Year in Review: Top 3 Posts - 1st Place

Monday, December 31, 2012


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!

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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!

13 business tips to countdown to 2013, Part II

Friday, December 28, 2012


With 2013 around the corner, we’ve collected the top 13 tips for you to get your business ready for the new year. We've been posting one tip each day on the Google+ Your Business page, and previously we shared our first five tips here. Check out our next five tips, and keep an eye out for our last three as we countdown to 2013!

Tip 6: Use Google Sheets
Use Google Sheets for all your business’s spreadsheet needs, such as keeping lists, tracking projects, and analyzing data and results. Collaborate with co-workers by sharing editing rights, commenting on files, and chatting with other viewers in real-time. Learn more

Tip 7: Create duplicate Google+ Events
Does your business Google+ Events to host regular events? Now you can easily turn your last sale, customer meet-up, or Hangout on Air into a monthly or quarterly affair by duplicating the event. Open up your last event and select Actions > Duplicate event. Google+ will pull in all the important details, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Tip 8: Try a Hangout on Air
Is your business looking to reach more customers with engaging video content? With Hangouts on Air, you can record your live hangout, so the video is available to share with everyone. Does your business have a new product to unveil? Invite your circles or a few select customers to join you in your Hangout on Air, and then broadcast it! A live player of your hangout will be posted on your Google+ page and on your YouTube channel. Once the hangout is over, your video is available publicly on your +page, and you can make edits to it if you like. Learn more

Tip 9: Add fun fonts to docs
Use Google Docs to create rich documents in your business’s style. Customize your files by changing and adding fonts. The default font is Arial when you create a Google Doc. To change the font, click on the drop-down menu. You can even add fonts to your font list. At the bottom of the font list, click “Add fonts” to search for web fonts for use in your business’s documents. Learn more

Tip 10: Start a Google+ Community 
With Communities, the newest feature in Google+, you and your business can connect with customers and followers in new ways. Search for communities that represent your interests, and see what’s trending in that space. Have a cupcake shop? Join a foodie community and see what’s popular among dessert lovers on Google+. Have a particular interest that you’d like to share? Start your own community!

Here are some of the features of Google+ Communities:
  • Public or private membership to support all kinds of groups—from topics and interests to local neighborhoods to regular poker nights
  • Discussion categories to find the conversations you care about most
  • The option to start hangouts and plan events with community members
  • The ability to share with your community from any +1 button across the web

13 business tips to countdown to 2013, Part I

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


With 2013 around the corner, we’ve collected the top 13 tips for you to get your business ready for the new year. We've been posting one tip each day on the Google+ Your Business page, and we've collected the first five tips here. Start getting your business ready for 2013 now, and stay tuned for the next set of tips!

Tip 1: Create new holiday promotion ads in AdWords
It's the busy holiday season and we want your customers to find you online! Often, businesses that advertise with Google make edits to their ad text to promote a holiday sale or deal to bring customers to their website. While we recommend advertising these promotions, here's a little tip we want to highlight:

Don't jump straight into your ad that you have running and click to edit that ad. Saving changes to an existing ad causes the ad to go under review which, depending on the number of ads that you have in your account, can cause an interruption in your ad delivery. Instead, we recommend creating a new ad with the holiday promotion in addition to the generic ad that you already have. Once the new ad gets reviewed, you can pause your generic ad and let the holiday one run -- delay avoided!

Tip 2: Use referrals data in Analytics
If your business has a website, do you know how your customers are finding it? You can use referrals information in Google Analytics to see how people got to your website.

Analytics shows traffic coming from around the web, so not just other websites but from social media as well. Is a lot of your traffic coming from one social media channel? Maybe you want to spend more time posting there. You can also see how many new visits came from a certain source, if you want to target customers by using different content depending on the channel.

