20 Google Tools for Small Businesses – Part 1
In this article we look at the best Google resources for your small business. Many of the tools listed are free or low cost and contain invaluable information to help grow your business.
- Gmail Account (Free) – Is a free advertising-supported email service provided by Google with plenty of spam protection. According to a 2014 estimate, 60 perent of mid-sized U.S. companies were using Gmail as their email provider.
- Google Apps for Work (Paid) – Is a service from Google that provides customizable versions of several Google products using a domain name provided by the customer. This means you can customize your email address with your own dot com name, so it doesn’t look like a Gmail account. It features several Web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Email, Hangouts, Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Groups, News, etc. Google Apps for Work is free for 30 days, U.S. $5 per user account per month thereafter, or $50 per user, per year.
- Google Docs (Free) – Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are a free, Web-based word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation program respectively, all part of an office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating with other users live. The apps are compatible with Microsoft Office file formats and the suite is tightly integrated with Google Drive. All files created with the apps are by default saved to Google Drive.
- Google Hangouts (Free) – Like GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts is an instant messaging and video chat platform developed by Google. Hangouts allows users to hold conversations between two or more users. The service can be accessed online through the Gmail or Google+ websites, or through mobile apps available for Android and iOS.
- Google Drive (Free & Paid) – Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service provided by Google, which enables user cloud storage, file sharing and collaborative editing. Google Drive stores Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and can also store other user file types in the cloud. Google drive offers 15GB of free space per user account as well as, 100GB for $1.99 per month and 1TB for 9.99 per month account options.
- Google Alerts (Free) – Is an Internet content change detection and notification service. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results — such as Web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match the user’s search term.
- Google Plus (Free) – Is a social networking and identity service similar to Facebook. It includes basic social networking elements like a profile photo, about section, background photo, description and an area to share status updates. You can have both a personal and business page on the system. According to Business Insider and TastyPlacement, having “Google+ followers boosts your Google search rankings.”
- Google Voice (Free) – This service provides a free U.S. phone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes for a user account. Users must have an existing U.S. telephone number to activate a Google Voice phone number. The user then must configure this additional phone number to ring on one of their existing cell or land based phone lines. This will make all Google Voice calls forward and ring on those devices. Google Voice services include voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages.
- Google Analytics (Free) – Google Analytics is a service that generates detailed statistics about a Website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. It’s the most widely used Website statistics service. Google Analytics can track Internet visitors from all referrers, including search engines and social networks, direct visits and referring sites. It a powerful tool and tells the story of who is visiting your website and what they are doing on it.
- Google Webmaster Tools (Free) – Is a no-charge Web service for Website owners. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites. It shows information about Website performance, view statistics and how Google indexes the site, along with if it found any errors while scanning. It’s basically a dashboard for how Google sees the health of your Website.