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Blog > Free Email vs Website Domain Email – Pros and Cons

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Free Email vs Website Domain Email – Pros and Cons

November 6th, 2008

Clients often have free emails accounts when they start a website design project, and one of the decisions they need to make is whether to stick with their free email account or whether to utilize an email account that’s based on their website domain name. This post will review the pros and cons associated with each.

Free email accounts are typically from AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Google, etc. This means when folks send you email, they are sending to or Email accounts that are based on your website domain, are in form of “”.

One of the decisions new website clients need to make, is whether to continue to use these free email accounts or switch their business email to a new account that is based on their website domain. I wanted to list all the pros and cons so prospective clients of mine could read a comprehensive list and perhaps save myself some typing!

Advantages of Using Free Email

  • Nothing changes. You don’t have to learn anything new or do anything differently.

Disadvantages of Using Free Email

  • Your email address looks unprofessional and suspicious. It’s one way I tell my blog readers to spot fake spam emails. I tell them if it’s free, don’t trust it. It’s just too easy to set up a free email account and disappear. It’s much more work to purchase a domain and set up email accounts on them.
  • You can’t use a contact form because they typically only work with the domain’s email.
  • You can’t take advantage of some website application features, because they only work with the website domain email.
  • You don’t separate personal email from business email.

Advantages of using Website Domain Email

  • Your email address looks professional and trustworthy.
  • You can utilize contact forms to make it easier for prospective clients to contact you.
  • You have no problem using website application features that send out emails.
  • You easily separate personal email and business email, and can configure different signatures for each – way more professional.

Disadvantages of using Website Domain Email

  • You have an additional email account to check.
  • If you use an email application to read your mail, like Outlook or Thunderbird, you now have to configure it to read your website email.

What about email forwarding?

I’ve had clients who had a free email account, like with AOL, who wanted me to create a website email and have it forward to their AOL account – sounds like a good solution to avoid the headaches of checking a new account with the benefit of still looking professional? Not quite. There are some companies, like AOL, who often refuse to accept forwarded emails because they think they’re spam – and they won’t even let you know when they do this. For this reason, I never forward email to free accounts – your business email is way too important to assume any risk of non-delivery. What would missing a new client cost you?

What’s the bottom line?

For many reasons, it’s generally best to create an email address using your website domain, even if it means you have to go through the hassle of checking another account, or configuring Outlook or Thunderbird. If you’ve already purchased a domain name and set up hosting, an email account based on your website domain won’t cost you anything. Make sure your prospective customers have the maximum confidence in you and your business, by not using your personal free email accounts, and switching to a business email from your website.

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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