by Rebecca Thompson, CLR Virtual Connection
Google Apps are a full suite of applications that reduce IT costs for businesses and nonprofits. Hardware and software costs are expensive, especially when you’re first starting out. IT costs can drain a business’ start-up revenue or a nonprofit’s slim reserve, so here are five ways Google Apps can benefit you.
One Free Email Alias
Just started a website and don’t have an email server? If you have a virtual private server (VPS)–meaning that someone else is hosting your website on their own server in a space dedicated just to you–but you don’t have email service for the website, Google Apps provide an answer.
You can use Gmail as an email alias for your domain, having email forwarded from your domain (www.yourcompany.com) to a Gmail address. Users see your domain as the sender and receiver, but the email is actually managed by Gmail. Using Gmail makes it much simpler and cheaper to host an email server for your new business or cash-strapped nonprofit.
Google Docs for Office Files
Most companies need a way to create word processing documents and spreadsheets. Software such as Microsoft Office is expensive. Google has the Docs application that lets you create documents “in the cloud” instead of on your own computer hard drive. How will this help you?
- You can use these applications with any operating system including Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac or Linux.
- You can store these documents on your Google Drive. That make it easy to share the documents with other Google users.
Keep Appointments with Google Calendar
Gmail and Google Calendar work together to ensure you keep your appointments. Google users can send appointment requests or notifications to your Gmail, and you can save those appointments to your calendar directly from the Gmail notification. When the event is about to happen, you will receive a reminder in your email inbox. You can also connect Gmail to your smartphone, so you receive reminders even away from your desktop.
Create a Quick Website with Google Sites
Google Sites is a web solution for people who aren’t familiar with website coding. Google Sites includes a website creator that makes it easy to set up a web presence online. You can incorporate your Google account into Google Sites, so you always have access to edit your website, even from a smartphone or tablet.
Google Drive is one of the latest Google Apps. Google Drive is cloud storage, and it works directly with your Google account to save and share documents.
You can also use Google Drive for collaboration. When you need to share a document and get feedback from clients, share the document with the client and allow him or her to make edits. These edits are saved in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about tracking changes. You can also share these documents with others, and distribute them on the web without any extra installed software.
For more complex Google Apps integrations, you need a programmer. Google Apps has many API applications you can use to integrate Google software with your internal software. This includes Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Gmail. Use these open applications to give your business a competitive edge or customize reports and software to work with your nonprofit funders’ requirements.
About the author:
Rebecca Thompson is the Social Media Strategist at CLR Virtual Connection.
She started her business so that she could combine her administrative skills with her love of social media to help her clients proactively manage the social presence of their business.