Google+ has finally opened up business profiles to its Google Apps for Business users, presumably in an effort to roll out any kinks before throwing their doors open to the world. Being first at bat can have intangible benefits on the Internet, including a valuable backlink to your company website from your Google+ profile. Here's how to join this limited group of users and make the most of your Google+ profile before everyone else.
First, you'll need Google Apps for Business--which is definitely useful, but we're just using it to get to your Google+ business profile for now. If your business already has that established, contact your IT administrator about adding Google+ to your account. (You can share this article for reference.) Note that these following steps are for account administrators.
If you don't have Google Apps for Business, the price of entry--in addition to $5/month per user--is a website on your own domain, which we'll assume you have. Go to this page to get started. Remember to choose a strong password unlike your others, since this is for business. If you're already signed in to another Google account, you'll be asked to sign in with your new Google Apps account. Do it.
Google Apps Dashboard and Verification
You'll be taken to your Google Apps Dashboard, which gives an Express or Custom setup option. If you're an IT manager for a larger corporation, this is where we part ways as you run off to Custom land, where you do all the stuff I don't need to tell you how to do.
For the rest of you non-technical types, click Express, then Next. A process will ask you to verify ownership of your domain. If you don't manage your own website, you'll have to send the file off to your design house to be uploaded into the root of your Web directory. Copy and paste the information you're given on the verification screen to send to them, and download the required file. Click Verify once the file is uploaded, and you're off to the races.
Set Up Your Apps
Uncheck Gmail on this screen since it's a pain to set up if your hosting provider isn't on the drop down list. Keep Docs and Calendar checked and keep on clicking Next. On the billing screen, click Do This Later unless you really want to give Google money immediately. Choose your mobile devices on the next screen (note Google's "Our Favorite!" next to Android). After this point, keep on clicking Do This Later unless you want to explore the options available to you. You're officially done setting up Google Apps, and now can get to the good stuff.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.