Tuesday, September 23, 2014

IFBC-WTF Google+

Teaching folks how to spread their content makes me happy. 

Sharing how to use the most powerful search engines in the world to spread that content makes me even happier.

The crowd at the International Food Bloggers Conference last weekend in Seattle were incredibly happy to hear from me.

Even without coffee,

Even on a bright and beautiful Sunday morning at the early 9am hour.

They gathered because, Finally! the understanding of just how powerful the Google+ platform is to bloggers is filtering out to everyone. 

Lots of questions were fielded, and answered but it all stemmed from this set of slides. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wordpress PlugIns with Craig Fifield

Integration between Google+ and Wordpress broadens and deepens the social signals you send,


1. use a social account, Google+ will automatically use your name and email address, grab your profile picture and URL to associate with your comment.
2. create an official connection between your Posts on WordPress.com and your Google+ account. 
3. Add a sharing button for the site
4. Site/Domain validation
5. Automatic XML sitemaps

Embedding Content from Google+ is easy as well. You can embed documents, maps or calendars into any post or page. 

But what about Analytics?  


and from a historical perspective

Join +Chef Dennis Littley  and +Jean Layton  on 3/24 to chat with +Craig Fifield  about what Wordpress plugins would work best for integration with Google+.

As mentioned by Craig:


You can schedule as frequently as you need. Backup to Dropbox, Amazon S3, 
BackUpWordpress- free
BackupBuddy - paid


W3 Total Cache- caching a static copy 
Javascript to Footer- defers the loading of the javascript to the footer.  Makes the 


Yoast Wordpress SEO, 
Yoast Video SEO- paid


Google+ Comments- 
Comments Evolved- tabbed comments in one.  You can select Facebook, Wordpress. 

Social Network Autoposter,


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Google+ and Blogger Interactions

Starting out with a new blog is one of the most exciting days in writing.

Making the selection of blog home can be as simple as selecting the host that is connected to the largest search engine in the world.
Google is the one by selecting their platform, Blogger.
Once you have a great name idea and several alternates, boot up www.blogger.com You will see a place to choose your blog name, and initial appearance.

Your blog name will end in .blogspot.com unless you have purchased the name independently of blogger, which I strongly suggest doing before you commit to a name.  Many names are already taken on the internet.
The purchase of a url can be completed through many sites including BluehostName Cheap and others.
Check the url ending in .com and .net before you take your desired name.  If it is already taken by someone, Google will consider this a possible imitation situation and restrict your account.
This is where having alternates in mind helps to get you launched.

When you get your url, seriously consider purchasing all three of the main domain names, .com, .biz and .net. That way when your blog takes off, no one will be able to squat on a portion of your brand.

The url ending in .recipes has just been made available, so that might make for an easy selection.

The best case scenario for social media set up has you with one unique, easily spelled like it sounds name across multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook Page, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest.

Before you commit to the name, make sure to spell it out running italltogetherlikeaurl. com. You may find that in that format, it will create a negative impression for your brand. 
A couple of unfortunate  examples:
http://www.whorepresents.com/ the website of a Talent Agent Database
http://www.penisland.net/ Pen Island Pens writing implements

Also does your brand name spell out the same as its pronunciation?

If you want a brand like CiaoThyme, sometimes searchers will type in ChowTime. Do yourself a favor, take both and redirect the secondary one to the correct brand page. 

Once you make the difficult choice of name, insert it into the Title and address bar, and click create blog.
POOF! you have a new blog.

Click Start Posting to create your first post if you wish, but setting up the blog a bit more would make a launch more powerful.
This is what a new post page looks like :

Once you say yes to allow comments, you will be offered a choice about which way to allow them on your blog. My suggestion to reduce spam is to allow Registered users-including OpenID for the most comments without having to have it wide open.


Folks to Follow:
+David Kutcher
+Jaana Nyström

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Getting Local with Google+

If you have a brick and mortar business, or one that occasionally has people visit, setting up your business page as a Google Local page is the optimal way to participate in Google+
Some of the benefits include linking your website, maps listing and Google+ presence. 

Best of all, Google is allowing a single descriptor within the business name, if and only if, that descriptor is location information or describes your business offers. 
Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Delivery”. 
Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery”, or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.
To make a local page for your business:

  1. Sign in to Google+ new window (you’ll have to create a Google+ profile if you don’t already have one).
  1. Click  Pages under Home on the left.
  1. Click the Create a page button in the upper right.

  1. Select the Local Business or Place category.
  1. Enter the name or address of your business and select your business if it appears in the drop-down menu.
If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click No, these are not my businesses or I’ve correctly entered the business. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly

    • Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.
    • In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
    • Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
    Make sure to select the (I deliver goods and services to my customers) if you have any possibility to make a delivery.  

