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Improving the look and feel of Google Places for Business

Google and Your Business - Tue, 04/02/2013 - 23:12
Hundreds of millions of people around the world use Google Search, Maps, Mobile and Google+ to find and discover great local businesses -- either in their hometown or in the places they’re headed. We’ve been able to deliver more comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information to help these people find what they’re looking for thanks to you, the many business owners who manage your online presence through Google Places for Business.

Today, we’re introducing an upgrade to the look and feel of Google Places for Business that will roll out to business owners over the coming weeks.

Easier to use
The upgraded interface is simpler and more intuitive, so the process of updating your business information is quick and easy. There’s also a widget that helps you understand at a glance how much more you need to do to complete your business profile.



Edits go live faster
When you make changes to your business, your customers want to know about it right away. Most edits made via the upgraded user interface now appear on Google Maps and our suite of other services within 48 hours. As before, we may continue to moderate changes to ensure the highest quality local experience.

Better integrated with Google products
Through this upgraded interface, you will be able to access your local Google+ page to take advantage of social features like sharing photos, videos, or posts. For businesses who also use AdWords Express and Google Offers, managing your ads and promotions is easier than ever. You can check results and make edits directly from your upgraded Places for Business dashboard.



What to do next
If you’re an existing user of Google Places for Business, this new interface is coming soon. You’ll receive an email notification once we’ve upgraded your account, and see the new interface once you sign in as usual. If you haven’t yet verified your business listing, now is the time to do it!

Posted by Qasar Younis, Senior Product Manager

Enhanced Campaigns Hangouts on Air: Campaign Management and Upgrading Strategies

Google and Your Business - Thu, 03/28/2013 - 16:22
AdWords Specialists hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday as the second installment of the Enhanced Campaign Hangouts on Air series.

During the Hangout, Phil and Leslie talked about how to upgrade to use the new Enhanced Campaign features. Phil told us how to upgrade a single campaign, and Leslie showed us how to use AdWords Editor to migrate multiple campaigns before upgrading. To watch the full 20-minute Hangout on Air, visit the Google Business YouTube channel.


To learn more about how to get started with AdWords, visit our Help Center, check out the AdWords Community forum, or call us at 866-2-GOOGLE if you already have an AdWords account.

And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout on Air at 11 a.m. PDT, Wednesday April 10th, when we discuss location targeting and ad extension updates.

Stay tuned!

Posted by Courtney Pannell, AdWords Team

Help Desk Hangouts: Google+ Profile and Page Update

Google and Your Business - Fri, 03/15/2013 - 20:09
Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we chatted with +Navin Kadaba, who works on Google+. We walked through the updates to Google+ profiles and pages that rolled out last week, learning about the new, larger cover photo, the refreshed look and functionality of the About tab, and the new customizable tabs for profiles.

Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel.


Check out the video description on the YouTube page for a minute-by-minute breakdown.

Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:
What size photo should I upload as my new cover photo?
We recommend that you upload an image that is 960 x 540 px (16x9 aspect ratio). At a minimum, please select a photo that is 480 x 270 px. For HD displays, we’ll take a maximum resolution of 2120 x 1192 px.

What does the update look like on mobile?
This is a desktop-only update for now.

Any tips and tricks to making my page look good?
We’d recommend keeping the essential aspects of your cover photo toward middle, vertically. The bottom fifth of the cover photo will sometimes be covered by a dark gray bar, and when people visit the page, the top portion of the cover photo may not be visible. We also recommend uploading a large, zoomed out profile photo, so you can crop the photo to appear as you’d like.

Posted by Jade Wang, Google+ Local Community Manager

Fueling discoverability and engagement with Google+

Google and Your Business - Mon, 03/11/2013 - 16:16
Cross-posted with the Inside AdWords blog.

Automotive brands were among the first advertisers to adopt Google+ and they’re making it pay off in big ways. Our research has shown that the path to buying a car is becoming more and more social, with consumers relying on information and advice from their social connections and brands to inform their purchase. Millions of consumers are already engaging with the top global auto companies on Google+, and brands are using this opportunity to connect and engage with customers in unique ways, from connecting with auto enthusiasts through G+ Communities to launching new car models via Hangouts.

