Google+ Circles And Sparks, What Do Bloggers Have In Them?

Google+ sparks and circles

Google+ – I am sure that you would have had your hands on it by now. Or at least you would have experienced the plus wave.

You can read about it all over the internet and especially on blogs.You would have had numerous invites and notifications from some of your “lucky friends” who managed to get their hands on it before you.

There have been mixed opinions about it from people. Some like it to the extent that they are ready to dump Facebook, while some find it annoying and feel that Google is copying Facebook and trying to make a scene.

Well, what do I say is this: I love Google plus for many reasons. Before directly going into the topic of this post, let me tell you briefly about my opinion on plus overall.

What I like about plus?

1. Clean and pleasant look. As I have already told you on a different context, I hate clutter. That could easily demotivate me. So plus is just right for me. When I am inside plus, I don’t feel that I am inside Facebook. I think that is enough for me to like it.

2. Privacy. I don’t think that I will have to write a lot about it. You know what is “privacy issue” if you are a Facebook user. People can add me to their circle or a list, but that doesn’t mean that I will be getting annoying updates from all those who add me.

I choose what gets into my stream. Even if I am friends with them it doesn’t mean that they can control my environment. This is a cool thing.

3. No game requests (at least so far, LOL). No I am serious, no poking and people asking me to join them playing games.

4. Adding people to circles is a pleasant feature that works like breeze. Drag, drop, suggestions to add (that is pretty much like Facebook), putting your mouse over “add to circle” automatically brings up a drop down of available circles for you to choose and so on.

Well these are big and little things. But they count a lot when it comes to user experience.

So coming to the point – If you are a blogger, how can you benefit from Google+. There are at least two major things that Google+ will help you with.

  1. Blog promotion, and
  2. Blog post ideas.

Blog promotion

Talking a bit more detailed about this, it is not “just” another promotion. With circles you can really target your audience. Now I assume that you know how to create a circle.

If you identify your followers’ or audience’s interests you can create separate circles for them and put them in boxes (well, circles). Of course, you can put the same person in more than one circle.

So if your “fellow blogger” is also your “friend” and your “client” you can put him/her in three different boxes: Fellow Bloggers, Friends, Clients.

Now whenever you have something to share with your audience, choose the right circle. If your blog post is about blogging tips, your fellow bloggers will surely be interested in it. So when you share such a post, make sure you share it with your circle, and of course you can make it public too!

How to share something in Google plus to circles and also make it public

Now, if your fellow bloggers are using plus and have added you, they will get your post in their stream. If they are not using plus, they will be emailed about your share.

Once you share it on Google plus, people can reshare your post, comment on it and can +1 it. That is a lot of promotion, targeted promotion I mean.

Blog post ideas

When you are on Google+, you can see “Sparks” on the left sidebar.

Google plus sparks feature

Click to enlarge….

Now you can choose from some recommendations from Google like Cycling, Fashion etc. But you can also type your interests in the box.

You can choose to type one of your blog’s categories, tags or any of the primary keywords and press Enter. You will now be presented with the recent results related to your search.

How to add interests to sparks in Google+

Click to enlarge…

Now all you have to do is to click “Add Interest” and that’s it. Now you can do multiple searches like these and add all those interests. They will be saved on the sidebar under “Sparks” like this.

List of interests in Google plus Sparks

That’s it you are done. Now you can either regularly visit your interests by clicking on them, or you can visit any one of them when you have a writer’s block.

To me, I found that I can catch up with hot news in my niche. Not just for blog post ideas, but for regular reading, finding new blogs etc. I am using Sparks.

How are you using Circles and Sparks as a blogger?

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  1. Anna says

    I haven’t tried it yet as I am waiting for the time it will get famous. But I am pessimistic about its future. As for blogs it is important, but i am afraid that it will become a paradize for spammers.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says


      Not just for bloggers, I am sure the crowd will love it. I know many of my friends who are moving to plus already and dumping Facebook and they are not bloggers.

      I think plus gives a good and pleasant environment to stay with. Let’s see.


  2. Glorious BloggerGlorious Blogger says

    I read a few reviews about it. I remember that Randy from SEOmoz said he thought it was too complicated, or that it has too many features and considered that a drawback, Google being known for keeping things simple and effective. I kinda agree with that.

    I guess the future will clear things for us.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Hmm…. too complicated? I don’t see what is complicated. If someone is familiar with Facebook and Google Buzz, this one is not far from it. Some little extra features add to the experience, that’s all.

