When setting up your business online, you’ll need a domain name (yes, even if you only sell at Etsy and don’t have your own website). A domain name or URL is the address people can type into their browser to find your site (ours is aeolidia.com – our website is at http://aeolidia.com/ and our email addresses all use @aeolidia.com). Here is why:
- Professionalism. Printing your own domain on your business cards helps customers trust you.
- Flexibility. You may be on Etsy now, but if you always give people your domain name, you’ll be able to move later without confusing anyone (or reprinting anything).
- Email at your domain. Customers want to see email coming from the domain they ordered from, and email at a free email provider or your personal ISP may look confusing at best and like a scam at worst.
Purchasing a domain name
This is a bit trickier than it looks! Some domain registrars will spam you with piles of ads, some cost too much, and some have difficult-to-use admin tools. We’re currently recommending Namecheap.
Once you have a domain, you can set it up to point to your Etsy shop, your Shopify shop, your WordPress.com site, or just throw up a quick info page to let people know about you.
How to set up email at your domain
So once you have your domain, you’ll want to set up email. If you don’t use web hosting, you may be wondering what the best way to set up just email is.
Lately we’ve been recommending Shopify for ecommerce sites. We’ve also been recommending WP Engine for WordPress hosting. Neither of these services offers email, which seems like a bummer at first, but turns out to be a blessing in disguise.
If you’ve had a domain and website for a while, I’m sure you’ve had your share of email woes, particularly if you’re using inexpensive shared web hosting. When email is considered an add-on, it’s often poorly done, with bad service, bad tools, and frustrating customer support.
When you stick with service providers that specialize, you can have your shop hosted by ecommerce experts and your email hosted by email experts. Good deal!
If you sign up for web hosting that doesn’t include email service, how do you get email at your domain?
Your domain registrar may provide email, but if not, here are some options.
Google Apps for your domain:
You can use Google Apps to setup new email addresses for your domain name. This means Google Apps will take care of all the sending, receiving and storing tasks automatically. Once this is set up, you can use Outlook, Apple Mail, Gmail, or any other email client software for your new email addresses.
Here’s a general overview of what Google Apps for Your Domain is.
If you use Google Apps for Your Domain, it will create a separate Gmail account that doesn’t share anything with your existing Gmail account.
You may be interested in using the Zoho Email service, with calendar, tasks, notes, contacts & more.
If you just need a forwarding address, Hover is $5 per year.
You will need web or email hosting to use this method, unlike the options above. If you already have email with your host, but prefer Gmail’s features or interface, here’s how to set up your email to run through Gmail.
If you have an existing Gmail account you’d like to use to check your new email in, you can use Mail Fetcher:
Centralize mail from different accounts with Mail Fetcher
Here’s how to remove the “on behalf of” that sometimes shows up in sent mail headers:
Remove ‘On Behalf Of’ from Messages Sent Using Gmail
Questions about email hosting?
I hope this was useful, and didn’t just make things more confusing! What questions do you have about domains, email, etc.?