Unless you run your own company, a professional email address is usually allocated to you by your employer. It might have an awkward structure like firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. This address will be given to colleagues and associates, stamped on business cards and published online in all sorts of directories and portals. But it’ll never really feel like your account, and it’ll be shut down once you leave the firm.
Up close and personal
Personal email hosting is a very different matter. Here, you’re in charge. You can choose from a number of global providers, all of whom provide a broadly similar (and generally free) service. Or, for a few extra dollars, you could register a domain name that gives you complete freedom to select an email address reflecting your interests or personality. It’s the difference between firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The latter is much more personal – yet strangely, it’s also more professional. And it’s also far more likely to still be available. After all these years, there’s a high chance someone else may have already registered a generic email account with your preferred keyword, phrase or name.
That’s more of a problem for some people than others. If you’re called Zachariah P. Doodlebug III, you should be able to choose a custom email account from any of the personal email hosting services out there. However, if your name is James Smith – believed to be the most common name in America – other people will have registered all the obvious addresses. You’ll probably end up using an absurd variant like firstname.lastname@example.org. As well as lacking any individuality, numbers are easy to mistype and are often remembered in the wrong order.
What’s in a (domain) name?
Registering a domain name with personal email hosting included gives you complete control over the email address’s length, style and character. You don’t need to default to the generic .com suffix, either. Your address could end in .co, .us, .buzz or hundreds of other top level domains. You could even choose .email, although this gets confusing when dictating it down the phone. Ease of understanding among other people is an important consideration when choosing a personal email address. If your name has an odd spelling or isn’t written how it sounds, you might be better with a simpler alternative. If someone mistypes the address, they might not know you haven’t received their email – and you may never know they sent it.
Another advantage of personal email hosting is that your address won’t change if your employer rebrands, sacks you or goes bust. Although domain names are leased for a period of one to nine years, you get the exclusive right to renew them. A personal email address can be maintained for the rest of your life, ensuring people can always get in touch with you. That’s more dependability than you’ll get from a cell number or even your home address. Americans are statistically far more likely to move house than to change their personal email account. Another reason why choosing the perfect address at the outset is so important…