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You may have heard that having a custom email for your business makes you instantly look more professional online. It’s true. And good news, you can create one quickly and easily. Today, I’ll show you how two different ways to get a custom domain email address, one way free and the other backed by the power of Google G Suite. I also share discount codes worth 20% off your first year of G Suite. But first, let’s discuss exactly why you need a branded business email and if the free or paid route will work best for you.
First, what is a domain?
Google gives us this super simple definition:
A domain name (or just a domain) is the name of a website. It’s what comes after “@” in an email address, or after “www.” in a web address.
So, for example, the domain name of Amazon is amazon.com.
The domain name of Apple is apple.com.
Can you guess what the domain name of Target is? Right! target.com.
If you already have a website with a custom domain name, that is great! It’ll be easy to get started with creating an email for that domain name.
But what if you don’t have a website? That is okay! You don’t actually have to have a website to buy a domain name. And yes, sadly, domain names are things you have to actually spend money on. But don’t worry! They’re not that expensive (around $12 a year). And I’ll explain how to get a domain name later in this post or you can read my complete guide to domain names here. In fact, if you decide to use G Suite, they will guide you through buying a domain name as you sign up.
Why do you need a custom domain email address?
Creating a branded email address for your business has several benefits. Some of the most notable include that custom domain email addresses:
Make you look more professional online
People expect professional emails to come from professionally branded email addresses. For example, if someone contacts you from the Amazon customer service team about an order you placed, what do you think their email address will look like: [email protected] or [email protected]?
The first one, right? If anything, the second email address looks like it might be a spammer trying to impersonate Amazon’s customer service.
So if you want people to take you seriously online, it’s time to upgrade your email address from generic domains like @gmail.com and @hotmail.com to one that fits your business.
Give you better deliverability of emails through your email list host
If you use a service like Mailchimp or ConvertKit to host your email list, they’ve probably already encouraged you to use a custom domain email address.
Why? Because when you send an email to one of your list subscribers, the subscriber’s email provider (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) decides how legitimate it looks. If the provider thinks it doesn’t look legit, know what it does with your email? Yep, throws it in the spam folder.
One factor providers weigh in determining if your emails belong in the spam folder is if you are using a custom domain email address or not. Once again, using a professionally branded emails makes you instantly way less like spam in their eyes.
Help you separate your personal and business life.
Okay, a total confession: My personal email inbox is overwhelmed. I get a bazillion emails, and sometimes the important messages get buried under the really unimportant ones.
But when I switch to my business inbox, it’s like a peaceful haven of meaningful purpose. All the emails are important or relevant. And so I don’t miss them. (Which is huge.)
Separating your personal and business email inboxes can help increase your productivity. And you can rest assured that you haven’t missed any super important messages.
Free Vs. Paid Custom Domain Email Addresses for Your Business
Did I just say free? Yes, yes, I did. And if you like to save money, then going the free route might be for you. But first, let’s really look at the pros and cons to help you decide.
How To Use A Free Custom Email With Gmail
If you already pay for web hosting for your website through a provider like Bluehost, chances are your plan includes email hosting.
Now, here are the significant downsides to most web-hosted email platforms: They’re terribly designed, lacking in features, a pain to log into, have no native app for easy mobile checking, and are generally kind of ugly.
It’s sad, but it’s true.
How can you fix this? Forward all your web-hosted email to your personal Gmail account.
Doing this allows you to receive and send emails from your custom domain name from your usual Gmail inbox and Gmail’s mobile app. This way, you don’t ever have to log into the ugly, painful to use, web-hosted email platform.
Pros and Cons of Using A Free Custom Email
And did I mention that this method is FREE? Google doesn’t charge you anything to do this. So this is definitely the number one pro of using the free method.
Of course, you already have to subscribe to web hosting that includes email. Not all hosting does, and most marketplaces don’t. For example, Etsy, Shopify, and my current (super awesome) web host, Flywheel, don’t offer email.
The other pro already mentioned is that you get to use the intuitive, mobile-friendly interface of Gmail to manage your messages. This makes life SO much easier.
Now, there are some cons to this method. Number 1? Time lag. It can sometimes take half an hour for an email to complete the entire forwarding process. Doesn’t sound too bad?
Imagine this: You sign up with your business email for a new account on a website. That website emails you a verification link you need to click on before proceeding. You check your email. It’s not there, so you hit the refresh button. Still not there. You end up waiting 35 minutes until it finally finishes forwarding from your web host to your email account. Then, you can click the verification link.
Believe me: THIS IS A PAIN. I used to run my email from my web host to my Gmail account this way. And I eventually just got fed up with waiting. Not just for verification emails, but all those “We’ll email you six numbers you need to type in to log in to prove you’re really you” emails. I felt like I couldn’t sign in to anything without a half-hour wait. Or I would have to break down and go check my email on the actual web host (which really defeats the whole purpose).
