The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus – Part One

It’s been a little over two years now since Google Plus came into existence and its been a game changer since it’s inception.  Over the last two years Google Plus has been in a constant state of change, upgrades to the system are developed and routinely installed without notice or warning.   Most of the changes are welcome and  work really well while other changes seem to take a longer period of adjustment.   But one thing that sets Gplus apart from the competition is that they listen.

Google Plus wasn’t built to remain static and unchanging like other social media.  The platform Gplus was built upon embraces change so its users don’t become complacent,  mindlessly posting and never questioning the status quo.   No my friends,  Google Plus was intended to be an ever-changing evolving entity, that challenges  it’s users to become more than they ever dreamed possible.

And to the  naysayers that like to call Google Plus a Ghost Town, it’s going to become more like a nightmare.  Because as Google changes its search algorithms and Author Rank comes into play,  all the time spent on Facebook and Twitter won’t mean a damn thing to the search engines.  But for those of us with vision, that have embraced Google Plus, life will be good!

And that my friends is why I’m starting this series, it will be a definitive guide to using Google+ broken down into sessions making it easier to comprehend and implement.  There are no secret formulas to succeeding on G+, everyone will tell you pretty much the same thing, it’s all about engagement.   And truth be told, no one is going to engage with you if they don’t have a good idea of who you are.  So let’s start at the beginning.

Setting Up Your Profile-

Your profile is your calling card, it tells everyone who you are, where you come from and what’s important to you.   You must take advantage of this opportunity, because it may never come again.   Optimizing your Google+ Profile is your first step towards being successful on G+.

Use your real name – this extremely important to your success, because of Google Authorship.  If you want to use your blog name, it can be your nickname.  To do this hover over your name and click to edit your name will appear, then click on More Options.  Add your blog name in the nickname box (you don’t need parenthesis).   Then Click on Display my Name and choose how you’d like it to appear on your Header.   Remember although changing your name is not final, you can’t make another change for 30 days.  This is how I would recommend setting it up, if you choose this option  Chef Dennis Littley (A Culinary Journey). 

Include a good headshot with eyes looking forward – this is very important to your success.  Google wants to know that they can trust you and they want everyone to be able to see what you look like.  We don’t know how much Facial Recognition is coming into play on Google plus, but I know it’s important to have a good head shot of yourself that fills the frame, and your eyes should be looking forward.    Think about the trust factor, who looks more trustworthy?  Someone that looks you in the eye, or someone that’s looking off into space?

Include a tagline – this will appear under your name on your G+ Hover Card an it’s your opportunity to let people know who you are and what to expect from you without going to your profile page.   If I don’t see any information on someone’s Hover Card, I don’t bother going to their profile.   Your tagline should be 40-50 characters, short and to the point.  Mine simply states  Chef /Culinary Instructor / Food Blogger  it lets people know who I am and gives them a good idea of what they can expect from me.   Don’t forget to count the spaces and punctuation on your tagline.

Include a good Introduction –  now that you’ve gotten someone to come to your profile page, this is a good way to get their attention.  Tell them more about yourself, some of your accomplishments, your dreams, what makes you tick, anything relevant that you want to share without too many personal details.  Remember Too Much Information is also a bad thing.   Let them get to know you without getting too personal.  This is also a great place to add a hotlink to your blog and communities.

Bragging Rights –  if you’ve gotten any awards this is a great place to list them.   Or you can just have fun with it.

Occupation – this is pretty self-explanatory and it can go a few different ways.  Do you have a day job?  Is that who you are and do you want it listed here?  I think for most bloggers, while your day job does pay the rent it’s not who you are.  My listing is pretty much the same as my tag line.

Skills –   this is where you want to list your skills  (i.e. recipe developer, photographer, free-thinker).   This is a one line post and it won’t show up on your Hover Card.  Feel free to get creative.

Employment –  this is an important part of your profile because it shows up on your  Hover Card, remember them?    What you list as your Employment will show up directly under the tagline on your Hover Card and also on your G+ Page, so this is a great place to list your blog.  It can be the name of the blog or the blog address (it won’t be a hot link).  Unless you’re being paid by your company to use G+ for them,  or unless you have a very lenient social media policy, it might be better to leave your day job (if you have one) off this list unless it specifically relates to your blog or you write for the company you work for.

