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13 tools to make smarter use of Google Plus

google plus on sarkemediaAt just over 6 months old,  the online world has woken up to the fact that Google Plus is here to stay and that it’s a powerful marketing tool. Google Plus is now integrated into your search experience and like the Facebook Like button, it can make a big difference to your blog or website getting found.

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If you personally are thinking more about G+ and that you need to spend more time there (and are wanting to see what all the fuss is about), you’ll like this post.  In this post I am going to share some terrific tools and apps that will make your Google Plus experience run smoother, and you’ll get better results – how smart is that?

Google Chrome

As a browser it’s fast and it means you can have a better user experience on Google Plus, if you don’t use chrome and are serious about marketing your blog and building an outpost on Google Plus, then you need to weigh up your options. It makes life easier and more efficient to use it.

Google Plus Dashboard

Go here https://www.google.com/settings/products and create a dashboard for all your Google products, everything from Adsense to docs, all under one roof. This is also where you can liberate your data. You can download and back-up all your Google data, just in case.

G+ personal URL

We have Chrome and our Google Plus account set up, we now need to look at a URL shortener as the G+ version is pretty long and hard to recall. GPlusTo is the answer, you can grab your shortened, easy to recall name here http://gplus.to/ If you don’t like that option you can use the WordPress blog plugin PrettyLink Lite to use your own domain and url to point it at your G+ account. Use whatever you will remember. Although personal urls are said to be in the pipeline, and urls for G+ pages, there is no sign of them yet so create your own memorable name and use it.

Extended share for Google Chrome

Want to share your Google Plus posts on Twitter and Facebook? Start with the extended share app for Google Chrome. This adds extra functionality to your Chrome browser to make it easier to share content on Google Plus via other channels.

Usability boost for Google Plus

This is my favourite Chrome extension for Google Plus, it makes the layout and posts much easier to read. You have the option of starring posts to read later and muting them is easier (yep, muting the busier posts is the way to go or your inbox is full of crap). Install usability boost for G+ and you’ll never miss another notification or listen to a conversation you no longer want to be part of. Did I mention it will make things much easier to read and scan?

GoogleCards

Okay, we’ve made it easier to share and easier to read, what next with Google plus? Well, people need to find you to add you to their circles. If you are on WordPress the best option is the GoogleCards Plugin. It’s easy to use and you can just add it to your sidebar. It displays the number of people who have you in circles. To make it more effective you can add some text under the widget telling people what sort of things you share, and what circle you’d like to be in. You can add me to your circle for bloggers with an online marketing touch or your circle with must read tips and tricks for business boosting blogging. If you have yet to get those circles, you can create them and add me to them asap ;)

Formatting your comments on Google Plus?

Want to put some emphasis on your Google Plus posts and comments? *bold* – Add the star * before and after the message. For _italics_ –  Add the underscore _ before and after the message.  -strike-through-  -Add the dash – before and after the message. And lo, you have emphasis on your words. You can also edit your posts for typos, yay!

Creative Photo Effects

Love Instagram and wish you could have the effects on your Google photos? Your Google Plus photographs can take advantage of the creative suite supplied by Google. Open one of your photos on Google Plus and in the top left hand corner you will discover the creative kit. Click here and play with the effects, add text and correct imperfections. Remember to save the new image when you have finished :)

Better usability – language and text to speech

If you want to reach more people (with Europe and Asia  spending a huge amount of time and money online 48% compared to America’s 14%) then the Helper for Google Plus is the Chrome extension you’ll love. Make it easier for users with disabilities as well, this Chrome extension will convert text to speech. It also has the additional sharing features of the Extended Share extension.

Instant photo upload

Have an Android phone? Then you can instantly upload your images to Google Plus. Got an iPhone? Then you’ll just have to jump through a few more hoops and use the usual way of sharing photos.

Talking of iPhones…

Have you installed your G+ iPhone app?  You can ‘huddle’ (now renamed as messenger) – share group messages, video chat and see who in your circles is nearby. Handy if you are looking to use G+ for social purposes :)

G+ Search

You have got all of this done, and you want to see what is going on in your stream and dagnabbit, despite being the gods of search, g+ is tough to search. Well it was… if you use a hashtag you search on this site here for all references to that tag http://gplussearch.com/ compared to a G+ search the GPlusSearch site is far more accurate. The site utilises a Google custom search and it does a fine job providing excellent search results.

Sarah

 

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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007. She's been internationally recognised as a top content marketer, Forbes and MSN list her websites as top ones, and she's the author of many quick start marketing guides. You can find her books on Amazon.

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