As a small business owner you want to do everything you can to project a professional appearance. Your e-mail address that your clients see is one way of projecting that professional appearance.For example, the email address email@example.com projects a more professional appearance than firstname.lastname@example.org. How do you get a professional looking e-mail?
Once you've setup a professional looking e-mail address it doesn't mean that you can't still use convenient web based e-mail readers like yahoo mail, Hotmail and Gmail. Most web based mail systems allow you to get mail from any mail server via a feature called POP3. You can configure Yahoo mail or Hotmail or Gmail to read the mail you get at say larry at lohrman.com by configuring the POP3 mail options. Furthermore, when you send someone e-mail both Yahoo mail and Gmail allow you to send mail with the from address set to your domain address so it looks like it came via you own mail server.I've used Hotmail, yahoo mail and Gmail but I like Gmail because it has a feature called IMAP that allows you to sync your e-mail across multiple machines so you can view and work on e-mail on several machines and have them all working on the same e-mail database. I've posted a tutorial that has more details on how to do this on the tutorial page above. Or just click here to download the PDF.Bottom line is that if you are running your own business there is really no reason to not have a professional looking e-mail address. It's part of your personal brand.