Google Places to be Replaced By Google+ Local

Yesterday Google announced that they are replacing Google Places with their Google Plus Local feature. (Another move to encourage everyone to get on their Google+ platform.)

Social reviews are the way of the world these days, but due to anti-trust lawsuits, Google had to remove it’s scraping of reviews from Yelp and other review sites. Well they recently purchased Zagat, a (previously) paid review site.

Zagat has offered high-quality reviews, based on user-written submissions and surveys, of tens of thousands of places for more than three decades. All of Zagat’s accurate scores and summaries are now highlighted on local Google+ pages.

What does this mean for businesses? Ensure you have a page set up on to Google+ now. Your local search results need to be found online and will then link into your Google+ account, where your visitors can learn more about you.

Continue to manage through Google Places for Business
If you are a business owner, you should continue to manage your information in Google Places for Business. You’ll still be able to verify your basic listing data, make updates, and respond to reviews. For those who use AdWords Express, your ads will operate as normal as they’ll automatically redirect people to the destination you selected, or your current listing. From Google’s Business Tips page.

From a personal perspective, I can’t be bothered making the move to Google+ when all my friends and contacts are on Facebook. Facebook is enough of a time suck without having to post everything in two places and have two sets of updates to read.

However, from a marketing and business perspective, Google is the giant in the search world and they are making massive pushes to integrate social media into their search engine. By social media, I mean Google+ (why would they help a competitor), in their goal to conquer the world. What this means for businesses is that you do need to get on Google+ and start promoting your page and places because although people may not be using it personally, your results will start turning up in their Google searches. If you’re there, then the traffic will flow and they will start to find more reasons to use Google+ as well.

Who knows, maybe one day I will update my personal Google+ account! (My problem is that I have 5+ gmail accounts that I use for business, personal and clients and am never on the right account to go to my Google+ page…).

Read more about the removal of Google Places from the Google Blog.

Or from CNN, Goodbye Google Places…

How-To: Set Up a Feedburner Blog Subscription (Self-hosted)

I just setup a feedburner subscription for my blog so I wanted to walk you through it is fresh in my mind and becuause there are pieces to it all over the place.

1) Install Feedburner FeedSmith plugin. This plugin grabs all other RSS feeds and pulls them into your feedburner account. (Official feedburner installation instructions from Google.)

  • Download the plugin, then follow the instructions below to begin forwarding all WordPress feed traffic to your FeedBurner feed.
  • Go to Widgets > Add New  and search for the feedburner_feedsmith_plugin_2.3.zip on your computer. Upload and activate.
  • To customize your new widget, go to Settings > Feedburner.
  • Keep this tab open and open a new one.

2) Create a Feedburner Account

  • Go to http://feedburner.google.com/
  • In ‘Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:’ enter your blog address. In this instance it was alyssawilliamson.com.
  • Identify Feed Source (you will have a choice of Feed or Content Feed – choose Feed)
  • Give your Feed a Title and Customized Address
  • Copy your new feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/AlyssaWilliamson

3) Customize your Feedburner Feedsmith Plugin

4) Enable Publishing of Email Updates

What’s the point of having followers if they don’t know you’ve updated your blog? These steps will allow users to subscribe and receive email updates of your blog, for free!

  • Go to Publicize > Email Subscriptions. Here you will have two boxes of code that you can copy and paste into your WordPress widgets area. The first code is for a subscribe form, where users actually enter their email address to subscribe – and then go through a two-part subscription process with Feeburner. The second option is a link, that the user clicks on to then add their email address.

Here are some other tips:

Hello, my name is…

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name and who I am has become such a major part of my business brand (especially when I was a soloprenuer) that I wanted have an outlet to be myself – in a business sense. I’m an entreprenuer. I’m also a marketer, graphic designer and a web designer. I built my own successful marketing, design and web business through the recession of ’08 – ’10 and now I am starting another business with a business partner. My goal is life is to be a successful serial entrepreneur (and travel the world with friends and family).

Most of what I know is self-taught. (At least when related to my business).

I taught myself to program HTML code when I was 12.

I started with a free Homestead account and was so frustrated by the templates that I went into the backend and started creating my own layouts based on what I learned – mostly from other blogs, forums and tutorials that I found online. I have since gone on to teach myself, CSS, HTML5 and PHP. As I learned about the craze with WordPress, I jumped on that bandwagon too.

I became a Graphic Designer.

I spent most of my childhood thinking I wanted to be a vet…then decided that wasn’t for me. My next favorite hobby was video games and drawing and that eventually lead to a degree in Computer Graphic Design.

I immersed myself in the online marketing world.

Marketing is a major part of design and my course emphasized the research phase of the design process. This includes understanding your target market and designing to their needs and requirements. I have then gone on to subscribe to countless blogs and trainings by other marketers. I understand the basics of marekting and excel at implementing them online as well as cross-platform (print to web to tradeshow to social media and back again).

I built a business by myself.

And it was successful – my clients are the type that leave raving (in a good way) testimonials about me. Then I took that business and merged it with a business partner to create a new company. As we say 1+1 = 11. It is going to be pure awesomeness.

So that’s enough about me. Now for awesome topics, like how to make money with your website! No, this is not about cheap gimmicks that help me make money from people who fall for my tricks and purchase products from me. This is about me teaching you what I have learned.

So…let’s begin!