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Email Account Considerations for your Dental Office

Published:  February 9, 2014
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What Email Accounts Do I Need for my Dental Website [2014 Update]?

There are a number of services that you need to use for the standard management of your website, and it’s important that we review my approach to managing the email accounts associated with these products.
You will need:
1)   A Google account for you personal use, such as myname@gmail.com.  This account can be your personal Gmail account if you already have one, but this is the account that we will need for your personal Google + Page.  Note that unlike Facebook, where you have a personal page and any number of business pages for a clear separation of personal and business, Google + is all contained in one page.

However, you can control access to Google + by using circles.  For the time being, most of what we will be posting on your Google + page will be blog posts from your website, so circles aren’t a concern.  But if you do decide to truly engage on Google +, you could (and should) limit the visibility of content with circles.  In this manner, only your family circle, for example, would have the ability to see the family pictures you post.
*If you are in an office with multiple practitioners, make sure that EACH provider has their own Google + profile, and by extension, their own Google account.  That is, Dr. Jones and Dr. Smith should have their own, separate, Google + pages, that are independent of any Google Places or Google Plus Local pages for the physical office itself (see below).
2)   A Google account for the office such as myawesomeoffice@gmail.comNote that this is the account that we will be using for:

  1. Google Analytics (GA)
  2. Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)
  3. Google AdWords (if needed)
  4. Google Places/Google Plus Local (Google + Local)
  5. Any other Google service as needed

The reason I recommend having an account of this type for the office is so that if any developer (such as me) needs to login to have temporary access to assist you with something, there is no risk that the person will have access to your personal email.  Generally speaking, the only time I ever login to one of the above accounts is to set myself up as an administrator, so that I can assist and consult.  Note that by taking this approach, we ensure that YOU are the ultimate owner of all of the data.  So if at some point you wanted to remove me as an admin, or add someone else, you can easily to it with no risk of loss of your data.
3)   An info@myoffice.com email (optional).  This type of email is not always necessary, but some offices like to have a generic email account to use for things such as contact form submissions, or to give out to vendors at a conference.  The idea here is that this info@ account can be a lone-standing account, or it can be a simple forward.  A forward is an email address that isn’t really an email address per se; rather, any email that is sent to this address is automatically forwarded (sent) to the address of your choice.  So if you determine that all contact requests should be directed to jDoe@myoffice.com, you can setup a forward so that people can use the info@myoffice.com email address, but all of these emails will really be going to jDoe.  With this approach, jDoe can filter out the important emails, and forward them to the doctor for action, etc.
4)   An email for other services. In many cases you will use online services such as HootSuite, a service that helps manage social media postings.  I recommend that a generic, office-owned account is used for these types of services because if one of your staff members is using their personal account (staffPersonal@yahoo.com)  – or their office-designated account (joeStaffMember@myoffice.com) - and they leave the practice –there may be issues getting into this email account (though in theory you should have an email policy in place that clearly states that all office email accounts are yours, and that you can access them at any time, and that there is no expectation of privacy).  HootSuite has administrator controls that help alleviate this email issue as a concern, but many other services don’t have that flexibility, so it’s an important issue to consider.
Every office is different when it comes to email, but your setup should at least be consistent with items 1) and 2) above (regarding Google services).  There’s nothing wrong with having more email addresses (a generic “reception” email for each office location, etc.), but having these two core Google-service accounts should stave off a lot of potential problems down the road.
And as always, if you have any questions about these emails, the setup of these emails, or your office’s particular configuration, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

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