The Blogger’s Guide To Google+

Google+ guide

A few weeks back I promised a few bloggers on Twitter that I would put together a guide to Google+ – specifically looking at how to use it to promote your blog.

It’s taken a little time to put it all together, so I hope it proves useful! Let’s get started 🙂

What is Google+?

Google+ is basically Google’s equivalent of a social network. It started very slow, but it has developed a bit more now. It is made up of quite a few sections, so I’m just going to focus on the most important ones for growing your blog.

But first of all, how do you get started with Google+?

How To Sign Up

You may already have a Google+ profile, in which case you can skim over the next couple of sections!

But for those who are yet to sign up, you will need to have a Google account. Sign up here. If you have a Gmail email address already, you don’t need to do this.

If you are not directed to sign up for Google+ through this process, or you already have a Google account, then head here to sign up, or sign in.

If signing up for account, you will need to verify your details via text message or automated phone call. This is a necessary process so make sure to fill in your details properly!

You will then be asked to type in the number on the next screen to confirm your identity.

Once completed, you’ll be taken to the page to create your Google+ profile.

Filling Out Your Profile

This is your personal profile, so make sure to fill it out with whatever information you are happy to share. There’s several sections to tinker with and update, so take your time with what you want to put.

Google+ profile
Above is the ‘Story’ section of my profile – this is the opportunity to tell people what you do, and the Bragging Rights section is really just an optional extra if you want to shout about anything you’re proud of.
Most of the other sections to fill in are pretty standard, but I want to talk to you about the Links section.
Google+ links
This section is important because you can choose your custom Google+ URL. Bear in mind you cannot change this once chosen, only its display format (e.g. adding capital letters like it shows in the example).
This section is also important because it allows you to add your blog link. Add this under your Contributor to section. You add a link by clicking ‘Add custom link’ at the bottom.
Once your profile information is set up, you can make your profile more personalised by adding a photo of you, and cover art.
Google+ cover art
For the best looking cover art, the image should be 2120 x 1192 px. Yeah, I know… massive. Your profile picture should be 250 x 250 px.
Right, so now your profile is populated and is looking good… what’s next?

Circles

Circles are the equivalent to adding friends on Facebook. The difference is that you can create different Circle groups for example Bloggers, Friends, Family, Colleagues etc… this is useful if you are planning on sharing particular content with certain groups.

For example, you might only want to share your new blog posts with Bloggers and not Family…it’s a clever function if you need it…but I just share all my posts publicly for max exposure!
You can access your Circles here.
Want to search for people to add to your Circles? Move your cursor over to the left of the page to display the menu and click People. Alternatively, just head here.
When you first sign up to G+, you will get prompted to add people you know anyway. But you can skip this section for later.

Google+ Pages

Right, so you’re all set up with a Personal profile page – what if you want a separate page for your blog?

This is useful if you want to link to a Google+ page from your blog so that other users are following your blog rather than your profile (kind of like having people Like your Facebook page instead of adding you as a friend).

To set up a Page, click here. You will be guided through the process of setting up a page as if you are a Business. From the first three choices, choose Brand.

This page will come up – fill in with the Page Name, your blog’s URL and select Product or Brand or Community – your choice.

It will then guide you through the rest of the process, and much like your personal profile you will need to populate the profile with information (including blog link and some info about what you post). Take a look at my blog’s Page for some inspiration.

Google+ blogger page

So now we have the nitty gritty of getting set up out of the way, it’s time to delve into the promotional side of things!

Promoting Your Blog

There are a few ways you can promote your blog posts on G+. First and foremost, be sure to post them on your Profile and Page.

If you have a Buffer and IFTTT account, this recipe will allow you to use your RSS feed to schedule new blog posts straight to your G+ Page (don’t forget to edit the Recipe with your details!). You can read my guide to IFTTT here.

When posting to G+, don’t forget to utilise hashtags! Users are able to search by hashtag, much like Twitter, and so it’s important to include them. Don’t overdo it though – I would recommend using 3 at the most, but try and stick to the most important one that applies to your post.

How to promote blog post on Google+

Communities

So on top of posting to your own pages, you can also post to Communities. I find this is pretty effective in getting more eyeballs on your posts.

Communities are effectively like Facebook groups.

Again, it’s really important not to overdo this and spam groups as you may end up being kicked out of Communities. With any posts you want to draw particular attention to, find Communities that are relevant to the topic, join and post your update.

It’s not all take, take, take though. You should also be engaging with other posts. This is really important as it’s just the right thing to do! Try and +1 posts (this is a bit like a Like on Facebook, but also adds the link to your Profile’s +1 page which lists everything you’ve +1’d). Alternatively, leave a comment on the update and engage with the blogger!

If you start doing this, you’re more likely to get engagement back!I have to confess I don’t do this near enough.

Here are some of the Communities I recommend joining:

Lifestyle Bloggers
UK Beauty & Lifestyle Bloggers
Food Bloggers

Search for more groups here.

So there we have it! A few ways to promote your posts on G+. This guide should help you populate your Profile and Page, as well as engage effectively with other bloggers to get more views of your site!

Any questions? Pop a comment below, tweet me, or get in touch.

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