I will be writing a series of articles on emails because they are essential for any small business to communicate with its customers and to improve retention without effort.
It is also a common block of functionality in every application and unfortunately many developers underuse them (or don’t use them at all) or misuse them (emails go to the Spam folder) or abuse them.
In the series I will cover the following topics:
- How to set up your emails for your own domain
- How to send an email from your application with high deliverability
- How to put your email marketing strategy on auto-pilot
This first article can be used by anyone, a small business owner, a developer (which I suspect is already using this technique) or my mother (which I suspect won’t use this technique).
Why you should use your own domain name for your emails
Most of you are using your internet provider email address, or some online email provider like Hotmail or Gmail.
If you decide to change your internet provider, you have to change your email address and tell all your contacts.
If you use Hotmail or Gmail but decide in two months to try another email provider, you also have to tell all your contacts.
Using your own domain name to serve your emails basically gives you an email address for life for very little effort (30 minutes).
If you are a small business owner, you will also look more professional too. How did you feel last time a business sent you an email email@example.com?
Google apps for domain (15 min)
To manage my emails, I have been using Google apps for domain since 2004 and I am very happy with them. I currently manage 10 email addresses from the same account. It is free, reliable, and Gmail is simply the best email tool available today (please prove me wrong).
So I will show you how to set up your emails with Google Apps for Domain.
First you need to create an account on Google Apps.
Wizard, step 1:
Check the option “Administrator” and enter your domain name (For me it would be “gaurat.net”). Click the button.
Wizard, step 2:
Then in the next screen, enter your personal information.
(Note: in the field that requires a valid email, enter the email address you are using today). Next.
Wizard, step 3:
Google asks you for your new email address. I like to simply put my first name there but you can put whatever you want. it can firstname.lastname@example.org if you want.
Nice! you have created your Google Apps account.
Now you need to prove to Google that you actually own the domain name you entered.
Domain name ownership verification (15 min)
This is a the most technical part of this article: you simply need to add a few lines in your registrar account.
From the dashboard of Google Apps, you have a link to verify your domain name ownership, click on it and in the next page choose the verification method that requires a CNAME registration.
In the point 2, Google gives you a string, note it somewhere or copy it in your clipboard (CTRL+C):
Now, open a new window/tab in your browser and log into your registrar account, go in your domain settings, find the option to set the DNS records in advanced mode and append the following lines:
REPLACE_WITH_YOUR_STRING 10800 IN CNAME google.com.
@ 28800 IN MX 5 ASPMX2.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 3 ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 3 ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 1 ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 5 ASPMX3.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 5 ASPMX4.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
@ 28800 IN MX 5 ASPMX5.GOOGLEMAIL.COM.
mail 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com
docs 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com
cal 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com
start 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com
Save and come back to the Google window to start the verification process by clicking the button of the form.
You are done! You know need to wait a few hours to be able to go tohttp://mail.yourdomain.com and enjoy your new email address.
Bonus: you can also go to:
- http://docs.yourdomain.com to use documents online.
- http://cal.yourdomain.com to access your calendar.
- http://start.yourdomain.com to have a custom Google search page.
(Please ask any question you may have, I will update the article accordingly)