Today we’re releasing new insights on how Google+ is working to amplify auto brands’ existing marketing campaigns. For example, we found that brands can experience a 91% increase in conversion rate for non-brand terms when running social annotations on search ads.

Please check out our infographic below for additional insights and tips, and visit our Google+ Business site to learn more about Google+.

Click to see full-size infographic
Posted by Gretchen Howard, Director of Global Social Solutions

Looking for Ways to Grow Your Business Online? Meet Friday 15

Google and Your Business - Tue, 03/05/2013 - 16:53
In 15 minutes, you could clip coupons, wash dishes, fold laundry, dance to your favorite song... three times, or you could learn some new tips to help your business succeed on the web. Businesses that are online grow faster.* Make it a habit to grow your business online with Friday 15, a series designed to help small businesses make the most of their online presence.



Friday 15 answers questions small business owners need to know, like: How should I choose the pictures on my website? How can I monitor my business online? What should my website be called? How should I handle a bad review? What information should I include on my website?

If you want to learn more about growing your business online, visit www.gybo.com/friday15 for training videos and tip sheets. You can also tune in to live discussions with industry experts during the Get Your Business Online team’s Friday 15 Google+ Hangouts. Each episode is 15 minutes or less and will provide you with tools, tips, and practical use-cases to help grow and promote your business online. The series is open to everyone. All you need to join us is a computer and an internet connection. The Hangouts air every other Friday on +Google+ Your Business at 11:00a.m. PT/2:00p.m. ET. Watch this Friday, March 8th, for a discussion on optimizing your website.

Friday 15 is brought to you by Get Your Business Online with Google, an initiative to help small businesses get online and succeed online. Visit the Friday 15 page at www.gybo.com/Friday15 for directions on how to watch a Hangout and sign up to receive Friday 15 tips, news, event notifications and more.

*Source: BCG Report, "The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity," March 2012

Posted by Whitney Lemon, Friday 15 Host, Get Your Business Online Team

Just Food For Dogs uses Google Business Photos to show off their state of the art dog kitchen

Google and Your Business - Thu, 02/28/2013 - 18:00
Just Food For Dogs (JFFD) is a dog food company that produces healthy, whole foods for dogs in a human-grade dog food kitchen. In an effort to attract customers who would appreciate the care and attention they put into their high-quality dog food offerings, JFFD decided to get Google Business Photos: a virtual tour of their business interior with Street View technology.

View Larger Map

Justin Bonatto, marketing coordinator for JFFD states, “We can’t see anything else that provides more value than a customer interacting for thirty seconds with Google Business Photos. It conveys everything we would want to communicate about the value of our company.”

For a more in depth look at JFFD’s success story using Google Business Photos you can read the case study in its entirety here.



If you are a business owner and would like to create and publish a virtual tour of your business, learn more at http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos

Posted by Zach Bruce, Google Business Photos team

Sign up for Learn with Google's upcoming webinars!

Google and Your Business - Fri, 02/15/2013 - 18:34

You're invited to upcoming Learn with Google webinars!

Video Advertising 101: How to Build your Business with YouTube Video Ads
Wednesday, 2/20/2013 9am PST / 12pm EST

YouTube video ads can help you to increase awareness of your business, to establish and deepen relationships with your customer and to drive sales. In this webcast, we'll cover how to get started on YouTube as well as best practices that help you reach your business goals. Register

From Awareness to Sales: Making the Most of Video Remarketing
Tuesday, 2/26/2013, 9am PST / 12pm EST

Learn how you can maximize relationships with people who have watched your videos or subscribed to your YouTube channel. We'll show you how to use Remarketing and automatically customize video ads to capture the attention of viewers most likely to buy your products. Register

These webinars will be presented by Google product experts and will include live Q&A.

Learn with Google webinars take place each week, Tuesdays thru Thursdays, at 9am PST / 12pm EST.  To see the schedule and register for upcoming webinars, click here!

Posted by the Learn with Google Team

Help Desk Hangouts: Google Engage for Agencies

Google and Your Business - Thu, 02/07/2013 - 20:00
Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we chatted with the Google Engage for Agencies team, who walked us through the resources available through their program. We learned how agencies can benefit from free online and in-person trainings about various Google products, including AdWords, through the Google Engage program. Take a look at the Google for Agencies website (http://www.google.com/intl/en/ads/engage/) to learn more about the resources available and how to join the program.

Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel.



Check out the video description on the YouTube page for a minute-by-minute breakdown.

Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:

How do I know if I’m eligible for Google Engage? 
All agencies that apply to Google Engage are subject to a final review, but basic requirements include:
  • Your agency must have an active My Client Center (MCC) account.
  • Your agency must have a website.
  • Your agency must specialize in helping small and medium sized businesses advertise online.
  • Your business must also comply with the Google Third-party policy and Google Engage Terms and Conditions

What kinds of resources are available through Google Engage?
Online training courses, webinars and events: Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, our online and in-person trainings will keep you ahead of the curve with AdWords and other Google products.
Adwords introductory offers for your new clients: Give your new clients a boost with introductory offers for AdWords. With your help, their investment in finding customers will go even further.
Sales tools and marketing collateral: As an Engage member, you'll get access to AdWords case studies, sales pitch techniques, and other resources to help build relationships with your clients.
Dedicated phone support: We're here to help you with everything from setting up your account to sharing best practices.

Posted by Jade Wang, Google+ Local community manager

Sign up for Learn with Google's latest webinar on February 12!

Google and Your Business - Thu, 02/07/2013 - 18:50


Sign up for Learn with Google webinar "Brand Building in a Multiscreen World" (Feb 12, 9 am PT).

Join us to learn innovative ways to build awareness and influence consideration for your brand in today's multiscreen world. We will show you how YouTube, the Google Display Network, and the Google Mobile Network can together offer brand-building solutions that will drive engagement and ensure you have a spot in the new living room.

Posted by the Learn with Google Team

Win moments that matter in 2013 with Learn with Google webinars

Google and Your Business - Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:57
Cross-posted with Google Inside Adwords.

What was your business’ New Year’s resolution, and how do you plan to keep it? At Google, ours is to help make the web work for you. Our new series of Learn with Google webinars will teach you how to use digital to build brand awareness, and they’ll give you the tools you need to drive sales. By tapping into technology that works together across your business needs, you can resolve to win moments that matter in 2013.

Check out our upcoming live webinars:

Build Awareness

02/12 [Multiscreen] Brand Building in a Multiscreen World
02/20 [YouTube] How to Build your Business with YouTube Video Ads
03/05 [Social] How to Use Google+ and Make Social Work for You
03/12 [Mobile] Understanding Mobile Ads Across Marketing Objectives
03/27 [Wildfire by Google] The Call for Converged Media

Drive Sales

01/29 [Analytics] Google Tag Manager: Technical Implementation *today*
02/07 [Search] Your Shelf Space on Google: Get Started with Google Shopping
02/26 [YouTube] From Awareness to Sales: Making the Most of Video Remarketing
02/27 [Search] What's New and Next in AdWords
03/06 [Display] Biggest Loser: Digital Ad Spend Edition
03/13 [Mobile] The Full Value of Mobile
03/20 [Display] Getting Started with Dynamic Remarketing



Visit our webinar site to register for any of the sessions and to access past webinars on-demand. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google Webinar calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

During our last series of webinars, attendees had the chance to win a Nexus 7. Our lucky winner was Donella Cohen, who is happily enjoying her new tablet. Check out our upcoming webinars for another chance to win!

Learn with Google is a program to help businesses succeed through winning moments that matter, enabling better decisions and constantly innovating. We hope that you’ll use these best practices and how-to’s to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming session!

Posted by Erin Molnar, Marketing Coordinator, Learn with Google

Game on! See the power of apps in the Ping-Pong Hangout

Google and Your Business - Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:58
Looking to add a little spice into your social media presence on the web?

Last week at Creative Sandbox NYC, which celebrates how technology is shaping culture and storytelling, we announced the launch of the Ping-Pong Hangout brought to you by Google+. This Hangout app allows users to play a game of Ping-Pong with an opponent by using their faces to control the paddle.



As fun as the Ping-Pong Hangout is, we’re most excited about what’s behind it: The Google+ Hangouts API. The API can help you to build deep, engaging and unique experiences for Hangouts. Just take a look at:

For more examples and info, see the Hangout Apps Showcase, check out the recording of our Hangout with the agencies behind the game, flip through our Getting Started guide or ask questions of the Google+ Developers team via Hangout Tuesdays at 2:30pm PT.