To find data on referrals, just sign in to Google Analytics then click Traffic Sources > Sources > Referrals. Don’t have Google Analytics set up yet? Learn how to get started at http://www.google.com/analytics/

Tip 3: Track packages in Google Search

Does your business receive lots of packages? Don’t worry about wasting time going to multiple websites to track them. You can find out where FedEx, UPS and USPS packages that you've ordered are by typing the tracking number into Google. Simply enter the tracking number into the Google Search box and when you click enter, you'll see updated shipping information for your packages.

Tip 4: Get you daily agenda in your email
You may not have a personal assistant, but you can still have your agenda delivered straight to your email with Google Calendar. To receive the daily notification, go to Calendar and select “My calendars.” Click on the dropdown button next to the calendar you want to receive an agenda for, and then select “Reminders and notifications. Check the email box next to “Daily agenda” then “Save” and you’ll start to receive a overview of your day to your Gmail address every morning! Learn more

Tip 5: Import slides into Google Presentations
Just because your business has old Power Point slides that you need doesn’t mean that you can’t use Google Presentations. All you have to do is import the file and you can transfer whichever slides you want into the presentation. When you have a Google Presentation open, go to Insert > Import slides... > Upload to add files from your computer. Or, instead of Upload select Presentations to copy slides from an existing Google Presentation. Learn more

Year in Review: Top 3 Posts - 2nd Place

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our year in review continues, where we're looking at our top three most popular posts from 2012. Last week we reshared our third place winner, 10 in 10: Google Chrome. Coming in second is another piece from our 10 in 10 series, this time our tips for using Google Calendar.

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The daylight hours are getting shorter, but the work day is as busy as ever. If you use Google Calendar to schedule your business’s days, weeks, and months, check out our tips for organizing and using your calendar more efficiently.
  1. The Google Calendar Android app lets you manage all your calendars in one place--including those from your Google accounts and other synced calendars--right from your mobile device.
  2. Use keyboard shortcuts to make and manage your events quickly. For example, when you’re on your calendar, try typing c to create a new event, d to display your calendar in day view, or n to see the next date range.
  3. Collaborating on events with co-workers using Google Calendar? Pass on the torch and transfer ownership of the event to the new coordinator. When you're editing event details, visit the "More Actions" dropdown then click “Change owner.” You'll have the option to send them a note letting them know this change is effective now.
  4. Unclutter your calendar by auto-hiding events once you've declined them, letting you to focus on the more important parts of your day/week/month. Just click the gear icon at the top of any Google Calendar page, go to Calendar settings, and then the General tab. Select "No" in the “Show events you have declined” section and then save.
  5. Tired of the white grid look on your calendar? Add a photo to personalize your background.
  6. Planning on meeting with people in another time zone? Enable the world clock in Calendar Labs to find a convenient time. Out of town and not by your computer? You can automatically decline events during times when you’re busy. Check out other Labs features you can try.
  7. Create a to-do list that will appear right next to your calendar. You can even assign calendar dates to tasks, and then sort by the due date.
  8. Want to share special events happening at your business with your customers? Create a separate calendar and then embed it on your website.
  9. Customize your notification settings for events. You can choose to get reminders between 5 minutes and 4 weeks before your event, and pick whether you want the reminder delivered as a pop-up notification, email, or text message. You can also add multiple reminders for an event.
  10. Organize your calendar by color-coding different events or calendars and make it easier to get an overview of your schedule with a quick glance.
Find even more tips on ways to use Google Calendar by checking out the help center!

The Perfect Gift for that Business Owner on Your List

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Here in the US, 58% of small businesses do not have a website. These business owners could be your uncle, your cousin or your best friend. This holiday season, a website may just be the perfect gift for that small business owner on your list.



As part of our Get Your Business Online program, small businesses in the US can get an easy-to-build Intuit website, a custom domain name and web hosting. All free for a year. Why not invite that business you know to get online? To get started and send the gift of a free website, go to www.gybo.com/gift where you can find that business and send them a personalized invitation. It’s fast, easy and free.

