Friday, January 16, 2009

How to build a social media site on next to no budget - Part 2 - Google Apps For Your Domain

Google Apps For Your Domain is a set-up hosted by Google, allowingyou to brand a suite of Google-hosted services with your own domain, which the wacky folks at Google will even help set you up with - the ones I have are hosted variously by Godaddy and enom. Domains through Google Apps cost $US10/year - most of us spend that on lunch.

Google Apps allows you the have e-mail, Websites, Google Docs and Calendar all branded with your own domain name. Branding is incredibly important when you're trying to set yourself up as a place people visit when wasting time on the internet. Do you want to go to www.ChaoticGeek.com, or www.somebodyelsesdomain.somerandomwebhost.com/miscelaneoususername/ChaoticGeek? I thought so.

So you've got a web page at www.YourDomain.com set up, and all of your e-mail goes to you@YourDomain.com. What comes next?

Well, If you do things the way I did it, you'll realise that you messed up, break the DNS for www.YourDomain.com, get yourself a blog at Blogger, and start everything all over again with www.YourDomain.com pointing at the blog. This can get a little technical and tricky, but the instructions at Blogger's help site should see you through.

Yep. I messed that up first time around.

I'm a big believer that the first page people drop at when they come by your site is the one that has the latest news. People should be able to find the latest gossip onthe first screen that they see.

AND NOW THE IMPRESSIVE PART - You use the domain that you got through Google, and you go back to the Lefora Forum (Remember setting up a forum at Lefora?) and pay for their Premium service (Again $US/year) and change yourforumname.lefora.com into forum.YourDomain.com.

So there you go - You've now got a branded blog/website, forum, e-mail account and (for your users) shared document service and calendar.

All that remains is for you to let people know that your site is out there -

But that, my friends, is a tale for another time!

Boomshanka,

-Chris

Links

Google Apps For Your Domain