What could a Hangout App do your business? How might you use one to add your character to video chats and broadcasts, or to provide more information to users? Head on over to the site to get inspired.

Posted by Lindsay Rumer, Google+ Team

Under the AdWords Hood: Breaking Down Ad Rank

Google and Your Business - Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:01
AdWords Specialists Courtney Pannell, Philip Stern, and Sarah Claxton Deming hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday as the second installment in the “Under the AdWords Hood” series.

During the Hangout, the AdWords experts discussed the basics of ad rank, like how bidding and quality score factor into determining the positioning of your ads. Specifically, Phil shared his best practices for bidding to achieve your optimal ranking, and Sarah discussed how quality score is calculated.

You can watch the full 25-minute Hangout on Air below, or on the Google Business YouTube channel:


To learn more about how to get started with AdWords, visit our Help Center, check out the AdWords Community forum, or call us at 866-2-GOOGLE if you already have an AdWords account.
And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout on Air at 11 a.m. PDT, Thursday February 7, when we discuss remarketing tips.
Stay tuned!
Posted by Courtney Pannell, AdWords Team

Using 1:1s to communicate with your employees

Google and Your Business - Wed, 01/23/2013 - 18:00


Editor’s note: In this post, we’re featuring a management technique that we use at Google, which might be useful at your business.

As a manager or the owner of a business, how often do you get to interact with your employees on an individual basis? With busy and conflicting schedules, it can be hard to find times outside of team meetings or performance evaluations to talk more generally to an employee.

To help make sure that employees always have an open channel of communication with managers, we have weekly 1:1s, which is a 30-minute block of time for a manager to meet with just one person. The purpose of 1:1s isn’t evaluation or getting assignments, although those might be outcomes. Instead, it should be an chance for an employee to share projects, questions, concerns, and anything else with his or her manager.

Because the intention of a 1:1 is to have easy communication across levels, the employee should be the person leading the meeting, not the manager. Employees should provide the agenda and direct the discussion, while managers should make sure to listen and provide constructive feedback. Here are a few other tips to get the most out of 1:1 time:
  • Prepare and share an agenda in advance to keep the meeting efficient.
  • Use a running document to keep your agenda and notes in to refer to later, and make sure both the employee and manager can edit it.
  • Discuss career development more broadly, and what skills you can gain at work outside of your core job.
If weekly 1:1s seems too often, try bi-weekly or maybe even monthly. You could also try scheduling a regular office hour on your calendar where employees can just drop in to talk. Does your business have another strategy that helps with communication? Share them with us on Google+ and tag #smbtips!

Posted by Jacinth Sohi, Google and Your Business Blog Team

Help Desk Hangouts: Going Google

Google and Your Business - Fri, 01/18/2013 - 19:39
Editor’s note: On the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we chatted with the Going Google team, who showed us a guide to help businesses transition to Google Apps. We walked through the Going Google guide, learning about change management and how it can make the transition to Google Apps for any business much smoother. The guide’s got training resources, checklists, and tips to help businesses manage the transition timeline.

Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel.


Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:

Who is the guide intended for? Is it free? 
The guide is a free resource available on our Google Apps Documentation and Support site. It is intended for anyone who is helping an organization evaluate Google Apps or make the switch to Google Apps. The guide is targeted to organizations with 250 users or more, but parts of the guide are relevant to smaller organizations too. We also have a guide focused on smaller businesses here.

How does the guide recommend you approach Going google? 
At Google, we have a user focus in everything we do. We recommend you have a focused approach to your users' transition to Google Apps. We've created a simple and flexible, three-step model you can use to plan your change management approach when you switch to Google Apps: (1) Get ready, (2) communicate, and (3) train.

Will the guide be updated as Google Apps is updated? 
Yes, the guide will be updated on a regular basis. Throughout the year, we will add new stories from customers and partners about their change management approach for switching to Google Apps. The guide will also be updated as our Google Apps services are updated.

