How to set up your own business email account

A woman's hand type on an aluminium laptop displaying an online email client. A cup of tea sits beside the laptop.

Are you a start-up who wants to start right, or an established business wanting to move on from a businessname@gmail.com email address? Taking the leap or making the change to business class email isn’t as daunting or bank breaking as it’s made out to be.

Where to start

There are two different approaches you can take:

  1. Engage the services of an all-in-one 3rd party provider, who buy, configure, host and support your online assets, for a ‘small’ monthly premium
  2. Get your hands dirty (and learn something new) by setting up your own hosting service through Microsoft or Google.

If you want to go down the latter path, here’s everything you need to know.

Both Microsoft and Google offer business class services at competitive prices ranging from $5 – $17.50 per user per month. You are able to compare their services and price here. Note: costs indicated on this site are in $USD.

Each email service is bundled with online storage, video/audio conferencing and depending on the subscription level, web or office apps. Chat with your team (if you have one) about their cloud based service requirements to determine what subscription suits your growing business needs. i.e. do you file share, use skype frequently and so on.

.com or .com.au?

Now before you sign up there is one important thing to note when choosing either a Google G Suite or Microsoft Office 365 subscription. Do you want .com at the end of your email (and website) or .com.au?

Neither Microsoft or Google allow you to purchase a .com.au domain within a subscription. What does this mean? Well if you’re happy with jim@jimbobshomeservices.com keep on moving, otherwise if you want jim@jimbobhomeservices.com.au you will first need to purchase jimbobhomeservices.com.au from a domain registrar. This adds an extra few steps to the overall set up process, but will be beneficial in the long run, as you will own the domain name (and ensure no other Jim Bob Home Services claims the website address). Head over to AusRegistry for a list of domain registrars (places you buy website addresses from). Have your ABN handy as this will be required when registering a .com.au domain.

A woman checks email on her mobile phone.

Signing up

Now, back to signing up for a Google G Suite or Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

Both companies make it as pain free as possible. Both will ask for your business name. Make sure you spell and format this correctly when you sign up as it’s very difficult to change. Secondly, choose whether you are purchasing a domain through either company (remember this option doesn’t cater for .com.au domains) or providing your own (choose this if you already own a domain or are going to purchase a .com.au from a separate domain registrar). Enter your contact details and follow the remaining steps to complete the registration process.

If you purchased the domain as part of the sign up process all your DNS (Domain Name Systems) settings will be taken care. If you already have a domain with another domain registrar then you will have two options:

  1. delegate the domain name servers to Microsoft or Google. This means Microsoft or Google will now manage DNS for the domain and will complete the configuration of the subscription with little to no intervention from yourself. This option is best for those who’ve just purchased a domain and aren’t comfortable with managing DNS settings themselves.
  2. the alternative option to delegating domain name servers to Microsoft or Google is to add the DNS records required to the DNS Manager in your domain management console to complete the subscription configuration.

Redirecting your old email address

Now what about those emails that are still being sent to the businessname@gmail.com email address? Microsoft Office 365 offers a feature called Connected Accounts which is included as part of your subscription. When configured, Connected Accounts retrieves emails that have been sent to your old email address/es. Google offer a similar service in Gmail called Check emails from other accounts.

And that’s it. Simple, right?

Okay, perhaps it’s still a little overwhelming. Look at it like a recipe. Follow the steps and, before you know it, you’ll have created the best Jim Bob Home Services croquembouche going round.

Handy links

Microsoft Office 365

Google G Suite

AusRegistry – for a list of registrars where you can buy your .com.au domain name.