5 Google products you need to know about

Can I admit something for a minute? I love Google (#gasp). Yep, they may dodge their taxes and they kinda of monopolise every business by constantly changing the 'rithms, but they also make some darn good products — especially for those of us starting or running a creative small biz. Along with those you may know well, like Google Analytics (& its Academy), Google Drive and Google My Business, here's five lesser known products I use regularly — the best part? They're all FREE!

1. Google Fonts

I came across this by accident a couple of years ago and was like "Whaaaatttt?? How did I not know this existed?!". Looking for a font for a re-brand or just some fun new biz cards? Check out Google Fonts which not only allows you to search through open source web fonts but also to download them in zip files which you can then upload to your preferred design tool. Love!

2. Google Market Finder

Absolutely LOVE this! Considering expanding your offering, but not entirely sure which direction to head? This nifty tool allows you to simply enter your business website before it spits out a selection of services / products you could offer, along with the top countries that utilise those services (through search data), their median income and suggested spends on Adwords to advertise your biz to people searching from within those countries. It's especially great for those of us in the services industry (hello global eBook audience).

3. Google Digital Garage

Named the Digital Garage, this is a collection of free courses about digital marketing which (surprise, surprise) teaches you loads about Google's products like AdWords etc., but also has some great online learning opportunities. I don't personally think it's AWESOME for people, like me, who have a solid understanding of marketing, but I do think it's a fantastic tool for micro or small biz owners who need to brush up on digital marketing basics (SEO overview, what is remarketing? etc.). Definitely worthwhile if you're just starting out and want to save your pennies.

4. Google Keep

If you're anything like me you may have random notes saved in your phone's note app, in paper diaries or even on post-its around your desk (#guilty). I've started using Google Keep and am loving it. This nifty Chrome plug-in allows you to save URLs, text and images and access them from any device, as well as set reminders to notes (i.e. you see something for your partner and save the URL then set a reminder for when you need to buy it). You can add labels to your notes meaning all the things connected to one idea (such as Mother's Day Campaign) are together. It's like Pinterest and Notes combined, plus you can add collaborators which is great for team projects.

5. Google Alerts

I have been using this tool for years for everything from influencer research through to content ideas for clients. Instead of spending hours on the net "researching", you simply add in the search terms you'd like to hear about, narrow by region and/or by medium (i.e., video vs. news vs. blogs) and you'll get an email notification listing the top content pieces that match your result.

BONUS: Google Sky

Ok, so this has NOTHING to do with business (unless you're operating in outer space), but I just think it's cool. I've always loved staring up at the stars at night, more so since losing my mum. It's the great unknown and it reminds me how we're all connected regardless of where in the world we are. This tool allows you to view the sky at any time of day and also check out the amazing images caught by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Digitized Sky Survey and the Hubble Space Telescope.

The above is just a selection of what Google has to offer small business owners. Those listed above may not all apply to your business, but I hope you find one or two of them useful.

Ps. While I love Google, I was also recently checking a client's analytics and saw a way higher ave. conversion when people entered their website via organic search using Bing as their search engine. If looking at your own SEO and traffic, remember around 74.52% of users choose Google to search. Given there's more than 4bn peeps on the net that's 1bn people that opt to use a search engine other than Google. Just sayin...

Fiona Killackey