A professional email address, using a custom domain and clear naming structure (such as email@example.com), is critical for all businesses that want to build trust with customers. This trust ultimately results in a better brand reputation and, over time, increased sales. To help, there are three main rules for choosing your own professional email address.
The first rule is to always use your own business domain name. An email address that doesn’t use this custom domain will always look unprofessional. Avoid this by getting a free custom domain name from Bluehost, as well as five free matching business email addresses and web hosting, for as little as $2.95 per month.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Every business should start by getting their own domain name to avoid looking unprofessional, to maintain control, and to create an easily identifiable email.
Why Use Your Own Domain Name?
Businesses should use their own domain name for several reasons, from creating a professional and trustworthy appearance to maintaining brand continuity across an organization. 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:
- 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.
- 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 with their own domain name. It not only helps businesses build and maintain a professional appearance, but adds control, creates cohesiveness, and builds brand awareness and consumer trust.
Tip: Avoid spending approximately $5 per email address, per month by choosing a web hosting provider such as Bluehost, which includes free custom email and a free domain name with its low-cost plans that start at $2.95 per month.
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. 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.
Tip: If your desired domain name is too long or unavailable, try these domain name ideas.
Rule #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 to maintain 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
Tip: When choosing a username format, consider your company’s size. For example, usernames, such as first name or last name only, aren’t likely a good choice for large companies as they will end up with staff members who share common names.
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
Tip: Outside of generic inboxes (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org), businesses are generally advised to use a standard email display format that displays the first and last name of the sender.
Rule #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 email@example.com. 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.
How Do I 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.
Tip: Some email providers, such as Bluehost, make it easy to set up email forwarding that forwards to multiple accounts (i.e., different members of a sales team). To set this up in Bluehost, for example, there’s a special menu called “Forwarding,” accessible from your account dashboard. Here you can create a generic email (like Info@YourDomain.com) and forward it to one or more personal email addresses.
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 custom 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 around $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?
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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.
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.