Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to use Google products and Services to your Advantage #1

I'm writing this blog as the first in a series about how to use Google to further your business and make your life easier. We'll start off with a list of helpful services and a short description. These are all free services and most of these and more can be found by clicking on this link:

Blogger is an easy to use blogging platform that you are able to customize and integrate into your brand. This is the blogging platform I use because it's simple and yet still has the capability to house great gadgets. One thing I will recommend is that you use the Google Chrome browser when using Blogger, there are a few bugs when using some other browsers.

Google Chrome
This browser will make any Google service or product work better and without bugs. It is also just an all around top-notch browser. I've been using it for months now and have only had one issue. Occasionally when using Google Image Search it freezes up and I have to close down the browser completely, but the positive part of this is that if that happens, Google Chrome remembers every tab I had up and asks if I'd like to restore them.

Gmail is a great email platform. I also have a Hotmail account, but I do like the Gmail one better. It's easier to navigate, it has an advanced search so you can pull up all emails from a certain person or all emails with a specific key word. No cons yet.

This is a part of Google and it's the best video hosting site on the web, hands down. YouTube has limited ads and you can share and embed videos anywhere. Get an account and upload all your videos to YouTube.

Google Drive
I LOVE Google Drive. Google Drive is basically a storage space online, but you can also create documents, spreadsheets, forms to embed on your website and SOOOOO much more! If you don't have it, get it, because they are adding new programs for it all the time.

Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a program that helps you keep track of your many events and important dates. You can make more than one calendar, you can embed it on your website for people to see, and you can have email reminders for marked dates. You can also invite others to your calendar and share it publicly.

Google Earth
Google Earth is great for research and just fun to play around with. I'm sure most of you have popped on there to check out the satellite view of your home and played around with some of its features. I think it's pretty neat.

Google Maps
Google Maps is also a cool feature. You can make your own maps and share them with friends, you can find places easily and map out an entire road trip. I see this program overtaking MapQuest in the near future.

Sketch Up
If you haven't discovered Sketch Up yet, you should definitely check it out. You can map out the interior and exterior of building with this free program. There is a bit of a learning curve, but if you are one of those visual people who need to map out a scene in your book, this is the tool for that.

Google Trends
This handy tool will be useful when predicting publishing trends. For instance, by typing in "erotica books" you can see that this search trend peaked in June 2012 and is now on the decline. By typing in "vampire books" you can see that this trend peaked in November 2009 and May 2010 and is also now on the decline. By seeing where these search terms are headed, up or down, you can tailor blog posts to go along with the trends and you can also write books that may be popular in the near future.

Blog Search
You can use this specialized search engine to comb through blogs that are related to the topics you write about. From there you can follow these blogs, contact the owner and talk about possibly exchanging guest posts, or even search for book reviewers.

Google Sites
This is the website hosting program from Google. I do use them to host my website and I'm pretty happy with it. The features are not basic, but the aren't advanced either. I'd recommend it for a first website. It's easy to operate and can look very nice if you have it set up right.

This is the social media site run by Google. GET AN ACCOUNT! There have been predictions that Google+ will overtake Facebook and Twitter for the top social networking site by 2015. So, get an account now and by the time that happens, you will be set. You'll have plenty of followers and you will be towards the top of the social network food chain before anyone else. Not to mention, the features are awesome.

Google+ Communities
This is part of Google+. What it is is a place where anyone can post their content related to the community topic. Once you create a community you can make your own rules. It's fun to scroll through these and blog hop. You can also post videos, pictures and plain text. I love Google+ Communities.

Google Hangouts
This program is integrated into the Gmail and Google+ programs. You can host webinars, talk to people by video, organize a group of people for a meeting and so much more. Check it out and see what you can use it for.

There are so many more products and services that Google has to offer, but we'll start with these for now. Soon I'll tell you more about Blogger and we'll go down the list to discover ways to use these free programs available to you.