Best Practices – Google Account Setup for Individuals and Small Businesses
Google offers a terrific array of products and services, but sometimes it can get confusing about the best way to implement these services, especially if you are a developer or an agency and you want to work with Google services for your clients. Naturally you want to be able to manage these products for your clients, as this is the reason they’ve hired you in the first place.
In this two-part article I’m going to go through a few scenarios to try to illustrate some best practices about how to setup a Google Account. This article will cover personal Google Accounts and Small Business Google Accounts, and the second article will talk about best practices for Developers and Agency who want to manage Google products for their clients.
Now there’s no “official” distinction between a Google Account that you use for personal use or small business use (e.g. you signup at the same place) — but it’s more a function how you configure and setup Google products that will help you get the most out of these services — as an individual or as a small business.
Now this text wont’ teach you how to setup a Google Account or configure Google services such as AdWords or Google Analytics, per se, rather it will be a conceptual overview to try to help you understand how the Google pieces fit together for a purpose. In doing so, I’m going to walk-through some hypothetical yet common scenarios. Please note that this article is MY personal take on best practices, and is not in any way affiliated or promoted by Google, nor it it some kind of Google ‘”official policy”. And as with all the content on this site, I do welcome your feedback if you have an additional method or if you have comments on the way I present things.
Scenario I: Personal Google Account
John is an individual and he’s interested in using Google products and services for his personal use. The best thing for John to do is to create a Google Account, and a subsequent Gmail account along the lines of: firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the things that John will need when he first signs up for a Google Account is a backup email address for resetting his password, etc, or if for some reason he cannot access the Google Account. Thus, John can signup for the Google Account with another email address such as a Yahoo! or Hotmail address.
John likes Google’s services, and John has used his Gmail account to signup for multiple Google products including Gmail and AdSense, He also has a Google Analytics account that he uses to track his two personal blogs, johnsmakebelieveblog.com, and johnsothermadeupsite.com. Note that John also has an AdWords account that he uses to promote both of his blogs. Thus, he integrates his AdWords account with his Google Analytics account.
Because it’s all for personal use, it doesn’t matter that John has multiple website profiles listed under his Google Analytics account, nor that his AdWords account is working with both of his websites. Note however, as you will see below, for business or agency use, this setup (one Adwords account with one Analytics account that has multiple website profiles) would not be ideal.
Scenario II – Google Account for Business
Things are going well for John and he has decided to create is own small web development firm, “John’s Designs”, with a website of www.johnsmadeupcompany.com. Because he wants to use Google services for his small business, he’s going to create a second Google Account. In theory John could use his personal Google Account (email@example.com) to work with his small business, but the best thing do to is create a separate account.
So John now goes ahead and creates a second Google account that he will use for his business. Note that at this point in time he is NOT using Google Apps, and he will signup for the new Google Account with the email “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Once he adds Gmail, his login for this company Google Account will change from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this point in time John has TWO Google Accounts. The first one is his personal account (email@example.com) and his second one is (firstname.lastname@example.org).
John now sets up Google Analytics. He is tempted to link his business website, www.johnsmadeupcompany.com to his personal Google Account that already has Analytics setup, but in the interests of keeping this separate and easy to organize, he uses his BUSINESS account to create a Google Analytics account to track www.johnsmadeupcompany.com. Similarly, John then decides that he wants to use AdWords to promote his web firm. He could easily add his company to his personal AdWords account where he promotes his blogs, but for the purposes of keeping things straight, he simply creates a new AdWords account (also under his BUSINESS Google Account) to manage these items.
Here’s where we are now:
Personal Account – johnsmakebeliveblog.com, johnsothermadeupsite.com
Gmail, Analytics, AdWords
Business Account – johnsmadeupcompany.com
Gmail, Analytics, AdWords
Before we move on to the best practices for Developers and Agencies, I want to make a few important points:
1. For personal use it’s fine if you have a Google account and you manage all of your properties from a single Analytics account and a single AdWords account. However, if you have a large web property, OR if you ever plan to let multiple people access the data or access the interface, strongly consider having a separate Google Account for each of these properties. So your mega-blog should have its own Google Account (with Analytics and AdWords).
2. For your business, I urge you to create a completely new Google Account for everything related to your business. I’m not talking Google Apps here (that’s a different beast), but consider that for your company, you many want other people to share your account and have access to your account, so these people do not need to know about your other websites or other personal data. Also, if you are interacting with clients, “email@example.com” is better than “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
3. Note that at this time you CANNOT copy an Analytics profile from one Analytics account to another.
4. Note also at this time that if an email address is associated wtih an AdWords account, you CANNOT use that email address to access a second AdWords account. So if John uses email@example.com for his personal AdWords account, he CANNOT use this email address to access his business AdWords account (or that of one of his clients — more about this later).
5. I agree that it’s a BIG pain to have multiple Google Accounts — but at this time, and with the way Google has things setup, it’s just easier in the long run to deal with multiple accounts and logins.
In Part II of this article I will move to the next step and talk about best practices for Google Account setup for clients for developers and agencies (e.g. John’s going to get a few clients!).
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