Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Slack ranks among the hottest next-generation communication and collaboration tools out there. You can most certainly say that the mission of the people behind the app is to change the way people communicate at work. It doesn’t matter what industry or niche you work in. Slack is virtually all-encompassing in application. If there’s a limit to what you can do with the app, it resides in how creative you want to get with its rich features.

We have been using the app for a year now at Macaulay Gidado, and so far, it hasn’t disappointed. Not writing this to promote Slack in any way. I’m basically just excited about what we have been able to achieve using the app. Here are the top seven benefits that came with moving our team communication to the app.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

All Team in One Place

At Macaulay Gidado, we tried a lot of tools out there. Think Basecamp, Trello, even Whatsapp… While these other tools have their unique benefits, Slack was the only one that delivered the result we needed, especially because team communication and collaboration become extra seamless when you can intelligibly fit everything you need for a project into one place. The app makes it possible with features like mentions, file sharing, integrations, and much more.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Slack Has an Efficient Search Tool

If you have ever used Whatsapp for team communication then you probably have a hint of how frustrating locating messages from prior days or weeks is. The search feature is there, but it’s annoying. At Macaulay Gidado, we experienced this problem first-hand. Whatsapp buries chats. Short and simple.

Then we found Slack. While chats are still buried within threads on Slack, finding them is a lot easier. I dare say easier than using the Gmail search tool. On Slack, it’s super fast, user-friendly, and best of all filterable — meaning you can input a search term and other variables like date, channel to search, name of the sender of the message you are looking for.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Streamline File Sharing

Tired of always having to set file sharing rules on Google Drive or Dropbox? Tired of receiving annoying access requests to files from team members? We have been there. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

The one thing we can tell you is that Slack is your friend. First, do a one-time integration between your Slack and cloud storage. Once that is done, sharing a file and granting permissions to access request is as easy as clicking a button on Slack.

For instance, to share a file with team members, all you need to do is copy the url and paste into the Slack thread. Slack will immediately detect that your team members don’t have access to the file and will present you with options, prompting you to grant access with just a click. Also, when a team member requests access to a file, a notification will pop up on, say, the Google Drive Slack channel, asking you to grant access with a click.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

One-on-On and Group Exchanges

Slack also comes with features people naturally expect from any communication tool. There are private channels and group channels. While transparency is great when it comes to team communication, there are times when you just need to chat privately with a team member or a select group of team members. Slack makes this possible.

  • You can create a group channel for a project all members of the team are collaborating on and invite everyone.
  • Also, you can create a group channel and invite a few select team members for a side task or project.
  • You can chat with each team member alone on their private channel.
  • And you can remove team members from a channel you no longer want them to access.
Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

Integrate with Services You Already Use

Basecamp. Trello. GitHub. Google Drive. DropBox. RemoteLock. Gmail. These are just a few of the services you can integrate into your Slack.

  • You want to know when changes have been made to a task on Trello and by who? Slack-Trello integration takes care of that.
  • You want to easily share and grant access to Google Drive files? Slack-Google Drive integration takes care of that too.

These are just some of the many services we have integrated into our Slack.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

On the Go Access

Like many other cloud powered tools, you can use Slack anywhere. You can easily access work chats, collaborations, notifications, and much more from anywhere and on any device that is compatible with the app. The tool is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and IOS. So far as you have an Internet connection and a compatible device, you can keep up with your team from anywhere through Slack.

Seven Reasons to Move Team Communication to Slack

No More Pesky Internal Emails

Slack is the ideal tool to use if you want to abandon internal email and improve communications within your team. Instead of sending internal messages and announcements via email, you can just post them on Slack and everybody will see them.

Also, Slack-email integration means that you can route incoming emails with certain labels to post on a specific channel on the app. That way, without compromising access to the company mailbox, you can keep your team in the know about specific projects, task, or inbound communications.

For instance, we once worked with a client who uses RemoteLock to manage access to their vacation rental property. Typically, the client issues his guests temporary access codes and RemoteLock notifies him via email whenever someone unlocks or locks the door.

The client needed to give his team access to the email notifications without compromising access to his mailbox. So we helped him set up a Slack-Gmail integration so that the notifications are automatically broadcast on the team’s Slack channel. It worked like magic. And just like that, every team member now knows whenever a guest accesses the client’s property.

It doesn’t end here. Slack has a ton of other juicy features. It all depends on your industry and how creative you want to get with integrations.

Next, I will talk about how we use Trello, Basecamp, and a host of other apps at Macaulay Gidado.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado’s Medium publication.

Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?

Set up email alias for g suite email - Macaulay Gidado

An email alias is basically an alternative email address (whether already assigned to a mailbox or not) that you can use to send out or reply to emails via your mail mailbox. Last time, I talked about how to configure catch-all routing on G Suite. Today, I will talk about setting up an email alias on your G Suite email so that you can send out, or reply to routed, emails as the address they were sent to.

