g suite gmail custom domain - How and why use Gmail with your own domain?

How and why use Gmail with your own domain?

I remember when I purchased my domain name, tomphotography.co.uk, I’ve created an email address through my web hosting. It was in my domain, something like office@tomphotography.co.uk. Just normal email, but the problem was that the email interface (gui) was just awful. I couldn’t get used to that, it was very difficult to organise emails, all the time things got lost and it looked like it was from the 90’s. So I quickly configured this email address in my Mac Mail. That was a pain too, some weird smtp/pop3/imap server names, problems with secure connection, ports blocked or not working – what a mess!!! Then I moved to Gmail and ended up losing the professional “@tomphotography.co.uk” part of my email address. That’s it.

Business email through Gmail

After some time I realised I could have both! It was possible to use Gmail with a custom domain name! You can have your email like hello@tomrobak.com in Gmail within minutes. Brilliant solution for every business. That’s why I introduce to you G Suite or you can call it Google Apps for Work (old name).

G Suite is a set of intelligent apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more — designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start. And there’s a lot more on the way. When organisations break down silos, connect people and empower them to work together, they get the speed, agility and impact needed to compete in today’s market. When your business is powered with G Suite, information can flow easily between apps, devices, people and teams. Imagine the future of your business, if this was how it could be… But lets focus on Gmail in your domain.

5 reasons why you might want to use Gmail with your custom domain

  1. Security and SPAM protection. Yes, this is what I love the most in Gmail. Lets be honest, how many times you hear from your clients that they didn’t receive your email huh? Or how many people filled a contact form on your website but you didn’t receive it (with this you actually won’t know unless your contact form saves enquiries into database). Here is my the biggest YES. Start using Gmail in your domain for that reason.
  2. Having own domain in email address makes you appear more professional. I used to use “tom.robak@gmail.com,” which gets the point across, but doesn’t execute the same level of professionalism that a branded email address. I mean, you’re promoting your business, not Gmail’s. 
  3. Let’s face it, most of the email software included in your web hosting really sucks. It appears to have been built in the 90’s.
  4. Gmail is kind of awesome. I’ve tried several other email providers like outlook.com, Yahoo, HotMail, ZOHO and I always go back to Gmail. I appreciate its clean interface and the way it’s organised. I also love that I can use Google Drive 30GB, which really helps when working with clients. Plus the configuration in Mail App is so easy. Just Add Email, enter your email address and password – most softwares recognise it as Gmail and do all configuration for you. The easiest setup ever.
  5. Built-in chat: text, voice, or video. With just one click, you can chat in Gmail with the people you already email or reply to emails by chat. You can even talk face to face with Gmail voice and video chat. All you need is a webcam and mic.

How to configure Gmail with your domain

  1. I reckon you have your domain already, if not, purchase one. I purchase all of mine from GoDaddy.com.
  2. Go to G Drive website.
  3. Click “Get Started” and then enter your basic information in the steps that follow in order to create your account.
  4. Once your account will be created you need to sign to your new email.
  5. Follow the steps on the screen
  1. Verify your domain. You have some options here. In my opinion the easiest one is to upload HTML file to your hosting. However for you the easiest way might be adding meta tag to your WordPress via theme or via plugin Head Meta Data. It’s easier than it sounds, I promise!
  1. Now you can confirm this step and go to editing MX records. This is also easy step. Here is the manual how to setup MX records for specific hosts. You could always ask your hosting support to do that for you.
  1. Last configuration step – Verify Domain and Set Up Email
  1. Once you are done, login to G Suite Admin and update your billing details.
  2. That’s it! You’re done! Wahoo!

If you have any questions about using Gmail with a custom domain, feel free to leave a question in the comments!


SEO in 2018 - Why SEO costs?

Why SEO costs?

Despite the constant increase in customer awareness about SEO, many of them are still asking "why SEO is expensive?". Let me start off by saying that everyone out there has a different definition of what “expensive” is. Some people will say that paying £300 for website SEO is “expensive” while others will pay more than £2,000 for website SEO before they consider this being “too expensive”. So the term “expensive” is relative. Below I present a list of several key aspects of the SEO, which affect the fact that website positioning is effective, reliable and expensive:

Experience and knowledge

More successfully completed SEO projects, then bigger experience that allow us to perfectly optimise websites for Google. However, SEO industry is very dynamic. It's necessary to update knowledge and learn more to satisfy future clients.

Software

There are numerous tools that helping us to analyse website, competitors or to plan SEO. More likely they are pricey and paid monthly. However, they deliver important data that in connection to our knowledge can be successfully used to build a good SEO.

Outsourcing

Depend on the project, not all tasks are done by us. If it comes to writing articles, creating infographics or doing some long term marketing we must outsource them to better manage our timeline.

Analytics, monitoring and reporting

Thanks to website monitoring and analysing our strategy we can achieve all goals easier. It's also important to do reports for clients so they can know the stats.

SEO Warehouse

It's simply keeping hosting, domain names, websites, develop versions that helps during the SEO process.

Others

Boring list of technical bits... But without that, every project we did would take much more time...


wordpress - Who uses WordPress

Who uses WordPress

WordPress allows you to easily add new content and build new pages for your website. However, WordPress has evolved into becoming a platform to build sophisticated, robust websites. It is a rare beast which gets better every update. You have endless possibilities to make it look like you want (via WordPress themes) and do anything you want (via WordPress plugins.) WordPress is extremely powerful. Because WordPress is so flexible you can build almost anything. For use WordPress is the Swiss Army Knife of web design and SEO.

