How to setup G Suite

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If you haven’t setup 3rd party email before, it can be a bit intimidating to setup G Suite the first time. I’m going to walk you through the info you need to gather in advance and then the setup process.

Needed Information

Once you start the setup process you want to be able to complete it reasonably quickly. So make sure that you know all of these things before you get started:

  • Login to your DNS (generally your registrar but maybe elsewhere)
  • The primary email address you want to create – this will become the “Master” of the account, so make sure you’ve decided which this should be
  • Business Name
  • Number of employees
  • Country
  • First Name that goes with the primary email address
  • Last Name that goes with the primary email address
  • Current email address (make sure it’s NOT at the domain you are trying to setup) – this will automatically become your recovery email address
  • Domain Name
  • A password (it should be strong and saved somewhere like your favorite password manager)
  • Account type (generally Basic)
  • Name & Address of Business
  • Phone number (cell phone that can receive text messages)
  • Payment method info (credit card, expiration date, security code and FULL name on card and billing address)

Creating Your Account

Now that you’ve gathered together everything in the needed information, it’s time to setup your account. Make sure that you have 20 min of uninterrupted time to do this during. Also, make sure that you’ve got someone’s referral code and 20% discount code handy (I almost always have several codes handy, leave a comment below and I’ll send you one).

First, log into the location where your DNS is managed (generally your registrar, but might be Cloudflare, a hosting company, or somewhere else). You will need to enter a couple of DNS records, Google can auto add DNS records for you at several well-known registrars but you have to already be logged in at your registrar to do this.

So now go to G Suite’s page (use your referral URL) and click on the service you want (probably Basic). You will automatically a 14-day trial, but it requires a credit card to sign up.

Enter all of the information and keep clicking on Next as you go through the setup. Towards the end, you will be asked for your discount code.

When you get to the part where it asks for you to setup DNS records, if you are not comfortable setting them up, then use the option for Google to help you.

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New GDPR law and what it means for website owners

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The European Union has a new privacy law, the GDPR, which goes into effect in May 2018, and unlike previous laws, these are extra-territorial. That means the new privacy law applies to countries outside of the EU. We’ve put together a breakdown of what it means for you as a website owner.

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5 Ways to Tell if Your Domain is Ready for the Holidays

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Did you know that most website owners have never actually checked a blacklist for their domain? And many people only find out that they have a problem when a helpful customer points it out to them. Wouldn’t you rather find out before your customers tell you?

Here are 5 steps to check your domain and website for health.

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How to Securely Send Logins, Passwords & Files

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We all know that we shouldn’t just send our logins, passwords and sensitive or large files in regular email. But while we know we shouldn’t, most people don’t know how to send these types of things safely & securely.

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Email Types & How to Actually Get Your Email Delivered

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Maybe it’s happened to you, one day your email is working fine and the next it’s not. You didn’t do anything, so how did your website suddenly go from reliably sending email to not. I’m regularly asked this question.

Trust me, I’d love to wave a magic wand and get rid of all your email woes. Unfortunately, I can’t.

The issue is that for your emails to get delivered they have to interact with literally hundreds of servers and thousands of filters.

And to add more complexity, these filters change literally every day. This is why things can suddenly stop working. They suddenly stop working because the filters changed.

Prefer to watch this article as a video? I’ve got you covered:

Why is it so hard to get email past filters?

Because of spammers.

Every year spammers get better at getting through spam filters, so the spam filters, in turn, get tougher for everyone to get through. This is why approaches that worked in the past to deliver email suddenly stop working.

The top spam filters are updated constantly and are personalized to each account based on that account’s behaviors. This is why you may reach some people at a domain but not others.

Personal email providers like @gmail, @yahoo, @aol, etc all make it much harder to get past their filters. Additionally, the owners of these personal accounts are usually clueless about how filters work.

How does email get from sender to recipient?

Let’s talk about the journey of a typical email (simplified some):

  • An email is created and sent (by a person, by an app, by a website, etc).
  • The email looks on the internet look for the recipient’s server.
  • It hopefully finds the recipient server and delivers the email to there.
  • The recipient server is a lot like a mail room. A piece of mail arrives and has to be sorted before delivery to a final destination.
  • The recipient server looks at all of the sorting rules and decides where to deliver it. This could spam folder, person’s inbox, or elsewhere.
  • In the email world, these sorting rules are frequently called filters.

How email filters work

Most email server’s filters (or sorting rules) are constantly changing. Literally, with almost every single email that they receive and how the account holder treats that email.

Account holders who don’t understand filters can easily take actions which have unintended consequences. For example, if they delete the first two emails you ever send them, that tells the filter you don’t want to read emails from that sender.

What are the possible things a filter can do with your email?

  • Deliver it to the inbox
  • Put it into a folder (Gmail Promotions)
  • Put it into Spam
  • Put it into Spam Quarantine
  • Delete it
  • Bounce it
  • Forward it somewhere else (yes, you then go through the whole process all over again)

Email filters have become increasingly complex and also increasingly stubborn. They generally learn to treat something as spam much easier than to treat something as desired.

Once an email filter starts to dislike an address, it will usually dislike everything from that address. Once they get in a habit, they are very hard to break of that habit (personal email providers like @gmail, @yahoo, @aol, etc are the most difficult).

