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Email tips – Getting the most out of using email

Email tips – Getting the most out of using email

e-mail or email tips?

The terms ‘e-mail’ and ‘email’ are both acceptable, valid forms. Capitalisation of the ‘e’ is not necessary, though it does occasionally get used. From a strictly grammatical point of view the hyphen is correct because the word is a compound noun made from two words, ‘electronic’ and ‘mail’. However in today’s fast-paced world the term ‘email’ has now become accepted as a single word in its own right. So take your pick!

Composing an email

When writing an e-mail there are several parts known as ‘fields’ to complete, some are required and others are optional.

These are the required fields:
From:  Here is the sender’s email address.
To:  Here is where you place the email address of your recipient(s). More than one is allowed.
Subject:  Include here a few words that summarize the topic of the email.
Message body:  This is the larger pane below the subject, and is where the main message is written. It can be concluded with a digital signature (equivalent to a hand signature).

Optional fields include the following:
Cc: (Carbon copy) Here you can ‘copy in’ secondary recipients that are not included in the ‘To’ field (i.e. the principle recipients). All ‘Cc’ recipients can see the sender and other recipients in the ‘To’ and ‘Cc’ fields.
Bcc: (Blind carbon copy) The primary use of this field is confidentiality. It works much the same as the ‘Cc’ field, but with an important difference: only the sender can see who is in the ‘Bcc’ field. ‘Bcc’ recipients are able to see the sender and recipients in the ‘To’ or ‘Cc.’ fields, but not other recipients in the ‘Bcc’ field.  

Including Attachments

In addition to the main message the sender can also attach a file or some other form of data. This could take the form of a picture, photo, document, music or video. For security reasons most mail servers will block certain types of files such as executable files (.exe). Attachments are normally included by clicking an icon or symbol representing a ‘paper clip’.

Email Tips – Netiquette

Certain conventions of politeness and consideration towards the recipient have been established when sending email. This is has become known as netiquette (internet etiquette). For example, you should summarize the topic of your email with an introduction in the subject field. Always include a salutation, which should also include the recipient’s name. Without this it could look ‘spammy’. You could finish your email with a digital signature, which typically would include your name, email address and website address, where applicable. In business it’s it is common practice for a more professional signature to include your company name, role/title, and perhaps a company logo.

Email tips - netiquette

If your email is for the attention of multiple recipients you can put them all in the ‘To’ field. If the email is primarily for the attention of an individual, any others you wish to ‘copy in’ should be included in the ‘CC’ field. If the recipients are unknown to each other the ‘BCC’ field is preferable to retain their confidentiality, and/or protect them from spam.

The structure of an email address

The three basic parts of an email address (we’ll take as our example: staffmember@yourbusiness.com):

  1. The first part of the email address before @ (the ‘at’ symbol/sign) is the ‘local-part’ or ‘username’. It is usually the name of the person to whom the email address belongs, or department of a company. In our example the user is ‘info’.
  2. Then comes the @ sign. This is required by all SMTP mail servers, and for recognition as a legitimate email address by most software. It divides the first part from the second part of the email address.
  3. The second part of the email address after the @ sign is the domain name. In our example, the domain name is yourbusinessname.com

sample email address

To be a valid email address it must meet these requirements:

  • It must have a user name – followed @ – followed by the domain name
  • The user name has a maximum of 64 characters
  • The domain name has a maximum of 255 characters
  • There can only be one @ in an e-mail address

An email address may contain any of the following ASCII characters:

  • uppercase and lowercase Latin letters A to Z and a to z
  • digits 0 to 9
  • the printable characters !#$%&’^_`{|}*+-/=?
  • dot . (provided that it is not the first or last character, and that it does not appear twice or more consecutively)

Note: space and special characters (“),:;@[\]<> are restricted for special purposes, and not routinely available for use in an email address.

Get Connected

An email address does not in itself provide an internet connection. An ISP (Internet Service Provider) connection is required to send or receive e-mail. Most ISPs provide an email address with your account.

If you would like a dedicated connection for your business email we can provide one for you at a minimal charge; have a word with Colin and he’ll talk you through the options.

Email Tips – client software and webmail – what is the difference?

Client software

An email client is software that is directly installed on a chosen device. The software is configured to send and retrieve email between that device and a stand-alone mail server, which is usually hosted by an ISP or other company. Email clients are not always free, but they are more secure than webmail. There are many email clients available today.

Here are some popular clients, some of these are free to use:

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Mail for Windows 10
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • eM Client
  • DreamMail
  • Mailbird

Webmail

In contrast, webmail is usually a free service that is hosted in the cloud (i.e a server). It uses the browser for navigation and does not require any specific software to be installed on your device to function. The advantage is that you can access your email from all your devices because the service can automatically synchronize it across them.

Here are some examples of popular free webmail services:

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Gmail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • ProtonMail
  • AOL
  • Zoho

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