Use Google Currents Producer to Create Your Own Publication

Many people have already tried Google Currents on their smartphones and tablets.  It is obviously Google’s attempt to challenge the mobile reading market.  While many users opined that Google Currents is similar to its competitors like Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, etc. and did not really stand out from them.  However, ther is one less talked about feature that got my attention: Google Currents Producer.

Google Currents Producer is a tool for all content providers to create their publications for Google Currents users to read.  I said “all” because everyone can do it, even if you are a not-so-popular blog owner.  Let us see how this function works.

 

Google Currents Producer – Create Your First Edition

On the main page of Google Currents (http://www.google.com/producer/currents), click “Publish to Google Currents”.

Google Currents producer - Start Publishing

You would be asked to provide some basic information of your new “Edition”.  The easiest way to create an Edition is to import the RSS feed of your blog or web site.  You can also enter the name of your YouTube channel if you want to create a video-oriented Edition.

Google Currents producer - Create New Edition

You will then enter more details, including an icon and a custom splash image.  As the publisher you can choose to collect reader’s email address.  This means that people must opt-in by providing their email addresses before they could get your Edition.  You can also add Google Analytics code to track the traffic.  You can instantly preview the Edition as on Android phone, tablet, iPhone and iPad.

Google Currents producer - Customization

Your content could be divided into different sections.  Apart from RSS feed and YouTube video, you can put photos, articles, social updates (including your Google+ updates) as well.  The order of sections could be re-arranged.

Google Currents producer - Sections

When you are finished with customizing the Edition, click “Distribute”.  You can preview the Edition on your smartphones and tablet using logging in using the publishing account.  Click “Distribute to Google Currents” and choose a publishing date to pas it to the hands of your readers.  My Edition looks like this on Android phone:

Google Currents producer - Cloud High Club

While Google Currents in its existing form still needs improvements on performance, user interface, etc. I see Google Currents producer as a handy tool for individual publishers to extend their readership.  It could help bloggers to explore the market because they have an extra channel to be known.  The ability to import from RSS feeds, YouTube channels and Google+ updates makes publishing as simple as re-using existing content.

How To Turn Google+ Into A Personal Site with Google+Blog

It’s Social Wednesday!  Every Wednesday I write about web apps and browser add-ons or observations related to social networks.   SUBSCRIBE RSS feed or email updates to follow these stories!

Since the public launch of Google+ API, many creative developers have made useful and funny tools that release the potential of the Google Plus network.  This time, a smart guy created a wordpress plug-in that grabs your Google+ stream and convert it into a personal blog.

 

Google+Blog

Obviously this name is a play of words.  You can try this little thing on your own Google+ by appending your Google ID to the end of the following URL.  For example, this is mine:

http://www.minimali.se/112143424323955745189/

You can find the ID which is included in the URL of your Google+ profile page.  The Google+Blog of looks like this:

 

Google+Blog

 

Just a personal page in minimalist style.  On the top are the name and photo of the person.  On the left are the date, number of comments, shares and plus ones.  The stream of posts occupies the middle region.  Comments are hidden by default but you can unfold them by clicking the comments link on the left.  Basically it is Google+ with a much simplified interface except that you cannot make new posts with it.  Treat it as a Google+ reader.

If you want to install this wordpress plug-in to set up your own blog, you can download it from here: http://www.minimali.se/google+blog/.  Please note that it costs $10, or you could use a free version which includes a link to the plug-in’s official page in every post.

How to Boost Your Blog with Google+: A Summary

It’s Social Wednesday!  Every Wednesday I write about web apps and browser add-ons or observations related to social networks.   SUBSCRIBE RSS feed or email updates to follow these stories!
This is a summary of my guest post on SteveScottSite, a blog by Steve Scott who is a successful internet marketer.  The original article talks about both blogging and affiliate marketing.  In this abridged version of the post I’ll show you all bloggers how you could benefit from Google+.

How Google+ Helped My Blog

Before going into details of how to boost traffic to your site, let’s see some proofs.  Shown below is the page view statistics of one of my blogs.  This blog doubled its page view count since 9 Jul.  It was the first day when I started using Google+ to promote this blog.

Site Stats - Google Plus Campaign

The following screen capture shows the top traffic sources of this blog, generated in Google Analytics.  Google+ has been the number one referrer (of all the traffic to this blog).  Since this is a completely new blog with less than 3 months age, there are not many sources of visitors.  You see how powerful Google+ is in generating traffic.