      To me, I love it for its simplicity actually. Much less clutter and chaos! :)

  3. DiTesco says

    Nice write up Jane. I am for no a G+ addict and I am not (yet) dumping FB, but to be honest, I never did use FB a lot. Compared to G+, I am way ahead…

    I agree with you overall , Circles and Sparks are great features. Circles are great to share stuff that I don’t want the whole world to see. For now, I am using Sparks just to “hop” around stuff that interest me…

    G+ plus is clean though and I am dying to try the hangout feature. Maybe you and I can gather some people to “hangout”, lol

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Yup for the past two days, I am using Sparks to hop around. And, same here about hangouts Fransisco. I tried to launch hangouts midnight yesterday and could not complete all the steps. I will try today. Let’s gather people for a blog chat :)

      • DiTesco says

        LOL, Ileane.. I actually got inspired because of your response on G+ yesterday to me :) We are now three so we can organize this thing and see how it plays out. I’m going to see how it works today..

        • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

          I don’t know for some strange reason I can’t set the hangout properly up. I cannot see my face. Will set these things up soon and let you know guys.

  4. A. Tatum Jr says

    I just got my invite to work tonight so I’m looking forward to playing around with it. I agree though I like the look and with Android integration I think it will be more of a success than Google Wave was.

  5. Usman@FirstHostingUsman@FirstHosting says

    Hi Jane!

    I really love the Google + , because the circles features is really awesome plus it work so fast does not matter how much rich features does it have.

    and all other features are loving too.


  6. Ileane says

    I’m enjoying Google + but I haven’t made use of Sparks too much yet. I’ve been busy adding people to circles though. I’ll be happy when they let everyone get access so we can all hook up over there.
    Nice post Jane. Thanks!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Try out Sparks Ileane. It is too cool. For the last 2 days, I am hopping around at Sparks only :) My Google reader has not bee visited since Sparks (I know that is bad). But I can’t help it LOL.

  7. Bit DozeBit Doze says

    I haven’t used Google + yet, but after I read your article I am convinced that I have to start doing. Sparks and groups are really great futures and for sure will help a lot of bloggers.

  8. ChuckChuck says

    Because my Internet at home is currently unavailable I am not able to get my hands truly dirty with G+ to see everything it can do. I have to rely on my job Internet and the time I have free to check it out. So far I like it, nice and clean, Circles is an excellent feature and I am just starting to look into Sparks. My only current beef is that the darn stream shows every comment made on any single post. That tends to make me have to use scrolling a bit too much. They need to make the comments collapsed by default on all of them. Some people have waaay to many followers always eager to reply back. Also, Google has that feature that allows you to log in to several Gmail accounts at the same time. This feature is not part of every Google project so it tends to make it difficult to log in to more than one account on sites like youtube when having G+ open all the time.

    I personally have 3 gmail accounts, my personal email, my blog email and my gamer email. I use my personal email for Google+, my blog email for my Blogger blog and for my comments on blogs like this one and my gamer email for when I sign up for online gaming and gaming sites and also for youtube to keep track of my eSports subscriptions. I hope they fix this eventually, otherwise I will be logging in and out often because of this.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Chuck, if you are annoyed by numerous comments in your stream you can mute that particular post. I have made a tutorial on using Google+ (link via commentluv) and hope some of the tricks I share there could help you minimize annoying things.

      Of course, I am too paralyzed by the inability to club all gmail accounts together. Let’s see if the big G takes this issue on hand.

  9. Christine SenterChristine Senter says

    I haven’t had the pleasure of using Google+ yet, but am on the waiting list. I’m actually pretty excited about it, as I love my Facebook for promotion and prompt ideas, but like you, I can’t stand the cluttered look of it. I like having a place to chat with friends, but I’d like to have a separate place to network and further my professional options. I don’t mind having them both in the same place, but would like to be able to keep them separate at the same time.

    Awesome post and now I’m more excited than before.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Christine, you will really like Google+ if you can’t stand the FB clutter. And, not just that – plus deals great with privacy!

  10. MichaelMichael says

    This was a very thoughtful, well written entry which has got me thinking about google plus in a new light. Is Google+ “old” enough to be thought of in a new light? Ha ha…not sure. But thank you!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Well, yes and no. Since plus was not open for everyone at the same time, for some it is very new and for some it is quite old already!

  11. PhilippineYogiPhilippineYogi says

    I was wondering youve been talking way too much about google plus but you forgot to update you G+ social plugin 😛

  12. bingositesbingosites says

    Is there a way to search for circles?
    I only found how to search for people.
    How can i join other circles if i can’t find them?

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      There is no way to search for circles. It is because you cannot “join” others circles. You can get into others circles only if they are willing to add you (that is what wonderful about Google plus compared to Facebook – you can’t get friend requests!).

