Monday, December 19, 2011

Google Apps highlights – 12/16/2011

(Cross posted from the Official Google Blog.)

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

The elves got an early jump on the holidays this year by leaving us some surprises in Google Apps over the last few weeks. Sharing from Gmail got a whole lot easier, and Google Calendar can make better use of precious screen space. We also have 10 new Google Apps customer stories to share from the tens of thousands that have gone Google in recent weeks.

Gmail gets more social
Last week we sprinkled a touch of Google+ into Gmail, making it easier to connect and share with people from your inbox. You can add people to circles right from an email thread through Gmail’s people widget, share photo attachments with friends and family on Google+ without leaving Gmail, and view a filtered version of your inbox only showing messages from people in your circles. We also improved Gmail’s address book by incorporating contact information shared by your friends, family and colleagues in their Google+ profiles.


New features in the Gmail iOS app
Just yesterday we added several new improvements to the Gmail app for iOS 4+. Now you can set up a custom email signature for mobile messages, manage your vacation responder, and view nested labels from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. We also added scribbles, a fun way to spice up messages by adding a quick hand-drawn sketch. You can create scribbles using a range of colors, brush sizes, lines, erasers and spray paints from your touchscreen device.


More free calls right from Gmail
Last year we introduced free domestic calling in Gmail within the U.S. and Canada, and we’re extending this free service for the whole year of 2012. We’re happy to help you keep in touch with those special people in your life, for free.

Hide morning and night hours in Calendar
If you don’t often have appointments early in the morning or late at night, a new trick in Google Calendar might be useful. Now you can hide morning and night hours, leaving more screen real estate for the times of day when most of your events take place. Give it a try in Calendar Labs.


Who’s gone Google?
Businesses and schools are switching to Google Apps in droves these days. From tiny startups to large enterprises and nonprofits to college campuses, we love hearing the inspiring stories that our customers share. Here’s a new batch of stories for your reading pleasure: TripIt, IPSEN, Ebby Halliday, Ticket River, VigLink, HeyZap, The Great Books Foundation, Utah K-12 schools, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and UC Santa Cruz. Welcome one and all!

For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog, and keep an eye out for this series here after the holidays. We launched more than 150 improvements go Google Apps in 2011, and we have a ton more in store for 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tips to increase your adsense

Many people build a website or blog with dreams of creating huge amounts of Adsense revenue.  These dreams generally finish after months of frantically driving visitors to their sites through marketing campaigns, only failing to convert visits into clicks.

This failure leads to frustration, and ultimately quitting.  There is no need to quit.  What you need to focus on is
how to build your Adsense banners to compliment your blog instead of insulting it.  There are some simple ways to increase the amount Adsense revenue you generate.


Increase Adsense earnings

How to Increase Adsense Revenue

1. Primacy
Primacy is defined as the state of being first, or foremost.  People in general have a short attention span, but it gets even shorter when on the web.  It is important to have your Adsense banner near the top of the page.  If they have to scroll to see it, there is a good chance they will move on before even noticing the banner.  This can be hard to do and keep your website looking professional, but it is possible.  You may have to for go this step on some of your pages to keep the integrity of your site.

2. Blending
You should take your time to develop and manage Adsense banner that will blend into your website.  People are more apt to click on an advertisement if they don’t know it’s an ad.  If they are interested in the ad, they will click on the link provided without thinking twice.  This is also a good way to prevent your website from looking tacky.Colored advertisements are highly noticeable and will increase the bounce rate on your site.  It can ruin the look of your site and is an insult to the eyes.





3. Utilize Your Content
If you are able to wrap your content around the advertisements, it will greatly help to increase adsense revenue.  The advertisements will look like part of your text.  This will make it much more natural for readers to click on an ad.  They are already interested in what you have to say, and now they are being given an option to continue on that topic.  Increasing Adsense revenue is about providing your readers with good content, and a way to continue exploring that content.

