Welcome to episode 73 of This Week Online Today, where I will be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week today to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
And if you have already subscribed to the newsletter, you will also receive an exclusive bonus tip of the week to help you further about this topic.
If you haven’t, don’t miss out and make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to stay ahead of your competition.
In this episode of This Week Online Today, I talk about the following:
- the confirmation by Google that they have finally decided to “sunset” Google+
- Google’s past attempt of forcing it on users (and failing at that too)
- whether it’s not a social network designed for business
- why you should never depend on 3rd party platforms…
- …and what you should do instead.
Welcome to This Week Online Today podcast with your host Ahmed Halifax, where I’ll be talking about the biggest online news that has happened this week and why you should be aware of it. And don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter you’ll also receive a bonus tip of the week of what you should do about it. And you’ll find that link in the show note.
In the meantime, let’s get straight on to the show.
Welcome to Episode 73 of This Week Online Today. And this is going to be an easy one, I knew as soon as it came out I was going to talk about it, which in the fall of Google+. Yes, they still exist. Who knew? But it’s actually still there in the background.
So, what happened is that Google has announced that they’re going to close it down. And after they have discovered a major security flaw, and just found that up to 500,000 users’ personal information was exposed.
So we’re talking name, address, occupation … When I say address, I mean email address. Gender and age, and even if they are listed as private, they were still exposed. Which is bizarre, I mean I thought, you know, Google can do better than that. But anyway, I wonder if that shows you how much they are on top of things when it comes to Google+.
The weird thing is though, what I don’t understand is why they have decided to close it after a major flaw like this. You think that you’d, you know, read the market the trend, you would look at the numbers, you would look at what are people talking about, and you think that you’d admit defeat and say, “You know what? It’s not working, let’s move on.”
But, let’s face it, this has happened a number of times on Google. Do you remember Google Wave? I think that’s the one where they’re trying to reinvent email, but email is not going to be changed. I think it’s going to be around in a similar format forever almost.
But, that’s the thing. After this security flaw, Google decided to close it down, which doesn’t make sense to me. I thought it should happen before that. Anyway, that’s another story.
But yeah, it’s going down, it’s closing. And remember when you have to be part of Circles, and they invented the whole ‘+1’ kind of thing as well. It was weird. I mean I personally never really got into it. I dabbled with it, you learn about, you think because it’s Google, you think it’s going to be a major thing. And maybe it’s going to be useful. But, in the end, it’s not. It’s just another attempt to be like Facebook. That’s what it seems like, but it just didn’t work.
The problem though is they tried to force it, and Google tried to force it in so many different ways, to make people use it and make it like a daily habit. You know how you go on your phone or online, almost automatically your Facebook account or your Twitter account and now Instagram account and anything like that you are really passionate about. But Google’s attempt to do that was using kind of very aggressive method.
Do you remember when they tried to force users to have Google+ account if you want to leave a comment on YouTube? Now, I remember when that came out, the news was crazy. The YouTubers were going mental. And it was a bad idea, it really is a bad idea. It just hung in there for two years, until they removed that option.
Do you remember when they forced it to appear within Gmail? I mean they made it impossible to register for an account without opening a Google+ account, which is crazy.
And another thing, they’re trying to make it like an incentive, it’s for your benefit. They’re trying to make it, you know, a big thing, that if you use it, your website or page or whatever will rank better. It’s like another little way that they tried to nudge it towards us. That one they didn’t officially announce it, but it was noticed when people have done the research.
Another thing they forced it is to make your feeds appear on your search results, to make it more personalised. Again, that didn’t work out very well. It’s not what people want to see most of the time.
And they also had the hideous black Google Bar strip, and that appeared at the top. Do you remember that? Look in the show note, you’ll probably see a video of it, you can see how it appears, or used to appear.
It’s like saying, “Please love me. And I’m going to make you love me by shoving this on your face.” How often would you see that from other companies? You know, you’d never see that from everyone else, saying, you know, “You must love me, and I’m going to force you to do that by integrating it and disrupting your way of living in a bad way.”
So, in the blog post, they have mentioned that they were closed for consumers, or, as I quote, “sunset the consumer version of Google+.” Now, I never knew you could use the word “sunset” like that, but that was in the headline and in the actual copy. Again, link in the show note. But they will “sunset the consumer version of Google+.”
So, “consumer version,” I wonder what that means.
