The Importance of a Professional Email Part 1: The Individual
Think back - what was your very first email address? For me, it was an AOL address that I made up in middle school. This was back when you were greeted with "You've Got Mail" after making it through the dial up tones and successfully logging on to the Internet though AOL. Well, since then we've come a long way and so have I. Unsurprisingly, my first email was not the most professional email and I no longer use it (and no, I won't tell you what it is).
Instead, I have upgraded to using a combo of my first and last name on the popular Gmail. Luckily for me, my name is not very common (especially thanks to my somewhat unique spelling), so it was easy for me to get my first choice. However, for some, only emails such as email@example.com are still available. So what do you do when you need a professional email and your desired name is already taken? There are certainly options to get creative as well as other email platforms to try your ideas on, but there is also another way that you may not have considered...
I don't just own my first and last name on Gmail - I also own my first and last name in the form of a domain. And, since my domain (as well as all domains registered at Dynadot) comes with free email addresses, you can reach me at the uber-professional firstname.lastname@example.org (just no spam please). Not only do I now have a truly unique and uber-professional email address, but I also own my domain name, which is a bonus! Personally, I used our Website Builder to build a small (and free!) website for myself, but I could just as easily have forwarded my domain name to my LinkedIn or another social media site instead. Professionalism level uber, achieved!
Now, I know what you're thinking - if my name is John Smith, I'm not going to be able to register johnsmith.com to then have email@example.com as my email, and you're right. If your name is a popular one, you're going to need a time machine to be able to register it on .COM (there are additional options, but more on that later). Unfortunately, despite Back to the Future's predictions we still don't have a time machine or, more importantly, a working hover board (or at least one that doesn't burst into flame). So, what is a John Smith to do?
Let's get creative with a few ideas:
- It's a Wide [TLD] World Out There: .COM is the most recognizable top-level domain (TLD) and if you can get your preferred name on it that's great, but it's not the only TLD to choose from. Now that there are thousands of TLDs available (we offer over 500 TLDs), you can get creative (while still being professional). Other legacy TLDs such as .NET and .ORG are always great choices. .ME is a recognizable TLD that will go perfectly with your name and is much more likely to have it available. There are also several professional TLDs that could go with your name depending on your background. These include .MBA, .ARMY, .CEO, .TECH and more. Finally, don't forget about the country codes (ccTLDs)! Each country has their own and depending on your location, it might be a better fit for you anyway (here's looking at you, .UK and .DE).
- Think Beyond Your Name: If you can register your name - great - but if you can't, it's not the end of the world. Do you plan to blog? Create an email address with your name at your blog address. Are you a photographer, consultant, or something along the lines? Add that information to your domain, and thus, your email address. Consider the industry you're in or even your line of work and get creative with some good keywords. You could also add in your location to differentiate yourself. According to Verisign, 7 out of 10 .COM searches come up available, so what are you waiting for?
- If You're Stuck on Your Name, There are Options: If someone with your name owns your domain name, they may not be willing to give it up, but contacting the owner couldn't hurt. Conduct a Whois lookup to find out the owner's contact information. You can also check out the domain's expiration date, so you can keep an eye out if it doesn't get renewed (learn more about the domain life cycle). You can even use our watchlist to keep track of it. You can also work with a domain broker to try and broker a deal on the domain.
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who also recommends checking out part 2 of this 2 part series on the importance of professional email for businesses!