The case for role-based email addresses

I’ve worked with my own websites for long enough now – and certainly enough client websites – to know that it is a nightmare to either publish your email address, or to route contact forms to your own email address.

As you’ll come to realise, people come and go at companies. So if you’ve been writing articles for years, inviting people to email [email protected] if they want to discuss it further, when Sarah resigns and now you want people to contact Lisa instead, you’ve got to go through and change all of those articles.

An alternative is just to route Sarah’s email to Lisa, but then she’ll be getting Sarah’s marketing emails from Best Buy, along with other emails which are better suited going to Oscar in Accounting.

The solution to this is to use role-based email addresses. That is, decide what kind of role Sarah is filling that would cause you to want someone to get in touch with her. Is it because she’s the editor of the publication? Is it because she has a wealth of knowledge about travel? Is it because she’s organising events? In each case, you’d be better off creating email accounts for editor@, travel@ and events@, all of which can then be used to forward emails to the inboxes of the people who need to see them, whether individual or multiple.

That way, when Sarah does leave, you can change where those email accounts send emails so that the events Sarah was organising now have relevant emails forwarded to one person, and since her editorial duties were taken over by someone else, those emails can now go to that person.

In another situation, let’s say that someone starts a company by themselves (this is my situation, by the way), so initially they start giving everyone their email address and just tell them to email them directly. Down the line, when they get more busy, they need to bring on additional people to help manage different aspects of the business, so now you need some emails to go to your bookkeeper, others to your team of developers, and others still to your admin. So, you’ll want to start off using books@, developer@ and admin@ from the offset, even if all of these addresses just forward to you initially.

Unless the person receiving the email is the only person who should ever conceivably receive correspondence in regards to a matter, you should always use role-based email addresses to help smooth out personnel transitions in the future.

By Dave

Dave is the proud father of Ellie and Jack. There's nothing that makes him happier than spending time with his incredible wife and their amazing children. He's a civil/mechanical engineer and he also builds and maintains WordPress websites.

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