For instance, if catch-all routing allows you to receive emails sent to unassigned addresses on your domain, an email alias allows you to reply to the received emails using the same email address they were sent to, in spite of the fact that the email address doesn’t actually exist.

HERE IS HOW TO CONFIGURE AN EMAIL ALIAS ON G SUITE EMAIL

  • Go to mail.google.com and login
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
  • On the top right corner, click the gear icon and then “settings”.
Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?
  • On the next page, click “Accounts”. Scroll down a bit and Click “add an email address”
Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?
  • On the window that pops up, fill out the name you want to use for that email address. Could be your name. It could be “Support”. Could also be “Customer Care”. It’s up to you. Type in the email address you want to create. This could be [email protected]
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • Make sure that the box for “Treat as an alias” is checked. Then click the “Next Step” button under.
  • Google will send a verification code to the email address you added above.
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • If this doesn’t happen automatically, click “send verification” on the window that appears.
    • This is where it gets tricky. If the email address you added above is an existing one, then check the mailbox for that email address to find the verification code. If the email address doesn’t exist, then make sure you have set up catch-all routing on your G Suite account so that the verification email can be routed to your catch-all mailbox. Otherwise, you will not receive the verification code.
    • Next, Log into your mailbox on another window or tab.
  • Open the email by Google and retrieve the code. Or just click the verification link in the email.
  • If you prefer to verify using the confirmation code, then go back to the previous window, paste the code, and click “verify”.
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • You will be returned to settings.
  • Then look for where it says “When replying to a message”. Under it, check the box for “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”

That’s it. Time to test everything to make sure it works.

    • Have someone send an email to your alias. If you have catch-all routing on, you will get the email.
  • Now reply to that email and check with the receiver to make sure that they are seeing your alias and not your main email address as the sender.

You can repeat this whole process again and again, depending on the number of email addresses you want to add as a alias. I think there’s a limit though — 30 aliases to be precise.

Do You Know How to Configure Catch-All Routing on G Suite?

Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing

Well, I will show you how. First, let’s talk about what catch-all routing is and why you need it.

A catch-all, also called a wild-card email address, refers to your chosen G Suite mailbox for catching all emails sent to any nonexistent email address on your domain, and it doesn’t matter if that nonexistent address is [email protected] or [email protected]. It doesn’t matter the combination the sender uses. So far as the email address is associated with your domain, you will receive the email in your catch-all mailbox.

At Macaulay Gidado, we configured catch-all routing to avoid losing emails when customers misspell any of our email addresses. So if you are a business, I recommend you set yours up.

Catch-all routing also came in handy when we were starting out as a business.

  • First, it allowed us to set up email aliases (on our domain) that don’t just send emails but also receive them. The only downside to this is that all emails go into one email box, unless you set up filters and forwarding. Anyway, this is something that can also be fixed with Slack-Gmail integration if you work with a team. Using Gmail filters and labels can also help you makes sense of everything in your inbox.

 

  • Like any other business, we had departments. It only made sense to use [email protected] for sending and receiving support emails, and [email protected] for managing inquiries. It made us look professional. Naturally, we would have needed to register a G Suite user for “support”, and then another for “inquiries”, and so on. Initially, we went with combining catch-all routing and aliases. It was fun while it lasted. But it’s not scalable if you work with a team.

I think this second benefit is more suited for a one-man business. It’s not going to save you much. But the savings can buy you coffee on a boring day.

Without any further ado, here’s how to configure catch-all routing on your G Suite

Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Now, click Apps
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Click G Suite
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Click GMail
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Scroll to the bottom of the next page and click Advanced Settings
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Once on the following page, press “Ctrl + F” on your keyboard and then type in “Catch-all” to find the catch-all section.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Find where “Routing Locally applied” is written and click “add a new routing”. This is usually not visible until you hover over it. In the screenshot below, I have highlighted where you need to hover so that “add a new routing” can appear.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • On the pop-up window, check the boxes for “Inbound”, “Internal — sending”, and “Internal -receiving”.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Scroll down to “Envelope recipient” and check the box for “Change Envelope Recipient”. Under it, check the box for “Replace recipient” Then next to “Replace recipient”, type in the email address whose mailbox you want to use as your catch-all mailbox. This should naturally be your G Suite email address.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Scroll down more to “Encryption (onward delivery only)”. Check the box for “Require secure transport (TLS)”
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • Below it, click “Show Options”
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • More options will appear. Under “Account types to affect”, check the box for “Unrecognized/Catch-all” and click “Add Setting”. This will take you back to the page right under the pop up.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing
  • To save everything, click “save”.
Sign up for G Suite - Macaulay Gidado - Configure Catch-all Routing

That’s it. You are done. Now emails sent to any unassigned email address on your domain will be routed to the mailbox you chose as your catch-all mailbox.

Next, I will show you how to set up email alias so you can send out or reply to emails as up to 30 unassigned email addresses on your domain.

This article also appeared on Macaulay Gidado’s Medium publication.