      Everyone’s circle is private and they have full control over it!

      • bingositesbingosites says

        mmm… Than i can”t understand how will it work in terms of global groups.
        There wont be any?
        For example if i am interesting in Bingo Sites – can’t i found one big circle about it? there will be lots of small circles that are based only on my real friends?
        How can i connect to new people like that?
        I assumed that all the idea of circles is like groups in FB that wants to be bigger by letting people join them.
        If it is only for my known close circle of friend – it wont last long in my opinion.

  13. Will@How to create a successful blogWill@How to create a successful blog says

    I have not tried Google+ but these ideas do make it sound appealing, i’ll find myself an invite.

  14. Srivathsan@technology tips and tricksSrivathsan@technology tips and tricks says

    hey there. First of all saying that this post is really great. You are the first lady blogger whom I have ever seen. And coming to the topic google plus is really great and I just love it. But can we add our blogs topics in sparks ? Hope you could help me out in adding topics to sparks.

  15. Tech Freak@Web developmentTech Freak@Web development says

    Hi. I was wondering how can I add my content/link to the sparks feeds? they have links to various websites…how do I add mine there? And thank you the great post!

  16. Lady SeleneLady Selene says

    I have been feeling like a Lab Rat that has been thrown in a FB Maze for Quite some time, daily I see more & more viruses, invites for games, & video’s that you have no idea if they are safe. Yesterday I actually lost my account for the entire day, this is the message I saw:
    ” Your account is currently unavailable due to a site issue. We expect this to be resolved shortly. Please try again in a few minutes”
    A FEW MINUTES??? TRY 9 HOURS!!! What was the site issue? I was never told! I have another accunt, it never went down. I NEVER open anything, so, it was NOTHING I DID! F.B. GAMES that play!!!
    Circles is like a breath of fresh air for me. I opened it, and have been playing around in there. I like it a LOT! Now, I’m telling friends & family about it!

  17. Avangelist says

    It’s quite interesting to see the vagueness that comes with Sparks and I think it will get under used as a results. It’s clearly an effort to have a built in aggregate for content which you’ve highlighted as believing to be coming direct from Google News feed, but that I am not totally convinced by.

    Sparks is a great idea but the next real push isn’t going to strictly be the illusive brand pages, but how to get indexed in Sparks.

  18. Darryl BurmaDarryl Burma says

    As always, nice article Jane. I have to agree with you about game requests, the invasion of game requests in Facebook is beyond annoying, I don’t even know how to describe it. Luckily this is not the case with Google Plus, at least not yet as you mentioned, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    The more I use it the more potential I realize Google Plus has. It’s highly customizable and is loaded with great features. I can see why so many people are taking a liking to it. I do especially like how you can create as many custom circles as you wish. I agree with you Jane, it doesn’t get more targeted than that and this is only one of several features G+ has and Facebook doesn’t.

  19. Steve K says

    I had a G+ invite early on. Problem is, I use a google for domains account for my blog. G+ isn’t an option yet for those types of users. I don’t want to use my personal Gmail account as I am only a part time blogger and want to keep a border between my blogging persona and the rest of my life. So I guess my alternative is to create a third Gmail account and log in and out all the time with it. I just wonder if that will complicate things long term when Google starts allowing brands into Plus.

  20. Andrew Walker says

    Well.. I’ve tried it. But despite of those “plus” points, I don’t this new social media has what it really takes to stand at least, equally, with other popular social media such as Facebook or Twitter. It still lacks of something.

  21. Curt LimCurt Lim says

    You can certainly see more people using Google+ now.
    You can create pages in Google plus just like Facebook.
    I hard Google plus can have some minor benefit to SEO ranking?

  22. Brad says

    I heard great things about Google + but in my opinion, i think internet marketers should focus on Facebook and Twitter as of the moment. I mean, Google + is a great site with amazing features like circles and hangout but i feel that it still needs to attract more users to registered to this site and without real users i think all your efforts will just go to waste.

  23. Abigail BAbigail B says

    I have a blog (the one listed) and I want/need to get more viewers and readers. I just got a Google+ and chose the option of merging it with my blog. Is this a good thing? Do you have other ways to help me get more viewers? Please help!!!!

  24. Avnish GautamAvnish Gautam says

    Google plus has 360 degree importance for blogging purpose. I also personally use google plus for my blogging success. Your written information is very useful. Thanks.

  25. JaswinderJaswinder says

    Nice post and interesting tips. I just added Google+, not much familiar, that’s why I was searching about it; how to use it and I found your Blog, which is helpful. Thanks. If you have time look at my above blog.

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