Update: Google has shut down its free version of Google Apps. You can read more about it here.
June update: Get Google Apps Discount Voucher here
You can still set up a professional email address using Google Apps by paying a nominal fee of $5 per user per month, and continue to enjoy all their services.
You can read the updated tutorial over here.
We have already explored the benefits of a custom domain, and one major benefit of using a custom name for your website is the fact that you can easily get a professional email address using your domain.
Many bloggers who own a domain name are not aware of the fact that they can create an email address using their own domain name. For example, I have ShoutMeLoud.com as my domain name, and I use firstname.lastname@example.org as my official work email address.
Creating a domain-specific email address adds more credibility and looks more professional. For any blogger, it is important to use a personalized email domain address for a professional appearance.
How many of you have a custom domain name (something like www.domain.com), but you’re still using a public email address such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com?
How to create a personalized email address with your own domain:
You can get your custom domain email address for $5 per month from Google Apps. The process of obtaining your custom domain email address is simple. Here are a few steps which you need to follow to get your personal domain email address.
1. Go to the Google Apps page, and select from two options.
If you already own a domain, enter your domain name under “I already own this domain“. Otherwise, you can buy a domain from Google for $12/year.
Make sure you don’t add “www” as a prefix or a trailing slash (/) at the end.
- It should simply be: domain.com
2. Once you click on “Submit”, you need to create a Google Apps login. My suggestion is that you create one account with the name of “email@example.com”, and later you can create an account like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. This will offer better management in the future when you start to give additional roles to other group members. Especially if you have a large organization, my suggestion would be that you create your first account using “admin”. This suggests that you are the chief administrator of the website/blog/domain.
3. When you fill out the details, make sure your alternate email address is not a temporary email address, as this will be crucial at the time of password recovery.
Once all of this is completed and you have accepted their TOS, hit “Submit’ and you will be automatically logged into your personalized email address account.
Now you can set up a Google Apps account using one of two methods – “Express” or “Custom”: For the sake of this tutorial, let’s go with the “Express” setup.
Verify ownership for Google Apps email:
This step is very important, but after this you will be able to use your domain email account to send or receive email:
Google has now made the verification process very easy by using a Metatag option in which you have to add a piece of code to your website before the < body> tag. If you are using WordPress, this will be easy.
Alternatively you can use the following three methods for verification:
- Upload HTML file
- Update DNS record
- Google Analytics verification
If you have purchased your site from someone and they transferred you the ownership of a Google Apps account, you can simply use that to verify Google Apps ownership.
Otherwise, I prefer using the HTML file upload method.
Whichever method you choose to use, you must verify ownership of the domain.
Setting up your Google Apps email account:
Once verification is completed, the rest of the setup is easy, and you can get things up and running in minutes.
Under Gmail > Set up Gmail, you will get an MX record to add to the settings. If you are using a cPanel hosting like Hostgator or Bluehost, you can login to cPanel > Mail > Mx entry, and enter the following settings:
- Priority : 0
- Destination : ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM
If there is any other email entry, remove it.
Upgrading an MX record may take up to 48 hrs, so you can continue with the other Google Apps setup steps, and later on configure your Google domain email.
- You can always access your domain email dashboard by going to “http://mail.google.com/a/domain.com” (enter your domain where “domain.com” is)
If you want to change it to something like mail.domain.com, click on settings on the top right > Email and Change URL
Now click on “Save changes” and you are finished with the Google Apps set up!
You will need to wait for some time, but once the MX record has been propagated, you can start using your domain email. I usually use the forwarding feature to forward email to my personal email account, and use the same account to send email from my professional account.
Do let us know if you have created a personalized free email account with your domain name. What are the possible benefits you can think of to creating a professional domain email address?