Today's post comes in response to a recent reader question: "Don't launch but I've been using my AOL email address for many years, and now find it somewhat difficult to use. My family also makes fun of me for using it. What is the best way to change it to something else so that I don't miss email?"
When it comes to changing your email address, there is the right way and the wrong way. I see people doing the wrong way all the time, and it results in confusion and usually lost emails from friends, loved ones and coworkers. Here are some tips to changing your email address the right way.
If you haven't done so already, you need to create a new email account. If you're still looking for a great address and mail provider, I can't recommend using a free iCloud account enough! It's stable, super easy to use, accessible from almost any device and comes with a truck load of great features. Signing up for an iCloud account is easy. You can do it from your Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Once you have your new account established, it's time to make the change. There are some steps you should really consider following if you want to make it a seamless transition:
Step 1) Communicate your new address
When you move to a new home, you typically send your new address to all your family and friends so that they can update their address book, right? The same concept applies when changing your email address. It takes just a few minutes and will capture the attention of most of your email buddies.
Step 2) Set a mail forward on your old email address
In order to capture the rest of your email buddies, I strongly advise setting a forward on your old email account to your new email account. This way, if someone slipped through the cracks during step 1 (or they didn't bother to update your address in their address book), that mail will automatically be forwarded to your new address. Doing this will reduce the need to continue using both old and new email addresses for a period of time, just to make sure everyone is now using the new address. If someone does send an email to your old address, it will be forwarded to your new account automatically, and all replies sent to them will come from your new address. The is very, very effective.
Step 3) Migrating your old mail to your new account (optional)
These two steps will capture all email going forward, but not really address historical email. If you don't need to retain that email, then there's really nothing more to do. If you do need to retain that email, consider using a mail client (like Apple's Mail app) to drag that mail from your old account to the new account. Depending on how much historical email you have, it could take a while, but doing this will allow you to keep the old email without having to continue using your old account.
Following these steps is easy and creates a clean break from your old address. If it sounds too complicated or your confused, contact me. I would be happy to help further.