Choosing an email service might not sound too exciting to explore but when you think about it, around 73% of all adults use email for formal communication. Your email definitely makes you look authentic.
Now, there is always the question of free vs paid. There is this life-long myth of paid = better which is often not true. Paid things could fail as much easily as the free ones, especially today when you have services like Gmail leading the market.
What we want to say in this article is how you can choose that one email service provider that unlocks the right doors for you while also giving you a maximum range for productivity.
Personal or Professional
Choose what your end goal with email is. Will you be shooting hundreds of emails multiple times a week? Are you a casual user that doesn’t need an ocean of features except for the occasional phone support or just need a spare one to subscribe for all the promos?
The biggest quirk with professional email services is that they are indeed paid. You can have features like custom email, more storage space, SEO tools, dozens of integrations, and much more.
If you’re casual then Gmail sounds good, want a throwaway account? ProtonMail will do you good. If you’re all for paid and professional then MS Outlook is the way to go.
But then lets you’re a casual user but suddenly need the extra boost, then ProtonMail has paid plans that offer the best security with quaint features. The main thing to keep in mind is to have a baseline for requirements and how they align with your chosen service.
Storage for some people could be a big factor if they deal with a lot of varied content like audio, video, project file assets, contact lists, font cache, high-res images, event logs, legal documents, or the increasing quantity of incoming emails.
Emails today aren’t just text messages, they’re a lot more interactive now and an average 500-word email could easily be 5 MB at best. So when your inbox starts to grow bigger, it gets heavier on the servers too which could affect your bounce rates as well.
Another essential thing is backups. As your inbox quota reaches a limit, backups can become sluggish due to low storage space available which could also include data loss.
To combat this very issue, Google has recently updated its storage policies which says that if your data goes overlooked over a certain time, Google will delete it forever.
Not the best thing but since they have a huge user base, they can’t let absentee storage bog down their performance.
Integration with your tech stack
Your tech stack can require special attention. For example, if you’re an email marketer then you need detailed reports about your email campaign and related suggestions for improvement. You also need graphs and diagrams to share with your team for collaborative work.
Mostly when people refer to tech, they mean developers. There are tons of email services made and optimized for all kinds of developers. Services like Mailgun offer custom tools that offer functionality like SMTP relay and HTTP API for advanced integrations.
These services also have tech-based customer support centered around developers so they not only know how to solve your problem but also what your problem entails for your clients as well.
All this does come at a premium price and there’s a chance you could end up paying for more than you need, which is why there are many scalable options as well.
According to PurpleSec, 92% of viruses come from email. So if you use email for work then you need as much security as you can afford. This could mean paying top dollar for the biggest firewall.
Your emails can hold confidential information like credit card info, purchase receipts, bank account details, and social security number. If someone gets hold of your email, you might be looking at a well-planned phishing attack.
If you’re a regular individual that does not use their email to trade any sensitive information or use it as a throwaway account, then a simple routine of changing your password every few weeks is the best protection that you need.
But if you do deal with sensitive information regularly, then you need end-to-end encryption to safeguard your data. Secure email firewalls can also detect any suspicious files or malware in incoming emails to keep your system safe.
Let’s not forget UI
Can you remember the last time using any app or website and it just didn’t speak to you visually? Probably not because a qualified team of UI/UX designers worked hard to create an intuitive experience for you.
There are usually two kinds of UI when it comes to email:
- Standard - The most common interface found in all the popular services like Gmail, Yahoo, MailChimp, ProtonMail, etc. It is easy to navigate, easy to configure, and easy to customize.
- Advanced - These are geared towards people who know what they want. But sometimes even experienced people end up searching for answers. Quirks include live stats, custom shortcuts, domain add-ons, etc.
It’s a simple choice. If your needs involve any kind of business/work-related activity then an Advanced UI will aid you in productivity otherwise pick any of the popular ones out there.
This one is a bit tricky to explain because this is one thing everyone agrees on but hardly ever talks about. Modern email servers are just that efficient now. So what is to consider?
Our main point goes back to backups. If you’re on a limited storage quota, then your email deliverability can take a hit. Many people might not get your email or worse it can have broken text, missing images, and a good chance of being tagged as spam.
For all the email marketers out there, Open and Click rates are key to the success of a campaign. You need optimization, email automation, analytical reports, collaborative tools, and much more.
Performance concerns casual users too because they’re the first ones to go for a free email service that comes with certain restrictions. It is recommended to use a free alternative conservatively and not stress the servers with heavier tasks.
Email service reviews are incomplete without this component. Whenever you get stuck with any problem or query, customer support is the place to get assistance.
A lot of people overlook this aspect because, well, it’s email! You just check it and move on. Yeah, but how do you start resolving download error on an oversized zip file or successfully send an email that repeatedly goes to spam or the usual malware attacks?
Sometimes there are questions that even Google can’t answer. More or less, every other aspect of an email service is connected to support. Whether it is storage, tech-related tasks, security, backup, or UI.
So keep in mind what level of support you might require with your day-to-day tasks.
So those were the essential things to look out for when you’re out choosing an email service provider. Now keep in mind, these are merely guidelines. If your ideal email service isn’t meeting one of the above qualifications does not mean it is bad.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the article? Did they help you select your email service provider? What is your ideal email service? Please let us know in the comments below.
Author Bio: I’m Chris Wagner, Head of Content @HostingPill. I regularly write about Hosting, Web servers and WordPress. I have more than 9 years Industry experience.