How to set up a branded email address using Outlook.com is just as simple as setting it up in Google Apps or Gmail. Now, on the other hand, doomsday did happen to the Free Google Apps setup this December. A lot of you are asking what your alternatives may be and Outlook.com is another solution that is upcoming. Microsoft has certainly stepped up their game albeit they may be slacking in other areas at times. Coupled with email, you can also test drive Microsoft’s free SkyDrive (like Google docs) which gives you more than 7GB of storage. Google Docs only gives you 5GB of storage. Sounds good to me!
Looking for a Professional Email Address?
First off, [email protected] doesn’t appear to bad if you can get in early and reserve your account. Just the name “outlook” sounds good because of the branding history. Having your business name as part of your address is equally important for branding and adds that “sex appeal” to your community perspective. Smaller businesses and especially local business’s need to use every avenue to leverage the opportunity to showcase their brand in their communications.
You can set up a professional email address using your hosting companies built in solution but let’s face it… it is cumbersome and a very ugly interface with limited options. Gmail on the other hand is stellar when it comes to options. You always need more options right? Outlook.com will also get the job done on how to set up a branded email address.
Custom Domain Name and Outlook.com: Step by step Guide
First step is to go to the Windows Live Admin Center and get started with the process. At this point, you’ve already created your free Outlook.com email address and should already be logged on to your account. If you’re not, they will want you to login in so they can associate this process with your account.
Second step is to “Provide your domain name” that you want to use for your professional email address for branding and then select “Set up Outlook.com for my domain” radio button then hit “Continue”.
Third step is to review settings and accept agreement for wanting to use their service. Essentially they want to make sure the domain name is spelled correctly and that you provide an Administrator email address because they will need to send you confirmation emails and etc for the process. My advice is to use an alternative email address that ISN’T your free Outlook.com email account. Finally, you click “I Accept” to move to the next step in the process or not if you’re not digging it at this point.
Fourth step is to verify your domain name that you have ownership or authority to make this happen. For email to work properly, you will need to add an “MX record” to your domain name. Usually this is found under your domain name registrar’s control panel under “Mail” or “MX Entry” or something of that nature. Every hosting company does the same thing a bit differently.
Alternatives During Setup of Email Domain Address
- Prove Domain Ownership:
- They provide you with a “TXT” record to insert into your DNS settings.
- This is valid for up to 30 days. After 30 days you will need to use the MX record validation to move forward.
- Best advice… get it done quickly. Don’t put this off.
- You are provided the “details inside your account as you see in the screenshot”
- Server Trust:
- This is highly recommended. It’s like putting a VIN number on your email account which gives higher validity when sending email from your domain. Also known as “Sender ID configuration”.
- Simply add another “TXT” record provided for this setp
- This will also help prevent you going into the Junk Folder.
- Messenger Configuration:
- This is also recommended but for most people… not a biggie here if you don’t do this part.
When you add an SRV record (also known as a service record, which provides information on available services) to your registrar (a company that is accredited to sell Internet domain names) website, users who use an instant messaging client other than Windows Live Messenger can communicate with users in your domain.
Final Step In Email Address Setup
So once you’ve done all the fancy above, depending on how you answered on how you want to use this account, they will either have you login or create a new account to be associated with your Branded Domain Name.
As you can see in the screenshot above, you will be able to set up custom addresses once you’ve validate your account in the control panel of Outlook.com.
Outlook.com Shows Promise
Microsoft has shown a lot of process here in these new additions to their arsenal and is a smart move considering Google took away the Free Google Apps program for everyday common people (unless you're a non-profit or Edu). It is just another avenue to solve a problem.
At a later date, depending on further responses, I’ll make a Tutorial video on the process so you can see it in action. For the time being I thought this explanation would help give some guidance on how to set up a branded email address using Outlook.com.
It looks like ol' Microsoft pulled a Google (paid email management) on all of us. They are no longer supporting new domains to be set up. If you have already set up this before there change… you are grandfathered in. I will be doing a tutorial on ZOHO Mail here in the near future which will be a good alternative.