In a previous tutorial, we talked about why using the free email service that comes with your web hosting can lead to unnecessary headaches for you and your small business. Or, you might be in a situation where you've signed up with web hosting that doesn't offer email service at all (as is the case with hosts like WP Engine). Either way, in this tutorial, we'll take a look at a few of the best business-grade, dedicated email services to handle your website's communication. Remember, we always want to keep our business's essential web services separate from one another.
Further, we definitely do not want to use an unprofessional email address with our website (think
firstname.lastname@example.org). Unprofessional, unbranded email addresses ain't gonna cut it. For our business ventures, we want professional, site-branded email accounts. Always!
The recommendations I'm providing here are great for solo business ventures, small work groups, and even larger businesses.
First, we'll take a look at Microsoft Office 365 and some of the benefits and options they provide. Then, we'll discuss Google G Suite, another fantastic choice for handling business email. Finally, I'll provide a small handful of additional dedicated email services for you to look further into.
By the end of this tutorial, you'll have a handful of dedicated email providers to consider using. But just as with my web hosting recommendations, use what I'm providing here as a starting point for your own research. Take a look at each service, compare them to each other, and see if one might make a good fit for you and your website.
Okay, let's get started with Microsoft's Office 365...
Microsoft Office 365 is an enterprise-grade web-based service that's now available for individuals and small businesses. Their service includes branded, domain-based email in a clean, user-friendly interface that's easy to use and navigate through. Each account includes 50gb of storage. And, Office 365 email comes bundled with industry-grade spam and malware protection, keeping your inbox clean and safe. Because Office 365 is enterprise-grade, you know reliability and security are their top priorities. That's nice peace of mind for your business.
Now in addition to email, Office 365 also includes calendars and contacts, and synchronization of these services across all of your devices. What's more, you also get access to Microsoft Office apps—so, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on, on both Mac and PC. If you've been using these applications for years as I have, this is a great add-on. There's also many additional features like built-in Skype meetings, 1tb of OneDrive cloud storage, and team collaboration tools.
With so many options and combinations available, Microsoft's various plans and pricing can get a bit confusing. But the Office 365 Business Essentials plan, which includes site-branded email and online versions of Microsoft Office apps starts at just $5 per user per month.
So we're already off to a great start—enterprise-grade email, access to Microsoft Office applications, and site-branded email accounts starting at only $5/month. That's pretty tough to beat!
But, we have a few more email providers to look at. Next up is the email service I use, Google's G Suite.
The ad-free business version of Google's Gmail has been named and renamed so many times, it's hard to keep up! Previously, it's been branded as Google Apps for Work, Google Apps for Your Domain, and Google Apps For Business—and currently it's named Google G Suite. Let's hope this one sticks!
So exactly what is Google G Suite? If you have a free personal Gmail account then you pretty much know what it is already—G Suite is the ad-free, business-grade version of Gmail. It's almost exactly the same as regular old Gmail, but with the ability to create email addresses for your own domain, and there's extra storage space, tech support, and a few other extra goodies.
One of the best things about G Suite is this: If you’re an existing Gmail user, there's zero learning curve. Aside from connecting it to your domain (which I show you how to do in this step-by-step tutorial), you already know how to use it. How's that for hitting the ground running?
G Suite of course comes with everything that a free
@gmail.com account includes: Industry-grade spam protection, the ability to synch across multiple devices, and the ability to connect to a traditional email application like Thunderbird.
In addition, there's also Google Docs, which includes cloud-based office applications for word processing, spreadsheets and to build slideshow presentations. A web-based calendar is also included, which features collaboration options, invites, and reminders. Live video meetings via Google Hangouts is included as well.
Each account comes with 30gb of inbox storage per email account (which is upgradeable), and 24/7 live support. The 24/7 live support is huge. Knowing that you can get someone on the phone anytime day or night is huge peace of mind. That alone is worth the cost!
Speaking of cost, as far as pricing goes, each G Suite account costs $5 each per month. So, if you want two email accounts for your site,
email@example.com, for example, that would cost $10 total per month. G Suite does have a 14-day trial if you want to take a closer look. But again, if you're an existing Gmail user, you pretty much know everything you need to know about it already.
As mentioned, G Suite is my preferred email provider. I've been using them for well over five years for a few of my web projects. I love G Suite, and have no reason to switch to another email service provider anytime soon. As an added bonus, because I use Gmail for my personal email as well, I can manage everything from a single Gmail interface. This makes things very convenient. If you're already a Gmail user, I can't recommend G Suite more highly—you're already 95% of the way there!
And I should mention too that Gmail has a ton of extensions available for it, whether you're using a free
@gmail.com email address or if you're using the paid Google G Suite. One extension I love is called Boomerang, which allows you to send emails later, and return unanswered emails to your inbox so you can easily follow up with people.
If you'd like to learn about more Gmail extensions to help handle your inbox, check this out.
Now, let's take a look at a few more email providers.
We've taken a close look at two top tier email service providers for your business, Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite. Both are great choices. However, I wanted to include a few more options for you. Let's take a look.
A popular dedicated email service is Zoho Mail. They provide business-grade, web-based email services with a variety of plans and pricing tiers to fit your needs. While they offer a free plan, paid pricing starts at just $2/month per user. Paid plans include 30gb of storage and Zoho Docs—a suite of cloud-based office applications, like a word processor, presentation creator, calendars, and a spreadsheet application. Zoho Mail offers a lot at very reasonable pricing. Give them a look!
Another choice for email is Atmail. Atmail specializes in providing business-grade, cloud-based email for work groups of 50 or more. Their services include email, calendars, and contact management, and are scalable to fit your business needs. Additionally, their top security standards keep your website communications safe and virus-free. If this sounds like a good fit for you, give Atmail a try.
Lastly, Amazon WorkMail is another solid choice for handling business-grade email. WorkMail is available through Amazon Web Services, Amazon's group of cloud-based business tools. Amazon WorkMail provides email and calendar services starting at $4/user per month, which includes 50GB of storage per user. They also offer a 30-day trial, so they may be worth looking into.
So there's a few more email service providers for you to investigate. Admittedly, I haven't used any of these services other than Google G Suite, so I can't comment on the user experience, reliability, security, etc. That said,my research tells me that these services are among the best available.
So there's our look at recommendations for dedicated email service providers. We took a look at a few of the best business-grade, dedicated email services to handle your website's communication.
Right off the bat, we took a look at Microsoft Office 365 and talked about some of the options and features they provide. Then, we discussed Google G Suite and some of the benefits and features found there. Finally, for completeness, we covered a few other business-level email services for you to consider.
If you've narrowed it down to either Office 365 or G Suite, but you're not sure which to go with, a quick Google search will bring up some good comparisons between the two...like this one and this one.
And one final reminder before we close things out: Remember that all of the recommendations that I'm providing here should serve as a starting point for your own research and comparison. Take a look at each, and find one that will be the best fit for you and your needs.