But one thing that I have noticed that when you go online and you search for Google+, I have noticed appeared right there that it says, “A social network designed for business.” So, I don’t know what they’re trying to do with that. Because the plan is to kind of start the closure from now, and it will finish on August 2019. That’s the idea.
But I’m not really sure what they mean by “social network designed for business.” Does that mean that they’re going to attempt to be LinkedIn? Please don’t. Please don’t do that. You know, it’s hard enough to kind of get into LinkedIn and, you know, make use of effectively and as well as all your other social networks. But we don’t need another one. So, I don’t know what that mean, but the idea is that it will close down the consumer version on 2019.
So, why did I want to talk about this? What does this have to do with you?
Well, all of this just shows how risky it is to be completely dependent on third-party platforms. I’ve talked about this in many times, where you should always think about owning your content. I’m not saying you should never use third-party platforms. I mean, they are very useful for business and personal purpose, and, you know, they have purpose in terms of getting you out there, getting your message across, and, you know, reaching to people and connecting. All these kinds of things, we know what they’re there for. But to be completely dependent on them I think is a big risk.
Your website should always be the hub of everything that you do. That’s something that I’m a genuine believer of. It should always be the centre of all activities. And that’s because you control that. You decide everything when it comes to your website. You decide where it goes, what’s going to be on it, how you want it to be designed, how you want to have the content written and displayed. It’s all in your control.
But, if you’re going to be dependent on someone else’s platform, you don’t have a say in anything. Maybe you can put in feedbacks here and there, and sometimes they do encourage that. But, in general, you don’t have a say. But imagine what happens in this case, like Google+?
What if that one platform that you’re dependent on, what would happen to you if they have closed down? Or they have increased their prices by multiple times? Or if they have changed their algorithm for the worse for you? Or maybe they have decided to change their business model completely. Have you ever thought about what will happen to you if that happened?
Think about it that way, and think about why you should never be focused like that.
If you’re completely dependent on it, then maybe you should think about, “What can I do about it?” Maybe you should think about having a variety of different sources of traffic and revenue and leads.
Because having just one source of traffic, revenue leads, it’s a risky move. It’s a very risky move. And even for me, I would never suggest that you should only focus on SEO. Yet, that’s a big part of what I would do. But I would never say let’s just focus on that, and that’s it’, and let’s keep going. No. It’s not the best tip, it’s not the best advice. And I always say to people, “You don’t set up shop on someone else’s backyard. You want to control that.”
So if this happened to you, think about what you can do about your own website. Maybe you have been neglecting your own website for a long time, and you’ve just been focusing on growing your presence on social media, like Instagram or whatever. Which is, in a way, it’s fine, because sometimes you have to have a strategy to kind of build your online following, and that will help you to kind of get that knock-on effect elsewhere, whatever your plan is.
So maybe you want to build that online following with local customers about maybe, I don’t know, your personal trainer business. You want to build that online following by sharing tips and advice and connecting and communicating with the community, that’s fine.
But then that will have to lead to somewhere else as well, which is where your website comes into play. And your website needs to work effectively. If you want people to buy from, then of course it has to be a seamless, easy, smooth process. But, if you’re making it difficult for them, well then all your online following will count for nothing, if you can’t do something with that.
So, make it a part of your marketing, rather than the main thing about your business. It could be a big thing, I’m not going to say don’t do it. But make it a part of it. Your hub in the centre with your website, all around it are all these social media sites, and even PR and news and influential people talking about you, or talking about other members of a community who have been sharing your products and talking about your products. So many different things.
So, think about that. You know, you look how Google+ … Let’s just assume you have been focusing all of your effort on that, and they’re closing down. What would happen if that happened to your one source of your traffic and your revenue and your leads? Just think about that.
I hope you found this podcast useful. Let me know what you think, am I wrong? Am I wrong to assume that you should focus all your effort on your website, or should you focus 50/50, or should I not focus on anything on your website at all, I should focus more on social media, for example? Let me know what you think. You can tweet, you can send me an email, you can just contact me. All the links are in the show note.
And just, I want to appreciate you and thank you for listening to this podcast. Take care.
Thank you for listening to this episode of This Week Online Today. I really do appreciate it, and I hope you found it useful. If you have enjoyed the show, please do leave a review on iTunes, it would mean the world to me. I really would appreciate that.
Thank you again, you rock. And one more think, I just want to remind you to do your thing, because it matters. And I’ll see you next week.
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