Why I Use Google Apps for Work (and Why You Should Too!), Plus a Setup Tutorial

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If you're using your web host as your email host, you need to think twice. If your site goes down, so does your email. Google Apps prevents that from happening. Check out the post for more details, plus a tutorial on how to set it up.

Google Apps for Work has become a staple in my business. From email to document storage, it gets used daily, if not hourly. Before we get into why you should use Google Apps for Work (and how to set it up), you’ll first need to know what Google Apps is.

What is Google Apps for Work?

You’re probably familiar with Google’s line of cloud based products: Gmail, Drive, Hangouts, Calendar, etc. Google Apps takes all of those things and packages them for use for your business.

So imagine using Gmail, but instead of yourname@gmail.com, you’re using yourname@yourdomain.com. And with that email address, you’re also getting access to Google’s wide array of web applications.

While Google Apps for Work comes with tons of features, we’re going to focus on the email hosting aspect of the plan, because I think that’s the feature that makes it a must have.

How much does Google Apps cost?

Google Apps is reasonably priced at $5 per user per month. They also offer a 30 day free trial.

Why should I use Google Apps?

If you’re not using Google Apps, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re using your web host for email. While that might seem like a good solution, I’d like to point something out to you.

What happens if your site goes down?

Besides not having a working site, you now don’t have a working email address.

Do you trust your host enough to put both those eggs in the same basket?

My site doesn’t go down too often, but on the off chance that it does, I don’t want to risk it. My site is incredibly important to my business in terms of growing my audience and gaining potential clients, but my email address is tied to my paying clients. It’s not exactly ideal if they think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth because my email isn’t working.

By using Google Apps, if your site goes down your email will still work and vice versa.

Now while this post is mainly about Google Apps, I also want to point out that Google Apps is not the only solution. There are plenty of email hosting services out there (like Zoho Mail). The point is that your web host shouldn’t be your email host.

[Tweet “Your web host shouldn’t be your email host.”]

How to setup Google Apps

So you’ve decided to give Google Apps a try. Great! Getting it setup is ridiculously easy.

Here’s how:

First, go to the Google Apps website and click the green get started button.

You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll want to fill out all of your information. Click next.

How to setup Google Apps

Now, you have the option of using a domain you already own or purchasing one. For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you already have a domain, so click “use a domain I have already purchased.”

How to setup Google Apps

Another field will appear where you’ll enter the domain you want to use. Then click next.

The 3rd page will create your Google Apps account. Enter you username (this will end up being your email address), create a password, and prove you’re not a robot, then click accept and sign up.

How to setup Google Apps

Your account is now created and it’s time to create additional email addresses and verify your domain. Click the start button.

How to setup Google Apps

If you’d like to create more email addresses, you can do so now. Remember that you will be billed $5/month for each address you create.

If you’re just creating the one (or once you’re done creating additional addresses), click the box labeled “I added all user email addresses currently using @yourdomain.com.”

How to setup Google Apps

The next step is to verify your domain to ensure that you actually own it (and that it’s not someone else trying to use it to spam others).

On this page you’ll be given a snippet of code. Copy it and go to your site’s theme/template.

How to setup Google Apps

You’re going to paste it into the <head> section of your theme, right before the closing </head> tag.

For WordPress users, go to Appearance > Editor and click on Theme Header (header.php). Paste the code right before </head>. Make sure not to delete any other bits of code or add any additional characters.

PS: it’s always a good idea to make a backup of your site before editing any of your theme files.

How to setup Google Apps

If you’re using Genesis, you can go to Genesis > Theme Settings and paste the code into the Header Scripts box.

When that’s done, click the checkbox to move onto the next step.

It’ll now tell you to go to your site’s control panel and find the MX records section.

How to setup Google Apps

Create a new entry for each of the entries they give you.

