Most of the emails you get from professionals—no matter the type of business they’re in, from doctors, to dog trainers, to CEOs—come from business email addresses.
A business email address has the power to separate amateur hobbyists from legitimate professionals, at least in the eyes of the recipients. For new business owners, or those that have been slow to establish an online profile, email is also an important part of getting a business off the ground.
Creating a business email is easy, and it will ensure that you maintain your professionalism no matter where you go.
What Is a Business Email?
A business email is an email address branded in a way that makes clear it comes from a business, and communicates what business it comes from. Usually like firstname.lastname@example.org. In practice, that usually means the email address has been set up with a company’s domain name.
If you’re not familiar with the term, the domain name is the URL the company website resides at. So if your company’s website is www.businessname.com, a business email address would look something like: email@example.com. Setting up a business email is a step that will come after registering your business domain name. But once you have a domain name for your business, setting up your email is the next step.
How to Create a Business Email in 4 Easy Steps
Luckily, creating a business email is an easy part of helping your new business website be successful. Follow these steps to get it done.
Step 1: Register your domain.
Your domain name is the URL people will type into a browser to reach your website. A business called The Puppy Obedience School could register the domain name puppyobedienceschool.com, for instance. Registering your domain name will both ensure you own the domain you want your website to be at, and provide you with the domain that will become the last part of your business email address.
Finding the right domain can be a challenge, since so many of the options for .com are already taken. Brainstorm the best words and phrases that represent your business and use a domain search tool to figure out what’s available. Once you find one you like, you can register it there in the same place as you performed your search.
If you can’t get your business name as a .com, consider if a .net or .biz domain extension will work just as well for you.
Step 2: Sign up for web hosting.
In order to access the tools required to create an email address for your domain, you need web hosting. In addition to enabling you to set up a business email, web hosting is a necessary element for getting your website online.
When considering your options for a hosting plan, pay attention to the number of email addresses included. Some web hosting plans, like those provided by HostGator, will let you create an unlimited number of free email addresses.
Others charge more for creating any email addresses, or only include a small number in the hosting plan and charge for extra. You can save yourself money by selecting a plan that provides as many email addresses as you need upfront.
Step 3: Follow the instructions from your hosting provider to create your business email.
The details of this next step will look a little different depending on who you choose for hosting, although the follow the same general process.
- Log into cPanel. Find the Email section, and click Email Accounts.
- In the form that appears, type the name you’d like for your business email in the Email field.
- Select the domain you want for the last part of the email address from the dropdown menu in the Domain field.
- Choose a secure password for your email account. HostGator’s Password Generator can help you if you have a hard time coming up with one that’s secure enough, and you can gauge how secure each password you try is in the Strength Bar that shows up below the form.
- Click Create Account.
It’s simple as that!
HostGator Product Manager Sean Dundon walks you through the process in this video:
Step 4: Choose your mail client.
Now that your business email is created, it’s time to decide where and how you’ll access it.
Your web hosting account will likely come with a basic webmail option you can use to check your inbox and send email directly through cPanel. This usually comes free with a web hosting plan. But most people will prefer to have emails forwarded to a third-party email client.
A few popular options for email clients include G Suite, Office 365, and others.
While using Gmail for your business email does require a small monthly fee, a G Suite subscription comes with much more than Gmail access. Your organization will also gain the use of collaborative Google Apps including Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, and Google Hangouts. All of these can be useful for organizing your business and controlling who in your organization has access to what information.
For HostGator clients, once you’ve set up an account in Gmail, you can find the details on how to forward your emails to your Gmail account here.
Like G Suite, Office 365 combines an intuitive email interface (Outlook) with a number of other useful business features, like cloud-based access to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. HostGator customers can now upgrade their plan to include access to Office 365 features. Find details on available plans and how to get it set up here.
For Apple users, Mac Mail is the built-in mail client on your computer. HostGator customers can set up forwarding to your Mac Mail account following these instructions. And anyone wanting to access email from an iPhone can follow these.
7 Best Practices When Creating Your Email Address
Setting up a business email is a big step in confirming the legitimacy of your business and providing professionalism to the people you communicate with. But a few additional steps will help your business email go even further.
1. Use an intuitive naming convention.
If you’re running a one-person business, this step is pretty simple: you just need to figure out what your own business email will be.
If you have employees, or expect to hire people as your business grows, then take a few minutes now to figure out what you want business emails for your company to look like. Having a consistent format for your emails as you grow will make life easier for both future employees, and everyone looking to get in touch with them.
Some common naming conventions to consider are:
Picking one now will help you stay consistent as your company grows.
2. Keep business email addresses reasonably short.
People will have an easier time contacting you and your employees if they can remember the email address to use. A long, complex email address will make that difficult. If you chose an intuitive naming convention this part should be easy.
3. Avoid using numbers.
You picked your naming convention and everything was going fine, until you hired your second John Smith. It happens. Some names are common.
The temptation could be to start adding numbers, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s not ideal if you can help it. Tacking numbers to the end of an email address can look less trustworthy to recipients than an email address that looks clean and straightforward.
Instead, it may make more sense to make a rare exception to your naming convention and go with something like email@example.com or throw a middle initial in there, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Use your judgment for nicknames.
If you hire a Robert Jones that goes by Bob Jones in almost every context of life—except official documents like his driver’s license—people will find it more intuitive if his email address matches his nickname than his legal name. But unless a nickname functions as the name an employee goes by in everyday life, using it in their email address is likely to cause confusion, and may convey a lack of professionalism.
Most of the time, going with a person’s actual name will be better than a nickname, but use your judgment in each case.