Referrer - Google Plus Campaign

How to Use Google+ for Blogging

Before I go on, let me remind you that Google+ is in field trial status (at the time of writing).  You need an invitation to enable it.  If you do not have an invitation, you can get one from me (I still have some left) ==> Click here.  Remember to circle me if you want to get my latest Google+ tutorials and web app reviews.


Get Writing Ideas

I find writing ideas on Google+ by reading what other people are talking about and reading sparks.  You can view everything people posted as long as they allow the public or people in their circles to do so (most people do).  Follow people in your niche, you’ll know what is the hottest topic in that niche.

Finding out these people is easy.  You can search for them by name right from Google+.  Besides, you can find people who have relevant keywords in their Profiles or posted relevant messages by using Google search.  Read my blog posts about searching Google+ streams and profiles or a dedicated Google+ Search Engine developed by a Google+ user for more details.

Google Plus Search - Search Google+ Profiles and Posts
You can directly ask your readers on Google+ for writing ideas.  You can ask questions like “anyone bought XXX?  any comment?” or “what do you like reading about YYY”.
The other way is to use Sparks.  Subscribe to the latest news about a niche by entering relevant keywords.  Say you are working on “second hand mobile phones”, subscribe to this topic in Sparks.  Google lists out latest online articles and video related to this topic.  It’s just like Google Search but everything is automated.
Google Sparks for blogging

 

(2) Build Your Brand

Go to Google+, make new friends, offer useful information about your blog’s topic, people would gradually pick you up as an expert or someone who could trust.  Write better content to impress your audience on Google+, you’ll get many +1’s which is definitely a proof of your authority.

 

(3) Promote Blog Posts

According to my observation, Google+ users are sharing animals.  They love sharing whatever useful.  Copy the URL of your blog post, paste it into your streams, choose an eye-catchy description and watch how visitors flood into your site.

When you do this, try sharing the post to you Extended Circle.  Not only your friends get it, friends of your friends also get the post.

Traffic Sources from Google Plus

 

(4) Build Your List

I found quite some Google+ user lists.  Things like “XXX users, join this Google+ user list” and “The Unofficial YYY list” are quite popular on Google+.  Use this list to send information to your target readers.  For example, if your blog is about gardening, you may ask all people who like gardening to sign-up by leaving comment in your post.

 

(5) Approach Your Readers

Pandroid, an android phone web site, even used Hangouts to create podcasts.  Those guys created a multi-party video conference and recorded it with Camtasia, a screencast creation software.  The end product looks like a podcast with more than one hosts.  Tweak this method a bit, you can create how-to videos with a few people narrating.  Put the video on YouTube for promotion or create podcasts.  These are ways to get new blog followers.

And Google+ is simply a good channel to directly talk to your readers.  While it takes time to write a new blog post, you can have small talks on Google+.  Found a great web site to share but cannot write a long article?  Why not share it on Google+?

Circles - Post in Stream in Google Plus

 

Follow me on Google+ ===> Peter Mugi @ Cloud High Club

Read more articles about Google+ with this tag ===> “googleplus

6 simple tools for creating Google Plus profile badge for your site

This is an extract of a guest post I wrote for web.appstorm.net.  You can find more articles about web apps and Google+ in this blog. SUBSCRIBE RSS feed or email updates to follow these stories!

Google+ is getting more and more popular.  Do you want to add a Google+ profile badge on your site / blog to get more followers or show your Google+ posts?  This article gives a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

 

(1) Google Profile Card

The first tool you can try is Google’s profile card.  It is what you see if you hover the mouse over a Google user’s name in some Google services.

(1) Open your Google+ profile and copy your Google profile ID.  It may be either a string of digits or a text-based customized ID, which is part of the URL of your profile page

(2) On your site, insert these codes:

<iframe src=”http://www.google.com/s2/u/0/widgets/ProfileCard?uid=[Your Google Profile ID]” width=”100%” height=”125″ scrolling=”no” style=”border:0px solid”></iframe>

Remember to replace [Your Google Profile ID] with your own Google profile ID.  You should see something like the following after this is done:

(2) Google Profile Card

 

(2) Widgets Plus

(3) Google Plus Widget

Widgets Plus is more powerful.  It displays your name, avatar, add to circles button and (optionally) a list of your posts on Google+.

Official Site: http://widgetsplus.com/

Read more »

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