/ web stuff made easy

Author: mooch

Should I get a custom email address to go with my new website?

5 min read
Most would agree that having your own domain name – instead of awesomebusinessname.freewebsiteprovider.com – does wonders for your professional profile. It tells others that you or your organization are more serious about your work, your art, or your cause. Given that, why wouldn’t you replace your free AOL or email.com address with snazzyprofessional@awesomebusinessname.com?

Cost – or perceived cost – is the biggest reason I hear from clients. And it’s an understandable one – some web hosts charge $5, $10, or more per month for each email inbox.  Technical hurdles are another. Setting up email forwarding, figuring out what an email alias is, or just switching to a different site to receive and send messages can feel like a lot of work.

So can that cost and work be avoided? Sure. You may have noticed that there’s no email address anywhere on my website – instead, I have this contact form. While the form does forward to an address that ends ‘@spunsimply.com’ it could just as easily go to a Gmail account, your school email, a free account with your internet service provider, or really anywhere. Contact forms are included for free with all major site builders I’ve seen; and once it’s set up you don’t have to change any of your email habits.

In other words, you can easily avoid showing off a lack of custom email address. If that’s enough for you, then there’s not much reason to pay for that snazzyprofessional handle. Seriously, save your money.

Two buts to consider:

But #1: You have cause to publicize your email address as a primary means of contact – on business cards, on a mailing list, etc.  In this case it’s not enough to hide a lack of a custom address – you’ll want to actively show you do have one. It’s a part of your professional profile.

But #2: You have multiple individuals who should reflect a unified ‘brand’.  If you have several employees who each interact with customers, or multiple programs each run by a different volunteer, it makes more sense for each person to have their own separate means of being contacted.

There’s a pretty good chance you fit one of those buts – in which case, don’t fret. While it can seem costly, both in money and in effort, setting up a custom email address often isn’t either.

For instance, WordPress.com includes up to five email forwards (snazzy1@awesome…, snazzy2@awesome…) which, like the contact form, could be pointed anywhere. Setting them up is pretty easy as well. Other hosts and other site builders have similar forwarding-only options.

The full-featured options do cost money, but in those cases you’re getting a fully-integrated solution (minimal setup, much less work for you). Often they’ll be accessed through the same place where you deal with your website – again, less confusion, less work. The more costly options out there are generally geared towards larger businesses or organizations – if that’s not you, there’s no need to consider the super-deluxo-platinum package.

So should you get an email address that matches your domain name? Chances are it’s to your benefit. And chances are also good you won’t have to spend a lot of time or money to make it happen.

As always, if I can help make it even simpler, just get in touch.

Why can’t I do the thing with images in SquareSpace?

SquareSpace does make it pretty easy to have a great looking website up and running in just a few minutes.

I still spent half an hour needlessly confused over one thing.

SquareSpace has both a page type called ‘Gallery’ and a content block called the same. The former is best thought of as an organization tool; the settings available are limited by the specific template you’re using, and often don’t include visual controls you might expect – like changing the number of columns and the padding between images.

Those controls *are* present in the ‘Gallery’ content block. The content block can be populated either ad hoc, with whatever set of images you want, or display an existing gallery collection (page).

So if you can’t make your SquareSpace gallery look the way you want, you probably just need to add an extra step to your process – and put a gallery (page) into a gallery block.

For more on this, check this SquareSpace help page I somehow missed when I began my journey of discovery.

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