July 14, 2011
Have you ever been handed the business card of a small business entrepreneur only to realize that the email address they have listed is something along the lines of “bobsmith(@)yahoo/hotmail/gmail.com.” Does that ever make you second-guess the business? Email is now how we do business and your email address should reflect your business as much as all other marketing that you do.
The beautiful thing is that Google has, once again, made being a small business owner easier then ever before. With the help of Google Apps almost anyone can create a specialized email address. The only main criteria for a Google Apps email address is that you must own your domain – ie the url for your company must be something along the lines of www.yourbusinessname.com (or .org/.biz) and not a subset of another domain such as www.anotherdomain.yourbusinessname.com. If you use a program like WordPress (which this blog utilizes) you can purchase your own domain name for something akin to $20 per year so the cost is well worth it and something that you should consider.
Let’s say that you have your own business domain name so then the next question is how do you go about getting that coveted email address. For this you’ll need to go to the Google Apps webpage. Unfortunately, it appears as though Google Apps is no longer free but at a mere $5 per month for the services most small businesses would consider it money well spent. You will be prompted to submit your domain name and then, with the help of the Google Apps wizard, you’ll be walked through several steps to get your email address set up.
If your website is not blog-based you may need to contact your web developer to include things like the Google Verification tool and the domain mapping codes into your site. If however you use a WordPress blog site you can do these steps yourself. (The Domain Mapping piece for WordPress can be a bit confusing so I’m including a link to the WordPress instructions). In all, it takes about 15 minutes to complete the process and then can take up to 48 hours for Google to correctly connect to the domain before you can access you email address.
Speaking of which, while I have email addresses for my own small food businesses, I finally got around to getting a formal email address for this site. I can now be reached at info (at) smallfoodbiz (dot) com. See, doesn’t that look more professional?