Places – If you’d rather not list your specific city, list the area.  I list Philadelphia Area as my current address because most people wouldn’t know where Oaklyn, NJ was.   Including your location in your profile will allow other plussers to find you when searching for people to network with in your area, or in an area they may have a campaign in.  You can list other places you’ve lived or wish you could live, and even throw some in for fun.   Who knows where Tintagel is and what it was?

Contact – list your email address.  I have over 350k followers and my address is viewable by the public and I get more spam mail from my contact page on my blog than I do from G+.  But I have gotten mail from other plussers that have turned out to be good contacts.    If you’re afraid of using your home email create a Gmail address just for Google+ .   Another option is listing your phone number.  Unless you’re a physical business I see no sense in listing your phone number, even if you’re using a Google phone number.  Did you know you can get a phone number from Google for free at any exchange you want and have it redirected to your cell phone.  This is great for your business card, you never have to give out your real number to anyone you don’t want to.

Education  – you would think that this wasn’t really a very important section to fill out, but you’d be wrong.   It’s important because it shows up on your Hover Card right under your employment.   This is a great place to list another place people can find you, I list my G+ Food Bloggers Community.  It also gives potential followers a bit more information about me before going to my profile page.  If you went to a very prestigious school having it appear here could be a good thing.    This is prime real estate on your Hover Card so use it to your advantage!

Basic information – is just what it says, fill in the blanks.   You’re birthday ( you don’t have to share the year) , marital status,  Your Gender (please don’t get this wrong, I see that all too many times) , what you’re looking for (networking) and any other names they might find you in search.

Links – first and most important you’re Google+ profile address so they can link to your blog with Google Authorship.   Then every social media and site that you belong to online, ie, Pinterest, Tumbler, or LinkedIn.  List all of them, Google likes to get a good picture of who you are and where you post, listing all of your site links helps them establish the trust factor.    Anther important part of your links is listing the sites you contribute to.  This will be your blog and any other online publication that you write for that credits you with your byline.  This is part of Google Authorship as well as Publisher.   If you post to any communities regularly list them as well.

Aps- if you use any apps they will appear on the list.  I would suggest using Circle Count as it helps populate more information on you Hover Card  such as the number of followers you have and your rank on G+, as well as the average number of comments, shares and +1’s you get.  More information to help someone decide whether to follow you on the spot, or go to your profile page.  If someones Hover Card has little or no information I just move on, I just move on.

Profile Page Cover –  another great way to get attention is the image on your page cover.  I have been rotating my images with some of my best images. You can also develop a custom header for yourself using Photoshop (if your that talented….sigh) or even find someone on Etsy to do it for you.   Why is this important?  Well not only for the obvious of having a good picture, it also appears on your  Hover Card.  It’s like handing out business cards with one of your best food images on it.   This is also a good thing to keep in mind if your developing a custom header with a bunch of small pics, they probably won’t look as good on the Hover Card or on a Smart Phone.

This is the key to your success on Google Plus, without a well filled out profile, you’re not going to attract followers.  Google had it right when they said that real people want to connect with real people.  And the more they connect with you, the more they come to think of you as a friend.   Once that happens you’ve got a reader for life.

Thanks so much for stopping to today and reading my Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus , stop by next week to read the next installment so you can be successful on Google Plus!


  1. Great tips Chef Dennis – you’ve been there from the beginning and have been such a wonderful inspiration, shepherding so many of us through the process. Thank you for all you do!

  2. Thank you so much for the great information! I am very behind but I’m working on it! 🙂 I’ll be looking forward to this series!

  3. Great post Chef, can’t wait till the next one.

  4. Great post! I really love all of the tips ! It looks like I have a little work to do on Google +….

  5. I’ve been ramping up my presence on Google+ (actually said bye, bye to FB 🙂 and feel energetic, once again, about being online. I think, like your explanation about the bio pic, sharing on Google+ is about passion and honesty…not simply “ooh see my shiny thing over here…and btw, while you are there buy it. Looking forward to the rest of your blogger guide to using Google+.

