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Google Tag Manager

Today I learned of the existence Google Tag Manager. With Google Tag Manager it becomes easier to place tags of any kind such as Google Analytics or any other tracking tag on your website and even on specific pages. All you’ve got to do is include the Google Tag Manager Javascript, setup your tags and you’re good to go.

I’ve added it to this website as well and it’s now managing the placement of Google Analytics for me.

It can of course be used for more than only Google Analytics. You could place tags to measure how many people have reached your sales page and have actually made a purchase.

You can always add these codes yourself but the added benefit from using Google Tag Manager is that it’s dynamic. No need to edit your website’s templates. Just set up a tag, define on which page(s) it must be shown and you’re good to go. It’s a nice and simple concept. Free as well.

Life without Google Reader

It’s been about three months now since Google decided to pull the plug on Google Reader, a much used RSS reader. A couple of reasons I’ve heard was that RSS is being used less and less and instead people were now using Twitter and Google+ (does anyone use G+?). Now some months later I’m still not using Google+ to stay up to date with news from the different websites and blogs I was following. Some of it shows up on Twitter, but that’s only a small selection usually.

But instead of using Google+ and Twitter I stay updated through my subscriptions to several Weekly-newsletters. And to be honest, I’m grateful Google decided to suspend Reader. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Reader but my mind has gotten more peaceful since I no longer feel the urge to check Reader (or Reeder on iPad) several times a day.

I of course didn’t accept the retirement of Reader right away and had to feed my need for RSS feed reading. I tried several other RSS readers such as Feedly and Tiny Tiny RSS. Of the latter I had an instance running on a free Red Had OpenShift cloud server, but because it was running into disk space usage problems it ceased to work. It was also slow, though I blame the cheap servers for that. As for Feedly, well, it was no Google Reader.

So no, I’m not missing Google Reader. Though some websites could do more with posting article updates to Twitter. But I might have a solution for that…

Trying out LinkedIn Ads

Since I just started my own company I need to get a steady flow of jobs from clients I’ve yet to acquire. My network is expanding fast and I’ve already had talks with potential clients with more to come in the future. I’m also subscribing to freelance job postings but so far those haven’t brought me anything yet.

I was contacted by a marketing company to do some search engine optimization on my website Kras IT but kindly declined their services. My website only exists to provide additional info for my potential clients which I don’t expect to get through Google search or Google AdWords. I actually did have a coupon for Google AdWords but it somehow isn’t valid for already existing Google accounts.

I’m using LinkedIn for my professional network, am a member of several groups and have been contacted by other members in the past for several jobs. So I expect more potential clients through LinkedIn than a Google Search.

Luckily I had received an e-mail from LinkedIn that offered me some advertising funds which I decided to make use of. Running an advertisement on LinkedIn for people who are actually looking for a freelance PHP or Perl programmer seems to make more sense to me than advertising with Google AdWords. It’s also a small investment on my part with a setup fee of only € 4,-.

Will I be getting new clients through LinkedIn advertisements? I don’t know and to be honest I’m not counting on it either. I consider it more of an experiment and am just curious to see how it’ll turn out. One thing I do know for sure is that I’ll be closely monitoring how much money it’s going to cost me as I’m not planning on investing a lot on advertising. I’ll report back on this topic if it has delivered me something.

Are you using LinkedIn advertisements as well? I’m interested to hear about your story or experience in the comments below.

The cancellation of Google Reader

Earlier this week Google announced the cancellation of Google Reader, probably the most used web based RSS reader. As of the 1st of July 2013 you won’t be able to use Google Reader anymore. According to Google Reader I’ve been using it since 15th of April 2011. Almost 2 full years now. I’ve been subscribed to 77 RSS/Atom feeds. Imagine having to check all those websites manually on a regular basis.

I began using Google Reader because manually checking out my most visited websites, around 6-7, was becoming too time consuming. Time that can be spent on more important things. I found Google Reader to be of great use to filter out the interesting articles and updates from all of the other noise that’s thrown in your face. We live in an age where we’re being fed so much information (really too much) that good tools are required to filter out the noise.

Google Reader provided that. And now Google is taking it away from us. From me. Sure, it’s their good right because it’s not as if it was a paid service (Earth to Google! I wouldn’t mind paying for it!).

With Google Reader disappearing some of my conveniences will disappear as well. If behind a PC I would log on to the Google Reader website and start consuming my feeds. If on the road, or on the coach, I fired up Reeder on iPad to stay up to date. All synchronized.

Though Reeder for iPad did announce that it won’t end with Google Reader ending I’ve yet to hear an announcement from them to find out which service(s) they are going to support next.

Also, with Google seemingly pulling the plug on RSS/Atom support (they already revoked their RSS subscribe plugin for Chrome) I wonder what’s next. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they cancel Feedburner next. My blog feed is actually being supplied by it, though I must confess I never check it to find out about usage statistics. Still, I expect I should update my RSS/Atom links soon.

To prevent Google from taking down Reader a petition has been started. I signed it, but I doubt it’ll have any effect. Even if they would decide to keep the service running the damage has already been done. People are massively migrating to other services and I think people once again realized that Google doesn’t hesitate to cancel one of their services as they don’t care much about their users.

Personally I don’t mind having to migrate to another service (hell, I’d even write my own if I have to) but for me my biggest inconvenience is no longer being able to consume my feeds on my iPad. I know Feedly is one of the services I can migrate to, but I don’t like the app. And yes, this post may be a rant on Google and it actually is. I’m pissed at Google even though I know I’ve no right to be.