Using Google Apps and Gmail to manage your email
Why you would want to migrate your email over to Google Apps
- Google Apps is a free service provided by Google that gives you access to a wide range of productivity, project management and financial tools.
- Google Apps requires a domain name associated with the Google Apps account (ie you cannot have a Google Apps account without a domain name). Google Apps takes over email management functions for the domain and allows you to create firstname.lastname@example.org that are managed by Google, which functions essentially as a private Gmail mail server under your domain name. This is done by setting the MX records of your domain to point to Google. This is a bit technical to setup, but it is explained in the video below.
- Setting up your domain for Google Apps / Gmail management is an easily reversible process (you need only set your MX records back to the default). You are not locked in to Google by assigning your domain to a Google Apps account. You still own the domain.
- Having Google & Gmail manage your email is in almost every wayan ideal email management system. It gives you a powerful host-based email management solution (setup filters, create multiple email aliases that filter into their own folders, read other email accounts via POP3, etc). It is a host-based system so that it is accessible from wherever you are and you don’t have to worry about crashing your computer and losing your email; and yet it is accessible from Microsoft Outlook or any email client that supports the IMAP protocol. In other words, it gives you the best of both worlds (secure and powerful host-side email storage and ease of access from your local email client). It is comparable (but perhaps better) than Yahoo mail or other services, but the fact that it is attached to your domain name (giving you possibility to migrate to another email platform later without losing your email address), and the possibility to tie it into Google Apps, makes the offer very compelling
- There is no cost for Google Apps, but to get support there is a small yearly fee about $50
- You get access to the Google Apps Marketplace containing wide range of free tools — in particular many free and powerful project management and CRM tools that are great for freelancers or self-employed people. One of our favorites is Insight.ly which allows you to manage multiple contacts, projects and tasks in a system that is integrated with your email. For example, instantly create a contact and open a project from an email you receive, from within your Gmail dashboard (via the Insight.ly email widget); link this contact to any other task, project or contact; put keywords into your data to immediately retrieve required data; and more. You can put all your client and project data onto the web for permanent storage and easy indexing and retrieval. The system is very simple and intuitive but powerful. There are many other project management systems as well.
This is a bit technical, but not difficult once you get the concept.