continuity: If a business has every possible username available to them, then it is able to use a particular email format for all of its staff, such as firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. This continuity reflects a clean, organized brand.
- Identifiable and more memorable email: On a practical level, custom domains allow your recipients to quickly identify your email and associate it with your business—especially if your business name is part of your domain.
- Maintain control: Those with email addresses tied to an internet service provider (ISP), such as @comcast.net or @verizon.net, have no control over the continued availability of their email; they are dependent on the continued use of their ISP. Custom domains, however, allow businesses to maintain their email even if they change web hosts.
Whatever your business is, it should be represented in the best possible way across all marketing channels, including email. That means securing a professional domain through a provider like Bluehost, and then setting up email accounts that are memorable and consistent. This will improve your brand awareness and give you more control over how your emails appear to customers.
Rule #2: Use a Standard Email & Display Name Format
Once you have a custom domain name, the next element of a professional email address is your username, or handle. This is the first portion of the email address, such as the “JDoe” of “JDoe@dowlaw.com.” Businesses need to select a username format to use across all employee email accounts. Once you have selected and implemented a username format, select the display name format, which is how the sender’s name appears in the recipient’s inbox.
Choose a Format for Your Company Email Addresses
Your email address format should be decided on before any addresses are created for the company. The options for a professional email username include your full name, first or last name only, or a combination of name and initials.
Here are the six most common professional email address formats:
- First name only: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Last name only: email@example.com
- First name, last initial: firstname.lastname@example.org
- First initial, last name: email@example.com
- Full name (first and last): firstname.lastname@example.org
- A generic or departmental inbox name: email@example.com
When choosing the username format for your professional email, consider your company size and with that, username length. Usernames, such as first name only, aren’t likely a good choice for large companies as they will end up with staff members who share common names. On the other hand, very small businesses may not have issues with duplicate names.
Set Up Your Email Display Name
Your email address is only half the picture. When you create a professional email address, you can also choose a display name that appears in your recipient’s inbox. For the most part, this will be your first and last name, but there are instances where businesses will choose not to follow this standard format. The other options include a first name and company name or just a company name for generic email addresses.
Here are three different approaches to display names:
- Full name (first and last): John Doe <JohnDoe@SuperPetsSupply.com>
- First name and company: John @ Super Pets Supply <JohnD@SuperPetsSupply.com>
- Company name: Super Pets Supply <Info@SuperPetsSupply.com>
The standard format for email display names is the full name format with the first and last name of the owner of the email address. However, in some cases, businesses choose to use a first name with the company name, such as when a recipient is likely to recognize a business name but not the email owner’s name, or using just the company name for generic email campaigns like newsletters or general support updates.
Rule #3: Create Special Email Addresses to Display on Your Website
When you create special or general purpose emails to use on your website, it’s important to use email forwarding to send these general emails to the correct people. For example, using firstname.lastname@example.org that forwards to your customer service team looks more professional than using a personal email address on your contact page while also safeguarding the individual’s email address.
Most business email providers will make it easy to set this up. You can create group emails that forward to multiple accounts, or create email forwarding rules. With Bluehost, for example, there’s a special menu called “Forwarding,” accessible from your account dashboard, where you can create a generic email (like Info@YourDomain.com) and forward it to one or more personal email addresses.
In the example below, Info@moonyguitars.com is being forwarded to a personal address of Jeremy@moonyguitars.com. If a business wanted it to forward to additional employees, like the general manager, they would simply click “submit” and then “Add an Email Forwarder” to set up another forwarding address.
Benefits of Using a Professional Email Address
It’s important to use a professional email address for your business email because it gives more credibility to your business. A professional email address also gives your business name more exposure, as professional email addresses typically include a business name-centric domain. This helps build brand awareness and customer trust, thereby increasing sales.
Here are five reasons why it’s important to have a professional business email address:
- Professional first impressions: A professional email address gives your business a professional appearance, ensuring the public takes your business seriously.
- Consistent branding: Being consistent with your branding is key, and email is part of that. Every employee should have a business email address following a cohesive company-wide format, such as email@example.com. This makes your business name more recognizable and your brand appear clean and organized.
- Gain trust: By presenting your business professionally, you are giving people more confidence to trust in your business. This can help drive more sales.
- Increases brand awareness: Since your professional email address uses your business’ domain name (which features your business name), every time an email is sent, you build brand awareness.
- Control: Centralizing email addresses helps give businesses more control over user email accounts because they are managed in one main hub.
Every business should create professional email addresses. It not only helps businesses build and maintain a professional appearance, but adds control, creates cohesiveness, and builds brand awareness and consumer trust.
