Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learning to use Google +

Do you use Google Plus?  
I have had a Google Plus account for a long time now - but haven't really used it - other than to "g+" each of my blog posts to try and get them out there more.  I'd also been onto Google Plus a couple of times via links to posts - and had kind of half-heartedly added a few people to my 'circles' - not really understanding what I was doing.

Social media beginner

In trying to grow my blog - I decided recently to make a big effort to learn to use social media more - definitely a weak point for me as I'd never really used it that much even personally.  I've been using Facebook more recently - but nothing really focused, just for personal enjoyment rather than as a tool to grow my blog.
As far as Google Plus goes, all I was doing was literally clicking the tiny g+ icon on the bottom of each post after I'd published.

So, deciding to take action and learn what Google Plus is all about I started reading some articles.

I started with:

I discovered that Google + is now bigger than Twitter 
(which I thought was pretty big!)

Promoting Blog Posts

I learnt that when I promote my blog posts on Google Plus - not to simply click on that little g+ button at the bottom of each post. In doing that I was only promoting using a tiny thumbnail (not always a great one), and I was only promoting the post to the small group of people I'd added to my circles.

So for example before one of my g+ posts looked like this:
Notice it says 'shared privately' and has no pictures or any details or information to tempt people to click on the link.

And here's the same post I re-did, using what I've learnt:

Now you see it says 'shared publicly' so everyone can see it.  It has a nice big picture, and some details about the post. 

What I've learnt about sharing to google +

1. When you paste in the post link to the 'share what's new' space, click on 'remove' to get rid of the thumbnail that shows up. Then click on add photo - and choose a better photo to represent the post from your computer files.

2. Type in a header or lead sentence, and put * on either side of this to make it show up as bold when published.

3. Add a short written description if need be to entice people to want to read the whole post.

4. At the bottom of the mini post, where it says 'To' - make sure you include 'public' and any circles you want to see the post.

5. Add hashtags - like on Twitter and now Facebook, Google + has "#" - some will be added automatically, but you can add your own to help others find your post if they are searching for a particular topic.

Google + Authorship

Something else I've read about and now done is claimed my Google authorship on my blogs.  I read a fair bit about why this is so important - particularly a good article here which explains how it helps your blog Google ranking!
As far as I understand too - it means that my profile picture will now start to show up in Google searches that bring up my blog posts! Apparently people are far more likely to click on links that include a picture of the person who wrote the article !

Being on Blogger - claiming authorship for my blogs was very straightforward - I followed the instructions I found here.
If you aren't on Blogger - there are plenty of posts out there explaining how to claim authorship - here's one.

Google Hangout

I've also managed to use Google Hangout - which is a kind of live-chat video option.  Thanks to Michele of Michele Made Me - who interviewed me in a 'hangout'. You can see that interview here if you're interested!

Build a community

So now I'm all set up with Google +. I've updated my profile, added a picture; claimed authorship for my two blogs and started spending time on Google +, finding other blogs I'm interested in, meeting new people, joining communities with specific interests like upcycling,  craftingsocial media, and kids activities.

Now I'm slowly learning how to post within communities - gradually getting more comfortable with navigating the whole thing and commenting etc. 

I've linked my Google+ profile to my blog - so that shows up in my sidebar now with a little - follow button next to it!

So there you have it - three weeks of learning about Google+, updating, adding photos etc.
Now I'll see whether it makes a difference to helping me grow my blog as I put in the time getting to know everyone over at Google +!

If you aren't already over there - then come and join me!

What are your experiences with Google+?
Do you have any more tips to add - things you have learned?


  1. I was recently told that adding the bigger photos in G+ posts is something that Google frowns upon. So I've reverted to simply using the default photos. Apparently, it can have a negative impact on your blog's page rank or something. So that is something that you might want to investigate further.

    And just today, Google sent an email suggesting that we use the new Google+ Followers gadget as an alternative to the Google Friend Connect Followers. Did you get that email? That seems to indicate (to me anyways) that GFC is on the way out. I'd heard rumors of this many months ago but made nothing of it. But given today's email, your move to Google+ may be warranted.

    1. Thanks Michele - I hadn't heard that about bigger photos. I tried to 'Google' it, but couldn't find anything negative about them. I notice that sometimes Google chooses one post with a large photo to make even bigger and it stretches across the whole screen. One of mine got lucky the other day - don't know if any with small thumbnails get picked!

      I also didn't know about the Google+ Followers gadget - so I just added that too! (hadn't received an email about it though - so thanks for sharing!)

  2. Thanks for the post and all the links, Jill. I only joined up about a month ago, so it's all new to me.

    1. No worries Pam - I just added you to my circles!! :)

  3. I need to take the time and actually read this post. I don't like when someone comments on my blog and I can't visit them back b/c of them being google + and me not.

    1. I have to say the more time I spend on Google Plus, the more I find to like about it. There are some great communites there that I'm only just beginning to find! I do think it's worth joining to explore!


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