When you leave a comment here, you’re asked to include your email address (which is never shared, for the record). Now, I realize that some people leave fake email address and others use the email addresses they use with friends, which is not the same as the email you use for business.

Some email addresses I see here and on other blogs, though, are downright scary. Worse yet, when I helped hire an intern for Binge Gamer, some of the people who emailed me used VERY unprofessional addresses. Let me tell you right here, right now that it makes a huge difference.

When you’re freelancing, your email address is a first impression. If two people email an employer with the exact same information and qualifications, a client will like hire joe.smith@gmail.com before he hires funkeyjoe420@gmail.com. As a first-time freelancer – or even an experienced freelancer – you may not realize what your email address says about you.

Your Own Domain

By far, the best choice for a business email address is to have your own domain. For example, for business, I use allison@abcontentonline.com. Having a website just looks professional, and even if i don’t get a ton of traffic, having it just for the email address is well worth the $10 or so I spend every month on hosting.

Gmail, Yahoo, and Other Email Services

If you aren’t ready to commit to building a website just yet, you can still look professional with a free email service. I recommend gmail or yahoo. For example, I have a yahoo email address that’s allison.boyer@. I use it occasionally for business when there’s downtime on my website, and it works well.

Of course, you can also buy an email address. There are some advantages – most don’t add advertising to the end of your emails like almost all free services do, and there’s rarely downtime. You can also pay for premium services, which can come in handy.

I do have to note that you should stay away from some services out there. For example, when I was in high school, my email address was @excite.com. It served me well at the time, but something like that just isn’t professional-looking for a business.

Another thing to consider: internet service-based email addresses. Your ISP may offer a free email address, and that certainly looks professional, but when you change services or move, you’ll have to change your address, and you usually can’t have emails forwarded, meaning that you’ll miss out on tons of important messages. The same is true about college email address – you won’t have it for more than a few years, and after that, it will likely quickly be deleted.

What To Put Before the @

The real question, though, is what to put before the @ in your email address. That’s really what leaves the biggest impression, after all. Here are some tips:

  • Use your name when you can. Sometimes, common names are already taken on free services – you probably won’t be able to get jennifer@gmail.com! Add a last name, consider an underscore between names, or use initials as part of the name.
  • Numbers may seem like a god way to get an email address even if you have a common name, but I do want to caution against adding numbers most of the time. They can look a little unprofessional, and an innocent number can carry connotative meanings. For example, I have a friend who was born in 1969, and her address having 69 in it looked really bad! She meant it to be completely innocent, but it didn’t come out that way.
  • Avoid topic-related words unless that really is all you write about. For example “mommy_writer@” doesn’t look very promising to an employer unless you’re applying for a childcare writing job. Otherwise, it just makes people think that your kids may get in the way of deadlines. Another example: “financial_writer@” may seem professional, but if that person applied for a job at Binge Gamer, I’d question from the start if they were really qualified.
  • NO LEET SPEAK. You’re a writer, for goodness sake. It hurts my brain when I see competent writers use email addresses like “DaWriter4U@” as their email address. No, my friend, you are not da writer 4 me.
  • Keep it simple. You want people to easily remember your address and be about to use it without typos. If your name is extremely hard or very long, you may want to use a shortened version.

I hope I haven’t discouraged anyone from leaving their email address in the comments below! I know that many of you use personal email addresses on blogs to avoid spam to your business emails, so I won’t be too judgmental about hunnybunny4U_1982@crazywebsite.com or anything else you guys come up with. Just be careful when emailing clients so that you give off a good first impression.

This post was written by me and first published on b5media’s Bizzia website. It is reposted here with permission.


  1. Jayme on Tuesday 17, 2010

    Great advice. I switched over to a more professional email address as soon as I started freelancing.