Choosing an email address is a big deal for any professional, especially if you’re starting a business for the first time. This is the email address you’re going to be giving to every new client, new employee, and new professional contact—so you better make sure it leaves a good first impression.
On top of that, you’ll want it to be intuitive, so certain people may be able to easily guess it, and you’ll want it to be original, so you don’t have an issue getting it. If you intend to grow your organization, you’ll also need to think about the formatting and structure of your email address, so you can add similar email addresses in the future.
It’s a lot to think about.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the major factors you need to consider when choosing a professional email address, and provide examples of various different email address ideas in action.
Table of Contents
- The 3 Components of a Professional Email Address
- The 7 Factors That Make a Good Email Address
- Professional Email Address Ideas
- 1. First initial + last name.
- 2. First name + last name.
- 3. First name + last initial.
- 4. First initial + last initial.
- 5. First initial + middle initial + last initial.
- 6. First name + middle name + last name.
- 7. First initial + middle initial + last name.
- 8. First name + middle initial + last initial.
- 9. First name + middle name + last initial.
- 10. First initial + middle name + last name.
- 11. First initial + last name + number.
- 12. First name + last name + number.
- 13. First initial + last initial + number.
- 14. Shortened first name + last name.
- 15. Shortened full name or nickname.
- 16. Last name + first initial.
- 17. Last name + first name + middle initial.
- 18. Job title.
- 19. Job title + name.
- 20. Name + qualifications.
- 21. Name + city.
- 22. Name + state.
- 23. Name + business.
- Email Address Ideas for Business
- 24. Department.
- 25. Name + department.
- 26. Department alternatives (sales).
- 27. Department alternatives (customer service).
- 28. Department alternatives (PR).
- 29. Department alternatives (general inquiries).
- 30. Purpose.
- 31. Greeting.
- 32. Core value.
- 33. Vision or mission.
- 34. Mascot or spokesperson.
- 35. Hobby or interest.
- 36. A pun.
- Email Address Formatting Tips
- Email Address Ideas for Business Domains
- Tips for Choosing the Right Email Domain
The 3 Components of a Professional Email Address
Your email address will always have three main components:
- The local intro (i.e., the name). The first part of your email address is your name, or some other specific bit of information that is exclusive to you (or your intended recipients). This is the part you’ll spend the most time considering, and it has the power to dictate the formatting of all your future email addresses if you’re starting a business.
- The @ symbol. The @ symbol is immutable. It’s also a given, so you don’t have to spend much time thinking about it.
- The domain. At the end of the email address is the domain. Ideally, this will be a custom domain, and if you already have one, you won’t have to think much about it. However, if you haven’t chosen a domain yet, there will be some considerations to keep in mind when setting it.
The 7 Factors That Make a Good Email Address
A “good” email address looks professional and is easy to communicate, both verbally and written. It helps you make a good impression, get referrals, and ultimately succeed in a number of different professional areas. But what, exactly, makes for a good email address?
These are some of the most important qualities of a good professional email address:
- Memorable. If you tell someone your email address, is there a good chance they’re going to remember it? Catchy and clever email addresses can work here, but it’s usually better to stick to something simple.
- Simple. Simple email addresses tend to be more memorable, but they also feature another critical advantage—they’re harder to mess up. The simpler it is, the less likely it will be that someone inputs a typo.
- Short. The same typo-avoidance strategy applies here. Good email addresses tend to be short and sweet. All other things being equal, fewer characters is better.
- Pronounceable. Ideally, your email address will also be pronounceable. If you have to spell out your address letter by letter or symbol by symbol, it’s going to cost you time and increase the likelihood of error. Make it easy to say out loud.
- Trustworthy. Your email address should also be trustworthy. You can establish trustworthiness by including a valid, legitimate-sounding domain, and by making the name portion of your address as professional as possible. This is especially important if you’re going to be interacting with customers.
- Unambiguous. Sometimes, conventional email formatting can result in some unpleasant ambiguities. For example, one common format for an email address name is a first initial followed by a last name. But if your name is Darren Ying, or Steven Hart, that format might result in a name that can be read out loud as something fundamentally different than your name.
- Familiar. For the most part, conventional formats are ideal for your email address. People are familiar with the structures and rhythms of “typical” professional email addresses, so why mess with their intuitions by providing them something unusual?
Professional Email Address Ideas
Let’s start by taking a look at everything before the @: the “name” portion of your email address. There are many typical structures you could try, most of which offer similar familiarity and value. For all of these, we’ll use the example name “Charles Xavier Ferguson.” Here’s a list of professional email address ideas for business.
1. First initial + last name.
The classic format results in “cferguson.”
2. First name + last name.
“charlesferguson.” This is longer, but more precise.
3. First name + last initial.
“charlesf.” You might run into issues here if your company scales to a larger size.
4. First initial + last initial.
“Cf.” It’s very short, but doesn’t provide room for many variables.
5. First initial + middle initial + last initial.
“cxf.” The same issue is here.
6. First name + middle name + last name.
“charlesxavierferguson.” Very specific, but overly long.
7. First initial + middle initial + last name.
“cxferguson.” A good alternative to #4.
8. First name + middle initial + last initial.
“charlesxf.” Typically last names are better than first names to spell out, but this is a worthy consideration.
9. First name + middle name + last initial.
“charlesxavierf.” A similar issue is here.
10. First initial + middle name + last name.
“cxavierferguson.” Unless you like your middle name a lot, it’s pretty unnecessary here.
