Email Service and Your Business: Not All Solutions Are Created Equal

What is the best e-mail service for your business? I’m going to spoil the headline right now – it’s going to be Google’s G suite. With that hard-hitting question out of the way, let’s break down the differences between e-mail providers, and what they mean for your business.

Option #1: ISP e-mail accounts

Whether it’s Comcast, Spectrum, or whoever is your local internet service provider, chances are when signing up you will be presented with the option of creating an e-mail account (if they don’t automatically create one for you). In fact, many people are still hanging on to their AOL account from the dial-up days. So what are the positives and the negatives to using an ISP e-mail account?

The Good

The only positive to an ISP e-mail account compared to other e-mail services is this: great customer service. This is a relative statement, as one might put calling Comcast for technical support in the same category as going to the DMV. However; most web e-mail customer service is either automated, slow, or both (if it isn’t nonexistent). Having the ability to call and speak with a real human being about problems may be big benefit for personal e-mail, though problems with personal e-mail are exceptionally rare.

The Bad

If you switch service providers, keeping your e-mail account will be a hassle at best and a nightmare at worst. If a company folds or is bought out by another company, it’s not fun to go down with the ship and have your e-mail address permanently changed to the new service provider’s address.

Option #2: Hosting service e-mail accounts

When you host your website through a hosting service, most of the time that host has a mail server. This is great when using it for the purposes of delivering forms and mailing lists, but what about for more traditional incoming and outgoing mail? Let’s take a look.

The Good

The biggest advantage of using a hosting service’s e-mail account is having access to your domain automatically for your e-mail address. Instead of “@gmail.com”, you can end your e-mail address in “@insertyourdomainhere.com”. This gives your e-mail address a professional look.

The Bad

Just like ISP e-mails, your e-mails will be stored on your hosting services server, so while you will be able to retain your e-mail address if you own your domain, backing up and migrating e-mails will be necessary if you switch hosting services. On top of this, the web interfaces for these services are usually mediocre compared to the giants of webmail. It’s best to use a standalone e-mail client if you go this route.

Option #3: Webmail

From Gmail to Yahoo mail, there are a plethora of options when it comes to using web e-mail services for your business. While different services have different pros and cons overall, let’s look at what the most popular services have in common.

The Good

Great storage, familiar interfaces, very low risk in your e-mail service being shut down; webmail has a lot going for it. I think if you’re starting out and want to test the waters without spending any money on a professional e-mail, webmail is the way to go. Gmail e-mail addresses don’t look too bad professionally because of their commonness, especially for very small businesses that will only be using one account. Because there are so many options, there’s definitely something for everyone in this category.

The Bad

As many good things as webmail has going for it, bringing your own domain name to the same place where your e-mail address is stored is impossible with some services and costly with others. This can make your domain look less professional overall when compared to options that utilize your domain name.

Option #4- Google G Suite

I hope the spoiler in the beginning didn’t put you off from reading this far. Let’s read into why this is #1 on our list of e-mail services for businesses.

The Good

The flexibility of Gmail/webmail, with the ability to bring your own domain name to the service. Rock solid 24/7 customer support. The best security in the game. Cloud storage included. If you’re serious about having a professional, flexible, easy to use e-mail, look no further.

The Bad

It costs money. At $6 per user per month, this may be overkill for those that are just starting out, and won’t be using their e-mail often enough to warrant the price.

At the end of the day, picking what e-mail service to use is largely going to be determined by your understanding of your business, and where you’re looking to take it. If you’re mostly using your e-mail as a means of occasional communication, webmail might be the best option for you. If you’re communicating with clients often using e-mail, the professionalism of a hosting service e-mail or G Suite will give you and your clients an extra level of confidence in communicating. Whatever e-mail service you choose, the important thing is to get out there and get started.