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Domain Setup Guide - Business Domain vs New Domain: Which one should I use?

Sending emails with an ESP is a big step for any business, and no doubt you want it to go perfectly. But you may be wondering, should I use my main company domain or a new domain?

When you send emails with CommuniGator, those emails will have an identity and reputation, that recipients and ISPs will see.  This identity will be the domain that you use to send those emails.  You want them to receive your emails and recognise the sender, trusting the content is something they want to engage with.  

To do this you need to configure a domain that authenticates CommuniGator to send emails on behalf of your domain name.  You can do this for your main company business domain, or another domain whether it is newly purchased, or one you already own.

Read on to find out which option is best suited for your use and why.

What is a Domain and Why do I Need One?

A domain is a site unique to you or your company that has been bought off a domain registrar. Domains are used to serve web sites and for sending emails. It is your identity to the world for your content and your email. Your identity is important because people will see it and trust your brand.

When it comes to using an ESP (Email Service Provider), the emails you send through them also uses a Domain for the email sending identity. But unless you setup domain authentication this identity will not be one of your own domains.

After first joining CommuniGator you have a domain identity hosted by us as a default. This will appear as your company name and something non-specific such as “geml”, “sgml”, or “gtml”. For example communigator.geml1.co.uk. People that receive your emails will see this as the sender email address and the domain for all the tracked links and images in the email design

While it is fine to use the assigned domain we recommend setting up your own company domain and not using our default. This gives your emails your own brand identity and reputation along with it.

This setup involves creating some DNS records that authenticate CommuniGator as a valid sender for your domain. On a technical level this is a SPF, DKIM and DMARC record, so you will need an IT Administrator to do the setup. You can assign CommuniGator multiple domains if you like and the setup would need to be done to each of them. 

To help improve your deliverability some people use different sending domains for different email types. For example, if you intend to send marketing based email and transactional based email you could use two different sending domains that the world will see. Domains hold reputation for email purposes and reputation is built up based on what people do when they receive your emails. Transactional emails typically have high engagement and interaction as recipients are expecting them, whereas marketing emails naturally have lower engagement and interaction. It is good to separate these onto different domains. 

The final decision to make is what domain or domains you want to assign to CommuniGator. Is it your main company business domain? A sub-domain of your main company business domain? Or a separate domain or sub-domain entirely? All are valid choices, but think of it in terms of the recipient. When someone receives your email what do you want them to see, and are they more likely to engage if they recognise the domain it came from. 

Company Business Domain

Your first choice is do you want to send emails from CommuniGator, where the domain identity is your own company business domain.  

For example at CommuniGator we send business emails from "communigator.co.uk". For the ESP it means allowing them to also send emails from "communigator.co.uk".

The setup for your company domain is only the addition of TXT DNS records to authenticate the ESP to use it.  

A company business domain means recipients will instantly recognise your brand and may be more inclined to trust the email, thus engaging with it.

To setup the DNS for a your business domain, where only the DNS authentication will be configured for CommuniGator, please visit the following article Domain Set Up Guide - Company Business Domain.


New/Sub-Domain

Your second choice is do you want to separate emails you send from CommuniGator, so they use a domain identity that is either a sub-domain of your company business domain, or a completely separate domain entirely.  This could be another domain you have already, or a sub-domain of an existing domain you already have.  

For example at CommuniGator we could create the sub-domain "subscribe.communigator.co.uk" and assign that to the ESP instead of using our main company domain "communigator.co.uk".  While both share "communigator.co.uk" they are technically separate.  We could also buy a new domain called "gatorsubscribe.co.uk" and send emails using that instead.

The setup for a new domain or sub-domain can be fully dedicated to CommuniGator, not just the TXT authentication records.  Fully dedicating a domain has DNS records pointing the website (A), email (MX) and the authentication (TXT) to us.  These extra records allow CommuniGator to use the domain for the tracking links and images in the email as well as the sender email address. You could however only setup the TXT authentication for the  new domain or sub-domain, and then use the domain for other purposes again.  Such as creating a website for it.  

An entirely new domain will isolate the domain identity and reputation from your company business domain.  This is good if the email you send via the ESP has reputation problems, or causes blacklists.  But it does mean recipients might trust the email less because they do not recognise the sender.  Is an email from "gatorsubscribe.co.uk" really from "communigator.co.uk"?

A safer bet is to use a sub-domain of an existing domain you have, even if its a sub domain of your company domain.  An email from "subscribe.communigator.co.uk" links to "communigator.co.uk" better in the recipients eye than "gatorsubscribe.co.uk".

That said, if the email marketing you send has multiple different brands, using several different domains is perfectly fine. 

To setup the DNS for a new domain or sub-domain that will be fully dedicated to CommuniGator, please visit the following article Domain Set Up Guide - New Domain/Sub-Domain.

If you have setup a  new domain or sub-domain but only want to assign CommuniGator the authentication, so you can use it for other purposes.  Please visit the following article instead Domain Set Up Guide - Company Business Domain.

Pros and Cons of a Company Business Domain

Pros  Cons
Instant brand recognition If ESP sending is poorly received, it could effect your company sending too with damaged reputation or a blacklist.
You only have to pay hosting fees for one site!

Inherited reputation for an already established domain.
Your reputation builds up on one site with search engines like Google accrediting your traffic to your main domain only. Your brand reputation is not muddied and is easily recognised.

Pros and Cons of a new Domain/Sub-Domain

Pros Cons
Separate domain identity and reputation to your company domain. Having a separate email domain may not look as good to customers.
Ideal for multiple brands. New domains have extra hosting fee costs.

Blacklisting - Myths Debunked

Blacklisting is a looming, scary creature when you first discover the damage it can do to your company reputation, but there are many myths out there.

We aim to separate fact from fiction so you can get the best out of your domains.

The myth is that sending emails from your company domain, might get your website blacklisted. This is not true. Your company website has nothing to do with a blacklist. Specifically your website too. A blacklist on your domain, used for emails, will not prevent people browsing to your website. For example if communigator.co.uk was blacklisted. People can still visit our main website www.communigator.co.uk and see it. The blacklists only affects other people receiving emails, where something in the email relates to communigator.co.uk. Such as tracked link, or literally just having “communigator.co.uk” in the HTML somewhere. Doesn’t matter if its visible or invisible.

There is another myth here too. That by using a sub domain or completely new domain will protect your main domain from being blacklisted. This is also not true. Blacklist companies and ISPs are clever enough to spot that an email from joe@emails.communigator.co.uk is still for the company @communigator.co.uk. They can do this even if the email came from joe@someotherdomain.com because they can look at the HTML content in the email. For example if the email had a link pointing at www.communigator.co.uk, even though the email came from a completely different domain, communigator.co.uk could still get blacklisted. If the email sent is bad enough  whether content or audience wise  someone may still put a blacklist on your company domain.

You really shouldn't have to worry about blacklisting if you are sending good quality content out to the right audience, and you aren't behaving in a spam like manner. If you are blacklisted due to your activity then you need to review what content you are sending and to whom as your reputation will be severely damaged.

For advice and tips on how to avoid spam like content, please read the following article.