If you’re still using word processing software to create spreadsheets, business presentations and documents, then it’s high time you were introduced to Google Docs. This free application, available to Gmail users, works like word processing software. Create your Gmail account, log in and you’ll have instant access to Google Docs. The application allows you to create all of the above documents, including diagrams, flow charts and surveys. If you don’t have a Gmail account, then get on the bandwagon.
As a web services provider and blogger, Google Docs is one tool I consider to be indispensable. I create all of my spreadsheets with this application, share documents, and collaborate with colleagues and clients. I also keep a color-coded, task-specific Gmail calendar, which is altogether another post, but worth incorporating as one of your standard business tools.
It’s an excellent way to back up important information. You no longer need an external hard drive or USB flash drive to store irreplaceable business documents. Now, you can create your spreadsheets, presentations and important documents with Google Docs, in “the cloud,” without fear of losing them in a computer crash.
Have access to your documents from anywhere there is Internet access. There’s no need to lug your laptop around with you anymore. It doesn’t matter whose computer you use, as long as you can get online and log into your e-mail, you’ll be able to get to your files.
Google Docs are easy to share. Have you ever sent or received a file, and couldn’t open it because of incompatible software? This problem is so over! With Google Docs, you can open and read any document sent to you, and your recipients will enjoy the same ease of access. To share any Google Doc, log in to your Gmail account, and click the “documents” link at the top of your page. Create the file, and click the blue “share” button at the top right of the page. Enter the e-mail address of the person(s) you want to receive the file. From there, can click the drop-down arrow at the right to allow your readers to have view-only or editing privileges.
Collaborate with others in real time. If you share document editing privileges with colleagues, any changes you or they make will be updated immediately. You’ll never again have to wonder if you’re looking at an updated spreadsheet or other information-heavy document.
Other Nifty Google Docs Features
You can convert PDF files to images and text, and deliver files that are too large for e-mail.
And here’s the one that we online business people really love: create customized customer surveys to embed on your website or in your e-mail newsletter. This free option is helpful on so many levels, including:
- finding out what your blog readers want you to write more or less of,
- learning how well you delivered services to customers, and
- finding ways you can improve your products or services.
You can also use the survey to learn the demographics (age, location, job) and psychodemographics (values, desires, interests) of your blog readers and customers, giving you information to tailor your marketing messages and offerings.