We use a multitude of different SaaS products here at Kinsta to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes and to improve the productivity of our team. One product that we couldn’t live without is definitely Google Workspace! We aren’t afraid to come right out and say it’s by far the best email solution on the market right now for your business. 👍 Not to mention the other features that it comes with, such as Google Drive storage and tools such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Today we’ll dive into the unparalleled benefits of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), why we use it and recommend it to all of our clients, and how it compares to other similar solutions on the market.
What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace is Google’s suite of intelligent apps. This was formerly known as Google Apps, till it was re-branded in late 2016. We primarily recommend Google Workspace for clients that are needing email hosting for their business. However, Google Workspace is much more than just email. It also includes a variety of apps and features that can come in quite handy. In fact, you’re probably already using or are familiar with some of them.
Features We Use on a Daily Basis
Google Workspace has three different plans you can use (of which we’ll dive into a little later on). We utilize the Basic Google Workspace plan for our employees here at Kinsta. This starts at just $5/user/month. For many of you, the basic plan is probably all you’ll ever need. Here’s what it includes:
According to Litmus, Gmail leads the way as the most popular email client, with a whopping 26% of the market share based on open rates. It’s no surprise as Gmail has been around since 2004 and now boasts over 1.2 billion users. One of the best things about Google Workspace is you basically get an enhanced ad-free version of the online email client you’re probably already using.
Google Workspace essentially allows your employees to have their own Gmail accounts with email addresses with your business domain name (example: email@example.com). A very small business with one or two users might be able to get away with free Gmail accounts and some alias+forwarding rules. But once you start hiring two or three employees, you’ll find yourself needing accounts that can be managed separately.
None of us here at Kinsta could live without Google Calendar. Many of us rely on it for scheduling calls with clients and setting due dates and reminders for important projects. Google Calendar can help you keep your schedule organized.
One of the great things about using Google Calendar in Google Workspace is the ability to create multiple calendars that are accessible to everyone in your company (or even a subset of users). For example, you might want a group calendar for events like team holidays and regular meetings. Having all your employees attached to the same organization makes tasks like these even easier when compared to the free version.
Google Drive allows you to store, access, and share your files in one secure place. You then have easy access to them from any device. Google Workspace Basic plans come with 30GB of storage for every employee. Google Workspace’s Business, Enterprise, and Teams editions provide unlimited storage so you will always have enough space for your files. Note: If you’re a smaller team with fewer than 5 users, you only get 1TB/user.
If you haven’t used Google Drive before, one of the best things we like about it is the amazing search functionality! Although, it’s probably not too surprising seeing as they also run the largest search engine in the world. Did you know that you can search based on the content within a document (regardless of the file name)? Pretty handy. This means you can easily find what you’re looking for, no matter how disorganized you are. 😉
The paid version of Google Drive gives you twice the storage of your free personal drive and Gmail, 24/7 support, sharing controls, and advanced reporting.
Google Docs and Google Sheets
Google Docs and Google Sheets pretty much speak for themselves and again are tools we use every single day. You can even import Google Docs into WordPress. These allow you to create and edit text documents and spreadsheets right in your browser. Import your documents to make them instantly editable, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF files (.docx, .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, xlsx, .csv, .html, .ods). As of February 2018, you can now even collaborate and comment on Microsoft Office files without it having to automatically convert to Google’s format.
You can also export to common third-party formats. This makes it easy to collaborate with other individuals or companies and send files back and forth, without ever needing to install or purchase additional software.
Note: Google Docs and Spreadsheets created directly in Google Workspace don’t count towards your storage limit. 👍
Here are just a few of the common tasks we use them for:
- Getting feedback and comments from team members on new website content.
- Working with guest bloggers on content for our blog.
- Sending content to others when writing on third-party sites. We’ve never had anyone in the past couple years request a Word document, everyone always requests a Google Doc. Why? Because it’s just super simple and easy to use.
- Crunching spreadsheet data from Ahrefs exports.
- Running quick financial figures.
- Keeping track of PPC budgets and online advertising copy variations.
- Analyzing CTR changes as it pertains to SERPs.
- Writing up content for paid sponsorships (WordCamps).
One of the best features of Google Docs and Spreadsheets is the real-time commenting and unlimited versions. Previous versions are kept indefinitely and they don’t count toward your storage. This makes it super easy to track changes made to a document or undo a mistake. Sharing documents with your coworkers or other individuals is also incredibly easy.
Google Keep seems to be one of those well-kept secrets that nobody knows about. If you’re looking for a basic Evernote alternative, Google Keep rocks! This is a great little tool regardless of whether or not you’re using Google Workspace. Being a Google product, it works flawlessly within the Google ecosystem.
It can be an easy way to keep those frequently asked questions you get from customers in a convenient place. Create to-do lists, notes, and set reminders to stay on track. Everything syncs across your devices, so what’s important is always in reach. Easily share them with your team and archive them when you’re done. And once again Google’s search works flawlessly with it.
Google Workspace Admin Console
The Admin console for Google Workspace allows business owners easily manage everything from one single place. It got an overhaul recently and is a lot better than it was previously with Google Apps.
Do everything from adding new users and groups, manage devices, configure security settings (like 2-factor authentication), add new custom domains for your business which can be used for Gmail.
Most, if not all of the features in Google Workspace have to be enabled by the administrator in order to be used. Some of these are also only available in higher plans. If a feature is not enabled and a user tries to access it, they’ll see a “not available” message (as seen below).
Here are some additional features that we don’t use at Kinsta very often, but you might be interested in:
- Google Chat: Have you heard of Slack? The Google Chat is basically Google’s new competing tool. It’s a dedicated group workspace with 1:1 chat and group chat. You can make conversations more efficient by interacting directly with deeply integrated Google bots and 3rd party apps. Google chat is included for free with all Google Workspace plans.
- Google Meet: We prefer Zoom or Slack video chat ourselves here at Kinsta, but Google Meet still makes video calls and conferencing a breeze. Meet is fully integrated with Google Workspace, so you can join meetings directly from a Calendar event or email invite. If you’re running the Enterprise version of Google Workspace, you can also take advantage of dial-in numbers for when people are on the road or perhaps without internet access.
- Google Forms: Most of you have probably all filled out a Google Form before. While we prefer to use other applications for this, preferably branded forms in our WordPress site, it can be an incredibly quick and easy way to gather information.
- Google Slides: Want a decent alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint? Google Slides is just that. Just like with their other products you can take advantage of their real-time collaboration and commenting, as well as unlimited version history.
- Google Sites: We don’t recommend using Google Sites as WordPress is much better for this. Check out the reasons why you should use WordPress.
- Endpoint Management: If you’re worried about an employee’s device getting stolen, don’t. That is what Endpoint Management is for. Easily enable this as an admin and remotely wipe Google Workspace data from devices if needed.
Additional Features for Google Workspace Business and Enterprise Users
It’s also important to make a note of the additional features in Google Workspace Business and Enterprise plans. If you’re a bigger business and rely on email heavily, these can help ease some of your worries.
- Cloud Search: Want to take search capabilities in Google Workspace even further? The Cloud Search feature allows you to search across your company’s content in Google Workspace. From Gmail and Drive to Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and more.
- Vault: You can never have too many backups. Vault allows you to manage, retain, search, and export your organization’s email, Google Drive file content and on-the-record chats. Basically, you can archive all your data and set retention policies.