The second con is that it doesn’t separate your personal and business email. Instead, it merely forwards all your business email into your standard inbox. Of course, you could always set up a separate Gmail account for your business emails and send your web-hosted emails into that one.
The third con is that this method doesn’t have all of the extras that the paid G Suite method (see below) has. Because, beyond just email, Google packs a lot into their paid plan at only $6 a month.
How To Get Started With A Free Custom Email
But if you think this free method is for you, how can you get started? I won’t give you an exact tutorial because every web hosting company’s interface works a bit differently. But most hosts provide tutorials made specifically for their platform. Look in your web host’s help database or google “*your web host name* + sync email to Gmail” to find it.
If you don’t already have web hosting but need it, I highly recommend Bluehost. For their price range, they’re the best web host I’ve ever personally used. You can check out Bluehost’s current prices here.
Why Google G Suite is the Best Email For Small Business
So while I started off using the free forwarding method, I eventually switched to Google’s paid service called G Suite.
Switching to their service felt like walking out of a run-down motel room into a luxury hotel suite and relaxing on a plush comfortable bed overcome by exhaustion from months of struggling with web-hosted email. Okay, that might sound a little melodramatic, but I’m serious. It’s awesome.
Why is it called G Suite? Because more than merely helping you with custom-branded email addresses, G Suite is a literal suite of services.
Let’s talk about them.
Custom Domain Email Address Hosting
Do you have a personal email through Gmail? Are you familiar with Gmail’s inbox, their apps, their look, and feel? Great, because that is precisely what you get when you sign up for your custom email address with G Suite.
And Google allows you to sign into more than one email account at once.
So you can easily switch back and forth between your business and personal account without having to sign out and in again.
Their service is fast, reliable, and secure. The user interface is pleasant, easy to use, and customizable. With their app email becomes mobile friendly and easy to check anywhere in the world.
Documents, Spreadsheets, and Storage
G Suite includes Google Docs for word processing, Sheets for spreadsheets (think Excel style), Slides for presentations, and Forms for professional surveys.
Oh, and between 30GB and Unlimited cloud file storage in Google Drive depending on which G Suite plan you choose. This could easily replace another service you’re already paying for, like Dropbox.
G Suite helps your whole team stay in sync. You can add on additional users to your account, manage them, set them up with their own custom email addresses, and collaborate across the entire platform. Pretty great, huh?
G Suite Pricing
So, you might be wondering how much all this costs. Honestly, when I first went to look at the price, my stomach clenched with anxiety. Would it be super expensive? Would I find myself stuck with my horrible old email forever because G Suite would be way out of my price range?
Then I saw the pricing and let out a massive sigh of relief.
It starts at only $6 a month per user.
Pricing looks like this (as of July 2020):
Basic Plan: $6 a month per user
Business Plan: $12 a month per user (this plan gives you extra cloud storage and a couple additional perks)
Enterprise Plan: $25 a month (this plan offers beefed up Admin features for larger companies)
Since right now, I’m a soloprenuer, I signed up for the $6 a month plan and never looked back.
And now, since I use G Suite myself, I have a referral code I can share with you. This will save you 20% off of your first year of using G Suite.
20% Off Your First Year of G Suite Coupon Codes
*Due to high demand, if you would like a personalized GSuite Coupon code please email me at ellie at elliedashwood.com and I’ll send you one just for you.*
How to Create Your Own Email Domain with Google
How To Buy A Domain Name
Okay, if you already own a domain name, then you’re ready to go.
If you don’t have one, then first you will need to buy one.
And guess what? Google makes that process super simple. As you create a new G Suite account, they will ask if you have one. Simply select, “No, I need one.” They will help you buy one through Google Domains.
I personally buy all of my domains through Google Domains. In fact, buying my domains through Google makes my life easier. They’re safe, fast, reputable and easy to sign in to (it’s part of your Google account). Also, it makes setting up G Suite with them a breeze.
In fact, I’ve written this blog post about buying domains through Google Domains. It also goes into choosing the right domain for your business and how to use it with third-party sites (like Etsy) to look extra professional.
Before continuing, I recommend reading that article here, so you know what to look for when selecting your domain.
How to Create A New G Suite Account
Okay, you’ve decided that you want to use G Suite to get a custom domain email address for your business. What’s next? It’s time to open an account.
And it’s so simple.
Now, to create a new G Suite Account go to their website by clicking here.
Then, choose a plan and click the “Get Started” button. After that, Google will hold your hand as you go through their set up process.
Depending on who your domain is registered, you will have to verify you own your domain. This is the hardest step. But thankfully Google has easy to follow, detailed instructions about how to do that for each domain and web host to make things simple for you.
If you followed my recommendation and bought your domain through Google, then guess what? Google will auto verify your domain for you, letting you skip that step.
And it’s just that easy.
What questions do you have about how to look more professional online? Let me know in the comments.
This post was proofread by Grammarly.