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Your email address tells all

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Living in an increasingly online world, our email address is a critical part of our online identity. In my parents days, people used to send letters, postcards or even telegrams. For this your mail address was critical. However, in the last few years email addresses have dramatically overtaken in use and we send increasingly less “snail mail”

In this online world having a relevant and memorable email address is critically important and forms a part of your brand and your identity. At a guess I’ve think I’ve had my current email address for more than 14 years, back when Hotmail was still a thing and it’s stuck with me over all these years.

Your email address is a core part of your online identity and a critical way for people to contact you. Choose it wisely

Luckily I settled on a reasonable neutral email address, however recently I decided to “upgrade” my address to a more professional address using my domain name. I decided on firstname@firstnamesecondname.com, something that I think is memorable, remains actual and is something that I can transfer with me.

But why is picking an email address important? Well it is another tool in your toolbox to portray your image and your brand. A professional email address can show that you take your appearance seriously, it can drive additional traffic to your website and it portray your professional image. Whilst it’s only a minor change, in combination to other aspects it can reinforce your identity.

Picking the right address

Email addresses can stick with you for longer than you anticipate. Follow these golden rules to make sure you pick the right one.

  • Avoid free email addresses  – Whilst your Internet Service Provide may give you one for free, or you may choose to use that gmail account that you once signed up for, avoid it. You probably won’t be able to transfer your address if you change your Internet package and the company may not stay around for as long as you think
  • Pick something memorable – something that you can easily remember, but also others can too. Your name would be a good idea here
  • Pick something that will withstand time – Email providers come and go, so pick something that is relevant and won’t date. I used a Hotmail address for many years, even after they transferred to Outlook, which gave a indication of my age.
  • Choose something you have control over – Have something you can change to a new host or provider
  • Privacy considerations – many of the free providers will mine your email and then target advertisements at you. This can often be avoided by paying for a service. You may also consider using a secure service like ProtonMail for secure encrypted messaging

My recommendation would be to use your name, and pay for a provider. For example firstname@firstnamesecondname.com or something on this variation.

Updating your email

However updating your email address in many places can be tedious and time consuming if you have had your current email address for many years. My suggestion would be to slowly transition to your new provider. Every time you log onto a service, update the email then. This will reduce the initial overload.

If you use password saving services, such as Autofill, then you can often see a list of your saved accounts. Spend a few hours going through this list and seeing what you can change. It’s also a good opportunity to update your old passwords to something more secure. Additionally you may decide to have a clean up and delete some of your old accounts

Start using your email address straight away, set up forwarding rules from your old provider to your new one and tell your family and friends to start contacting you on your new address.

Copying your messages

Don’t forget to transfer your old messages from your old provider to your new one. Depending on your email client, you should be able to export them from the old provider and then import them to your new one. Google is your friend here

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