We are focused on wedding photographers, simply because of our business experience. But WordPress is used by many companies. Here is a list of Super Famous Brands Using WordPress:

BBC AMERICA

Mercedes Benz

Time

Beyonce

James Bond 007

Vogue

Sony Music

Glamour Italy

PlayStation

Surprised with above brands? Comment below great example of WordPress websites. Let's talk about WordPress vs other competitors...


gdpr easy tutorial - 5 Minute Guide to GDPR for Wedding Photographers

5 Minute Guide to GDPR for Wedding Photographers

It’s almost like it’s 1999 again and the Y2K bug – except this time you have Facebook and everyone and ramming GDPR compliance at you. The scare tactics are working - people are running around dazed and confused. The headlines of fines of 4% of global turnover and 20M euro fines are enough to scare anyone – but, what is the risk to a small business owner – and what should us wedding photographers be doing?

For those who have managed to ignore it so far. The General Data Protection Regulation is a set of legislation introduced across Europe to harmonise privacy and data handling rules across the EU/EEA. It is going to be adopted into UK Law on 25th May 2018 – so not that far away! In short, the regulations tighten up how businesses are using people’s personal data within the business and introduce greater transparency to how people can see what a company is doing with their personal data.

The GDPR is not something that you do once and forget it – and as a business owner, it means understanding the processes and procedures within your business and what that means to the handling of your data. GDPR affects several areas, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to address the specific areas that apply to us as photographers and what we can do quickly to start to move towards compliance

Our Privacy policies

Add a GDPR compliant Privacy notice to our website.

This website provides a great privacy policy generator for your website and allows you to customise the policy based on what external services you use. You will need to review and make some grammatical changes to the output from this!

Send a copy of our privacy policy to our mailing list subscribers

We need to inform our subscribers how we processing/storing and managing their data. At the same time, we could also ask them to confirm their consent to whether they still want to remain on the list and being specific about what we are going to send them (see below for more on this)

The econsultancy website provides some great examples of privacy notices and how this can be displayed and used.

Telling our clients about 3rd party suppliers

In reality, we'll probably deal with people who visit our website and people such as our clients in a slightly different way. We could have two privacy policies - but that's just confusing so we could just combine everything into one privacy policy that addresses everything our potential clients/subscribers/clients could want to know. So, if we are using Studio Ninja/Tave to hold our client's data, if we are using Google/Office 365 for our emails (as personal data may in emails etc), Mailchimp, The Image Salon. Any 3rd party that we use to store or process personal data with, should be in our privacy policy.

Consent

As I mentioned previously, the need for consent in certain activities has become greater under the GDPR. Mainly around the grounds of mailing lists etc, we need to start being more granular with the consent and transparent as well. Again the econsultancy website has some good details in this area.

We also need to remove any implied consent clauses from our terms and conditions. for most of us, we have a clause in our contracts that says to our clients that we may use the images for marketing purposes. Under GDPR, this isn’t allowed anymore. Consent must be explicit and granular, and we must have a record of when we obtained that consent. This means that we can’t bury a consent clause in the small print.

So, in essence, this means taking the consent clause out of our terms and conditions and making it clear to our clients what we are asking:

I/we consent to the following use of the wedding photographs:

On the website of Fred Bloggs Photography                       Yes/No
On the Social media (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter)          Yes/No
In print for promotion material e.g. brochures                    Yes/No
Signed ________ Date

The above example breaks down how exactly we want to use the images and gives the couple control over what they are agreeing to (btw, you can’t make consent a condition of the contract). In this example, if we wanted to use images on a wedding blog, we’d have to ask the couple later to obtain their consent for that.

In terms of our marketing, we can’t automatically add people to our mailing lists – so just because someone has sent us an enquiry on our website, that doesn’t mean that they want to receive our newsletter.


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IT Security

This is a mammoth topic in its own right but basically, the GDPR says that we should be adhering to best practice in terms of information security. A strong password, two-factor authentication on email and online services were available, keeping our websites up to date and things like WordPress plugins are up to date. We have backups which are secured, we’re using encryption where necessary on devices like laptops and USB drives. We’re transferring data to 3rd parties in a secure manner e.g. over https/sftp.

And Finally

These areas cover the majority of what first steps we should be doing as photographers right now. As part of the ongoing work we need to be looking at areas such as data retention, and identifying how we would report on or delete our clients data if they should ask us to (covered under subject access requests and the right to be forgotten), however, if we’re using a CRM system that is compliant with GDPR then this becomes straightforward.

There are some aspects of our photography which fall into a grey area – such as consent from 3rd parties in our photographs – as technically we can’t rely on our couples do give consent on their behalf. The ICO says that is okay we don’t need consent– some lawyers argue we need consent – other say we don’t. Along with GDPR, there are also changes to the PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation) which also have an image on some of our activities – but that needs another post to delve into that.

For us as small businesses, the risk doesn’t come from the massive fines – it potentially comes from people trying their luck complaining to the ICO that their privacy has been breached in some way. If we can show that we are doing our best to be compliant and working towards addressing any gaps, it’s unlikely that any small business will face large fines.

So, don’t panic, read around the subject and start to understand it. The ICOs website is very good and provides great examples. GDPR is a good thing moving forwards and highlighting a lot of issues that business haven't addressed under the current Data Protection Regulations. Every business needs to look at the GDPR and be pragmatic in their approach to it, and the risk level that they want to run. A wedding photographer is not handling the same volume of personal data as say a large charity - but doesn't mean we should ignore it. Start putting a plan in place to address what you need to do and work through it. GDPR is here to stay so building compliance into your business is the way to go.

We would love to hear your thoughts on GDPR. Are you ready?

Resources

The UK ICO
Website Privacy Policy Generator
Email campaign consent examples
Example privacy notices