It’s common for clients to request email hosting along with their website package. Many web developers and agencies offer email accounts with their hosting plans. But is it a good idea? This article contains five good reasons why you’re in better hands with a professional email solution, and why IT services are indispensable to your business overall.
Before We Start…
I need to clear up a common point of confusion for many business owners we talk to: your email is not attached at the hip to your website. Yes, they both use your website domain, e.g. www.yoursite.com matches firstname.lastname@example.org, but they do not need to be hosted on the same server or provided by the same company. It’s quite common to use different companies for the two.
I’ll spare you the technical details of how this works for now. For the purpose of this article, just know that it’s easy to split these up. With that myth out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Reason 1: Email is IT, not Web
Email is not really a website-related service. In fact it’s a completely different technology with completely different issues. Where most issues with a website live within the website itself, the majority of issues affecting email will live inside your office. The setup of your network, computer systems and software have a huge impact on your ability to use email. Small changes to how your router is configured, or what anti-virus program you use, can take out your ability to send email entirely. That’s why email is really an IT-related service—it very much depends on the setup of the rest of your network to run properly, and the only companies really qualified to help you with that are IT companies.
Reason 2: Expertise
The essence of growth is delegation—focus on what you know, and hire the experts you need in what you don’t. You hire a web development agency because they know how to build your business a great website. But web development agencies are not IT experts, and as mentioned above, email falls squarely in the realm of IT. Even though they can set up email accounts on a server, there’s a lot more to consider than the account itself.
Reason 3: On-Site Support
The ability to get on-site support is probably the biggest reason to work with an IT professional, and with email, you’re going to need it. From setting up your accounts to installing email software to configuring your network and Internet connection, IT companies can help ensure your transition to email is smooth. It’s not that a basic setup is necessarily nuclear science. More often than not, you’ll run into snags and challenges. They may be as simple as “how the heck do I set up email on this old BlackBerry?” Those challenges cost you time, money and stress, when a professional can help you stop spinning your wheels and Get S*** Done.
Reason 4: Additional Help
IT professionals are versatile. They can help you with just about any aspect of your network, software or computers. Looking at issues with printer connectivity, or setting up a file server for your employees to use, or even cloud backup. Every office has IT issues and problems, and you’ll find a reliable IT company indispensable to yours.
Reason 5: Email Reliability & Quality
Not all email service is equal. Choosing a reliable email hosting solution is something an IT professional can help you with. Whether you end up using Office 365, Google Apps for Business, or a custom server, the goal is to ensure your mail is delivered and received reliably. There are many facets to making this work, some in your office, some on the email server, and some on the Internet as a whole.
Spam is a major issue that the email eco-system is working hard to deal with, and unfortunately, some of the safeguards in place against spam can actually hinder you from sending legitimate business email. This is where an IT professional’s expertise is needed.
OK…. Why Are Emails Almost Always Sold With Website Hosting?
This is the more philosophical portion of the discussion. The simplest answer I can give you is because they can. Most hosting companies package email with website hosting because it’s already set up on the server and, hey, why not throw in some extra value if it’s there? It provides a bit of convenience to set up your domain, email and website in one place.
But is it the best solution?
The answer to that depends on your situation. I’m not here to say that email accounts that come with website hosting are all bad. Some will work very well. It’s entirely possible your IT provider may even recommend doing this, so the point of this article is not to tell you to jump ship. The size of your company and the complexity of your IT needs plays a big role in this decision.
It May Make Sense for a Small Startup
You may be a one-person startup who just needs a branded email to go with your website. You don’t have staff, or a server, or multiple computers… and certainly no budget for IT services. In this case, it may be simpler and easier to get an email account with your website.
It Definitely Doesn’t Make Sense for a Quickly Growing Company
If you’re a larger company that’s quickly growing, hiring staff, and managing network & computer issues, you most definitely should be speaking with an IT professional. There comes a point where the owner (or resident IT whiz) isn’t going to be able to keep up. If you’re managing sales across multiple territories, hiring staff, and buying equipment, the last thing you should be doing is troubleshooting email issues. Get IT help as soon as you can!
Like a bookkeeper, an IT professional takes a very important—albeit, frustrating—function off your plate. They can help you where a web developer can’t (like troubleshooting a virus in the office that’s really the cause of your email not being delivered.) Let web developers do what they do best, and get an IT professional to do what they do best.