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Brian Cuda: Google solutions for your business

It's All Geek to Us

Posted: October 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Recently, Google’s CEO has found himself defending the company before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights. 

While there is no question Google has a monopoly on Internet searches, the government is trying to figure out if the company has been abusing its power by not displaying search results that might include competing services. 

In my humble opinion, the government should not intervene in the search-engine industry and let the market work itself out. Therefore, I would like to show my support for Google by sharing some of its other products that might be useful to a small-business website.

Here are three useful Google products and how they can be used for a small-business website.

Google Voice
Google Voice is a useful tool for the small and micro business. It is a free, local phone service that includes voice mail. 

A benefit is that Google provides a unique phone number for the business without paying the phone company. Google even offers a tool to select a vanity number. 

That number can then be forwarded to a mobile, business or home phone. It can even ring multiple numbers at the same time.

The biggest benefit is that the number doesn’t change when the business moves its office or changes mobile providers.
A disadvantage is that it does not provide an outgoing line for your business, so an existing phone line or cellphone must be used for outgoing calls.

Another disadvantage is that Google Voice doesn’t offer many options for business growth, such as additional lines or department extension routing.

However, the number could be forwarded to a VOIP service, such as Ringcentral.com, in the future.

Google FeedBurner
One of the problems with email newsletters is that the business owner often does not have the time to create a newsletter.
Another issue is that the content of the newsletter doesn’t stay on the business’s website. It resides on the newsletter provider’s site.

FeedBurner is a tool that can replace the need for email newsletters and solves these two issues.

If a business site includes a blog, product feed, or other dynamic information; FeedBurner will look for changes on the site and then format the information and send it to email subscribers.

So, if the business owner is already blogging or adding products to a website, the new content will automatically be sent to email subscribers and the content stays on the website, and might help boost search engine rankings.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a site-visitor counter with a user-friendly graphical interface. However, the service provides more than just how many people visited a site.

Google can share with site owners information about where visitors are located in the world, what content is most popular, what site referred them to a page, how much time they spend on each page and much more.

Knowing the source of the site traffic and behavior of site visitors is important in judging which form of promotion or advertising is most effective at getting site visitors and what content is converting visitors into customers.

These three Google products are not the only free tools they offer that may be helpful to small business. Other Google products to checkout are Trends, Docs, Calendar, Translate and Alerts.

One of Google’s founding philosophies is, “You can make money without doing evil.”

Some feel it has done evil, but whatever your view on its ethics, the reason it has a monopoly on some segments is that it has provided useful solutions for the right price.

Readers can submit questions to: brian@geek2us.com. Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at 661-338-0830  www.conceptinet.com. Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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