This is why it’s a good idea to have different email addresses for different purposes. Many businesses will have a website address for just website related emails, a marketing address, a billing address, a general inquiry address, etc.

Getting past the filters: types of email

There are basically 3 types of email:

  • Marketing: Items like email newsletters where one person is sending to many. These may be automated through email newsletter provider.
  • Transactional: Automated emails, typically from a website or app. Where the website is sending to just one person. This is emails such as thank you for filling out a form, purchase receipt from eCommerce.
  • Direct: These are the emails that one person sends to specific people. For example, most of your business correspondence, emails between coworkers, questions from customers.

How do I get my email delivered to the inbox?

Marketing:

  • Have a dedicated email address for marketing, so if the filters decide it is spam, your other messages may get through still. Some companies take this a step further and use a separate domain for marketing only emails.
  • Use an email newsletter provider and make sure it’s connected to a real domain address (not @gmail, @yahoo, etc). Make sure to read the newsletter provider’s guidelines on maximizing deliverability.
  • Avoid known spam words in your emails: bit.ly/emailspamwords

Transactional:

  • Have a dedicated email address (same domain as your website)
  • Don’t use built-in mail() function (this is the default on most servers)
  • Make sure your email is authenticated (via OAuth or SMTP)
  • Use a delivery service (MailGun, SendGrid, SendinBlue, etc) – delivery services are basically an alternate way to get your email there. Delivery services act very similarly to how a courier service works in the real world for delivering physical mail.

Direct:

  • Don’t send marketing emails from the addresses you use for direct email.
  • Make sure you are sending them through an email client (not a third party service).
  • Don’t include lots of links (even 3 links can be a sign of spam)
  • Don’t include large attachments (use wetransfer.com for large attachments)

Some additional items for ALL email types – these are technical items and you should contact your email hosting provider or a developer for help with them. I don’t expect most website owners to have any idea what these are, and you don’t need to know.

Just know that they are important for your email delivery:

  • Make sure you have a DKIM record
  • Make sure you have an SPF record
  • Make sure you have an rDNS

Some additional items for ALL email types – these are non-technical items you can check yourself, and you should check every couple months:

  • Use mxtoolbox.com to check if your domain has any blacklists
  • Check your reputation on https://sitecheck.sucuri.net
  • Check your reputation on https://www.mcafee.com/threat-intelligence/domain/popular.aspx and check website with URL scanner
  • Check your reputation with http://www.brightcloud.com/tools/url-ip-lookup.php
  • Check your Google Search Console for any notices

Any other tips?

When someone signs up for something on your website (such as an email list subscription), make sure to give them a thank you message telling them to check their spam folder if they don’t see an email within a few minutes.

This might be the first email they are receiving from you, it may end up in spam. If they remove it from spam, that tells their inbox that they like this email.

It can take a couple of spam removals to train an inbox to like something (filters can be stubborn, especially those on personal accounts).

What about “white-listing”?

You may see a number of emails that ask you to “white-list” a particular email address or domain.

White-listing is basically telling your email service that you want to skip all spam checks on an email from the address and always deliver it to the inbox.

This is a great tool for getting emails into an inbox.

Unfortunately, very few people actually know how to white-list. Since so few people actually know how to white-list, this generally is useless and just creates more confusion with already confused people.

Key Takeaways

  • Every year email delivery gets harder.
  • What worked in the past may not work in the future.
  • There are three types of email: marketing, transactional, personal/direct.
  • Each email type should be handled differently for deliverability.
  • It’s important to check your domain’s black-list status and reputation regularly.
  • It’s always easier to get something marked as spam than to get it marked as not spam.

 

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What are registrars, hosts, nameservers, and DNS records?

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This is a question that I get asked about all the time. What are registrars, hosts, nameservers, and DNS records? And more importantly, how do they actually affect me and my website?

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How to Select a Business Email Provider

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You’ve selected and purchased a domain for your business, now it’s time to decide how your email will be powered.

If you go out and search for “email provider” you’ll see tons of possibilities out there, but honestly very few of them are relevant to your business.
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WordPress vs Squarespace: Is Open or Closed Source Better for You?

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There are a lot of WordPress vs Squarespace articles out there, but they strongly leaning towards one or the other. While I am a WordPress developer and love WordPress, it’s not right for everyone. And I’d rather not take on a client than have a client have a bad match for their needs. So I’ve written up this comparison which goes into a lot of detail showing the two platforms side by side.

This chart is broken down into sections because there are a LOT of things to compare.
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How to Remove URLs from Google & Bing Search Results

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You’ve got content that you want to remove from Google & Bing search results, but you’ve got no idea how to do that? Here’s a step by step guide to removing your content and URLs from search results.

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4 Plugins to Make Building Pages Easier

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I get this question a lot.

What is the best visual page builder plugin?

A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs want to be able to get a beautiful looking website without swimming in the mess of all that code.

Definition: A visual page building plugin is a tool installed on WordPress that allows you to build complex layouts by manipulating blocks on your screen instead of writing code.

There are a ton of web page builders out there. It seems like every week a new one is coming out. Some promise to be simple, others promise to be more robust than my car. Read More

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