With 97% of internet users looking online for local products and services, it is not a surprise that businesses with an online presence are expected to grow 40% faster. (BCG Report, “The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity,” March 2012) We all want to see our favorite small businesses succeed and getting them online may just be one of the easiest ways to help them grow.

Happy Holidays!

The Business December 19th 2012, The "Life Is Excellent" Edition

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
 

We will, we will rock you. Rock you.

Well, more specifically, we are more than happy to welcome Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggets to rock you!!

Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children MacNuggits began in 1995, in a trash-strewn fast-food parking lot in Pinole, CA. Guitarist Dan Abbott and singer Corbett Redford rose from humble circumstances as a satiric folk rock band that played for friends to their current majestic heights with hilarious and sometimes frightening acoustic performances. The MacNuggits have gathered loyal legions of fans with their infamous combination of searing social satire, soaring harmonies, outlandish and shocking truths, and poop jokes. The songs draw upon a variety of pop culture, of global crises, of interpersonal labyrinths, of nightmares and daydreams, skewering them on a rusty spit for the world to see. With a nod to social satirists like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, and musical influences ranging from Slick Rick to They Might Be Giants, Bobby Joe Ebola is the vaudeville routine for your personal apocalypse.

Bobby Joe Ebola will be CELEBRATING the release of their brand new new CD/LP, TRAINWRECK TO NARNIA on Rooftop Comedy Productions & Dirt Cult Records! Come pick up a copy!
 
We are also pleased to have Kevin Hawkins joining us. The internet says: “Kevin Hawkins has worked as a teacher, principal, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. He brings to education a holistic understanding of children and young people from his lifelong work with adolescents, and he strives to support the development of young minds through enhancing students’ self-awareness and emotional intelligence. “ but I’m pretty sure that’s a different Kevin Hawkins, and our guest this week is just a cool funny dude up from LA.

Your regulars will be there “Alex Reflux” Koll, Bucky “SARSnister”, Caitlin “Rhinovirus” Gill, Sean “Croup” Keane, and Mike “Diphtheria” Drucker.

The show is just $5! If you want to bring a friend, bring em for free!!  Print out you your 2-for-1 coupon from above!!!

BYOBurritonuggets.

Leekes attracts new customers into its home department store with Google Business Photos

Leekes is an independent, family-owned business that has been around for 115 years. They operate 5 home department stores throughout the UK, offering quality home furnishings. They recently expanded into Coventry, UK, and wanted to build brand and location awareness. Leekes decided to use Google Business Photos to attract new customers by allowing them to virtually tour their new location.



Google Business Photos stitches together HDR panoramic images into a Google Maps Street View-style virtual tour. The 360°-degree panoramic tour offered by Google Business Photos has allowed customers to visit Leekes from the comfort of their own home, tablet or smartphone.

A high-quality, smooth interactive tour of Leekes’ interior can easily be found on Google Search, Google Maps and Leekes’ Google+ Local page. Once inside the virtual tour, users can “walk around” and explore the store and its many departments.

Geraint Martin, head of e-commerce at Leekes states, “We need to quickly give people an understanding of what the Leekes brand is about...and there is no better way to do that than through imagery.”



You can read the Leekes Google Business Photos 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

AdWords Express holiday offer extended for a limited time

Monday, December 17, 2012
(Cross posted from the Inside AdWords blog)

Still scrambling to stay ahead of the holidays? We want to help you make the most of the last 2 weeks of the year, so we’re extending our offer to double your AdWords Express investment. Just start using AdWords Express to attract new customers to your U.S. business, and you'll get a free advertising credit in January worth what you spend on AdWords Express ads between now and December 31, 2012.*


Reaching potential customers online is a snap with AdWords Express. Just select your business category, write an ad, and set your budget. Where and when your ad appears is managed automatically, and you only pay when potential customers click on your ad for more information. And in mid-January, you’ll receive a free advertising credit for that amount you spent on AdWords Express ads in December.*

Get started today at http://www.google.com/adwords/express/.


