What’s the point of shelling out for a custom email domain when you can get a free email account from Gmail or Yahoo? If you’ve asked yourself this question before, you’re asking the right questions.

Many business owners who are just starting out choose to register a free email account for their business. This helps keep costs low at the outset, but eventually, our businesses outgrow the limitations of free email accounts. If your free email account is limiting your business, you might be shopping around for a custom domain – and wondering if it’s worth the cost.

In our expert opinion, personalized email addresses are ALWAYS worth the cost. To help you take the plunge into custom domain freedom, here are some of the pros and cons associated with custom email domains – and why it’s time to make the switch for your business.

CON: You’ll have to shop for domains, and your perfect domain might not be available.

Technically, this is a con, but in all honesty, it’s one of the more fun parts about setting up your business’s professional accounts. Shopping for a domain can go quickly or feel like pulling teeth. One of the easiest ways to do this is to check GoDaddy (or any other domain registrar) to see if your chosen domain is available. Type in your favorite, and the registrar will let you know if it’s ready for purchase. If someone else has snagged your perfect domain, the registrar will suggest a few additional options, as well as the pricing for purchase. Unfortunately, some domains (particularly short ones or domains packed with industry keywords) can get very expensive. If your chosen domain is out of your price range, it’s not the end of the world! Set your sights on growing your business, and celebrate your next revenue goal by buying a new domain.

PRO: A personalized email address adds professionalism and familiarity to your business.

A “domain” refers to the web address you use for your business accounts. (Usually, this is the same as the domain you use for your business website. So, let’s say you run a wellness center called Slice of Paradise Spa, and your website is sliceofparadise.com. That address is your domain – and custom email addresses tied to the domain could include things like hello@sliceofparadise.com, accounting@sliceofparadise.com, or help@sliceofparadise.com.) The pro here is giving your business a leg up on the competition. Instead of having “gmail.com” as your domain, you’ve got your business’s website pre-built into every business card you hand out or email you send.

CON: Custom domains come with a price tag.

It’s true: you’ll have to pay for a custom domain. However, most custom domains are relatively inexpensive. (The average starting cost for a Google Domain, for example, is $12 per year.) The other costs that come with a custom email account include an email server, like Office 365. Luckily, Outlook is part of the Office 365 package – a fantastic tool for any business, no matter how small or large. The costs associated with business packages like Office 365 are also relatively low. At Grand Technology Solutions, for example, we can get you started for a rate of less than $20 per user per month.

PRO: Custom domains offer more versatility, control, and security than free accounts.

For the cost of the service, custom domains include many more features than their free counterparts. One of the most beneficial features of a personalized email account is the improved security. Depending on the type of business you run, you need a place to store sensitive client data and communications. Free email servers offer basic encryption services, but they fall short when it comes to data backups and hacking attempts. A custom domain, on the other hand, can be backed up and encrypted with easy-to-use services like GTS Backup and GTS EncryptGuard. What’s more, custom domains connect every account in your company. So, if you part ways with an employee, you can still access their client communications without needing to beg for a login.

CON: Switching from a free account to a custom domain means transferring all of your information.

“I’d upgrade to a custom domain, but I don’t want to lose access to my calendar data/client conversations/stored contacts/funny cat videos my niece sent me last week…” We hear this argument all the time. And it’s true, updating your email account does mean transferring all of your data to the new accounts. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have years of business data you need to move from one account to the next. HOWEVER…

PRO: The transition is much easier than you might think.

Trust us – we’ve done so many Office 365 transitions that we could practically do it in our sleep. In fact, a few months ago, we transferred an entire company’s email data from a defunct server to their new-and-improved server over a single holiday weekend. The best part of making the email transition is that – guess what – you don’t have to do it yourself! That’s where a team like Grand Technology Solutions comes in. Let us take over the process: We’ll protect your old data, transfer anything you still need to use, and get you set up with prime features, encryption, and security faster than you can say, “I hope this email finds you well!”

One other tip: When you register your business domain, make sure to may the extra $10 a year or so for domain privacy. This keeps your contact information off the web (anyone looking up your domain sees the contact information for your domain registrar, rather than your phone number, email, and business address). This can significantly reduce spam sent to your domain email addresses.

Our expert opinion: A custom domain is always worth it. The pros of making the transition to a personalized email account far outweigh the cons, especially if your biggest hesitation is the cost. Through a low-cost Office 365 subscription, you can update your business’s professionalism, security, and flexibility without losing your favorite features of your free email account.

Sound good to you? Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email info@helpgts.com to learn more about making the transition to Office 365.

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