Email addresses are just as important today as toll-free numbers were in the past.
Why? I would rather call 1-800-FLOWERS than 1-800-476-8874, for two reasons. First, it's easier to remember. Second, and more importantly, the text version tells me that the company has put more of an effort into setting up their business. I think the same is true of email addresses. I would sooner email [email protected] than [email protected] or [email protected].
Many of you are still using rogers.com, sympatico.com, hotmail.com, and yahoo.ca addresses. My guess is that you're doing so because you think you need a website in order to have your own domain name. Good news–this is not the case! Thanks to services provided by several companies, you can have your domain name and eat it too. (Ok, I know that was lame, but I'm sure you get the idea.)
While there are many ways to get a custom domain name (www.yourdomainname.com) without having a website, I'll focus on two companies that, together, allow you to do this for about $10 a year. One you probably haven't heard of: Godaddy. The other, I can say with absolute certainty, you have: Google. Need more than one email addresses? No problem. That same $10 dollars gets you up to 50 email addresses.
Now you're probably asking: how do I do this?
Step 1: Visit http://www.godaddy.com and search for a domain name that suits you and your business. When you've found one, it costs roughly $10 per year to “own your piece of the internet” by registering the name. If you register the name for a longer period, you can save some money. If you're looking to get a .ca domain name instead of a .com, email me and I'll point you in the right direction.
Step 2: Visit http://www.google.com/a/ and sign up–for free–for Google Apps for Your Domain. Google Apps provides you with 50 email accounts for your domain name. You can access these email accounts using Google's Gmail online interface, or you can use any email application on your PC or Mac. You can also set up a customizable start page, private-labelled Google Calendar, and Google Page Creator for your domain. This last one allows you to create a simple web page for your domain using a what-you-see-is-what-you-get design tool.
Did I mention all this will only cost you $10 A YEAR? You no longer have an excuse to use anything but your custom domain name email addresses.
And yes, I use Google Apps for my email.