*Terms and conditions

HOAliday Series: How to Create Stand-Out Ads During the Competitive Holiday Season

Friday, December 14, 2012


AdWords Specialists Divya Vishwanath, Alec Fox, and Lauren Maten hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday as the second installment of the three-part HOAliday series.

To help you in this busy and crucial time of year, we shared tips on...
  • Ad copy optimization (don’t forget to share your holiday promotion!)
  • Various ad extensions to make your ads stand out
  • How to set up an experiment to see exactly what changes are making the account successful
You can watch the full 25-minute Hangout on Air below, or 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, December 20th, when we discuss how to keep the holiday momentum going in the new year.

HOA HOA HOA and to all a good day/night!

12 Google+ Events Tips for 12/12/12

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Today, on 12/12/12--the last time this century that the day, month, and year are all the same--we’re bringing you and your business 12 tips on using Google+ Events. From the employee holiday party to your business’s New Year’s sale, check out ways that you can use Events not just to be a party pro, but also to engage your guests before, during, and after your event!
  1. Use Google+ to create an event that takes place either offline (such as an event in your store) or online (like a virtual meet and greet with your ownership team).
  2. Invite anyone you like. Guests who don’t use Google+ will be able to view and respond to the invitation. Guests who do use Google+ will be able to comment, invite others, and add photos, unless you disable these features.
  3. Choose a theme to add flare to your event and represent your business’s personality. Hosting your yearly company party? Having a holiday sale? Choose the theme that best fits your event.
  4. Manage your guest list by adding or removing invitees at any time. You can change guests’ rights, such as whether they can comment, add photos, or invite more people to your event by using the Actions menu.
  5. Add photos and videos to your event to share a collection of media with your guests before and after an event. By default, all guests can contribute to an event’s photo collection. For public events, anyone can contribute photos.
  6. Enable Party Mode so that Android mobile users can automatically upload their photos to the event page while the event is in progress.
  7. Add a hangout to your event so you can video chat with customers or co-workers before or during the event.
  8. Use Events on mobile for your Android phone to create and moderate your events, share photos and comments, and get directions to events, all while you’re on the go.
  9. Make your event public to increase visibility and allow more potential customers to find it and interact with the event’s page. For public events, anyone can say they’re going, add comments and photos, and invite others, unless these settings are disabled.
  10. Host an Event on air so that anyone can find and view your event, but the event page itself is more . Events on air have a limited guest list, and only invited guests can add photos and comments (unless this setting is disabled).
  11. From the Events homepage, click Find more events to browse public events and get ideas for yours. If you make your event public, others will be able to find your event this way as well.
  12. You can add additional information fields to your event, like a link to buy tickets, your business’s website, or a YouTube channel. When you’re creating your event, just click Event Options > Advanced > Show additional fields.
To learn more about Google+ events, visit the Help Center!

Highlight Your Events on Google

(summarized from the Webmaster Central blog)

At Google we’re making more and more use of structured data to provide enhanced search results, such as rich snippets and event calendars, that help users find your content. Until now, marking up your site’s HTML code has been the only way to indicate structured data to Google. However, we recognize that markup may be hard for some websites to deploy.

Today, we’re offering webmasters a simpler alternative: Data Highlighter. At initial launch, it’s available in English only and for structured data about events, such as concerts, sporting events, exhibitions, shows, and festivals. We’ll make Data Highlighter available for more languages and data types in the months ahead.

Data Highlighter is a point-and-click tool that can be used by anyone authorized for your site in Google Webmaster Tools. No changes to HTML code are required. Instead, you just use your mouse to highlight and “tag” each key piece of data on a few typical event pages on your site. Data Highlighter learns to recognize the formatting pattern of your site’s data, so when Google crawls your site, all your latest event listings become eligible for enhanced search results. This short video explains how the process works:


To get started with Data Highlighter, visit Webmaster Tools, select your site, click the “Optimization” link in the left sidebar, and click “Data Highlighter.”

