Small Business Productivity: Setting up Google Apps for your Website & Why It Will Change Your Life

Set up Google Apps Now!

As a small business organization (including you freelancers), there is
no reason not to move your email + calendar + document manager
(word/pwrpt/excel) + phone to the cloud!

Step 1: Register. FREE Google Apps account here. (not business, not enterprise, not org). Note: you must have your own custom domain name (ie. in order to use these services.

Step 2: Configure. If you are one of my clients reading this and using my suggested web host ICDSOFT, then mirror my image below exactly for your configuration.

Web Hosting By

For all other web hosts, you will not include the first 3 “A”-record entries, and instead just list the MX and CNAME records.

That was the quick and painful part (roughly 20 mins) to register and tinker around with settings. Now begins the journey to simplicity and ease of mind.

Why working in the cloud will save your life.

Google Apps is amazing. The name might be confusing.

It is called Google Apps because even though you aren’t installing
anything, these are the equivalent to the slew of apps that would sit on
your computer taking up space, and are worried you might lose data for.

  • GmailGet custom email like
  • Google SitesCreate websites and group wikis.
  • Google CalendarOrganize your schedule and share events with friends.
  • Google DocsShare online documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.


1. Your basic website email is probably handled through a barebones
(functional) service, but expanding the possibilities of email can do a
lot more for you- it’s just as fast, so why not?

2. Google apps can take over your email provider service, and you
will now use the Gmail interface to send and receive your messages. Why
would you want to do this? Here are a few of my personal favs:

  • Emails get grouped into conversation threads (like on facebook, etc)
    instead of all the replies popping up as new separate emails where you
    can’t keep track of which came first and what who said where.
  • Vacation responders, filters, canned automatic responses to designated email addresses.
  • Great spam filter
  • Ability to use different starring icons to label your important
    messages and messages you need to reply to or have important account
  • Tags and Folders to label your Messages
  • UNDO SEND***!!! (within 10 seconds etc) or sending your email
  • View attachments immediately without having to use a program to open documents / images.
  • gChat
  • yelp/youtube/videochat/audiochat integration
  • create a calendar event on your schedule using info in the email
  • BIGGER STORAGE SPACE (~8gb) than your basic email provider for your domain
  • Respond from various email address aliases, quickly switch between
    multiple gmail accounts using “SWITCH ACCOUNT” / MULTIPLE SIGN IN



  • Add to your calendar directly inside gmail, from calendar tab, and
    auto syncing with your mobile device (ipod iphone ipad blackberry
  • Invite others to an event you create- they can accept or deny / see who’s attending
  • Allow your clients to book appointments with you by giving them access to your calendar.

Google Drive (Free 5GB Storage)

What it does:

  • Replaces Microsoft Office, and any programs you have to physically install.
    • Comes with its own word processor, powerpoint, and excel spreadsheet program.
    • Opens any text, Microsoft Word docs, and pdfs directly in your browser.
  • Save and use templates quickly- ie quickly access invoice template, change info, and email directly as PDF to client from one screen.
  • Storage
    • Common storage for files & monitoring revisions, especially if you need to share the docs.
    • Store in one place: passwords / logins, instructions and how-to’s, rather than emailing them to each new person and having to keep track of when something is updated.
  • Collaboration
    • Multiple users can update a single doc simultaneously- it highlights who
    • is changing what where. You can invite collaborators, and give
    • different access rights.
    • Discussions for Google Docs (word docs), which is a new and improved alternative for comments, is a social-conversation tool.
  • Someone working from home can still access the info, so less
    commuting to the office because you forgot to download something.

Print from anywhere

Yes, that is a new feature!

Google Cloud Print is built on the idea that printing can be more
intuitive, accessible, and useful. Using Google Cloud Print you can make
your printers available to you from any Google Cloud Print enabled web,
desktop or mobile app. To get started printing using Google Cloud
Print, connect a printer to your account. Google supports both cloud
ready and classic printers.

If you’re not ready to install a printer, learn more about Google Cloud Print here.

Classic Printers connect to the internet through a laptop or PC, and register with Google Cloud Print using a feature of Google Chrome. Learn more.

Cloud Ready Printers connect directly to the
internet and can register themselves with Google Cloud Print without a
laptop or PC. HP’s ePrint line of printers are the only cloud ready
printers available today. Learn more.

Google Voice

Google Voice is a virtual number you can use personally or professionally that expands on the idea of a mobile cell number.

  • Bad reception? Talk through wifi! Still receive your calls & texts.
  • Ring your gmail and any cell phone or landline simultaneously to make sure you receive the calls important to you
  • Turn off receiving calls on your off hours. Go and relax! No need to worry about people bothering you when you’re off duty.
  • Get missed calls notifications sent to your email
  • BLOCK phone numbers. This has been a big peeve of mine with
    companies like AT&T who don’t let you block telemarketers or
    harassers. Now you can block with the click of a button!
  • SMS text notifications sent to your email
  • Reply to texts on the google voice site or via email
  • Talk and text with anyone in the US for free, even when you are
    traveling abroad! Even when you’re not in front of a computer! (I spent
    this summer in Berlin, and if someone called me, it would ring my ipod)

Published by:

Steven Chu

Hi, I'm Steven! I'm an entrepreneur, photographer and art director in New York. Follow this blog for self expression, fun, and most importantly: looking comfortable, at ease, and amazing in your photos no matter who takes them! I dedicate this to my amazing friends who have let me inadvertently turn all of our hangouts and travel photos into a never ending photoshoot of fun. The proof is in the pudding-- our photos rock. My other projects: I'm the founder of, a face-to-face tech concierge service for NYC. Book a techie to walk you through something you want to learn! My work focuses on socially engaged art projects which use technology to create access to resources for communities. Visit Steven Chu Studio ( for branding & design work or Steven Chu ( for photography projects.

Categories Workflow5 Comments

5 thoughts on “Small Business Productivity: Setting up Google Apps for your Website & Why It Will Change Your Life”

  1. Why do you have an “A” record for subdomain “mail” pointing to your domain’s IP address, when your mail (MX records) are pointing to Google Apps? Is this record necessary, and can it be safely deleted?

    1. The first 3 A records are specific to the web host I use and their own mail site (mbox). You don’t need to include those and can delete them.
      For google apps purposes, you want to use only the MX and CNAME records. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. We have our hosting account with ICDSoft, but now that we have switched to Google Apps, we need the old email from ICDSoft transferred over as well. Do you know of an option to do this? I have been looking and am not seeing a support option for ICDSoft for it. Thanks! Great information you have provided!

    1. Hm, can you clarify? Do you want to transfer your old emails (inbox/sent) over to google apps? I’m pretty sure there is not a way to do that automatically.
      You could write to suresupport which is ICDsoft’s tech help about it, but I think they would tell you the same.

      What I did was copy and paste my important emails from ICDsoft’s inbox to a draft email in google apps mail.. at least then i have the contents of the emails and it’s still searchable.

      Hope that helps.

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