How to setup Google Apps

How to setup Google Apps

Check the box when that’s complete. The setup guide will now tell you to delete any pre-existing MX entries, so go ahead and do that. (Hint: it’ll be any that you didn’t just enter)

Save the records and check the box on the setup guide.

Now it’s time for the moment of truth. Click the verify domain and set up email button. If all was set up  correctly, it’ll tell you that your domain has been verified!

How to setup Google Apps

And that’s it! You’ll be able to log into Gmail using username@yourdomain.com to start sending and receiving email. They say that it can take up to 48 hours to start receiving email, but in my experience it starts working pretty much immediately.

[Tweet “Learn how to setup Google Apps for Work with this tutorial”]

17 thoughts on “Why I Use Google Apps for Work (and Why You Should Too!), Plus a Setup Tutorial”

  1. This is really good to know! I didn’t even think about the whole site is down / email is down problem. If I’m using my web host as my email host and then switch to Google Apps, will I lose all of the emails I sent and received before?

    1. Your old emails should still be accessible in your web host’s inbox (but don’t 100% take my word on it). You can also export them and import them into Google Apps so you can access them there!

  2. What is the difference to using Google Apps or just add your mail with a POP3 account to your gmail? I’ve noticed a delay using the POP3 method and thinking of making a switch, but not sure what really the difference is.

    1. With POP3, you’re still using your web host to host your email. Gmail is just fetching it from their server. If your host were to go down, Gmail wouldn’t be able to fetch (or send) any email because the thing powering it (your host) isn’t working.

      With Google Apps, you’re using the Gmail interface, but you’re also using them to host your email. You’re sending and receiving directly from them. If your site goes down, your email will still work since your email and site are hosted at 2 different locations.

      On the front end they’re pretty much the same, it’s just the backend that differs.

      As for POP3, there’s always going to be a delay. That’s because Gmail isn’t constantly checking your host’s inbox for new mail. It might only be checking it once every 10 minutes. That means that any email you receive since the last check will sit in your inbox on your host’s server before Gmail brings it to you (think of it as having to visit a PO box to get mail vs having the mail delivered right to your door – there’s an extra step involved).

      I hope that made sense! 🙂

  3. I had never thought about the cons of having my email through my web hosting service, I thought it was perfectly fine. Glad you brought it up! I recently learned about Zoho mail so switching to that or google apps is definitely next on my to-do list!

  4. Hi Allyssa,
    Fantastic break down of how to use Google apps for your business 🙂
    Thank you for sharing because I learned something new and how important
    and beneficial it can be for your business 🙂

  5. Hi Allyssa,
    Thanks for this great tutorial. I’ve always avoided using web host email for the reasons you give.
    But I have to ask… what’s wrong with just using a gmail address? I’ve never understood why it might be considered unprofessional. This seems like a somewhat elaborate method to hide the fact that you’re using gmail. ?

    1. Having a branded email address looks more professional in the sense that a Gmail/etc. email address looks like you’re not taking something seriously. Imagine if you were to email the CEO of a major corporation and their email address was CEO@gmail.com (or an equivalent). I would honestly question it. I’d rather see CEO@company.com. That way I know I’m emailing someone directly at the company and not some random email address.

      Even with a branded email address through Google Apps, you’re not necessarily using Gmail… you are in that you’re using their interface, but it’s not the same as using Gmail as you’re using your domain. I wouldn’t say you’re hiding the fact that you use Gmail (as no one really cares what platform you’re using)…. you’re just extending your brand by having your domain and email match.

  6. I started using Google Apps a few months ago and absolutely love it. It’s affordable and you get a lot of tools to make your business go to the next level. Great tutorial, Allyssa!

  7. Thanks Allyssa. I am just in the process of setting up my wordpress blog and many of the program names get thrown around, but you don’t often get a short explanation of why you should have them. So, thanks for this!

    1. You’re welcome! I try to simplify things as much as possible. If there are any other programs that you’re unsure of, let me know and I’d love to address them in future posts 🙂

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