If you have any questions, please read our Help Center article or ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum. Happy Highlighting!

Steel + silicon = business success in Detroit

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.

From time to time we invite guests to post about items of interest and are pleased to have Linzie Venegas join us today. Linzie is head of sales and marketing for Ideal Shield, a manufacturing company in Detroit, Mich. that specializes in bumper post sleeves. Based in a city forged in tradition and steel, Ideal Shield has seen great success on the web—a story Linzie tells us in this post. -Ed.

When my great-grandparents moved from Mexico to Detroit in 1917, they were looking for a better life. They had no idea that one day their grandson, my father Frank Venegas, would invent a product and start a business that would help transform their adopted hometown. Thanks to my dad’s hard work and a little help from the web, that’s exactly what Ideal Shield has done.

Ideal Shield specializes in manufacturing bumper post sleeves. You may have seen these around—they’re colorful covers that slide over the steel pipes that keep cars from running into buildings. As a young child, my first job at Ideal was to assemble mailers for potential customers. Our mailers were unique—I would place a pack of jelly beans into each envelope. Talk about a great way to get a high “clickthrough rate!” Today, I head sales and marketing for the company, and we’ve taken our family business online with phenomenal results.


Ideal Shield’s father-daughter team Frank and Linzie Venegas in the factory surrounded by bumper post sleeves and guard rails.
We began using Google AdWords in 2004 to help potential customers find our product because many people didn’t know what it was. We were drawn to AdWords because everyone could see our ads—but we only had to pay for the customers who clicked through to our website. We also found that the leads were very qualified and had a higher close rate than leads from other sources. So far this year, for every $1 we've spent on AdWords we’ve gotten back $22. We’ve been able to have great success—without jelly beans!—using Google AdWords.

The energy we’ve put into our online presence has produced tremendous growth for our business; we’ve been able to grow our workforce by 20 percent. We’ve also focused on building our local community of Southwest Detroit. Each year we hire many interns from the local high school, Detroit Cristo Rey, and teach them skills that will last a lifetime. We’ve outfitted the junior and senior classes at Detroit Cristo Rey with Chromebooks so that they’ll have access to the power of the web anywhere, and many teachers there use the free Google Apps for Education suite with their students. This year, we were proud to hear that Detroit Cristo Rey achieved a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. We also work with the Michigan Minority Business Development Council to teach other small businesses in the community the importance of an online strategy and how the web can help small businesses thrive.

My dad started Ideal with himself, my mother and a couple of laborers; today this family business has more than 35 employees and annual sales of $14 million. With help from the web, his hard work, determination and “out of the box” thinking have made Ideal a symbol of strength and renewal in Southwest Detroit. My father has always told me that if you take care of the community, the community will take care of you. Detroit is our community—it’s our heart, it’s our home. We’ve been surprised and delighted at how much the web has contributed to Ideal Shield, and we’re happy to share that success with Detroit. We can’t wait to do more!



The Business December 12th 2012, The "The Cartoonist and the Cartoon" Edition

Monday, December 10, 2012
This Wednesday night is gonna feel like a Saturday morning. The Business is bringing you a talented cartoonist, as well as a human who may very well be a cartoon.

Michael Capozzola has contributed to Mad Magazine, The New York Times and National Lampoon. Each year, Michael produces and hosts the Cartoon Art Museum’s annual “Comics for Comix” comedy fundraiser which he conceived as well. He has been in a bunch of commercials, you can see his broadcast/ TV reel at http://vimeo.com/21673752. Born and rais
ed in New Rochelle, NY Michael subsisted on comic books and chocolate until he took up comedy and caffeine. He created his own comedy studies major while at Ithaca College. (NERD.)

