A step by step guide on how to get a ‘proper’ email address…
Here is a fact which no one might want to openly admit to due to the “Oh FFS, really?!” response it usually generates, but I’m not here to sugarcoat the harsh realities of this shallow, aesthetically obsessed world in which we find ourselves so here you go…
You will be judged on your email address.
Now this said judgment may not hold any meaningful severity of course, but it’s definitely something that you can avoid by sorting yourself out a ‘proper’ one. And what do I mean by ‘proper’? An email address which is
Receiving an email from [info]@[bandname].com appears far more professional than [bandnamewhichisslightlydifferentfromtheoriginal]@hotmail.co.uk. I think this is something we can all agree on?
Someone recently emailed me from a [name]@fsnet.co.uk address the other day. I thought I’d woken up on the wrong side of 2004 when that popped up in my inbox.
So before we start a couple of things to note…
- .com is preferential to .co.uk despite the latter being cheaper
- The geek side of me enjoys the new fad of utilising foreign URLs in order to create a ‘word’, but beware that this could confuse people so consider that before you commit. (for example; I own the URL ‘pursehou.se’ so my email address is [name]@pursehou.se which I’d argue is the greatest thing that’s happened to me in the past decade, but trying to explain to less tech-savvy people over the phone what my email address is can be a bit frustrating at times)
- If you have a very generic band name then your URL may already be taken, or worse, cost a lot of money to purchase. If so it might be worth considering changing it a bit. If you do this though I’d recommend changing your social media addresses so they match across the board. For example if you can’t get [bandname].com, go for [wearebandname].com and change your twitter username to @WeAreBandName and have your Facebook page as facebook.com/[wearebandname]
So let’s begin…
1) Buy your URL
I’ve previously bought my URL’s from GoDaddy.com, but have since discovered that there is quite a bit of animosity towards that company due to suspect customer service and the fact that the CEO likes to shoot elephants during his holidays. Far from me to judge, ahem, a quick straw poll of my Twitter followers informs me that 123-reg.co.uk appears to be the site of choice (although there are LOADS of places online where you can buy your domain name).
So I’m going to start a band called LIKElistenUNLIKE (which is a running joke between myself and @GentlemansUnion regarding bands who make you ‘Like’ their Facebook pages in order to listen to their music, only for you to ‘UnLike’ them seconds later when you discover their music is rubbish – artists, please never make me ‘Like’ your page to listen, thank you).
To my upmost joy, my new band name is available!
If you’re certain you’re going to take over the world and become the biggest artist since Justin Bieber (he’s big yeah?) then it might be worth also buying [bandname].co.uk as well if you’re feeling flush.
Wherever you buy your domain from will then no doubt try and flog you loads of extra stuff and add ons before you get to the check out. Obviously, feel free to have a gander at these and buy them if you want, but you really don’t need anything other than the URL for the time being as we’re going to go and use the good folk of Google for the rest of the bells and whistles.
Before we move onto the email part, it’d now be a good idea to make [bandname].com link to wherever you want people to go to when they type it in. To do this go to your control panel:
Hit ‘Web Forwarding’:
And input where you’d like your shiny new URL to redirect to:
So now, if you click on www.likelistenunlike.com then you should be taken straight to Sentric Music’s Facebook page (until a year has passed and the URL has run out and I’ve not renewed it, but you get the idea).
Now you’re going to be chuffed to know that we’re going to use Google Apps to link your URL to in order to use their Gmail interface. This means that to use your new email address(es) it’ll be near enough identical to using Gmail, which is pretty much accepted to be the best webmail service going. This also means that you’ll be able to very easily link up your email to your iPhone/Blackberry/Android etc and also any external mail clients you might use such as Outlook or Mac Mail.
Firstly head over to www.google.com/a (and bookmark that page as that’s how you’ll be accessing your emails from now on) and click on the big old ‘Begin Free Trial’ (after the free trial it will cost you £33 a year, but you get so much more than just email so it’s very much worth it) button:
Knock in the details it’s asking for. The screenshot below means I’ll end up having an email address of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. If there are a number of you in a band, your best option would be to do a generic one to begin with such as ‘info@[bandname].com’ or ‘hello@[bandname].com:
Google will then give you the option of either an ‘Express’ set up or a ‘Custom’ set up. As your needs are going to be on the basic side (to begin with) then select ‘Express’:
Next you need to ‘verify’ your domain. Click on ‘Alternate Methods’ and select ‘Add a DNS record to your domain’s configuration’:
And I’m going to cheat here by linking to a post that the guys at 123-reg did themselves that explains it a lot better than I ever could. Now don’t be too put off when you initially open this link as it may look a bit confusing, but if you follow it step by step and do at it says it’ll take you 15 minutes tops and you’ll be laughing, and that’s a Pursehouse promise.
Be sure to do as the guide above says, before you click ‘Verify’ on Google.
Next it will ask you if anyone else will be using your new URL, if there are several members all wanting [theirname]@[bandname].com then you’ll want to come back to this and select ‘yes’, for now though select ‘Set Up Your Apps’ so we can get your email up and running:
Now it’s time to fire you over again to the chaps at Reg 123 who’ve done another blog which talks you through this process in a rather concise way:
Once you’ve done that you’re done! Send a cheeky test email to yourself to make sure it’s working and voila:
If you then want to set up more email addresses for other members of your band/your manager/your pets then head over to the ‘Users & Groups’ section, follow the steps for the ‘add users one-by-one’ option and be sure to select the ‘Show Me’ option that Google handily offers you:
Once you’ve followed those very easy instructions a nice little list of members should now have access to your shiny new email account.
And that, my dear friends is how you do that!
A couple of notes:
- Google Apps offers SO MUCH MORE than just a webmail service, use this as a kick up the arse to create a shared calendar between yourself and other members/managers so you know when rehearsals/gigs/releases are in the future. Also use Google Docs for shared spreadsheets (band expenses etc) & word documents (bios, press releases etc).
- The cost of Google Apps is either £3.30 per email address per month or £33 per email address for the year
- On your Google Apps dashboard you’ll find all the information you need to access your email via your mobile phone devices
- Utilise Gmail to it’s full potential! Be sure to sort out your signature to include links and contact details (in fact; I’ll probably do the next blog about email etiquette)
I hope this was helpful. Feel free to praise me/slag me off via the usual methods.
What I’m reading this week: Down & Out In Paris & London by George Orwell