5. Set up email addresses for general departments or functions.
This is useful on a couple of levels. Your customers or prospects will have an easier time getting in touch. Instead of having to dig up the name of an individual, many people can guess that an email to email@example.com will go to the sales team, and firstname.lastname@example.org will get to a customer service employee’s inbox. That makes finding the right email when they need it easier on them.
And for the business, you can set it up so certain email addresses go to all the relevant contacts. That makes it easier for someone to see and respond faster. If all your salespeople receive the emails that go to email@example.com, one of them can spot and can claim each one ASAP, so interested prospects hear back fast.
6. Add your name and image.
You can personalize how you show up in people’s inboxes further by adding your name and photo to your business email account. The details for doing this will depend on the email client you chose.
In Gmail, you can update your photo by clicking on the G Suite icon in the top right of your inbox, then clicking Change at the bottom of the circle that appears.
Or you can change both your image and name by clicking on the Google Account button right next to the circle, selecting Personal Info, and filling in the information.
In Outlook/Office 365, you can change your name and profile picture by clicking on the image at the top right of the screen, selecting Edit Profile, then choosing Change Picture and Edit Name to provide the new information.
7. Set up an email signature.
The last step to creating a professional business email is setting up your email signature. A good email signature will include a polite signoff (e.g. Regards, Thank you, Sincerely), your name, a link to your website, and the best contact information for reaching you.
Setting up an email signature ensures this information will all show up at the bottom of every email you send, making it easy for customers and business contacts to find it when they need it.
Again, the specific details of this depend on the email client you’re using, but the process is similar. In Mac Mail, there’s a Signatures item on the main menu under Preferences. In Gmail, there’s a Signatures section under Settings. And in Outlook/Office 365, you can choose Signature under the Message menu.
7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Business Email Address
Chances are, you already have an email address. So you may wonder why you can’t just keep using your old address for all your business correspondence as well. Is it really so important that you create a professional email?
It really is, and for a few key reasons:
1. A business email shows professionalism.
If you’re sending emails about the business you run from firstname.lastname@example.org, frankly, your recipients aren’t going to take you seriously (even if they also love Lord of the Rings).
By having a professional email that comes from your business domain, you immediately communicate to the people you interact with that your emails are legitimate and should be taken seriously. Once you finish creating a professional email, you can use it to setup your social media, hosting plan, and any other accounts you need to operate your business.
And you can still keep your personal email account as something separate. Your work-life balance will likely be better if emails sent from your mom or BFF show up in a different place than those that come from customers and co-workers.
2. It becomes an extension of your marketing and branding.
When you have an official business email, every email you send is a reminder of your business branding and website—your domain is included right there in the From field.
And that doesn’t just go for you.
Every person you hire and provide with a business email will also be spreading the word of your business and website with every email they send. It’s a good way to keep your business top of mind and make your website that much easier for people to find.
3. People are more likely to open emails from sources they recognize.
69% of people say who an email comes from is a big part of whether or not they decide to open it.
If someone is expecting to hear from a business called Acme, and gets an email from email@example.com—their mind won’t immediately connect the two. And with how much spam clutters the typical inbox, when a person doesn’t recognize the source of an email, it’s that much more likely to end up in the trash folder.
When you use a business email address, even if a customer doesn’t know you personally, they’ll still be able to recognize that your email is coming from a brand they know. That email from firstname.lastname@example.org is going to look more legitimate and worthy of their time. Any trust or awareness they have for the business will extend to an email that shares its branding.
4. It makes it easier for potential customers to find you.
Most people expect to be able to reach someone from a company using an email address like email@example.com or get to the right department by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
When your business email is intuitive to figure out, you make it easier for people to get in touch when they have a question or concern.
5. It makes it easier for people to find your website.
When your email address uses the same domain as your website, every recipient of an email from your company has a quick and easy resource for figuring out what your website is. Anyone that wants to learn more will know where to go.
6. It makes your business relationships clear.
If everyone that works for the company sends emails from the same domain name, it’s obvious that you’re all associated with the same brand. Customers and leads will know that anyone with an email address ending in @yourcompany.com is a legitimate representative of your brand and worth trusting.
7. Customers will know when emails are coming from you vs. spammers.
Email spam is an unfortunate part of life. Having a business email from your own domain is one important way to differentiate your emails from those of spammers.
Often, spammers will send phishing emails designed to look like they’re coming from a legitimate company. As long as your recipients know what your actual business domain is, they can easily see imposter emails for what they are, and recognize your real emails when they come through.
Business Email FAQs
Those steps are the main things you need to know when learning how to create a business email, but you may still have a few additional questions.
1. Can I create a free business email without a domain?
If you want to skimp on buying a domain name and web hosting (which are both necessary for setting up a business website), you can’t create a business email that has your branding in the second part of it (e.g. email@example.com).
You can create an email address that includes your business name in the first part, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. Some businesses do choose this option, but it won’t look as professional as having a business email address with your unique domain name included.
And if you do start a website down the line, you’ll likely end up starting over with a new branded email address at that time, which can be confusing for customers.
2. What business email addresses should I create?
If you run a one-person business, you can probably manage with one email address that includes your name at your domain.
If you have multiple employees and departments, consider creating a unique email address for each employee that works for you, as well as department-level email addresses, such as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org that go to all the relevant contacts in those departments.
3. How do I set up email forwarding?
Email forwarding is useful in a few different scenarios:
- When you want to forward your emails to a third-party email client, as described in the section above (Step 4).
- When you set up a new email address and want to forward all emails that go to your old address to your new inbox.
- When you want all the emails from a certain web form or departmental-level email addresses to go to the inboxes of all relevant contacts.
- When someone in your company leaves and you want all their emails to go to someone else in the company.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.