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Want To Be Taken Seriously? Use A Real Email Address!

I like Gmail. I really do. I have a Gmail email address that I use for personal correspondence. I use the Calendar and Contacts features to sync my Android phone and tablet with Outlook.

But it drives me absolutely crazy when I see a small business owner — even one who HAS a website — use a Gmail address as their business contact email.

Email - Personal Vs Professional

Why would you do that? Why would you choose to look unprofessional, when it would take so little effort and no extra money to NOT do it?

(It reminds me of the days when Microsoft Publisher first became readily available to the home user. Everyone could do their own desktop publishing now! And it came with a bazillion fonts: how many can you use on your business card? And then you could go to Staples and buy those rip-apart business card blanks and print your own. Why would anyone continue to use a designer and a professional printer? Because hiring a pro makes you look like a pro…)

If your company has a website, you should have email hosting included in your website hosting package. And if you don’t, then switch hosts! I can’t remember the last time I saw a hosting plan that charged extra for an email address or two. Most come standard with a bunch (20? 50?) with the option to buy more if you need them.

You’ll probably want {yourname} @ {yourdomain}.com as a minimum. But you can add things like sales@, or info@, or newsletter@: whatever makes sense for your business.

Yes, Google has really good spam protection on its email servers. Sometimes I hear people say that’s why they use a Gmail account. Again, your web hosting package SHOULD come with spam protection, although I do occasionally see the odd host charging extra for that. In my opinion, they shouldn’t, because running a good solid spam protection utility protects their servers as much as it protects your inboxes.

You can, if you want, use Google’s email servers to manage your domain-specific email addresses. It can get complicated to set up, so find a web person who can do that for you if you really want to go that route.

It’s far easier to log into your hosting control panel and manage whatever spam protection is available to you there. And you can add a desktop-level layer of protection the way I do with MailWasher.

One thing to remember about using Gmail is that you’re running your email through a cloud-based service over which you have no control. Google’s licensing policies say that you own all of your content and messages, but they can deliver ads to you based on the contents of those emails unless you specifically opt out. While they use automated systems to target those ads, to me it feels a little creepy to see advertising related to recent emails that have gone through my account.

So please. Use your Gmail address for your personal correspondence. But get a real email address, one associated with your company’s primary URL, for your business!