Dr. Foxmeat is half warewolf, half cotton candy. He is part liger, part tigon. He is carbon based and also plays bass for The Carbons. He is always a true pleasure to have as a guest. Come experience him.

Your regulars will be there as well: Mike Daffy Drucker, Bugs Sinister, Yosemite Sean Keane, Alex Foghorn Leg-Kol” and Wile. E Caitlin Gill.

This whole show is just $5! You can even bring a friend for free! Just grab a 2 for 1 coupon here!
WE SELL OUT. Get there early so you can get a seat.

BYOBurrito. I still get carnitas, even though it means “That’s all folks” for a Porky.

Year in Review: Top 3 Posts - 3rd Place



It's well into December, New Year's Eve is just a few weeks away, and like many others, we're thinking about the year in review. Through the end of the month, we'll re-share your top 3 favorite posts from the Google and Your Business blog in 2012. Coming in at number 3 is a piece from our 10 in 10 series--our top 10 tips for using Google Chrome.

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Want to get even faster at work? Use Google Chrome shortcuts to start working as fast as you browse the web:

  1. While reading online, have you ever seen a word or phrase that you wanted to learn more about? Next time, just highlight the term(s) and then drag it to your tabstrip to the right or left of your current tab--a new tab will open with search results for the highlighted text. You can also try the Dictionary extension so when you highlight a word the definition will hover over it. 
  2. Have a site (or a few) you always keep open, like Gmail or Rdio? You can pin those tabs so that they open the next time you launch Chrome. To pin a tab, right-click on it then select “Pin Tab”.  
  3. Sign in to Chrome to access your bookmarks and quickly sync your tabs on any of your other gadgets where you’re signed into Chrome. Just go to the “Other devices” menu when you open a new tab to find them. The back and forward buttons will even work, so you can pick up browsing right where you left off. 
  4. Try using incognito windows to browse in stealth mode. With Incognito Mode, pages you view won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window 
  5. Want to hide your bookmarks bar? You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Shift+B (Windows and Chrome OS) and ⌘-Shift-B (Mac) to toggle the bar on and off. 
  6. To save a webpage as a PDF, press Ctrl + p (Mac: Cmd + p) to bring up the print dialogue, then Destination > Change. 
  7. Need even more space to browse? You can toggle full-screen mode with these handy keyboard shortcuts: Fullscreen Key on a Chromebook, F11 on Windows & Linux, and Cmd+Shift+F on a Mac. 
  8. Accidentally close a window? Just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+t to open the last tab you closed. Keep using this shortcut to open your previous tabs. 
  9. Bookmarks are just a click away. Like a page? Click on the Star next to the omnibox, and the page is automatically bookmarked. 
  10. Use apps from the Chrome Web Store to do things like get notifications, take notes, edit screenshots, and more. 
You can learn even more tips for using Google Chrome by checking out the help center or Chrome’s Google+ page.

Jacky Hayward, Google Chrome Team 

HOAliday Series: Keeping Ads from Going Dark over the Holidays

Friday, December 7, 2012
AdWords Specialists Courtney Pannell, Ben Oberg,  and Brette Henderson hosted a Hangout on Air last week as the first installment of the HOAliday three-part series.

During the Hangout, we talked about some tips to keep your ads running during this crucial time for your business. We first explained how to avoid in ad delivery when you’d like to change your ad text to show a holiday promotion or deal. We then shared a few of our best tips with automated rules and billing best practices to make advertising for your business easy during a season that you should get to enjoy, too!

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, December 13th, when we discuss how to create standout ads during the busy holiday season.

Stay tuned! HOA HOA HOA and to all a good day/night!