Posted by Jade Wang, Google+ Local Community Manager

Let Customers “See Inside” Your Business with Google Business Photos

Google and Your Business - Tue, 01/15/2013 - 18:32
Since the official launch of Google Business Photos in January 2012, over 100,000 businesses have used the feature to virtually invite customers inside their doors. With the use of high-quality panoramic imagery and Street View technology, businesses have been able to offer customers an interactive tour without physically setting foot inside - perfect for showcasing the ambiance of a wine bar or the layout of a gym.

Check out our new video to see what Business Owners are saying about Google Business Photos:




Over the past year, Google has made it even easier for customers to find Business Photos on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+ Local; with just one click, you can now “See Inside” businesses from a computer or tablet.



Or, from your mobile phone click “See Inside” on the Place Sheet.

Google Maps on Android Google Maps on iOS
If you would like to feature your establishment on Google with Business Photos, please visit our website for more information. You’ll have the opportunity to select from a list of Google Trusted Photographers in your area. You can contact a photographer to negotiate a rate and schedule a time for a photoshoot.

Google Business Photos is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. We are working to expand the service to more areas so that more businesses can reach more customers.

Posted by Shailesh Nalawadi, Product Manager, Google Maps

Under the AdWords Hood Series: AdWords Policy

Google and Your Business - Sat, 01/12/2013 - 00:53
Director of Engineering for Advertising at Google, David Baker and AdWords Specialist Lindsay Brownell hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday as the first installment of the four-part “Under the AdWords Hood” series. This series sheds light on topics that you chose in a vote on the Google Ads page!

David and Lindsay broke AdWords Policy down into and delved into three areas:

  1. Ad Policy
  2. Landing Page Policy
  3. Account Policy
You can watch the full 30-minute Hangout on Air below, or on the Google Business YouTube channel.



To learn more about how to get started with AdWords, visit our Help Center, check out the AdWords Community forum, or call us at 866-2-GOOGLE if you already have an AdWords account.

And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout on Air at 11 a.m. PDT, January 24th 2013 when we go Under the Hood and learn all about Ad Rank.

Posted by Courtney Pannell and Divya Vishwanath, AdWords Support Team

Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

Google and Your Business - Thu, 01/10/2013 - 23:30

(cross-posted from the Analytics blog)

We’re just a week into 2013, and we’re undeniably living in the new multi-screen age. Our day-to-day interactions with technology—and our expectations—have increased dramatically. We’re no longer content to wait until later to buy shoes or schedule travel or find a hot spot to eat. Technology lets us act now, and we expect reliable results. In fact, we’ve become so dependent on being connected all the time that 43% of U.S. adults would be willing to give up beer for a month if it meant they could keep accessing the Internet on their smartphones, and 36% said they’d be willing to give up chocolate.*

What does this mean for you? Many businesses have fallen behind consumer behavior—in a world where people look first to mobile devices and real-time streams, the digital journey has grown more complex, and it’s become more challenging to gain a clear picture of these interactions. As a marketer or analyst, your success depends on adapting to this new reality. We’re working to provide tools that let you connect the dots, so you can regain visibility into your customers’ preferences and behaviors and take advantage of the full value of digital.

Holistic Measurement: Capture the full customer experience
Your customers are active all the time and everywhere, so you should be as well. To truly win moments that matter across all screens and situations, you must acknowledge, and measure, all relevant touch-points. For example, are you running related marketing efforts across email, display, and search ads? Do you see customers performing some tasks more frequently on smartphones while other tasks are more common on laptop? Rather than evaluating these programs and behaviors separately, your measurement strategy should focus on connecting the dots between these consumer moments. Consider your overall business goals and then measure the role that each touch-point plays in achieving those goals, keeping in mind the complementary effects of multiple channels and devices.

Active measurement: Plan ahead and optimize throughout
Harnessing the power of location, intent and social connections is possible today, and smart marketers are always on, always optimized—using customer signals to create winning experiences for their brand. Active measurement is about quickly acting on the insights you uncover as you go, but more importantly, it’s about good measurement planning. This proactive piece is often overlooked, even by the savviest marketers and analysts. To effectively measure, you must define expectations about how your customer will interact with your brand before you look at the numbers. Then, question any surprising results. Is it normal or strange for your business to have a 3% conversion rate? Is it good or bad if event tracking shows that 3,000 people view a video on your homepage in a single day? Are your TV spots driving viewers to your website in Real-Time, or do you see more traffic at other times? Are you bringing together data sources and devices holistically? Active measurement means examining real human behavior and influences instead of reporting the same old data on clicks or bounce-rates.

