These days many people own a large number of domain names. One of the problems that we come across is how to manage all the email for these domains. If you may only receive a few emails each day for each website you run, does it really seem worthwhile logging into your email system for every website multiple times each day?
What would be ideal would be if email sent to any address for any of your domains was routed to a single email account.
In this article we are going to look at how to manage email for multiple websites from a single login system. We are going to use the free version of Google Apps for Domains to do it.
If you aren’t already a user of Google Apps the first step is to sign up. Google Apps is great and it gives you access to email, document collaboration and a calendar for your organisation. They also offer an upgraded version you can use if you like, but we will stick with the free one for now.
Navigate to the Google Apps for Domains Homepage and click the standard edition.
The next page will give you a comparison between the standard and premier versions. If you want to continue with the free signup click the blue “Get Started” button in the top right corner.
On the next page you can either enter a domain name you currently own, or opt to register one through Google.
You are then required to enter the administrator’s contact details as well as answer some questions about your organisation. Google also notifies you that you must be able to change your MX records (so email sent to you is routed through Google) and create CNAME records for your domain (so you can use friendly URLs such as mail.mydomain.com).
You only need to set this up for your primary domain name. We will add more domains later on.
One thing I like to do is get my website visitors to send emails to a specific address that is relevant to the subject they are contacting me about. For example, if I am looking for beta testers for new software I would like people to email firstname.lastname@example.org. However, I don’t want all the hassle of having to set a new email address up.
This is where a catch-all email address comes into play.
Let’s create one in Google Apps.
First of all, ensure the email address you want to use has been created.
Next, click Service Settings then Email and scroll down to Catch-all address. Enter the username of the person to whom all email should be sent and click Save Changes.
From now on any email sent to an address that doesn’t have an account setup will be routed to the email address you just picked.
A great feature of Google Apps is the ability to add domain aliases. Say for example if you own mydomain.com and mydomain,org, you can add one as an alias so email sent to a user on either domain will be routed to the same email inbox.
To add a new alias click Domain Settings and then Domain Names. Click Add a domain alias to start adding a new domain. Every domain you add will have to be verified before it can be used.
The screenshot below shows the domains currently set up on my account.
From this you can see that any email sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org will be forwarded to email@example.com.
But now we have all email for all of our domains forwarded to a single email address, how do we keep them sorted and organised? This is where Google’s fantastic filtering and labelling comes in useful.
Google Apps Email has all the features that Gmail has. This includes the labelling and filtering system.
You must login to the catch-all email account you just created. It is important that you use the correct account.
First of all, let’s create a new label for each domain we are expecting email from. In the screenshot below we have set it up for our 3 domains, mywebcards.net, newwebmasters.net and page-checker.com.
To set them up click Edit Labels at the bottom of the Labels box in the left hand column. Type your label in the Create a new label box and click Create.
Next we have to filter all our incoming mail so it is assigned the correct label.
Firstly click Create a filter at the top of any page. It is the small text just to the right of the search box.
In the To box enter *@yourdomain.com. So for example, in the screenshot below we have entered *@newwebmasters.net. This will catch all mail sent to anybody at this domain.
You can click Test Search to check the correct emails are being picked up. Otherwise just click Next Step. You can apply the label to emails that have already been received by checking the Also apply filter to conversations below checkbox.
Next you need to choose an action to perform on these emails. Check the Apply the label checkbox and choose the appropriate label you created earlier. Click Create Filter to action your changes.
You then need to repeat these steps for each domain you have set up.
Each email you receive should then be filtered into the appropriate label you have just set up.
This is very useful to help you manage your email on multiple domains and I hope you find these steps useful.