Ten Major Fears That Scare Small Businesses Away From Strategic Planning

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
An often offered comment to me when I speak about strategic planning to small business owners and managers is that their company or organization is too small for strategic planning. Or they will offer any number of other excuses why they do not use strategic planning for their business. In my opinion, this is a sad commentary on the thinking of these small business people. They do not realize or comprehend that their business or organization is on their way to the business graveyard without a strategic plan. Well, I really believe if the truth were told, the real reason they do not do strategic planning is related more to fear than anything else. And so I ask this question: "why are so many of these businesses strategically challenged, strategically averse and/or just plain scared or fearful of strategic planning?" Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach reviewed and reflected upon experiences with this type of small business thinking and offers the following list of ten major fears that drive small businesses away from strategic planning. Fear #1: Fear of being intimidated and overwhelmed by the strategic planning process. Many small business owners and leaders have pre-conceived an idea of what strategic planning is and fear that the process of strategic planning will be too overwhelming for them. Therefore, they feel intimidated by the process and do not want to even start the process. Fear #2: Fear of repeated past bad experiences with strategic planning. Small business leaders may have had some extremely negative and possibly harmful experiences with strategic planning in the past. They may have had a very poor consultant that was brought in and nearly ruined the business. Maybe they spent weeks in meetings without accomplishing one thing because they did not use a professional facilitator. Or maybe they launched a plan without any means of accountability. Fear #3: Fear of the amount of anticipated time and commitment to develop a strategic plan. Small businesses do not have a large corporate staff and are so busy putting out fires and managing day-to-day activities that they believe they will not have time to focus on long-term and strategic thinking. They want to keep working "in the business" but avoid working "on he business." And this translates to a basic fear that if they divert time to strategic planning, the business will fall apart in the meantime. Fear #4: Fear of academic or the ivory tower thinking. Many small business owners are distrustful of theories, systems, generalizations and formulas. There is the fear of "this is fine in theory but I does not work in the real world." Fear #5: Fear of the facilitation process. The most effective strategic planning meetings use the skills of a professional facilitator. Small business owners and mangers may fear that the meetings, no matter how well intended, will end up as gripe sessions or hours of aimless wandering without a clear agenda or purpose. Fear #6: Fear of commitment. A benefit of strategic planning is that it leads to decisive action. So, in companies where the owner and management likes to "hold back" or "hedge bets," work on many things at the same time and "keep all options open," this can be a real problem. This stems from a fear of making a decision and following through with commitment to carry out that decision. Fear #7: Fear of accountability. Most small business owners are only accountable to themselves and many times that really means they are "not accountable to anyone" and are not really held accountable. With strategic planning, there is a system of accountability built into the plan and this causes some real fear and distress to some small business people. Fear #8: Fear of failure. In small businesses the cost of failure is high and the personal risks are great. In large companies, the management is really dealing with someone else's money. In small business and especially with entrepreneurs, one's livelihood is at stake. A winning strategic plan could help the entrepreneur realize his dream, but a losing plan could result in a nightmare. Fear #9: Fear of the cost of strategic planning. This fear arises when there is no strategic thinking used to look at the value of strategic planning to the business compared to the cost. Fear also arises when strategic planning is viewed as an expense rather than as an investment. Fear #10: Fear of discomfort and confrontation during the strategic planning process. Many small business owners and managers are very fearful and uncomfortable with "confrontations" and they go to great lengths to avoid them. They are very uncomfortable in any confrontation and are fearful that they will be confronted with some issue or problem during the strategic planning process that they would rather avoid. Therefore, they decide to not engage in the strategic planning process. Your strategic thinking business coach strongly encourages you to fully realize the benefits of strategically thinking and planning to manage and grow your business. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or by email at jgecoach@aol.com Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, “Glenn’s Guiding Lines – Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach” and has published more than 240 articles on business.

Announcing a new Google Ads Hangout on Air series - “Happy HOAlidays”

(This post has been cross-published from the AdWords blog)



The holidays are crunch time for many advertisers out there, so we’re introducing a new holly, jolly Hangout on Air series on the Google Ads +Page. In this three-part series, AdWords specialists from the 866-2-GOOGLE support team will cover three important topics surrounding your AdWords performance during the holiday season.