Media-Agnostic Measurement: Give credit where it’s due
As technology usage has expanded, patterns of research and influence have become more diverse (with many consumers consulting 10 or more sources before a purchase)*—but also more identifiable. In the new digital age, it’s no longer realistic or smart to judge campaigns solely by the final interaction using a last-click model, or to think only about single-device or single-session interactions. Customers move fluidly across channels and devices. To truly understand the value of your digital investments, you have to overhaul your conversion goals to capture all the large and small behaviors that lead to business success. Once you have visibility into the customer journey, you can begin assigning credit with attribution models to determine your best channel and investment mix. Next, optimize your programs and run controlled experiments to see how you could improve your results even further. It’s an active, ongoing process.

So, make a New Year’s resolution to take a more proactive approach: consider and give credit to all the interactions in the customer journey, and act on your measurement insights. Throughout 2013 we’ll be sharing practical advice to help you dive in and join your customers in the always-on world. Good luck!

Posted by Paul Muret, Director of Engineering, Google Analytics

*Source for statistics in this post:
http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/insights/facts/marketing-objective/

Make some New Year’s resolutions for your business

Google and Your Business - Fri, 01/04/2013 - 00:30
Cross posted from the Official Google Blog.

When Melodie Bishop heard about our Get Your Business Online program (an initiative that makes it fast, easy and free for U.S. businesses to get online), she jumped at the opportunity to turn her hobby of creating Chicago-themed gift baskets into a full-time business. Since launching her website, Send Them Chicago, this past summer, Melodie has seen a 70 percent increase in new customers.

Melodie Bishop with one of her gift baskets

As the holidays wrap up and the New Year starts, millions of business owners just like Melodie are thinking about how they can grow in 2013. For many, this means getting found and connecting with customers on the web.

Yet often, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’re helping business owners create a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2013.

Let us know what you hope to accomplish in the New Year. Do you want to get your basic business information online? Or do you already have a website and want to reach more customers? Once you select your goals, we’ll create a customized list of resolutions with resources to help you stick to it.

In the U.S., 58 percent of small businesses don’t have a website, but 97 percent of Internet users look online for local products and services. So it’s not surprising that businesses with a web presence are expected to grow 40 percent faster than those without. Creating a list of resolutions for your business may just be one of the easiest things you can do to help your business grow.

We’ll see you on the web.

P.S. If you aren’t a small business owner, it’s not too late to give that business you know the gift of a free website.

Posted by Aditya Mahesh, Product Marketing, Get Your Business Online

13 business tips to countdown to 2013, Part III

Google and Your Business - Tue, 01/01/2013 - 16:46


Happy 2013! Over the past 13 days, we've been posting one tip daily on the Google+ Your Business page to countdown to January 1st and get your business ready for the new year. We previously shared our first and second set of five tips, and our final three of our top 13 tips are below. Now you can turn some of these tips into New Year's resolutions for your business!

Tip #11: Schedule due dates for tasks in emails on Google Calendar
When your inbox is overflowing, you don’t always have time to follow up on tasks discussed in emails immediately. And since you’ve already seen the email, you might not want to mark it as unread.

Make your workflow easier by saving emails that you need to follow up on in your Gmail Tasks list. When you have the email open, just click More > Add to Tasks and it will be automatically added to your list. Click “Related email” under the task to open the email whenever you need.

You can even schedule a due date--click on > next to the task then on the Calendar icon. When you select “Back to list” the date will be saved on the list and you’ll also get a reminder in your Google Calendar so you don’t miss a deadline!

Tip #12: Save online images right to Google Drive
Summarized from the Google Drive blog

If your business ever saves files from websites, you know it can cumbersome--right click on an image, download it to your computer, open it and rename it, save the file, and maybe even attach it to an email.
Instead, streamline the process with the Save to Drive Chrome extension, which lets you capture content from anywhere on the web and store it neatly online in Google Drive. Once you install the extension, just right click on the file or click on the Drive extension icon to save:
  • an image of an entire page or an image of the visible page
  • the HTML source code
  • a Web archive (.mht)
After you save with the extension, you’ll see options to immediately open the file in Drive, rename it, or view it in your Drive list, where you can do things like add it to a folder or share it with others. You can install it from the Chrome Webstore.

