Why I Use Goo.gl For Link Shortening.

Goo.gl is my favourite link shortening site. Not because of the link itself but because of the analytics that come with it.

Goo.gl

Google provides https://goo.gl free of charge. As we all know, nothing is ever really free. We are giving them some great traffic information that helps them target things like Google Adwords. I’m slipping a bit on that one. I need to incorporate some Adwords into my web pages and posts. I digress.

Goo.glGoo.gl provides great feedback. For example, I posted a blog and was surprised to find that I have more clicks in the US than I do in Canada. Almost twice as many! And then Australia and the UK. Another measure that surprised me was how much is on handheld devices. 90% of the clicks were on Facebook Mobile. The rest were on Facebook on desktops. The fact that I published that blog to Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter means that I really need to focus most of my attention on Facebook when I’m blogging. The results are a little different when I’m sharing other content while making my own comments. Still 65% or more on Facebook but there is a greater proportion of “other” that I believe is likely Twitter and other referral sites.

Other LInk Shorteners

There are at least a couple of other options I’m aware of. Hootesuite provides a built in shortener, ow.ly and there is another service called bit.ly. Both provide analytics but you get more with Google for less. Besides, I couldn’t prove it but I would bet that Google ranks their shortened links higher.

So, why do I use goo.gl? Because it’s easy to use and understand. And, it’s affordable.

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for Google Analytics. I’m thankful for Hootsuite. I’m thankful for my Pure Leverage suite of tools! What are you thankful for today?

Collaborating With Google Docs

Collaborating with colleagues or students can be expensive and technologically challenging. Google makes collaboration affordable, accessible worldwide and cross platform.

Affordable and Accessible Collaboration

Collaboration with Google Docs is Free!

CollaborationNot only is collaborating with Google Docs free, it’s accessible in most of the world and works cross platform. Whether you are using an Apple, Windows or Linux computer, Google Docs will work for you as long as you are in a more recent version of most web browsers. I personally tested in Windows 7 using Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and FireFox. All of the browsers are free to download and use. I have used those browsers in Ubuntu as well but haven’t personally tested Google Docs in that environment. I admit an assumption that there wouldn’t be any issues collaborating with Ubuntu and iOS users.

Collaboration: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Google tools are free and accessible to anyone with an up to date internet browser
  • Tools easily convert most Microsoft Office, rtf and Open Office (odt) files.
  • Changes can happen in real time.
  • Participants can make comments that become part of the file history.
  • Participants can communicate with each other in real time chat.
  • Documents can be stored in the Google drive and remain available.
  • Anyone with access to the document may be able to share with others via print; emailing a direct link to the file or downloading a copy and emailing.

Cons

  • Participants must have a Google account to make changes to documents.
  • File conversion occasionally requires fixing some formatting.
  • Anyone can make changes if given editor status.
  • Anyone with a Google account that was invited to participate will have access to the comments.
  • Real time chat may require moderation and could potentially require removing individual access.
  • There are limits to the Google drive storage space. (15GB)
  • Access rights may need to be modified once the collaboration is finished, to prevent changes to the document. This won’t limit what can be done with files that may already be downloaded.

Share Documents

Document Types

  • Word Processing
  • Slide Shows
  • Spread Sheets

Documents can be created from scratch and saved in multiple formats. ODT, XLSX, PPTX, DOCX can all be created or uploaded from existing documents. (Caveat: There may be a need to make minor formatting corrections after uploading. When importing video in Google Docs, it has to be from Youtube.)

New documents may be created from scratch with similar functionality to the Microsoft Office or Open Office programs. All documents can be shared at any point either by invitation, limiting access to specific individuals or they can be left wide open to the public. The document creator makes those choices.

Once a document is shared, multiple people can participate at the same time, in real time. Changes are tracked and visible. Participants can leave comments for response or can open a real time chat window where ideas can be shared but these chats are not saved unless manually copied into a new document.

movie projectorWhen you want to share a finished document with people outside of your group, you can email directly from the document and it will be converted to PDF and attached to a Gmail. Alternatively, you can save the document into an appropriate format. For example, a slide show can be saved as PPTX and then downloaded to your computer to send using another email system as an attachment. Alternatively, you can just make a copy of the Google Doc to share publicly and email a link to the people you want to see the finished product without them being able to download or modify.

Learning Curve

Learning curves are different for everyone. It’s easy to say it’s easy when you have experience with productivity software on a regular basis. I can only say it’s easier than most programs are to learn and it’s likely that someone in your group will be able to help figure out how to take advantage of Google Docs for collaboration.

If you have an open mind and are willing to learn, Google Docs may be the answer to your collaboration tool needs. There is no cost but your time and efforts to try.

Have fun!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for technology. I’m thankful for open minds. I’m thankful for God given talents.

What are you thankful for today?

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What a Twit(ter)!

Is it a tweet or a twit? Sometimes a twit tweets and it’s important to recognize the time to stay out of the fray.

 

DANGER! WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!

(Some of you may be old enough to get that!)

 

soccerplayerI remember when I was managing my daughter’s soccer team that parents would come to me complaining about something that occurred and they took issue with. My advice to them was always to wait 24 hours and if they still felt the same way, call me and I would get involved. In most cases, there was no call. The issue was simply because of the passion of the moment. (You realize us futbol people are a little crazy?!)

 

Social media is much the same. Communication is very fast and furious. Sometimes people “open their mouths” before they think and there’s no taking it back.

 

In soccer, part of the game is baiting your opponents so that they draw a penalty. I always told my kids to be careful. It’s not the action that gets caught but the reaction. Social media is like a championship futbol match. Fast and furious, passionate and unforgiving.