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website - Macaulay Gidado

Okay, I’m not going to drone about the usual stuff you are likely to find online when you Google this topic. You know, points like “failing to customize your theme”, “forgetting to make your business site responsive”, “not implementing a good SEO strategy”, “poor navigation”, “using too many pop-ups”, blah, blah, blah…

I’m not trying to demean the validity of these points. It’s just that the Internet is riddled with them, and I have no intentions of adding to the clutter. So instead, I will take you on a journey through the various mistakes many of our clients (typically small and medium businesses) make prior to approaching Macaulay Gidado to build their web presence.

In fact, when you mind the mistakes I’m going to elaborate on below, you automatically avoid many generic pitfalls like the ones mentioned above.

No business is an island

No Business is an Island

Yes, a bit of a cliche. A bad one at that. But some of our clients, like many other businesses out there, started out thinking they can go it alone. Trust me, even if you were a genius entrepreneur highly skilled in copywriting, web design, and web development, going it alone is still a bad idea.

Why? Because you need objectivity. Subjectivity would only produce a website that appeals to you mostly. You need input from people less emotionally attached to your business. People that can give you the hard truth.

You’ve got to ask yourself. Why does my business need a website? It goes without saying, but you most certainly are trying to reach a certain demographic. Should your business website then be built to appeal to you or that demographic?

Let me know your answer to that in the comment area.

Shop for value, not trinkets

Shop for Value Not Trinkets

Many of our clients were comfortably knee deep in this pitfall. One would think that coming to us meant they had figured out why their cheap-looking websites weren’t delivering the desired results. But no, most of them came with the same pathetic budget that funded the mess they were in. It was like doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a better result each time.

God, I want to scream. These things drive me crazy.

Okay, let’s face it. When you see a cheap website versus one built with value in mind, you just know it. There’s no debating that. Not saying you should throw all your money at copywriters, designers, and developers—um, hello 🙋, please throw your money at me. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your business website and whether your resources can accommodate that goal. In other words, go for cost-effective.

Yes, there’s a big difference between “cheap” and “cost-effective”. The latter has value written all over it. And that’s my recommendation. That and the saying, “When you want to do something, do it well.”

Vision & strategy need each other

Vision Strategy Need Each Other

When building a website for your business, vision and strategy should be at the core of everything. They address the questions: “What do I want to achieve with this business website?” and “How is this website going to help me achieve those goals?”

These two questions, if addressed properly, will determine what goes into the copy, design, and development of your business website. Unfortunately, a good fraction of our clients came with half-baked goals. Well, fortunately for them, we like to be thorough at Macaulay Gidado. So we typically start by getting them to ruminate on their visions. Then we work with them to develop a working strategy.

I have to say, there’s a great satisfaction that accompanies knowing we have helped a client solve a dire problem. Here are more stuff to consider when setting up your website.

Being responsive goes a long way

Being Responsive Goes a Long Way

Not referring to making your business website responsive, but that’s also highly important. So what the hell? What a turn of phrase.

Anyway, I’m talking about being responsive as a client. Imagine how frustrating viewing a mobile unresponsive website on your smartphone can be. That’s how working with an unresponsive client feels. Makes me want to pull hair out. It basically cripples the progress of the project. If this passage inspires you to become a responsive client going for a responsive website, then good job to me. Now, time to go congratulate myself with a cup of Malagasy coffee.

Still here 🙋. Will get the coffee when I finally visit Madagascar.

So my fellow businesspeople. When you hire a professional—me, of course—to build your company website, remember that talking about your business is a good thing for the project. Every business is unique. While there are similar businesses online from where the professional can source info and inspiration, the last thing you want is for your website to turn out just generic or worse, a replica. Certainly you want the content, design, and other features to zero in on pertinent aspects of your business you want to convey to your audience.

The bottom line is: you want to hire me to build your website? You must be ready to make out time to discuss, really discuss, your business.

Don’t leave your assets behind

Dont Leave Your Assets Behind

At Macaulay Gidado, we have what we call a handover document. Basically, this is a comprehensive documentation of all tasks completed under a particular project, all login details, and a linked DropBox folder containing all files and data generated throughout the project development process. As soon as the client has approved the completed project, we close the contract by passing the handover document to them.

The unfortunate truth is that the majority of clients we have worked with in the past didn’t ask, much less expect, a handover document. They typically imagined that all they needed was the finished product–that is, the link to their website, thus forgetting that:

  • They would need to take control of their hosting, domain, and other accounts, change the login details, and update their payment details so that their subscriptions can renew automatically.
  • By leaving their assets behind, they are leaving themselves open to extortion. This is how some developers hold people’s websites hostage.
  • They need access to the raw assets that make up their branding identity.

The list goes on and on, and it’s pathetic. Please, if you are a business, never leave your assets behind, no matter what the project might be.

Phew! I think I’m done emptying myself. Now let’s hope that someone listened. Please do let me know what you think in the comment area. Would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thanks a lot.

This article also appeared on Macaulay Gidado Medium publication.