If you don’t have a Google Account, you are missing out on some really helpful tools!

Google is definitely the Big Boy on the block, and for good reason. But Google is so much more than a search tool. It has many cool tools and functions, and I want to introduce you to some of them.

1. Gmail

Gmail is a powerful mail client. It can be customized more ways than Carters proverbial little liver pills and will probably be around much longer (thank goodness)!!

You can pull all your other email accounts into your Google account and see all your mail in one place, or you can filter by each specific account.

If you have several addresses feeding into one account, you can choose a default send or reply email, or you can have each reply go out from the account to which it was sent. Or change it on the fly.

You can easily flag emails from particular senders with special icon so they are easily identified.

And you can easily customize your signature and set out of office alerts.

Your Gmail account is where it all starts, so if you don’t have one, go sign up now.

2. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a powerful tool for scheduling your business. You can have multiple calendars for different purposes, show any or all of them simultaneously, set alerts (it will even text you if you want), and send invitations.

Items on my primary Google Calendar appear automatically on my Droid phone and my iPad, too, so I’m always up to date.

3. Google Documents

Google Documents is a suite of applications similar to iWork, MS Office, and Open Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, and a drawing application. You can create documents online and leave them there, or you can download them to your local device.

If you created a document on your computer that you want to share with others, you can upload it to your Google Docs and invite them by email. You can set their privileges so they can edit, or make comments, or only view it.

But perhaps a more important use than being able to share, is to have your documents available to yourself in different locations. If you upload your documents to your account, then wherever you are, if you can access your Gmail, you can get your documents.

4. Google Alerts

Who is talking about you online? If you don’t know, you can Google yourself and find out. But what about in the future? Wouldn’t it be nice to know whenever your name or website shows up somewhere on the Internet? It is easy to monitor your online presence by setting up Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is also a good way to keep track of who is saying what about topics you are interested in.

5. Google Reader

There are several blogs that I like to read, but the problem I have is remembering to go check them to see if there is something new. Not to mention the time it takes! Google Reader to the rescue …

Many blogs offer a way to subscribe, to have new content delivered to you as it happens. Primarily this is accomplished using RSS Feeds – you just click the little orange RSS button and choose to have new blog posts sent to your Google Reader.

And this benefits not just you, but also the blogger. You have all the new content from all the blogs you follow in one neat package (and you can get to it on your computer, phone, or tablet), and the blogger makes sure that all of her followers see her new thoughts right away. It’s a win-win.

Which means, of course, if YOU are a blogger, that you should have an RSS Feed for your blog.  Find out how to get an RSS Feed for your blog.

6. Google Analytics

The name of the game in Internet Marketing is “Traffic.” If you don’t have traffic, nothing happens. So… got traffic?

If you have a website, you need to know how many people are visiting, where they are coming from, what keywords they are using to find you, how long they stay on your site, and what pages they view. You can have all this information and more at your fingertips by just installing Google Analytics on your site.

Google makes it pretty easy to install, but if you need help, you can contact me and I’ll help you.

7. Google Plus

Google Plus (or Google+) is one of the newer social networks on the block. It is one more way to get connected, to get visibility, and keep tabs on what’s going on in your industry. Google Plus makes it very easy to segment your contacts and share only what you want each group to see. It is gaining in popularity, and is worth keeping an eye on to see how it can benefit your business.

Click here to find out more about Google Plus Business Pages.

I hope you have enjoyed this overview of some of the tools that Google offers, and if you don’t have an account yet, I want you to go right now to www.Google.com and sign up.

And if you do use Google’s many tools, which is your favorite? Or which have you found to be the most helpful to you? Share with everyone by leaving a comment below!