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Here’s a simple and cost effective way to register a domain, setup @yourdomain.com email, acquire a dedicated phone number, and setup an analytics tool for free. I know you may be thinking Tom has been hanging out with Matt and the Data Guys getting high on spreadsheets, but I’m serious. These next four steps lay the groundwork for your success online.

Step 1 – Your Own Domain

If you already own a domain name, you may skip this step. You’ll be able to use your existing domain name with step 2.

Head over to Google Apps and create a new account. Once you’re logged in, follow this link to purchase a domain from Google. The price is $10/year and guarantees you’ll be the only one able to use the domain. C’mon now, hurry up and lock down your super top secret domain name.

Step 2 – Google Apps

Google Apps is a web-based suite of applications specifically for your company. You can use all the Google tools such as GMail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs and a bunch more all from your own domain. GMail is incredible. You’ll be able to send professional emails from your own domain name (you@your-awesome-company.com). You can even setup groups like sales@your-awesome-company.com that forward to a number of users.

Once you complete step one you’ll be sent back to the Google Apps sign up page. Google offers a couple different packages but you shouldn’t need any of the extras. Click Solutions, then Google Apps (Free), then Get Started and follow the setup instructions.

Step 3 – Google Voice

Perhaps, the coolest application is Google Voice. Your Google Voice account (one for each user in your domain) comes with a dedicated phone number in an area-code of your choosing. You can direct calls to as many phones as you like and even place and receive calls directly from your computer, iPhone, or Android phone. gives you a virtual phone # that you can direct to forward to as many phones as you like or use with a headset via your computer. It’s a great tool and one that I have taken advantage of for the past 4 years.

Step 4 – Google Analytics

Our last step is the most powerful, and most underused application in the suite. Google Analtyics collects information about every visitor to your website and provides reports you can use to improve your online store. It’s an amazing tool but also very easy to be intimidated by. Over the next couple of weeks I will show you how to interpet and act on these reports. In the meantime, it’s easy to start collecting data. We have all the instructions in our support portal.

Be sure not to miss my next post as teach you how to create a simple SEO strategy that works.

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