  6. Great tips and definitely explains why you’re so successful. =) And it’s true, if you personalize, the more people want to connect.

  7. Thank you so much for these tips Chef Dennis. I’ve been holding off joining Google + because I “heard” that you can lose all of your old pictures on your blog posts. With all of the bloggers jumping on board, I suspect that is not true, but nonetheless it is a scary thought.

    Do you have to give your birth year? Or just your birth date? For security reasons, I don’t like to give out a birth year.

    Again, this post is just what the kind of information I need to get started. Thank you again.

    • hi Sam,

      no you don’t have to give your birth year, I like giving the day and month because who doesn’t like getting BD wishes! As for losing your pictures, the only time that happens is if you delete the folders in your photo section. I did have a friend do that (still not sure why she did) and she did lose all of her blog images, it was a nightmare. But there is really no reason to delete them from your folders. You can easily decide who sees what on G+

      Hope you join us, and if you do let me know so I can invite you into our community. We have almost 1900 bloggers already and we share a lot of great resources


      • Thanks for answering my questions Chef Dennis and reassuring me about the photos and also not having to give your birth year. I will get back with you as soon as I get set up. I would love to join your community. I’ve heard many nice things about what you have done.

        • I’ve made my Google + page. It turns out I already had a profile, but I was able to edit it with your suggestions. Thank you so much. Now if I could only figure out how to add the badge to my blog & add people to my circle. Hopefully you will cover those in part two of your post. Lots to learn, but very exciting.

          I would love to belong to your community.

          Thanks again for all of your help Chef Dennis. You rock!

          • hi Sam

            I will be covering the badge, its not difficult to do, but I’ve been having issues with how much bandwidth its taking so until I get it to where it just sits there I’m not posting about it. My host kept shutting me down because of the two badges I had in my sidebar (and no ads)

            what is your G+ name and /or url I can’t seem to find you. If you add me to your circles and then send me a message using my +Chef Dennis Littley name (make sure its a link) then I’ll be able to find you and send you an invite to our community.


          • Chef Dennis, my name is Sam Hoffer on Google Plus. I couldn’t figure out how to add my blog name in parenthesis after my name as you suggested. Probably because even thought I didn’t know it, I’ve been set up (probably for more than the 30 days). I’ve used My Carolina Kitchen as my nickname.

            I haven’t figured out how to add people to my circle yet, so I hope you can add me. Thanks again for your help.

          • hi Sam

            I just added you so look in your notifications or just put my name in the search line on G+ and I’ll come up. Chef Dennis Littley
            To add people you just have to start scrolling through the stream and when you see something you like click on their name and it will take you to their profile page, if you like what they post just add them to your circles. there will be a box in the right hand side of their header.

            Find me and add me to your circles then I’ll send your invite and you can browse our community to pick up more tips. I also have a How to be a good plusser on my blog, that will help you get started.
            As for your nickname, I revised my posting with a step by step method to add that in.


  8. Excellent stuff! Thanks, Chef!

  9. Who knew there was a Hover Card? Not me! Thanks for sharing all this marvelous info, Chef Dennis.

  10. Fabulous, thanks Chef Dennis.

  11. Chef, that was brilliant and even though I’ve been on G+ for ages, I had left a few of those fields empty.
    can’t wait to read the rest of this series!
    Jane x

  12. Thanks for these great tips, dear Chef! I always use your posts as a kind of check-list to see where I am and where I should move forward to. I’ve just reviewed my tagline after having read this one!

  13. Great tips–I will be implementing some changes on my G+ Page! Thank you!
    Cindy @ Crazylou

  14. Good post, thank you.

  15. I thought I’d just scan the article because I’ve been on G+ and active for a while, but I learned some valuable information. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Impressive! I went to a Google marketing class and did not get this much insight. Thank you Chef Dennis!

  17. Thank you so much for this informative post. I just joined google+ and a little confused, but you made it a little clearer to me, I look forward to your next post. In the meantime, I’ll work on my profile :).

