Google has an amazing array of tools for small business owners and I personally use many of them to help me run my various businesses. I put together a list of 14 tools that may help you run your small business more effectively.
Here they are:
What it is: Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using. Give customers the right info at the right time, whether that be driving directions to your business in Maps, hours of operations in Search or a phone number they can click to call you on mobile phones.
Why it’s useful: Most importantly, it gets your business on the Google Maps listings. This is absolutely critical to get your business in the search engines and this is one of the first steps any business should take.
Google My Business helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews, use the +1 button to endorse your content, and re-share your Google+ posts across the web. This can help with your local search engine rankings too!
What it is: Google Apps for Work (formerly Google Apps for Business) is a suite of cloud computing productivity and collaboration software tools and software offered on a subscription basis by Google. It includes Google’s popular web applications including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, and Google Docs.
Why it’s useful: Its a very powerful way to run your business using some free tools.
What it is: This is an excellent calendar app that can help you schedule your week. If you’re like most small business owners I know you have many plates spinning, a lot of commitments, and a busy schedule to manage.
4. Google Voice
What it is: Google Voice enhances the existing capabilities of your phone for free, regardless of which phone or carrier you have. Use a single number that rings you anywhere, get transcribed voicemail messages delivered to your inbox, and make free calls and text messages in the U.S. and Canada.
Why it’s useful: Many business owners don’t want a land line anymore and with Google Voice you can run your business from your smart phone.
What it is: Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google search. Learn about any problems Google is having indexing your site. Identify search queries that drive traffic to your site, as well as any links to your site. Simply add and verify your site, and you’ll start to see information right away.
Why it’s useful: Even if you don’t want to get fluent in how Google Webmaster Tools works (and you probably shouldn’t be spending your time on that) you should check that your webmaster is and is taking advantage of it.
What it is: Google Analytics lets you measure your customers’ behavior. Track sales and conversions across ads, videos, websites, tablets and smartphones. Understand which parts of your website are performing well, measure the success of your social media programs, and create better-targeted ads. Free for users with less than 5 million page views a month.
Why it’s useful: This is a great tool to see who is visiting your site, what search terms they are using to get to your website, and more. Its worth sitting down with your Webmaster periodically to walk through and see what things jump out for you.
What it is: Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your queries. Enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive. Google Alerts is a great way to keep tabs on your competitors and on your industry.
Why it’s useful: I personally use google alerts to keep tabs on what is being published about me, my business, and even my competitors. Also, I like to keep up on what’s happening in my industry by having alerts set up for key terms in my industry. You can do the same for yours.
What it is: YouTube allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. It is a great resource for free instructional videos on all topics, including those related to your business. If you’re interested in creating videos, YouTube offers Creator Hub, a suite of tools and programs, educational resources, and support.
Why it’s useful: YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world and getting videos created by you and your business online can help your business show up in the Google search results to prospects looking for what your business has to offer.
What it is: A handy tool to figure out what’s trending on YouTube.
Why it’s useful: What are women aged 65 watching? What are men ages 25 to 34 in Cincinnati sharing most often? With the Trends Dashboard, you can tap into the zeitgeist quickly and easily. Compare the “Most Shared” (across Facebook and Twitter) with “Most Viewed” to get a sense of what content gets viewed often but shared infrequently. Knowing your audience can help you create content for your website that matches their search behaviors.
10. Google Chrome
What it is: This is Google’s free web browser and its a great one at that. Their slogan is “One browser for your computer, phone and tablet.” I personally use it on my Macbook Air, my iPad, and on my Samsung S5.
Why it’s useful: Its a great way to have a smart browser that syncs across all of your devices.
What it is: Google Cloud Print connects your printers to the web. Make your printers available from anywhere, to you and anyone you choose. Access Google Cloud Print from your phone, tablet, Chromebook, PC, and any other web-connected device.
Why it’s useful: Its a quick and simple way to print from any device without having to jump through technological hoops.
12. Google Trends
What it is: A site to discover how popular certain searches have been on Google historically, as well as what’s popular right now.
Why it’s useful: Want to be ahead of the curve? This is a great place to start. It’s a feature-packed site; you can survey trending YouTube videos as well to find out what people are talking about now. This can give you ideas for YouTube videos you should make, blog posts to write, and more,
What it is: Turn any Hangout into a live video call with up to ten friends or simply call a contact to start a voice call from your computer. Enhance your call with Cacoo for online drawing, SlideShare for sharing presentations, and Conceptboard for whiteboard collaboration.
Why it’s useful: This is a great tool to have video meetings with other team members, prospects, and customers.
14. Google Keep
What it is: Google Keep lets you easily jot down whatever’s on your mind via a beautiful, simple interface.
Why it’s useful: Share any one individual note with a collaborator, create to-do lists, drop an image into notes as needed, and organize notes using eight color options. Don’t want to forget to do something? No problem: You can easily turn any note into a date or location-activated reminder.
Give one or more of these tools a shot and you may soon find yourself using them every day.
To your success,