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Simplify your e-mail address

by Click and Hack

We do a lot of work with Catherine, a woman who runs a small design firm called CG Design. She has a couple of regular freelancers who work for her, and they all work as a team with Catherine’s clients ” in this case, us.

When we e-mail Catherine, the address is: CatherineDesign@comcast.net. However, when we e-mail one of her freelancers, we must remember Cindy1556@hotmail.com or PeterG@earthlink.net.

What happened to the firm CG Design we thought we were doing business with? Why must we remember personal e-mail addresses? And if CG Design’s client happens to be Qwest, does Qwest really want to deal with a principal (Catherine in this case) who clearly has chosen one of their chief competitors, Comcast, for their Internet service provider?

Catherine has a great business, but she clearly is not using a company e-mail address to her advantage. She and her freelancers could be using a common domain name that unifies every member of her team and presents a professional image. Further, the domain name could be used as an additional branding opportunity with current and prospective clients.

The same could be said for a variety of professionals you probably deal with. Our lawyer, an independent, uses an AOL e-mail address. The receptionist at our dentist’s office recently asked us to send some information to her by e-mail and then gave a personal Hotmail account as the e-mail address.

It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure to set up e-mail hosting under one common domain name that represents you or your company in a professional manner, such as name@mybusiness.com.

In Catherine’s situation, she could set up a number of e-mail addresses using the names of her employees and her company: addresses could include Catherine@CGDesign.com, Cindy@CGDesign.com, and so on.

To set up such a system, begin by selecting a site to register your domain name and e-mail hosting. Two of the more common options are: http://www.godaddy.com and http://www.register.com. But shop around, as prices vary greatly.

Next, find a secure a domain name. For details, check out: http://www.clickandhack.com, “All About Domains.” Once you’ve secured a domain, you can easily set up e-mail hosting with a few clicks. Your options will range from basic Web mail for individuals at the low end, to multi-user programs that mimic an in-house e-mail exchange server.

The most basic packages should include anti-spam and anti-virus features. Many also offer nifty features such as personal and shared calendars.

Higher-end services from Register.com and other companies even allow you to “pop” your e-mail account, meaning e-mail is automatically downloaded into Microsoft Outlook or Eudora, for examples. If your company is comprised of several individuals working in different locations, you may want to consider some of the more advanced features offered by hosting sites, such as IMAP, which allows users to store and access shared mail from remote locations.

To learn about what is possible, Register.com offers an easy-to-understand explanation of e-mail hosting services and a comparison of features at: http://www.register.com/retail/product/compare/e-mail_chart.rcmx.


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