  18. Great post, Dennis! I thought I had my profile all set, but I learned a few things and made a few updates. 🙂

  19. Hi Chef,

    Though I had all the fields filled but after reading this post, I tweaked them a bit more. Thanks for great info!

    And I am one of those who have not been able to connect well on Twitter. Taking Twitter by storm was my New Year Resolution which sadly is still nowhere started.

    Looking forward to next in series!

    • you’re very welcome, and I’m glad my post helped you improve your profile. I’m still struggling with twitter as well, I joined Tribber, you might find that helpful for your growth.

  20. Excellent starter, Chef! I especially love the fact you are hammering how important that hovercard is to being successful on Google+. I happen to agree…it even shows up outside Google+ proper, like in Gmail. So if you blog subscribers use Gmail, and they get an email from you, they can add you right to their circles. And the more active you get on Google+, the more times your hovercard gets “handed out” to people in comments, posts, plus-ones and more. Get this right before anything else!

    • Thank you Stephan! I felt like I was just repeating what so many of us have already said in posts, and talking about the hover card yesterday got me thinking about how I had mine set up and the whys and hows. With so many new bloggers coming over to G+ I thought the timing was right for a new series on G+. I think we need to do a HOA on hover cards if your up for it.

      • DEFINITELY! I would be honored to play whatever part I can in this project of yours, I think it’s a fantastic idea and will help a ton of people. Let me know what your schedule is like, either via PM on Google+ or email me.

  21. This is a nice and comprehensive break down on the G+ profile elements. Nice work Chef

  22. Thanks Dennis. This is wonderful info and you’ve been so helpful to everyone in the G+ community with all your educational events. I enjoy every one of them.

  23. These are extremely helpful tips. Thanks for generously sharing them with us, Chef Dennis! Can I still add my blog’s name (Asian In Americamag) to my profile name ? I think I need to do that, after reading this. Happy weekend!

    • I’m happy to hear that found them helpful Betty Ann. Yes you can go into your account and make the adjustment on your name by adding it under the nickname option when you hover over your name it allows you to change your name. Then click on more options, add in your blog name, then scroll down to see how you want it to be viewed.

  24. There’s only one person I know who could spell out these basics with ease and finesse—that’s you good man. Thanks Chef!

  25. Great article! This had LOTS of helpful info for me – I really appreciate it! I went to my profile and made some changes right away. The only difference I noticed is that my Occupation shows on my Hover Card instead of my Employment, so that’s where I ended up putting my blog name.

  26. Thank you, Chef Dennis, for a well-written post. As a new blogger, I place much emphasis on what’s in it for my client but through other types of social media. Your article explains the “why” and the “how” in a way that is easy to understand and comes at a time when I’m working to “beef” up my online presence. Super helpful! Thanks for sharing the WIIFM of Google+.

    • I’m glad you found my post helpful Chandra, G+ can be a little daunting at times, especially for for new plussers. I’ll be posting more in this series as the weeks go on.

  27. Dennis, I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been quite overwhelmed and needed this explained to me.


  28. Great tips – thank you!

  29. Thank you so much for this great post! I’m a brand new blogger and I’m still figuring all of this out so this was incredibly helpful! I will definitely be back for the next installment.

  30. another morning spent – thanks to your work, it makes all of ours almost effortless…. so good of you, and bless you

  31. Thank you Chef Dennis. Good article and it helps being so simple and to the point.

  32. Thank you, Chef. Despite what I thought I knew about G+, I still found gold nuggets that I missed and fixed on my profile in this post. You are always so generous to help your fellow food blogger – thanks so much!

  33. I finally had a few quiet moments to read your post in its entirety and I am so grateful for all the info! I have been on Google+ for a few months, but I have to admit that I have not managed to move from the ground up:) I recently realized that I have two Google+ accounts (one for each of my gmail addresses) and I have no clue which one to save and concentrate on:(

    I am aware that Google+ is here to stay and I am determined to get to know my way around it. Your help is greatly appreciated:) Thanks again!

