Google Apps For Your Domain

More than a few small businesses are still using e-mail addresses at gmail or yahoo domains. There's no reason not to have an e-mail address at your domain by using Google Apps, which is a free solution. The only expense is that you have to buy a domain name for around ten bucks or so at Go Daddy. Once you're done, head on over to Google Apps. A few minutes of set up gets you a Gmail interface for an e-mail address at your domain. You can even customize your interface by uploading your own logo. The only wrinkle is that you have to tinker with your SPF settings to avoid your e-mails from being rejected as junk. This last step is actually very important, and tends to be neglected.

Google Apps has many cool features. The most significant one is that you can have e-mail pushed onto your Blackberry without having to host a Blackberry Enterprise Server. Google takes care of that for you transparently. You just have to set up your e-mail account on your Blackberry just like any other e-mail account, and your mobile provider should recognize it as a Google-run domain. Another cool benefit is that you can use all the Gmail interface features such as Multiple Inboxes, which I cannot do without. Google Apps also allows you to share contacts, schedules, and documents across your domain between users. If I have a document, I can upload it to Google Documents for my domain, and share it with my co-workers. I can even quickly create an intranet to post these documents and provide a narrative that others can edit.

Small businesses should give Google Apps a serious look for their data-management needs.

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