Why shouldn’t you use an ISP/free email account for your business?
When it comes to small businesses and their online presence, the use of ISP (@frontier.com, @psci.net, @twc.com) or free (@gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com) email accounts for their business email makes them look untrustworthy and cheap.
ISP email accounts have limited storage space. Another downfall is if a business owner decides switches ISPs, then they either have to pay the current ISP to continue using that email address or switch their email address. This is incredibly inconvenient, especially if you include your email address on business cards and other print media.
Another downfall of ISP email accounts, is they rarely allow for online access to email while still allowing access via an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird. They are starting to get better about this, but a cloud email service is an easy way to have your own @yourdomainname.com address. When it comes to email, here’s what you need to know (Edit: apparently the referenced site is no longer loading.):
- The cloud is a series of interconnected servers usually dispersed around the world with multiple backup systems.
- Your data is stored in the cloud rather than on your computer, therefore, you can access it from multiple points (other computers, cell phones). You do not need to be at your office computer to find your emails
- Because the cloud is backed up in multiple locations, your data is safer from data crashes than if it were stored on a single computer or a single backup system
- In the case of Google, the cloud is secure. Cloud security is managed by world class computer engineers who handle security for a living – it’s far more secure than ANY home or office PC
- The cloud is automatically updated for you – no patches, updates or version upgrades. You always get the latest and greatest in technology.
How do I gear a REAL business email setup?
There are a few alternatives to the ISP and free email accounts listed above. My preferred option is to go with a cloud service like Google Apps or Exchange Online/Office 365 from Microsoft. Yes, it costs money, but you get a lot more storage space for each user and you can access it from anywhere that you have an internet connection.
The final option is to have your ISP setup your @yourdomainname.com address as an alias of its POP box. This won’t help you with the storage limitations, but at least you’ll have a professional-looking email address. These types of setups also seem to have more issues with lost/missing email.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I have a lot of contacts that I don’t want to lose. Can I keep them?
A. Yes! It’s just a matter of exporting your contacts from your current email software and importing them into your new account.
Q. What about all the people who have my current email address?
A. This solution comes in two steps: 1: Send an email to all your existing contacts to let them know about your new address. 2: Set up an auto-responder on your old email account, so the people who send to your old account get a reminder about your new address. You can also have all mail from your old account forwarded to the new account.
Q. Can I still use Outlook or Thunderbird as my email client?
A. Yes, they’re completely compatible!