For me, e-mail is an indispensable tool. In fact, my wife says I'm addicted. She bases this on the fact that I continue to check e-mail right up to the point my head hits the pillow.
I have two e-mail accounts: work and personal. My work e-mail server is provided by Farm Progress. My address is email@example.com. This means the username is jflint, while farmprogress.com is the domain name.
Over the past year, I've been compiling a Master Farmer e-mail list. I've noticed folks put a lot of thought into the username part of the e-mail address. However, not enough attention is given to the domain name.
Right now, you're probably wondering why this is important to you. In one word, longevity.
You see, internet service providers can change from time to time, probably even more so in rural areas. Since the domain name is tied to the ISP, you'll have to boot up a new e-mail address each and every time your internet service changes.
Let's look at a recent example in Decatur. For years, Insight Communications provided internet service to the Decatur area. Therefore, many small business owners chose to have Insight provide their e-mail service, which resulted in an insightbb.com domain name.
Almost two years ago, Insight and Comcast divided their ownership of the Central Illinois area. Overnight, cable subscribers became Comcast customers. All those small businesses with insightbb.com domain names? You guessed it, they started over with a Comcast domain name.
Perhaps more common is when internet providers offer exceptional deals for new customers, if they sign a one-year contract. Once the year is up, many customers hop to a different provider for their introductory rate. Again, the domain name changes each time.
Since I doubt you'll want to purchase an e-mail server and set up your own domain name, you're probably wondering if there's a quick fix. Yes, there is. Set up a webmail account. Web sites such as Yahoo, Google or AOL, offer free e-mail service. My personal e-mail account is through Google's Gmail.
If you set up your farm e-mail through a webmail service, there's a better chance that you won't have to worry about hopping from domain name to domain name. As e-mail communication becomes more prevalent, the continuity will be a real convenience for you and you business contacts.
By the way, if you prefer using an e-mail program such as Outlook, you can configure your webmail account to interface with it.
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