December 6 at 11 AM PDT: How to keep your ads from going dark during the holidays
We’ll discuss tips and tricks for how to manage your account effectively when you might be out of the office on holiday break.

December 13 at 11 AM PDT: How to create stand-out ads during the competitive holiday season
We’ll share the best strategies for setting yourself apart from your competition.

December 20 at 11 AM PDT: How to maintain the holiday momentum
We’ll tell you how to assess your holiday performance and engage your new customer base into the new year.

To join the Hangouts, just sign into Google+ and add the Google Ads +Page to your circles. Each week we’ll put up a post soliciting your questions. Then, on Thursday, navigate to your Stream where you’ll be able to view our Hangout live with just one click. See you there!

The Business December 5th 2012, The "D&D" Edition


Gather your dice with many sides and prepare yourselves for a magical adventure of the imagination! Let The Business be your Dungeon Master for this tournament of champions featuring our own D&D, Derek Sheen and Dave Thomason.

A cuddly mess of insecurities; Derek Sheen enjoys over-sharing about his personal failures and the most intimate details of his secret thoughts. He likes turning over rocks and talking about the squishy things that live underneath and loves making audiences laugh, even when they
feel like they shouldn't. He has been killed in several movies and cartoons! Most recently in the Funny or Die series “Adventure Buddies”; the voice of E.T. in the gay porn/animated favorite “E.T. 2:Dark Territory". His album "Holy Drivel" is available from Rooftopcomedy.com. Lindy West of Jezebel.com has called him "A Human Hug".

Dave Thomason is a stand-up comedian who was born in San Francisco and now tells jokes there. He recently won Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award recognizing the best up-and-coming comedians in the nation. Dave has performed at a bunch of neat-o festivals across the country, including the SF Sketchfest, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festival. His stand-up has been featured on NPR’s “Snap Judgment”. You can catch him regularly at the Punch Line in San Francisco.

Plus a visit from one of our favorite guests, Nato Green, writer for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on FX.

All your regulars will be assembled, Bucky "Strength" Sinister, Caitlin "Constitution" Gill, Alex "Wisdom" Koll, Mike "Dexterity" Drucker and Sean "Charisma" Keane.

Tickets are just $5! We sell out! Get there early for a seat.

BYOBurrito or you will lose hit points.

Build Your Digital Brand with Google+ Webinar

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The Google+ platform provides a fresh canvas for building and strengthening your digital brand, tying into all the marketing you already do with Google. From launching a new product using Google+ pages to engaging with your community of enthusiasts over Hangouts, join our Learn with Google webinar this Thursday for a look at ways your company can build its brand using social. Sign up on our webinar page to attend: Building a Digital Brand with Google+ (Thurs, Dec 6, 10am PT / 1pm ET)

After the Hangout, we’ll host a live Q&A with members of the Google+ team to answer questions about building a brand with Google+. RSVP on the Google+ Event page and add your questions as comments on that page.

With more than 100 monthly million active Google+ users, the time is right to focus on building your digital brand presence via the platform. Google+ has seen a wealth of brands engaging with users in creative, interactive ways. In fact, brands created more than 1 million Google+ pages in just a few months. For instance:
  • H&M -- The retail clothing company, with more than 2 million Google+ followers, uses tailored content, images and video to bring its fashions and lifestyle to life on the platform. They’ve also utilized Ripples to identify their trendsetters and saw a 22% clickthrough rate boost after implementing social extensions in AdWords.
  • Cadbury -- The chocolate maker has reached a following of nearly 3 million users with a combination of creative posts, Hangouts on Air and even the launch of their Dairy Milk Bubbly bar. They’ve also installed the Google+ badge on the company’s web homepage, making it easy as chocolate to follow the brand.
Like the ideas here? Log on Thursday to learn more about how to create, capture and sustain demand for your brand using Google+. And if you’re going to miss this while you’re at SMX Social in Las Vegas next week, check back at the webinars page later for a recording of the webinar.