    • hi Lana

      take a look at both your G+ accounts and keep which ever has the email associated with your blog, that will make it easier when setting up Authorship. Once you’ve got the right one set up, go in and delete the other one. I will be writing more of these posts so hopefully they will help you better understand how G+ works and how to make it work for you.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  34. Hey chef! I just really appreciate these posts and all you’ve done to help us food bloggers thrive over at G+. Looking back at an email I sent you October 2012 I had just 500 G+ followers and I was looking for some advice from you on how to be a better plusser. Now (10 months later) I’ve been circled by over 11,000 people and I’m truly enjoying the G+ community. Thank you so much! ♥

  35. Michaela Harrison says:

    thank you for these tips simple yet effective ways I’ve had g+ for a while now but your tips are going to allow me to actually use g+ instead of just having g+ thanks

  36. Awesome tips; thank you so much for sharing!

  37. Wow! As the others have said, I found this so helpful! I typically find learning new social networks, can be so overwhelming, but you made setting up my google + a breeze. Thank you so much! Now… Off to build a following! 😉 Thank you!

  38. Hi Chef, this is a great post and I’m looking forward to the 2nd part in the series. Thank You!

    In regards to setting up a page vs using my personal profile. I am currently creating a couple blgs on different niches and my concern about using my personal G+ page is that it may be providing & sharing content that others may not deem relevant. i.e. People having me in a food circle/community I’m sure won’t find fitness or travel relevant and vice versa.

    I don’t want to seem to be serving up content that isn’t relevant if I’m using my personal page for various niches.

    What’s your thought here if you don’t mind please Chef?

    • Glad you liked it Trent, part two is already done, and I’m actually working on part three for later this week.

    • sorry I didn’t see the rest of your question.

      I would continue to use your personal profile and use it for growth in different areas of interest. G+ is not like facebook or twitter in so much as you have people searching for just niche blogs. You can certainly start pages for your different blogs, but the time you spend promoting each of them would be better spent promoting yourself through engagement with others on G+. Your growth will be much faster and you will also help build the trust factor with Google search engines. The best way to promote your other blogs would be to join communities that engage in those interests and make friends in them, but stay as your personal page. Google’s philosophy is people want to connect with people not brands. Do you have authorship set up?

      • Thanks for the input above Chef Dennis, very much appreciated. I understand of the people connecting with people and not brands.

        Yes, I do have authorship set up already and will continue to post/blog personally. I’ll continue to engage and grow through my personal profile across the various niche communities. The great thing is being able to share niche content to a specific community within G+ so I guess that’s how I’d accomplish what I was asking above.

  39. this is really a great article and i confirmed that it is really helpful even to me especially in the aspect of search engine ranking. Thanks for this

  40. Great info, really trying to incorporate Google+ and this helps demystify the process..

  41. Great tips! I especially appreciate the one on how to add our blog name to our name. I’ve been wanting to do that for some time and wasn’t sure how.

  42. Great tips!
    Thanks for sharing with us:)


  1. […] Location – Where you live. An actual location is better than “The Interwebs” or “Somewhere over the rainbow.” Why? Because including geography in your profile will allow users to find you when searching for people to network with in their area. **TIP** – You can also use a region or metro area (for example, I could use “Boston area”) if you think it would be more useful to get your name in front of people searching for other local users, or if you want to associate yourself with a metro area and not a specific town. A big thanks to +Chef Dennis Littley for this nugget, which he blogged about on The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus. […]

  2. […] The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus- Part One. […]

  3. […] The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus – Part One by Chef Dennis Littley (A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis) […]

  4. […] profile, making it more Google friendly.  If you missed my last post, just click on this link  The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus – Part One.  Your profile is the first and most important step to being successful on […]

  5. […] The Bloggers Guide to Google + Part 1 by Chef Dennis […]

  6. […] The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus- Part One […]

  7. […] Location – Where you live. An actual location is better than “The Interwebs” or “Somewhere over the rainbow.” Why? Because including geography in your profile will allow users to find you when searching for people to network with in their area. **TIP** – You can also use a region or metro area (for example, I could use “Boston area”) if you think it would be more useful to get your name in front of people searching for other local users, or if you want to associate yourself with a metro area and not a specific town. A big thanks to +Chef Dennis Littley for this nugget, which he blogged about on The Bloggers Guide to Using Google Plus. […]

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