Friday, April 25, 2008

Goals for Google-izing Your Business

by Gombos Atila

People considering this question usually begin by going to the More Google Products page (http://www.google.com/intl/en/ options) and scanning the long list of available services. That way, you can pick the ones that seem useful to you on an a la carte basis. You don't necessarily give a lot of thought to your business objectives for doing so. The fact is that a little advance planning can make your effort to incorporate Google into your business activities much more effective and goal-oriented.

One direction small businesses should consider taking is to sign up for a suite of applications called Google Apps. It's hard to overestimate the potential impact of this suite of productivity applications. For years, businesses have had to throw around terms like intranets, extranets, application servers, and hosted applications, all of which cost thousands of dollars to install, configure, and maintain. Google Apps makes all of these functions available for free. Even if you sign up for the Premium version of Google Apps, the $50 per-user annual fee is far less than you'd have to pay to install a comparable program, Microsoft Exchange, for instance. But Google Apps won't do it all.

And Google definitely contains many more services that will help you work more efficiently. Now I'm saying it's more effective. But is it really? When you tell your boss or your staff (or even yourself!) that you want to keep your spreadsheets and word processing files on Google and publish your catalogs there, they might be surprised.

Improving Your Visibility

For most online businesses, simply being found is half the battle. Google is the newest and best known single online resource for businesses around. It's the equivalent of running a Super Bowl ad, renting a billboard along a major highway, or putting your corporate name on a baseball stadium. When consumers hear the name Google, they remember that it's a place to find information. When business people with Web sites think of Google, at some point they inevitably ask themselves: How can I get better placement on Google? By that they mean that they want their site to appear higher up in search results.

Increasing Your Advertising Revenue

Some businesses go on the Web with the goal of generating extra income through advertising. By designing a web site that gets a high number of ''hits'' (that's Webspeak for visits), they are able to attract advertisers who will pay them to display ads on their pages. But things get complicated when you the busy Web site owner and business person have to negotiate who will place the ads, where they will appear, what size and format will be used, and how you'll get paid. Google handles that for you through its AdSense program and at the same time, ensures that the ads you display will complement your own content.

Collaborating More Effectively

In today's global economy, many companies have branch offices around the world or contractors who work from far-flung locations. Getting everyone in the same place for staff meetings can be costly when it comes to the time spent traveling and money spent on transportation costs. Establishing a business presence with Gmail, Google Apps, and Google Page Creator gives employees a way to keep in touch and share files, no matter where they are physically located. A Google Apps site gives colleagues a place to access word processing and spreadsheet documents.

About the Author

Working in the art and advertising industry for over eight years, Atila, along with his team of well experienced writers, share more information on his web design blog offering an insight into the world of art, culture, and design.

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