Tip #13: Use Google Maps on your website
Bring the power of Google Maps directly to your website! You can embed a simple map, a set of driving directions, a local search result, or a My Map (http://goo.gl/CcWDN) created by another user. Here's how:
  1. Ensure that the map you'd like to embed appears in the current map display.
  2. Click the link icon at the top of the left panel.
  3. In the box that appears, copy the HTML under 'Paste HTML to embed in website,' and paste it into the source code of your website or blog.
If you'd like to adjust the size of the map before you embed it, click “Customize and preview embedded map”, select your preferred size, and take a look at the preview map. Once you're happy with what you see, copy the HTML that appears in the box at the bottom of the window. For more advanced maps, learn about the Google Maps API: http://developers.google.com/maps/

Posted by the Google and Your Business blog Team

Year in Review: Top 3 Posts - 1st Place

Google and Your Business - Tue, 01/01/2013 - 02:39


Happy New Year! We've been looking at our top three most popular posts from 2012, and we're at number 1! And the winner is...Measurement Mondays and measuring online marketing. Previously we reshared our third place winner, 10 in 10: Google Chrome, and our second place post, 10 in 10: Google Calendar. Enjoy the end of 2012!

*      *      *
A few weeks ago, I shared some basic tips on how to measure your online marketing efforts. Today we’re taking a deeper look at how to measure the effectiveness of your website. Think of your website as your “Open For Business” sign on the web - but unlike your business, your website is open 24/7. So it’s important for you to measure how well your site is achieving your business goals. By using free tools like Google Analytics, you can see how visitors are finding and interacting with your site, which can help you improve your customer experience and potentially drive more sales.


Here are five things that every business should consider:
  • Identify your goals and track them correctly: Think about the ultimate business objectives of your website and identify specific visitor actions that indicate success, like finishing a sale, signing up for a newsletter, or viewing an important page. Then set up goal tracking to see how visitors are reaching those goals. You can also assign a dollar value to each goal to see how it’s impacting your bottom line, or set up ecommerce tracking to integrate online sales data.
  • Become a conversion detective: Businesses spend a lot of effort getting people to visit their site, so if your visitors aren’t converting or achieving your goals, it’s important to figure out why. There could be a variety of factors, like too many required steps to request a quote, call-to-action icons that are too small, or poor placement of your email list sign-up button. See what conversion metrics need a boost, and experiment with your site’s content and layout to see what works best.
  • Get to the bottom of your bounce rates: Bounce rates represent the people who are visiting one page on your website and then leaving immediately afterwards. This could signal that they’re not finding what they need right away. Think about what information your customers might be seeking, like contact information or links to promotions, and make sure it’s front and center on your site. Bounce rates can also show you how effective your marketing campaigns are. For instance, if you’re running an email marketing campaign but find that they’re resulting in visits with high bounce rates, you could be wasting time and money.
  • Discover important audience locations: The Internet can introduce even a small town business to potential customers around the world, so you might be surprised at what audiences are most interested in your products or services. Take a look at the countries, regions and provinces where your website visitors are coming from - it just might inspire you to run an ad campaign targeted to reach shoppers in France, or start a special promotion for your fans in Canada.
  • Make the most of mobile traffic: More and more consumers are browsing the web on the go with their smartphones, so spend some time discovering how many of your site’s visitors are coming from a mobile phone. Are they viewing multiple pages, staying for a long time, or bouncing away quickly? A local restaurant might want to know whether mobile visitors are quickly finding information like hours of operation, menus and address - because if they’re not, they could be going elsewhere. If you need help making your website mobile, you can find a ton of resources at www.howtogomo.com to help you get started.
There are a lot of things that you can learn when diving into your website analytics, and I know that sometimes it can feel like an overwhelming amount of data. The important thing about measurement is to just get started and keep experimenting. You’ll begin to see what works for your unique site and business, and may even find unexpected areas for growth. Happy measuring!

Posted by Francoise Brougher, Vice President of SMB Sales and Operations

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