Five Google Tools Authors Should Be Using

By Lisa Hazen

googleI’m surprised how many people don’t know that Google is much more than just search and Gmail. Google is at the forefront of a lot of free, valuable technology with tools that can help you do what you’re already doing better and provide information that helps you craft your message. Here’s a quick look at some tools I think all authors in particular should be using.

Google Alerts
If you are prone to Googling yourself, you may already be privy to this tool. Google Alerts allows you to identify different keywords—like your name or your book title—that you’d like to receive the alert for. You will receive an email alert at the interval you choose (from as it happens to once a week). You also get to determine if you receive all alerts or only the best.

Google Voice
With Google Voice, you get one number for all of your phones—landline or mobile. This is nice, because it is connected to you—not a location. It also creates voicemail transcriptions, which you can receive by email or text, and allows you to create custom greetings and call blocking. Although not a phone service, this is a great way to consolidate all of your phone-related business in one place and quickly process messages in the way you like.

Google Hangouts
There are so many different conferencing tools out there, why should you check out Google Hangouts? For one, it’s free and is compatible with pretty much any device or browser. It synchronizes chat, video, and phone. You can access conversations across devices, and even share them with others after you’re done Hangout is a great way to connect with readers or book clubs, or even interface with your publisher. You can even have someone live-stream an event you’re participating in with this tool.

Google Analytics
Anyone with a Web site should be using Google Analytics. I don’t have enough space here to detail all the incredible features it offers. But suffice to say that the information you seek about your users and how they interface with your site will appear here. You’ll be able to tell how people are finding you, what pages are performing well, and what platform and browser visitors are using the access your site. Track incoming links and make sure to monitor traffic around key launch and event dates.

Google Webmaster Tools
This tool is a little more technical, but the benefits it offers your site are definitely worth the learning curve. This tool provides a window into your search result performance. Once you verify your site, your dashboard provides detailed information about your site’s visibility on Google and are offered ways to discover where your traffic is coming from and how to increase it. Better yet, the Sitemaps feature helps you improve the way your site indexes.

Lisa Hazen is a Chicago-based Web Designer specializing in author sites. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or the WWW. mailto:lisa@lisahazen.com

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