4. Write Keyword Focused Content
The Google Adsense program runs off on content.  If you are unable to write specific enough content for Google to know what you are talking about, the ads may be untargeted.  This is because Google has to guess.  Keywords aren’t just for driving organic traffic, they are essential to obtaining relevant advertisements on your site.  Without relevance, your ads will lose meaning.

5. Create Multiple Banners

Different types of people will click on different types of ads.  One of the best ways to cater to everyone is to create banners with different styles.  You can experiment with each one and see which converts best.  There is nothing wrong with a little trial and error.

6. Make Use of Google Adsense Channels
It is important to know which pages are converting and which ones aren’t.  Google allows you to create up to 200 channels.  Why not utilize them all.  This way you can narrow down on your non-earning channels and optimize them through trial and error.  Use what Google has to offer.  They provide these tools because they want you to succeed.If you are making money, so are they.


7. Traffic
Finally, and obviously, you need to increase traffic.  The more traffic you have, the more Adsense revenue you will create.  It is as simple as that.  Unfortunately gaining that extra traffic is not so simple, but that is a topic for another post.

Increasing Adsense revenue is about perseverance and hard work.  You will need to put in the time and effort to try multiple different approaches before you can rest.  Learn from others.  If you are a fan of a successful blog, see how they did it. 

Where do they put their banners?  Emulate them because they are successful.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New TalkBin improvements make it easier to connect with customers

Businesses interact with customers all the time, but it can be challenging to get honest and useful feedback that can help improve your business. TalkBin makes this easy by giving your customers a direct and convenient way to reach you via text message. No more clumsy comment cards and surveys; instead, customers can simply use their mobile phones to text you comments and feedback the same way they’d text a friend.

Today, we’re excited to announce three improvements that make it even easier to manage customer feedback.

1) Getting started tutorial

When you log in to TalkBin, you’ll be welcomed with a handy educational tutorial that explains all the most important features. This makes learning how to use TalkBin a cinch for you and your employees.


2) Updated dashboard

Based on your feedback, we updated the user interface with a fresh new design that helps you to manage all of your settings in one convenient place. For example, now your Account Settings are just one click away from Location and Billing Settings.


3) Custom sign builder

In-store signs are key to getting quality feedback from your customers. The new sign building feature help you make and print custom signs in just a few minutes.


To learn more about how TalkBin can help your business, check out these firsthand perspectives from Fraiche Yogurt and P. Terry’s Burger Stand.

Also, for the rest of the month, Google Small Business Blog readers can get TalkBin for just $5/month per location (discounted from the regular $25/month per location). Just enter promotion code BLOGSMB when you sign up at talkbin.com/signup/user/. This offer expires December 31, 2011.

Posted by Qasar Younis, Product Manager, TalkBin

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pedal to find your dream home with Google Maps

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long Blog.)

The features available in Google Maps are equally functional and fun. You can tour distant cities with Street View or map out a trip with multiple destinations using Custom Maps. Not only is Google Maps a great tool for everyday personal use, but it’s can also be used as a practical business tool. Such is the case for Matt Kolb, owner of Pedal to Properties.

Matt is an avid cyclist and a realtor based in Boulder, Colorado. In 2006, Matt decided to blend his hobby and career by founding his own real estate agency called Pedal to Properties. His company is built on the idea that by touring homes via bicycle, one can get a better sense of the local community and determine if a particular property is the right fit.


When Matt meets with clients, he locates various properties on Google Maps and creates a biking route of the houses they’ll visit that day, using Bicycling Directions as a guide. Home buyers are encouraged to interact with the map, using Street View to check out a property and its surrounding neighborhood, and using nearby search to take a look at local schools and businesses. Through this process Matt is able to narrow down viable homes for a specific buyer, making the experience enjoyable and time-efficient.

If you have interesting stories about how you use biking directions, Street View, or other Google Maps features to enhance your business, comment on our Google+ Page with #mygmapstory