Is your small business using a Yahoo! or Gmail email account to communicate with your customers and vendors?  If so this post is for you!  Setting up a professional email address is key to adding legitimacy to your small business.  While using a basic Yahoo! or Gmail account may meet your needs, it automatically conveys a less then professional image of your business.

So what is a professional email address?   A professional email address uses a custom Domain Name in the email address rather then domains such as Hotmail, Gmail or any other free email provider.   An example of a professional e-mail address would be [email protected]

The good news is that many of these major email providers allow you to setup accounts using your own domain.  Certain providers charge for this service while others offer it free.  I’m going to show you step-by-step how to use your existing domain to setup a professional e-mail address using Microsoft’s

Setting up using a custom Domain Name

1) Go to Windows Live Admin Center

2) Enter your custom domain name in the box provided and click “Continue”.

3) The next screen will ask you to assign a domain administrator account.  The administrator account must be a Microsoft account.  You can either create a Microsoft account or to sign-in with an existing Microsoft account.   Note: Make sure your the Microsoft account you use contains correct contact information such as email address and phone number because it will be used to verify the account or retrieve your password if you forget it.

4)  If you choose to create a new Microsoft account you be required to fill out a form, confirm your submission and accept Microsoft’s terms of service. When the administrator account is setup for your domain, you can then review your settings and accept Microsoft’s agreement for your hosted email.

5) Now that sign-up process is complete, you will be directed to the Windows Live Admin Center’s admin page. The administrator page will display the MX and TXT records specific to your account.  These MX and TXT records will need to be added to your domain provider.  My preferred website host and domain registrar is BlueHost.


6) Sign-in to your domain provider and access the control panel or “cpanel”.  If you are not using BlueHost, your screen will look different but it should be similar.  Look for a “Domain Settings” or “DNS” page and select “MX Entry”.

7) Add an new MX record entry and enter the MX entry details found on the Windows Live Admin Center’’s admin page (as seen in step 5).

8) Select “Automatically Detect Configuration”

9)  In the TXT record configure the sender ID by adding a TXT record.  The TXT record entry will prevent email originating from your domain from being flagged as junk or spam.

10) Save your changes on the domain provider’s control panel web page.

11) Click the “Refresh” button on the Windows Live Admin page.  You will receive a message that your service is active if the MX records were entered correctly.

12) Now that you’ve successfully linked your domain to the email system, you can begin creating your addresses.  In the Windows Live Admin Center click the “Member Accounts” link on the left hand side.  Then select the “Add” button to begin creating email addresses.

13) Enter an account name, first name, last name and password for each email account you want to create.  Your users will access their email at

Congratulations on setting up your professional email account using your custom Domain Name!   Please contact me if you have any questions on the setup process and I’ll be happy to help you.


I help small businesses use technology to grow and solve problems.   I live in Little Rock, Arkansas and spend my free time with my wife, 2 kids and dog.