 

In the Twittersphere, someone may ask a fairly innocuous question and then some twit tweets an inflammatory reponse. The conversation rages and starts to cross over to the other channels. Now comments start to fly and the original intent of the communication is lost in the mayhem. All you can hear is noise.

 

Then, there are the watchers.

3D-Women-Search-03I believe that only a small number of people actually comment. It’s the watchers you need to care more about. They don’t usually say much but when they do, people listen. If they never understood the intended message, their voice amplifies bad information to the point you can’t reign it back in.

 

When you see someone has misinterpreted your message, either refrain from taking the bait or, if you feel you must, take the conversation off line.

 

Be careful out there!

 

 

Make it a great day,

 

Barry

 

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for the time spent helping the Barrie Soccer Club get Spiritfest started 11 years ago. I’m thankful for the rewards of community involvement. I’m thankful for spring!

 

What are you thankful for today?

Facebook or Google+ ? Both, for different reasons.

I saw a great infographic on Google+ recently breaking down the numbers for the major social media sites like Facebook and Google+. You really need to be active on both (And then some!). Although many people cross over, we look for different things from the two.

 

SIMILARITIES

  • Profile page
  • Pages (Google+) or Fan Pages (Facebook)
  • Share content from other sources
  • Upload graphics and video
  • Groups (Facebook) and Circles (Google+)
  • Privacy controls
  • Customize headers

 

brettandamiyaBoth Facebook and Google+ are great places to get to know people. At least superficially, as much as we can know someone without physically meeting. Profile walls on both are where we should post more personal things. Thoughts about family, work etc.

 

Pages are where we strive to promote business or community groups. Family isn’t really interested in seeing posts on social media marketing or whatever widget or service you sell. They see you at least semi-regularly and have the opportunity to ask about that stuff.

 

Make sure you don’t flood your family with business promotion and don’t flood your professional and business contacts with pictures of your cat. I swear if I see one more cat, I’ll cough up a fur ball! I have admit it’s hard not to flood the channel with pictures of my granddaughter.

 

 

DIFFERENCES

  • Focus
  • Hangouts (Google+)
  • Posts
  • Privacy controls
  • Upload Video

The differences between Google+ and Facebook are few and yet very major.

 

Facebook users tend to be more focused on socializing like they would at a party. I have a personal bias but believe that most Facebook users are more worried about their cats than their business. Conversely, most Google+ users are focused on a specialty. Subjects really vary. Social Media, Photography, music and so on. As a result it’s easier and more acceptable to work on B2B or B2C without offending.

 

Google_Plus_logoHangouts is a space where you can conference in real time via video. Similar in nature to Skype for example but much easier to use. The added benefit using Google Hangouts is that you can record your video session for playback at a later time. This is easy to use because of the integration with Youtube. Go to Google+ and look up Wade Harman. He does some great stuff about effective use of social media and graphics tools.

 

 

Did you know that each Google+ post is an individual page that you can share a link directly to? You can virtually create a blog post and then share the page directly.

 

What I find most convenient, when posting, is the ability to add to a group easily and control who sees what. If you don’t choose “Public” and exclude the others you don’t want to see a post, only your target Circles will see your post. Just remember which page you are acting as when you decide to go public. It’s only public for that page and doesn’t post publicly to your profile page.

 

WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?

I would recommend both and then more. No matter what your area of interest is, I would consider Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to be staples today. Kind of like bread, milk and butter in the grocery industry. If you don’t have those in stock, you might as well close the doors.

 

Understand your target audience, your product or service and then develop a strategy to get your message out there. I would highly recommend reading “The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing” by Beverly Macy and Tery Thompson. You sill find some great examples of private industry as well as government agencies (see Orange County Transportation Authority, Ted Nguyen) who have been very successful with social media.

 

Now get out there and win friends and influence people!

 

Make it a great day,

 

Barry

 

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for social media. I’m thankful for open minds. I’m thankful every day I’m on the top side of the daisies!

 

What are you thankful for today?

 

Google knows! Or does it?

But does it tell you what you really want?

I sent out a promo for my GVO Hosting and some commentary about having a web presence.  A friend said “thanks for your kind offer but by typing in my name into the net, all my entries show up, eg divorce work, elder entries and (company name) entries”.

Now, think about this.  If you are trying to get new business, do you think they will search your name?

When I did a Google search for divorce financial planner, I got a much different result than my friend did with his name.  He didn’t show up.  I searched “elder financial planner” and didn’t see him in the first three pages.  One link that looked like it might be related to him had one of the other consultants in his office and that guy was the fourth person on that list.  Knowing the two of them, the guy I had emailed is the more experienced in that particular area.  Yet Google gave me the person with the lesser experience.

When Google provides answers to your searches, it is trying to help give you what it THINKS you want.  It knows where the computer you are searching from sits and provides what it thinks are services close to you.  I wonder if there is any bias to people who are paying for their advertising?

What are you doing to tie your name to what you do on the Internet?  If you are not the owner of the company, you may find that the company is more interested in promoting at the top level.  We all compete for business.  Even internally.

For example, a financial services firm with a few thousand consultants does nothing to promote the individual consultant.  Sure, they give them a page.  But the company is branding the company, not you.

Have you ever thought about something like a personal blog site?  Give enough information in your blogs that Google “sees” the connection and all of a sudden, you may find that when you search “elder financial planner”, your name actually shows up rather than just the company or another umbrella organization like Advocis, Linked In, Facebook or Google+.

Maybe Barry’s GVO Web Hosting is just the tool you need to help you gain that competitive edge.  Just maybe.

Will you be the one to float to the top?

 

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S.  What am I thankful for today?  I’m thankful for having found GVO Web Hosting.  I’m thankful for learning more every day.  I’m thankful for friends that respond so that I can improve.

What are you thankful for today?