Setting Up Your Business Email

Communicating with customers by email is a big part of doing business online. Your hosting plan gives you plenty of email addresses to use with your domain, so there’s no reason to associate your business with a personal Hotmail or AOL email address. The following example illustrates the steps and choices for setting up an email address for your business.

Suppose you’re planning to use the domain budgetingretirement.com for your business and you’d like to set up [email protected] as the primary email address for customers to contact you. For this example we’ll assume your hosting plan uses the cPanel interface to manage email and other aspects of your hosting. If your host doesn’t use cPanel, follow your host’s instructions for email setup, taking steps similar to those described below.

Visit http://cpanel.budgetingretirement.com to login to cPanel, and click on Mail – Email Accounts. Enter [email protected] as the email address.  For the amount of space allocated to this account, you can increase it or accept the default. For reasons explained below, the space allocation will not be a significant limitation on how much email you can receive. From the cPanel main menu, click on Mail – Default Address.  Have all unrouted email to budgetingretirement.com go to [email protected] (your “catchall” address) instead of bouncing back to the sender. You now have a basic web-based email account for [email protected]. You can read and send email by logging in at http://budgetingretirement.com/webmail or through cPanel Mail – Email Accounts.

However, you’ll probably prefer to forward copies of those emails to a location you would prefer – your desktop, Yahoo email, or Gmail, for example. Gmail is a good choice. Gmail can be accessed from anywhere, and it has features that are especially useful for business. If you don’t already have a Gmail account, create one.

From the cPanel main menu click on Mail – Forwarders. Have email forwarded to your Gmail address ([email protected] for example). If your business absolutely cannot afford email delivery to fail, consider adding another forwarder. That way, if the Gmail servers should go down, you have a backup means of receiving critical emails.

A powerful feature of Gmail is its capability of consolidating all of your email addresses in one Gmail account. In particular, not only can you receive email to [email protected], you can send email so that recipients will see [email protected], not [email protected], in the “From” field of the email.

Log in to Gmail. Make sure you’re using Standard View because some of the following doesn’t work in Basic HTML View. Go into Options (may look like a gear icon) – Mail Settings – Accounts and Import and select Send Mail from Another Address.  Enter your name and email address. Select Send through budgetingretirement.com SMTP servers.

The next settings may require a little experimentation or information from your web host:

SMTP Server: mail.budgetingretirement.com           Port 465
Username:    [email protected]

X Always use a secure connection (SSL) when sending mail

The SMTP server may be something like mail.primarydomain.com if primarydomain.com (rather than budgetingretirement.com) is the primary domain in your hosting account. Or the server and port could be different if your host has a different convention.

After you respond to a confirmation email you’ll be able to send emails from within Gmail and have them appear to be from [email protected].

While in Mail settings – Accounts and Import – When replying to a message:, select “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”. This helps ensure you do not reply with the wrong address, as could happen if you’re using Gmail to manage numerous email addresses.

Since you can now manage all your business email through Gmail, the only need to login to http://budgetingretirement.com/webmail is to periodically delete old emails to keep under the account space limit.

Use the same steps to set up additional addresses under the budgetingretirement.com domain. The only difference will be that these additional email addresses won’t be the default/catchall address.

Although there are a fair number of steps in this process, the good news is that the process is more tedious than complicated. Even better, once you’ve set up your email as recommended here, you’ll have a flexible and convenient way to manage all your business email.

13 Steps to Your First Business Website

1. Choose a domain registrar

Choose a reputable registrar with straightforward name management and consistent pricing. Dynadot and Moniker are both highly regarded registrars that offer good service and pricing. GoDaddy is the most popular registrar but be prepared for upsell and price increases at renewal time.

  • Recommendations:
    • Dynadot
    • Moniker (UPDATE: Contented Designs no longer recommends using Moniker, which after ownership changes has had problems with security and support.)
  • Alternative:

2. Choose and register a domain name

Use your registrar website to check the availability of the domain name you want. Be prepared to search for alternative names if your first choice isn’t available. Good domain names are in high demand so, if the right name is available, register it without delay. During registration, make sure your contact information is correct, and set the domain to auto-renew. This will help ensure you don’t accidentally lose your domain through administrative error or non-payment. The cost for registering a domain name is about $10/year.

3. Choose how to manage your website content

Content management systems like WordPress maintain your website in a database on the web server. Of the popular content management systems, WordPress is the easiest to use. WordPress is extremely flexible and powerful, however, and you can use it to create a business website that looks very professional. A content management system like WordPress should be your choice if you’ll be making frequent updates to your website.

You can also create a website by using a template. Copy the template to your PC, use the template and an editor to create your web pages, and upload the pages to the web server. A good template and quality content can provide your business with a professional web presence. The template approach is appropriate for small websites that don’t change frequently or for hosting plans that don’t support WordPress.

  • Recommendation:
  • Alternative:
    • template

4. Choose a web host

Select Linux shared hosting. Shared hosting, where your website shares a server with many other websites, is inexpensive and is sufficient for most business websites. Linux hosting is more reliable and is sometimes cheaper than Windows hosting. The cost for host a website using Linux shared hosting is about $75/year.

Arvixe and HostGator both offer reliable service at good prices, and have very high customer satisfaction. HostGator is one of the largest web hosts. Arvixe is a medium-sized company whose owner is actively involved in answering customer questions.

If your budget is tight, consider Dynadot or Google Sites. Dynadot offers a minimal hosting plan for only $12/year. Google Sites is free, but has limited features and takes some expertise to use it with your own domain name.

5. Point your domain to host nameservers

Login in to your registrar account, look for “DNS” or “nameserver”, and set the nameservers as instructed by your web host.

6. Choose your website design

Going with a clean and simple look lets visitors focus on your content, not on how flashy your website is.

7. Choose graphics for your website

Royalty-free stock images are an inexpensive way to add a professional look to your website. Upgrading the appearance of your website for a small one-time cost is a good investment.

8. Accept payment on your website

Adding a payment page to your website makes it easy for clients to pay you. PayPal lets you accept credit card payments without a merchant account.

9. Set up analytics for your website

Seeing information about your website visitors, such as how they found your website, which pages they visited, and how long they visited them, is valuable for assessing your content and marketing.

10. Upload your website content

To create or update content on your WordPress website, login into WordPress and make the changes using the WordPress interface. To create or update content on your template-based website, copy the web pages from your PC to the web server using an FTP client or the uploading interface in your hosting account.

11. Add your website URL to your marketing materialsAdding a link to your website on business cards, brochures, stationary, and email signatures makes your business more visible.

12. Advertise your website

Google Adwords lets you run pay-per-click (PPC) ads where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. Adwords lets you reach potential clients worldwide for as little as $0.05/click. If your business serves a local area, you can run a Craigslist ad for your business for free.

13. Repeat forever

  1. Evaluate your website analytics
  2. Evaluate and update your website advertising
  3. Backup your website content
  4. Evaluate and update your website content