Discovering Google Apps with @sarahstanley

Today I had a brief chat on Twitter with the ever amazing Sarah Stanley surrounding a technical piece of her RunRideInspire.com website. Most of it took place behind the scenes through direct message, but in the end I believe it was of assistance.

You see part of what Sarah is looking for are Inspire Ambassadors (act quickly by sending an email to RunRideInspire@gmail.com if you’d like to be one). What got me thinking was that there was a domain name intact already, but she was essentially promoting Gmail. Many businesses do this, and I just don’t understand why – whether it’s Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or their internet provider. The list goes on. With domain names starting out so cheap now from a place like GoDaddy.com there’s no excuse to NOT have a company branded domain name. In addition to that, even though GoDaddy.com does hosting, you can easily get your email handled for FREE through Google Apps.

This is where Sarah and I were at a disconnect. Being that Run Ride Inspire is charity, “every dollar counts” she stated. And I agree. Running a fund raising initiative of my own (I need to update it this week), I know that every penny does truly count. I’ve been using Google Apps with my domain names for a few years now and have been fortunate enough to never spend a dime on the amazing service. In fact I just recently switched two separate clients over to the service. I could go off on why it’s a great choice, but there’s already plenty out there on Google as to why it’s a good choice…and even why it’s not.

I was on my iPhone but determined to help Sarah out I did a quick search in Safari. It started to become clear as to why she didn’t want to use the runrideinspire.com on Google Apps for fear of having to pay $50 per user per year. Typical marketing. On the initial screen, you’re presented with two options: Business or Education.

Google Apps Signup Screen

Google Apps - the Hidden GoldOn the following screen they present the nice, pretty blue button to begin a free trial. But if you look closely enough, there are some boring text links under the button. This is in fact where the hidden gold is in using Google Apps with your own custom domain name…for FREE.

When comparing the Google Apps Standard Edition (i.e. the FREE version) to the Premiere version, there’s not a lot of difference that the standard, average user would ever want or use. You still get Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Sites. I’m up to about 7GB of storage space in my App Mail account of which I’ve used about 50% over the last few years…and my business handles lots of large files through email. The rest of the ‘business’ features, controls, support and reliability aren’t really required. I use my hosted Gmail with my iPhone without issue. In fact, it works better then my normal Gmail account does…so there!Google Apps Comparison: Premiere vs Standard

As much as I love my Shannon Poole (who yes, does love me), I’m happy that Sarah at least sees some value in me.

So now my question to you is do you use Google Apps and if so, which version? Is Sarah making the right choice by moving (I hope) her email from Gmail to her own domain name? Let me know in the comments.

2 Comments | Filed under Code Development

Happy Anniversary to me!


I knew that my one year anniversary for joining Twitter was coming up soon so I set out to find out when I joined. According to whendidyoujointwitter.com it was a year ago today! My how time flies. My good friend Lyndsay had been trying to get me to join for months. And I do mean months; not days or weeks—full on months. I was hesitant as I was already addicted to too many time wasters. As mentioned in a previous post, she turned me on to quite a few great people I have slowly gotten to know through conversation. Now I’m not sure how it seems I could live without it.

I’ve discussed web development concepts, including a few of my “big ideas” with people. Helped troubleshoot Mac OS X issues (which were actually Microsoft issues). Commented on running and even on my own first full-marathon. I’ve found some great SEO tips and genuinely had fun. In fact, thanks to Twitter and some goof ball on it, I managed to go to my first ever PubCon in Las Vegas back in November 2009. Let’s just say when registration opens for the 2010, I’ll be sure to book my space early so I can take in some of the sessions.

All in all, it’s been a pretty sweet year when I look back on Twitter and how it has positively impacted my life. It’s had a few negative moments too, but we won’t go there. So tell me, when did you join Twitter? Leave it in the comments below.

No Comments | Filed under Life, Twitter

How to forward a parked domain correctly

With web hosting being so affordable nowadays, many web hosts allow for multiple domains to be hosted either through multiple domain hosting, or through the use of parked domains. With domains from www.GoDaddy.com being so affordable, it’s common to get .com, .org, .net and more — especially for brand protection and online reputation management. The only issue with parking your domains is that if done incorrectly, you could potentially be penalized for having duplicate content. Many search engines explicitly indicate that duplicate content will face a penalty in their ranking. Suddenly your protection of your brand name or keywords doesn’t pay.

I came into this a few months ago when I needed to redirect ExtremePitaCatering.com to ExtremePitaNE.com while not losing any organic search results. The other kicker, they’re hosted on the same server, pointing at the same directory. It makes it easy to maintain. Reasoning behind the new domain is beyond the scope of this post, however simply forwarding the domain was the easiest route.

If you’re looking to forward a domain name, you’ll want to add the following code to your .htaccess

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} extremepitacatering.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://extremepitane.com/$1 [R=301,L]

The above is almost the exact code I use on the Extreme Pita Catering website. The best part is that it forwards the user seamlessly for old business cards out there, old search results, and pretty much anything else. Additionally it tosses a 301 status to the browser (or search bot) indicating to no longer index the page, but to update it to the new one.

Honestly, it’s a quick fix for those with an Apache server and mod_rewrite existing. Did I miss something? Am I doing it wrong? Have you got another way to forward a parked domain correctly?

No Comments | Filed under Code Development

SEO Challenge

This idea just popped in my head and I’m sure that something like this has been done before, but I want to see what can really be done, and have some learning in the process for myself and for readers. I’ve been watching, though not actively doing, the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog challenge and realized I had done a lot of the steps already. That said, I do have a page I think I could rank quite well for on this site. I’m talking first page results here people.

Task: Get the page at http://www.360aday.com/2009/04/13/calgary-radio-stations/ to rank for the search keywords of calgary radio stations and display first page results in Google. Now the task sounds like it may be a tall one, but I’m hoping it can happen with your help.

Solution: I’ve just started the #SEOChallenge on Twitter to help get the ball rolling (I hope) and am open to all sorts of suggestions to help me out. So to all you “SEO Experts” out there please leave a comment or Tweet me with some ideas and input. I’m confident with your help I can get this done.

No Comments | Filed under Code Development, Pointless Thoughts, Twitter