3 Things to Avoid When Creating a Professional Email Address
There are a few things to avoid when creating a professional address to ensure your email address doesn’t look unprofessional. For example, using nicknames, numbers, or formats that cut off employee names can undermine your professional email address, so be sure to avoid them.
Here are the top three things to avoid when creating a professional email address:
- Long email address formats: Using an email address format such as firstname.lastname@example.org is okay for employees with names like John Roy. However, long names such as Elizabeth Whitehouse would make for a very long email address, so avoid formats that could end up lengthy.
- Numbers: If you choose an email format such as email@example.com, you may run into issues with overlapping first names for multiple employees. However, instead of using numbers to differentiate them (such as firstname.lastname@example.org), try a new email format such as first initial and last name.
- Nicknames: Shortening Christopher to Chris is OK, but avoid nicknames that aren’t relevant or too personal because they can look less professional.
Top 5 Professional Email Address Service Providers
There are a number of professional email address service providers to choose from. We’ve narrowed it down to our top five for small businesses, based on features and affordability; most plans cost under $5 per month and either allow you to register a new customer domain or connect your own.
Here are the top five email address providers:
- Gmail: While Gmail is free for personal accounts, it offers businesses the ability to connect their own domain name and create their own professional email addresses for $6 per month with annual billing.
- Office 365: Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium comes with business email hosting, Office apps, and more for $12.50 per month with an annual commitment.
- Bluehost: Bluehost is a leading web hosting provider that offers free business email and a free domain name with hosting plans starting at $2.95 per month.
- Zoho: Zoho is a web-based office suite with business email plans that include 50GB of storage for $4 per month.
- Domain.com: Domain.com is a domain registrar and web hosting provider that offers email hosting as part of its web hosting plans. Web hosting plans that include email hosting start at $7.99 per month and include a free domain name with a 12-month contract and up to 100 custom business email addresses and accounts.
Email providers offer a lot more than storage and domain names. Get the full breakdown of different email service providers, including what features they offer, storage amounts, security features, customer service, and more, in our article on the six best email providers.
Which Email Provider is Right For You?
Professional Email Address Ideas
It’s important to consider which email format to choose because it will be used across your entire business. Keep it short, identifiable, and unique. Also, be sure you pick a format that doesn’t allow for username overlap. That said, each business is different, so consider using a combination of initials and full names that suits your needs.
Here are the most popular professional email address ideas:
First Name Only
Last Name Only
First Name, Last Initial
First Initial, Last Name
Full Name (First & Last)
Generally, businesses that have a large staff, and therefore require a number of email addresses, should consider using a combination of first and last names to avoid confusion or email overlap when two employees have the same first or last name. In addition to individual email addresses, businesses should also always use a generic email address for general departments or services, such as sales or customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get a free business email address?
Truly free business email isn’t commonly available. However, there are ways to get a free business email through a web hosting provider, such as Bluehost, which offers free business email hosting and a free domain name with its low-cost web hosting services starting at $2.95 per month. Get the step-by-step instructions on how to get a free business email address.
What should I include in my email signature?
A professional email signature should always include your first and last name, job title, company, company website, and contact information. Many businesses also choose to include a company logo or user photo, links to social media accounts, or even a call to action, such as “Watch the demo” or “Start your free trial.” Get ideas on what to include and how to design your signature by looking at email signature examples.
Is email marketing effective for increasing sales?
Yes, email marketing remains a very effective marketing approach for increasing sales. Those with the best email marketing campaigns use email marketing automation platforms and customer relationship managers (CRMs) to target audiences and track click-through rates to measure engagement. Learn more about the best CRM email marketing systems.
How do I send a video in the body of an email?
Videos are one of the most effective forms of marketing, but most email hosts do not allow users to send videos within the body of emails. The good news is, BombBomb is a platform where you can easily create and send videos via email and that’s compatible with all email service providers, giving businesses a cost-effective way of increasing response rates and engagement.
What’s the best way to build a small business website?
Building your own business website is becoming easier; now it’s possible for anyone to build their own site without any web design or development experience. The two easiest ways are through drag-and-drop website builder platforms such as Wix and Squarespace, and drag-and-drop website builder plugins for sites built on WordPress. Get step-by-step instructions and hosting information by reading our article on building a small business website.
Bottom Line: Professional Email Address Ideas
A professional email address positions a business as trustworthy and established while maintaining brand consistency and cohesiveness throughout a company. Every business should use professional email addresses to present itself as reliable and transparent, to build brand awareness, and to encourage consumer loyalty.
A professional email address is only one way to ensure your business is represented well; you also need a professional website. Get professional email and web hosting for as little as $2.95 per month with the WordPress-recommended host, Bluehost. Plans are packed with extras from free business email to a free domain name and SSL certificate. Get started today.