      Selecting this box, you are given an option for a range of miles or kilometers to deliver, you can hide your address and it unlocks more tools for sharing and collecting information. 
       On the postcard request screen, make sure your address is displayed accurately on your postcard. You can also add an Optional contact name to help your postcard reach you. Then click Send postcard.
  • When you receive your postcard, enter your PIN number from your dashboard to verify your business.Make sure you can directly answer your business phone number to receive your verification PIN.
  • Click Verify by phone to have a PIN number sent to your phone via automated message. Enter the PIN number from the message to verify your business.


The content that you put into the Google Places for business Dashboard shows up in Google search, Google Maps, and G+ under Local G+.  All your content should match each listing, which should all be connected back your website or blog if you have one.  The Places Dashboard is where you can go in and edit information, and control how your information shows up in different Google platforms and most importantly how your company or place shows up in search.  You want to treat this platform just like you would your website and make sure it has the proper SEO and SMO managed within its content.

To hide your address:

  • Log into Google+, click Pages on the left, and Manage the page in question
  • Click on Edit business information on the page for your business
  • Click on the pencil next to the address
  • Check the box saying, “My business has service areas where I visit customers at their location.”
  • Uncheck the box saying, “I serve customers at my business address.”
  • Edit service areas as necessary.

Remember, businesses who do not serve customers at the business address should hide their addresses.

One of the best reasons for going through all this work is how the search results change visually:

Can you merge two pages? 
If your clientele is mostly local or regional I would:
  • Delete the G+ Page for business and repost old content to the G+ Page for local, or
  • Keep both pages but only post actively to the local page and put a last post on the business page asking that folks follow their local page


If you are having trouble setting up your Google+ Local:

+Ana Hoffman

+martin shervington in his +Plus Your Business! community:


From +Ray Hiltz: As for the 3rd, you can only merge your listing with your Google+ Page if your category is “Local Business or Place”. If you’re a ‘product or brand’,  ‘company, institution or organization’ ; ‘arts, entertainment, or sports’; or ‘other’, your listing will still appear on a Google+ page but won’t be verified, meaning you won’t have the the social networking enhancements.http://www.steamfeed.com/why-you-must-merge-your-google-local-and-google-page-now/

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Image sizing/Distribution 2/24

One of the biggest frustrations with beginning anew on a platform is getting the visuals correct. It is understood that the fastest way to draw attention to your profile, site or site is by using a beautiful image.

Your image sizing has to be correct or you get this happening.

Text running off of the main image, leaving an incomplete thought just dangling out in space.
Most likely, this particular Google+ member didn't come back to update once the last changes to profile occurred.

It is a cautionary tale to check your images whenever Google does one of their sporadic updates.

Especially when the images conflict. This screenshot is from a post dated August 29, 2011

During those early days of Google+, the profiles looked more like this, with 5 small boxes that could be filled with individual images.

+Ronnie Bincer has held on to his by never changing from the 5 mini picture profile. Today, his images are actually moving gifs.
No, you can't opt for this image.

You can follow these social media pros for inspiration.

The profile image is not the only one to be careful about sizing. Each of your posts has an optimal size image as well.

+Peg Fitzpatrick has the clearest explanation about creating the best post, read along for all the comment to follow her thinking. I've embedded her post here to capture the entire dialog.  In an upcoming show we will do a step by step to show you how to embed a post.

If you want a template driven experience, these open within Pixlr. http://pixlrtemplates.com/
Another template experience  http ://www.autreplanete.com/ap-social-media-image-maker/

For those of us that just want great templates with graphic interface, +HangoutMagix

For all images on multiple platforms:

Join us live Monday 2/24 at 10am PST for the Hangout on Air

Social media Icons: http://dustn.tv/social-icon-set/

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Semantic search 2/17

A Confounding word: Semantic
The common definition is meaning, and in context of search it means creating meaning from the search terms used to give results. 

How is this different from what Google has been doing for years?
In the past, Google uses a mathematical algorithm to present the results to a request. 
Problems included the ability to game the system, by including a massive amount of keywords in any post, the inaccuracy of common term results and the birth of those folks who created the idea that getting to the first page of Google results was the be all and end all of a brands SEO.
Now with the changes in the algorithm, the results have become relevant to you and correct in context to your search. 

To understand these changes, +Chef Dennis Littley and I are inviting the man who wrote the book to join us on The Bloggers Guide to Using Google + Effectively, +David Amerland 


Google Semantic Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques That Get Your Company More Traffic, Increase Brand Impact, and Amplify Your Online Presence (Que Biz-Tech)

+David Amerland  Community https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/103079475562443214899
+martin shervington    http://www.plusyourbusiness.com/quickstarter-signup/#semantic

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hangout on Air

Talking with multiple people in a virtual room, with the ability to have additional viewers outside of the room, that is the difference between a Video Call and the Hangout on Air.

