Using a professional email address has many advantages, from being more memorable to building trust and credibility, which can ultimately result in increased sales. Fortunately, setting one up requires very little time and is a low-cost investment that is definitely worth it. To reap these benefits of a business email address, and to make it easy to set up, follow three main rules: use your own domain, choose a standard format, and create a general email.
1. Always Use Your Own Domain
The most important factor in creating a professional email address is using your own domain name (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). Why? An email address that doesn’t use this custom domain (e.g., email@example.com) will always look less professional. While getting a domain and connecting it to email may sound complicated, the good news is that it’s relatively easy and affordable. You can even get a domain for around $12 to $15 per year, and the steps are quite simple to connect it to email.
Why Using Your Own Domain Is Important
There are a number of reasons why businesses need to use their own domain name, from creating a professional and trustworthy appearance that is memorable to maintaining brand continuity across an organization. In addition to external benefits, there are also internal benefits, such as maintaining complete control over email.
Here are five reasons to use your own domain for your professional email address:
- Create a professional first impression: A professional email address gives your business a professional appearance, ensuring the public takes your business seriously.
- Keep branding consistent: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Build trust and credibility: 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.
- Maintain control: Centralizing email addresses helps give businesses more control over user email accounts because they are managed in one main hub.
What you may not realize is that in many cases, you may be eligible for a free domain name through providers you likely are already using. For example, if you are building a site with WordPress and will need web hosting, web hosts such as Bluehost include a free domain name (as well as free business email) with plans that cost as low as $2.95 per month.
How to Find a Domain for Your Professional Email Address
There are a few ways to get a domain name, such as through domain name registrars and web hosting plans. Regardless of where you get one from, ideally, your domain name will be the same as your business name. Use the domain name search bar below; if you need help finding an available domain, check out these domain name ideas. Once you find a domain name, register it by following the checkout steps.
2. Use a Standard Email Format
With a custom domain name, the next element of a professional email address is the username and display name. The username is the first portion of the email address, such as the “JDoe” of “JDoe@dowlaw.com,” and the display name is what is displayed in a recipient’s inbox, such as “John Doe.” Businesses need to select a username and display name format to use across all employee email accounts for continuity and organization.
Common Business Email Formats
Example: John Doe
First name only
Last name only
First name, last initial
First initial, last name
Full name (first and last)
A generic or departmental inbox name
Common Email Display Name Formats
Display Name Format
Example: John Doe
Full name (first and last)
First name and company
John @ Super Pets Supply
Super Pets Supply
Outside of generic inboxes (e.g., email@example.com), businesses are generally advised to use a standard email display format that displays the first and last name of the sender. Learn more about how to create a custom email address.
3. Create General Email Addresses for Your Website
Businesses should provide an email address on its website contact page, though it should also use a generic email address for this, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. It not only looks more professional, but it also helps reduce spam to individual inboxes, as individual email addresses are kept private. Once you have a generic email address created, the next step is to set up email forwarding, which makes it easy for businesses to manage generic inboxes.
Commonly Used General Email Addresses & Inboxes
General, or generic, email inboxes are typically used by teams, such as customer service or sales, as a way to provide contact information online without providing an individual’s email address. This helps to not only help prevent unwanted emails from reaching you or your staff directly, but it also helps eliminate the need to update your site if an employee changes jobs, and it provides a way for multiple teammates to share an inbox.
- General inquiries: e.g., contact@, info@, questions@, inquiries@, hello@
- Customer service: e.g., support@, returns@, billing@, service@
- Sales: e.g., sales@, demo@, team@, members@
- Marketing: e.g., press@, media@, pr@
- Human resources: e.g., jobs@, careers@, hr@
Set Up Email Forwarding
When you create special or general-purpose emails to use on your website, it saves time to use email forwarding, which will automatically send emails that are sent to the generic inbox to a specific person. Email forwarding will be set up directly through your email provider, so steps will vary. Generally, email forwarding is set up through email settings.
Top 3 Professional Email Address Service Providers
There are a number of professional email address service providers to choose from, but which is best for you will depend on your unique needs. To help, we’ve narrowed it down to the three best, based on features that matter most to small businesses and those looking for the best value for their money.
- G Suite: Similar to Gmail, G Suite is the premium version; it enables you to host your email that uses your own domain name. Pricing starts at $6 per user, per month, and it’s best for those that already have web hosting and simply want a business email address with a familiar and feature-rich email platform. Learn more about Gmail for business.
- Bluehost: Those who plan to build a website with the world’s leading content management system (CMS), WordPress, will need web hosting in order for their site to be live on the web. Bluehost is a leading web host that includes a free domain and free business email with its hosting plans that start at $2.95 per month.
- Zoho Email: If you’re a budget-conscious business that already has a domain name, consider Zoho Email. There you can get up to five free business email accounts that use your own domain.
Still not sure which is the best choice for you? 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 best email providers.
How to Set Up a Professional Email Address
It’s possible to set up a professional email address in as little as three steps. First, create an account with your chosen domain name provider (e.g., GoDaddy, Bluehost, G Suite, or Squarespace). Next, choose a domain name, and set up your email account with your chosen provider. Get all the information you need, including step-by-step instructions on how to set up business email.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get a free business email address?
It is uncommon to find a truly free business email. 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.
Which is better: G Suite or Microsoft 365?
G Suite and Microsoft 365 are direct competitors for a reason, and which is best for you will depend on your needs and preferences. G Suite is generally better for businesses that want a more modern and intuitive platform for business email, collaboration, and productivity tools. Microsoft 365 is better for traditional companies with secretarial staff responsible for managing other staff members’ inboxes. Get the complete comparison of G Suite vs Microsoft 365.
Every business should use professional email addresses to present itself as reliable and transparent, to build brand awareness, and to encourage consumer loyalty. To get a professional email address, start by using your own domain, use a standardized email format, and create generic addresses to use on your site.