Many of us may already use Gmail, the simple yet powerful web-based email application. Many of us have also set up our own domains for our organizations, teams or families. I never realized how easy it is to put the two together with GoogleApps.
GoogleApps is a Google product that lets you or your organization essentially use and re-brand Google products. That is, you can use Google's GMail or Docs & Spreadsheets application with your own domain name (www.mydomain.com).
A couple of weeks ago Scott Hanselman wrote "the definitive guide" using GoogleApps in a way I could finally understand. Though GoogleApps has been around for a while, I just didn't get it. Now I do and it is sweet.
A while back I finally broke down and registered my own name as a domain. There's a little background to this, but I wanted one semi-easy-to-remember place to find information about us and our work in Kosovo. I created a site with SiteKreator, a fantastic and easy to use site creation tool, and that was that. But I never thought about coupling it up with email because Sitekreator created sites are hosted at SiteKreator. It wasn't obvious to me how to use someone else's mail servers for my own nefarious ends.
Twenty minutes after reading Scott's post, I had set up Jeff@ mydomain.com as a new email address. Now I can go to www.mail.mydomainl.com and read my mail on the web, and can go to www.docs.mydomain.com for all my online documents (while GoogleApps provides more services, those are the only two I've set up). Both of these are run by Google and allow my website to remain unchanged.
What's best about this is that it is all FREE. My website is hosted for free, my email (Gmail) is free, my documents are hosted for free. All I've invested was the nine bucks it took to register my domain name. What's second best is that should I ever want to move away from using Gmail as the "back end" mail server, I can change mail servers without ever changing my email address again.
If you read Scott's article, it look a little intimidating. It's not as hard as it seems. Give it a try!