11. First initial + last name + number.
It’s usually advisable to avoid numbers in your name, but you may include them if you’re dealing with very high volumes of addresses, or if those numbers have a special significance. Something like “cferguson123” could work.
12. First name + last name + number.
“charlesferguson123” is a good alternative.
13. First initial + last initial + number.
“cf123” can work, but it’s harder to remember.
14. Shortened first name + last name.
You can use a shortened first name as a middle ground between a full name and initial, like with “chuckferguson,” but it may be harder to remember for people you meet.
15. Shortened full name or nickname.
If you’re okay with a less professional, more playful name, you can try a nickname like “TheFergMan.”
16. Last name + first initial.
You can reverse things with “fergusonc.”
17. Last name + first name + middle initial.
“fergusoncharlesx” is another alternative here.
18. Job title.
If you don’t want to include your name for some reason, you can try including your job title, like “ceo”
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19. Job title + name.
You can also use a combination, like “charlesceo.”
20. Name + qualifications.
You may also want to include your qualifications and/or your education as part of your email, like “cfergusonphd” or “drcxferguson.”
21. Name + city.
In some cases, you may want to include the name of your city, like “cxfspringfield.”
22. Name + state.
A state or country may be fine too, like “cxfohio.”
23. Name + business.
The business name may be redundant if it’s also your domain, but otherwise, something like “cxfphotography” could work.
Email Address Ideas for Business
If you need email ideas for business or various departments (such as customer service, sales, etc.), check out these email address ideas!
It’s common to include the name of a department to send an email to an entire team. For example, something like “sales” or “customerservice.”
25. Name + department.
If you want something more specific, you can run with “cxfsales.”
26. Department alternatives (sales).
There are alternative names you can include for common departments to make them more unique or memorable. For example, instead of sales, you could try “growth” or “profits.”
27. Department alternatives (customer service).
Similarly, you can try “help” or “support” instead of “customerservice.”
28. Department alternatives (PR).
Instead of “pr,” you could try “press,” or “inquiries.”
29. Department alternatives (general inquiries).
For general inquiries, you can try “info” or “biz.”
You can also come up with a name for the purpose of the email address. Something like “suggestions” could work.
Sometimes, a greeting can make an email address more appealing and memorable, like “hello” or “hi.”
32. Core value.
Including one of your business’s core values could also work, like “equality” or “justice.”
33. Vision or mission.
You can also include part of your organization’s vision or mission, like “nohunger.”
34. Mascot or spokesperson.
If you have a fun mascot or spokesperson, consider adopting their email address, like “tonythetiger.”
35. Hobby or interest.
If your email isn’t for work, you might try an email address based on a hobby or interest, like “films” or “football.”
36. A pun.
If you’re okay sacrificing some professionalism for a joke, you might try a pun, like “boozeletter” for a bar newsletter.
Email Address Formatting Tips
Next, let’s cover a simple, yet important decision. Will you include any special symbols or formatting in your email address name?
- No formatting. The vast majority of professionals will benefit from including no formatting. Ideally, your email address will consist only of consecutive letters before the @ symbol. This makes it much simpler to read, say out loud, and remember, and it also happens to look more professional.
- Dots or plusses. You may also consider including dots or plusses in your email address, but beware—Gmail completely disregards these symbols, so they’re typically only worth including if you want to set up a separate inbox for certain types of emails.
- Underscores or hyphens. You may choose to include underscores or hyphens in your email address, but only if it adds something objectively valuable. Otherwise, it’s best to leave these formatting options on the table.
Email Address Ideas for Business Domains
You can technically choose anything for your domain, but you only have a handful of main options to consider:
- Email service provider. Gmail and Outlook are the default names for email addresses created with these services, but you’re typically better off with a custom option.
- Standard domains. Standard domains exist exactly as you have them on the web.
- Modified domains. You may also modify your domain with additional character changes or a shortened version for your email address. However, this is not advisable, since it can result in confusion.
Tips for Choosing the Right Email Domain
If you’re still in the process of choosing a domain, there are some things you can consider to make your domain better suited for your email needs.
- Choose your own name. You can make a good first impression if you own a domain that matches your own name. For example, “charlesxferguson.com” could allow you to make “email@example.com.”
- Shorten the name. In the world of domain names, shorter is better. Whatever you come up with, try to shorten it to make things simpler.
- Focus on keywords. For search engine optimization and other purposes, it’s ideal to include a handful of keywords that describe the business.
- Make it easy to spell. It’s increasingly common to play with misspellings and new interpretations, but for email purposes, predictable is better. Try to make it easy to spell.
- Make it easy to say. Similarly, make sure the domain is easy to read and say out loud. This should be unambiguous.
- Prioritize .com domains. If you have a choice, go with “.com.” It’s always easier to remember.
- Choose a unique brand. It’s also a good idea to choose a memorable brand name for your domain.
- Avoid hyphens and special symbols. Again, a domain is easier to spell, more memorable, and less likely to suffer from typos if it only includes letters (and possibly numbers). Avoid hyphens or other special symbols.
- Avoid double letters. Double letters can make email addresses harder to spell, so avoid them if you can. For example, “businessservices” includes three S’s in a row.
I hope these email address ideas and tips have given you a winner! Once you have a professional email address, you can start communicating with your clients. See our guide to how to write a professional email for help with that.
But how will you know that you’re communicating effectively?
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.