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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.


Using A Mail Application To Read Your Business and Personal Web Mail Accounts

August 9th, 2009

delivery I often have discussions with clients regarding their email accounts. When I develop a new website for them, I encourage them to use a domain-based email address rather than using their pre-existing free email account. But once they’ve been convinced to use a domain-based email address, they are confused with how they will read this email and also still read their free email account.

The solution: use a desktop mail application.

Having a desktop mail application is like having your own personal delivery person whose job it is to go and retrieve all of your email from where ever it may be and delivery it right to your desktop.

I’ve tried to create a picture below that describes how using a mail application to retrieve and delivery mail from various web mail accounts works. When you have web mail, whether it’s using one from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) like Comcast, or whether it’s from a free web mail service like Google, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail, or whether it’s from your website’s domain – all of them reside on different web mail servers. Each has it’s own separate place on the web that you need to go to, login with a different userid and password, and different interface that allows you to read new mail and send mail.

There are many disadvantages of having to check, one by one, each different email account – the waste of time, confusion, having to learn each different web mail interface…and the worst of all, the time delay that a potential new customer experiences when they send mail to a mailbox that no one is checking regularly.

Here’s the picture of web mail versus using a mail application:


The desktop mail application does the work for you. It remembers where the different web mail accounts are, each of their userid’s and passwords, and constantly monitors them to check to see whether new mail has arrived. It also allows you to reply and send emails out via each web mail account with separate “from” addresses that match that account and signatures. It keeps your personal and business emails separate – but integrates them into one, simple application that you view on your desktop.

There are many mail applications out there. Most of my clients seem to use Outlook. I’m on a Mac, and I prefer to use Thunderbird, which is free. Thunderbird retrieves email from my three separate email accounts (one business, two personal) and puts them into one nicely organized inbox. It continuously checks my mail accounts for me, and makes a noise whenever new mail arrives. I send and reply to my different email accounts from one place, without ever having to login to anything.

Using Thunderbird, or any other mail application, will greatly simplify your email life, and it’s something I highly recommend to all of my website clients. Even if you only have one web mail account, it will save you time and frustration.

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.

2 Responses to “Using A Mail Application To Read Your Business and Personal Web Mail Accounts”

  1. Lise Anderheggen-Leif Says:

    Thanks Jill! This was a great and useful summary. I’ve been pondering this but haven’t taken the leap as I wasn’t sure what I was doing and what I was going to get. OK…so I’m not a computer person…that is clear!
    So , thanks again and Thunderbird was my thought too. It’s always nice to have an idea confirmed by someone who knows what they are up to on the world of computers! L

  2. Jill Olkoski Says:

    Hey Lise!
    Thanks very much for the feedback. I find myself repeating this to folks, and I thought a picture would help. While it does take some effort to get it set up, I do think it’s worth it because it’s a time saver. And I’m loving Thunderbird!

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