Small Business Website Design

Updated 11/19/2020

Whether it’s using a free Gmail mailbox or a branded email productivity suite like Microsoft 365, every small business needs an email solution. There are options available for every budget, many including additional software. We’ll break down some common options to help you identify the best solution for your small business.

Collage of email solutions for small business

First, Do You Need Branded Email?

Branded email is an address using your business’s domain name. For example, our domain name is One of our email addresses is There is normally a monthly or yearly fee associated with branded email solutions.

When Is Branded Email Necessary?

  • Your business has employees needing individual email addresses
  • You want your business to appear as professional as possible
  • You want to utilize other productivity software that ties into your email

Top Five Options for Small Business Email

We’ve made a list of five options that cover most small business email needs. From full collaboration tools to free non-branded gmail accounts, there is a perfect solution for your business.

1. Google Workspace

Perfect for your small business if:

  • You’re already familiar with the Gmail platform
  • You need communication, collaboration, and file storage
  • You want a branded email address
  • $6/month per user is within your budget

Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is an all-in-one email hosting solution perfect for small businesses in the market for more tools. You get branded email addresses with your domain but use the Gmail email platform, with all it’s well-designed functionality. Features include communication tools to keep in touch with co-workers and customers, 30GB of storage per user, and collaborative document creation and sharing.

To learn more about Google Workspace visit

2. Microsoft 365

Perfect for your small business if:

  • You’re already familiar with Microsoft Outlook
  • Your team uses the Microsoft Office applications
  • You need communication, collaboration, and file storage
  • You want a branded email address
  • $5/month per user is within your budget

Microsoft 365 is an all-in-one email hosting solution comparable to Google Workspace. You get a branded email address with your domain and use of the Microsoft Outlook email platform. It includes use of the web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as well as video conferencing, a chat system, and 1TB of storage. This solution makes even more sense for businesses already using the Office applications. For $12.50/month per user, you get desktop versions of the Office Application (5 licenses per user) along with all the other great features.

To learn more about Microsoft 365 visit

Google Workspace or Microsoft 365?

Both solutions are remarkably similar and include branded email, word processing, video conferencing, calendars, and file storage. Think of it like a Coke vs. Pepsi choice. For the most part, go with the company you have the most positive history with. If you’re already familiar with Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, it might make sense to continue using the software you’re used to.

3. Budget Email: Zoho Workplace

Perfect for your small business if:

  • You’d like a branded email address for free
  • You only need a small amount of storage
  • You’d like more basic word processing solutions
  • You don’t need more than 5 user accounts

This is a budget version of an all-in-one solution like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. You get some of the same perks, but not at the same level as the other two solutions. The email platform is arguably not as robust as Gmail and Outlook and you only get 5GB of file storage. This is a great solution for your small business as long as you don’t need file storage, and paying for a branded domain name doesn’t fit your budget.

To learn more about Zoho Workplace visit

4. Email Forwarding Service

Perfect for your small business if:

  • You only want the appearance of a branded email
  • Your business doesn’t have the budget to pay for email
  • You’re not in the market for an all-in-one email solution

An email forwarding service allows you to use a branded email name to redirect to your real, non-branded email address. This allows you to have appear on marketing materials, without the cost of branded email. The downfall is, when you write or respond to emails, it will come from your non-branded address. This is the best option for a business wanting a branded email address without the cost and extra features of Google Workspace or Microsoft 365. If you’re one of our clients who has a domain registered through us, we offer email forwarding at no extra cost.

5. Non-Branded Email

Perfect for your small business if:

  • You need simple email with no extras
  • Branded email isn’t a necessity for you

Non-branded email might make the most sense for you if you’re a small business with simple email needs. Sign up for any email platform for free, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or AOL. Pick any email address available, and go! Making a non-branded email address look professional is easy. will look great on your website, business cards, or flyers.

What About Free Email Hosting From Web Hosting Companies?

Some hosting companies will bundle email hosting with their website hosting. It’s often done to add perceived value to their packages, but the email hosting is normally subpar. You’ll get branded email addresses, but there are strict limits on mailbox size, file uploads, and the software is often clunky compared to Gmail or Outlook. Their spam filtering systems are lacking, which hurts productivity. The email is less reliable and goes down if the hosting system goes down.

In the last few years, there as been an industry shift away from bundling email and website hosting services. Not only has it become harder to compete with companies like Google and Microsoft, but the free solutions never really serve the customer well.

What Solution is Best For Your Small Business?

No small business is the same or has the same needs. The answer depends on how many employees or staff members you have, whether you need full collaborative tools, or whether you even need a branded email address. If you’re a client on one of our professional monthly pricing packages, we help you implement any of these solutions at no cost to you. We even help you figure out which one is the best solution for your business. It’s what we’re here for!

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