This is a SHOAE or Scheduled Hangouts on Air Events.
Benefits include: an automagically created YouTube record of the hangout,
the ability to see who you are chatting with
the ability to connect with people worldwide

Using the scheduling tools,  you can build interest in an event by creating a weekly show like The Bloggers Guide to Using Google+ Effectively

There are many details to consider before 
creating a hangout, 
producing the actual event, and the 
post production of any hangout.

Before you hold your first, join +Ronnie Bincer 's Hangout Helper Community or his paid Hangout Mastery Group.

To launch a Hangout, slide down to the Hangouts entry under the home tab.
When you click , you'll get this slide.
Click on Start a Hangout on Air

Give it a name, and description.
Decide when to start your hangout, now or later.
Then choose your audience. You can choose individual people, a certain circle, or the general public.
These are not the people inside the hangout, you'll invite them later in the process.
Next you'll edit the Details. 

You can add a start and end time, change the message to viewers, and invite more people to watch from this screen.

Once you are ready, click the blue start button.

This is the next screen, it will take a minute or so for the hangout to open. 

Finally, it is time to invite in your guests.  Make sure that you have the correct profile or page for the people you want to have inside your filmstrip.
This page will show which profile you will be broadcasting from and which You Tube account will be hosting the video. 
If appropriate, check off the over 18+ box.  

Once you have created the invites, or skipped that screen, the actual hangout opens.
The first time, you will have to accept the terms and conditions before it launches.
Each of the apps you have included will have to open as well,
So give yourself at least 5-10 minutes to get into a hangout, even if you are very comfortable with the platform.

Once open, it is time to check the lighting.

Never have the sole source of light behind you, like this.

The hangout tool box is open on the right here.
The first icon of a person in the circle opens the lower third tool.
First line is your name, second line is your tag line, call to action or blog url.

When you move your mouse over the left hand column, you can see apps available to use. In a future post, I'll talk about those.

Now you have your hangout open and your filmstrip participants invited. but what are you going to talk about?

It's time for the script, guidelines for the formatting of the show.  Not everyone has a script, some folks simply let the organic interaction of the show take over. 

This script was used for the series of Hangouts on Air for Bob's Red Mill Grains of Discovery. 
For our Hangout on Air (HOA) I wanted you to have a simple checklist for setup.

Each of your participants needs a Google+ profile already setup.

For the actual hangout:

1. If at all possible, be hard wired into your modem to eliminate lags in audio (like old fashioned cell reception). An ethernet cable can be purchased at most office supply stores.

2. Either use a headset with a microphone (like for a phone) or separate earbuds. The microphone built into your computer will give an echo to the audio if you attempt to work without a headset. If you use a phone headset, you may need an adaptor to make the headset fit the audio plug in. I got mine at Radio Shack.

3. Our Hangout on Air (HOA) hastag is #GrainsOfDiscovery. Please use it on all social media channels.

4. Your visual background is best seen as neutral.  A sheet taped to the wall will work fine. Make sure to have a light in front of your computer shining on your face. Otherwise it is likely that ambient room light will make you a dark head without features.

5. Having your camera at eye level or slightly higher will make you look wonderful without a possible double chin. I put mine atop a couple of Kleenex boxes.

6. Realize that the laptop camera tends to wash your facial tones out,  Consider lipstick and brighter colors rather than pastels.  Clothing should be either solid or larger prints. Don't use tiny stripes or zigzags they get pixelated weirdly.

7. Plan on coming into the hangout a minimum of 15 minutes before our scheduled start time.  The host will be there at least a half hour early to answer any last minute questions.
We need time to do a mic check and make sure your video is working well before going live at 5pm sharp.

8. In the toolbox of the HOA, the lower third tool will allow you to put your name and blog title in the hangout. It really helps viewers to see your name each time you are in the main frame.

9. In the toolbox, the Comment tracker will allow us to see viewers comments and respond to them. I will be following the stream and bringing them to the hangout.

We will be live for a half hour, which will just fly by.
I’ll start by introducing myself (1 minute) , then ask each of you in the filmstrip to introduce yourself, talk about your blog for a minute. The film strip automatically puts you into position by alphabetical first name.

If you understand how to screenshare, then having your blog homepage open in another window will allow you to screenshare that as well. Being able to change to another window with the post including your recipe would be a big bonus.

It will be a free flowing discussion, but I’ll do a bit of tech moderating so the current speaker is in the main box without interruptions by an inadvertent cough.

With 8 minutes or so to go, I’ll ask for any final words, mention your blog name again and sign off at 5:30 exactly.

The YouTube record of the event will be up on my feed within minutes of signing out. If it is embedded on your site as well, it will remain permanent content ther

I hope this is clear, feel free to ask any questions.

Reference Posts:

From +Jaana Nystrom: Getting started with Hangouts
From +GPlusGeek : an answer to the question Why do I need to do HOAs?

Direct from Google: How to Broadcast a HOA