Deciding to take blogging seriously is a big step that involves a lot of time and commitment. You begin to set up all the "prerequisites": a domain name, hosting, blog design, business cards, accepting sponsors/advertisers, going to conferences, etc. There's one thing that's usually overlooked though.
A professional email.
This is especially helpful if you want to collaborate with other companies. Some opportunities became available to me simply because I had my own professional email. For example, brittany(at)thekardiablog.com is much more professional sounding than firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There are two ways to set up and use your own professional email. *Please note that you must own your own domain to be able to use a custom email.
1. If you self-host your blog, many web hosts such as Bluehost allow you to set up different email accounts using your domain name by clicking the Email tab. I recommend setting up two or three: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. You can then check the webmail by clicking on Check Webmail on the home page (if you're using Bluehost).
2. The second method (and the one I highly recommend!) is using Google Apps for Work. Google Apps for Work enable you to use the Gmail interface with your own custom email. There is a small fee ($5/month), but you can try it for free for 30 days to see if you like it. This is definitely worth the money though!
When you sign up, I recommend signing up with firstname.lastname@example.org at first. This is what will become the primary email. You can set up other emails later on (hello@, sponsor@, etc.) After you sign up, you'll need to verify that you own your domain by calling the phone number that is provided and have the support team walk you through some steps. It's super quick and easy!
Once everything is set up, you can add more emails by going to your admin page (admin.google.com) and clicking on Users, then your name. Now click on Account and a sidebar will appear. Scroll down to Aliases and click Add an Alias. Whatever email alias you enter here will automatically be forwarded to yourname@. This way, all your replies will be sent through the same account.
Easy, isn't it? :) This is just one simple step you can take to amp up the professionalism of your blog!
What do you think about having your own professional email?