18 months ago googlegooru.com was little more than an idea and a tiny site. Originally inspired by Khan Academy, which started as an educational YouTube channel, we hoped Gooru would become the go to source for everything Google Apps related. Unsure if the site would gain broad adoption, Gooru started as a side project for our Director of Marketing, Taylor Gould. In the early days, he’d post one Gooru video a week, if that, and send it out to the community, a few die hard Google fans.
Over the course of the next six months, Gooru gained some incredible traction within the Google Apps community; we’d amassed more than one thousand followers on Google+ and had just as many subscribers to our newsletter. We realized there was a huge need for content about everything related to Google Apps and decided to put a full time resource behind the site. Andrew McGonnigle became the first intern for Gooru in the Summer of 2012 and joined the team full time last December. Since then, we’ve steadily been building out the Gooru team.
Since joining BetterCloud, Andrew, who we affectionately refer to as “The Gooru,” with the help of Taylor, and a team of marketers, has turned googlegooru.com into a must-use resource for anyone operating on or interested in moving to Google Apps. The Gooru team posts at least four videos a week, sends a daily newsletter to an active community of more than 10,000 members and the site itself has gone from receiving a few hundred visitors a month to nearly 100,000.
I sat down with Andrew to discuss the evolution of Gooru, our brand new site design, which we’re launching today, and where he sees Gooru in the future.
Gail: So, you’ve launched the new site, can you tell me a little bit about it?
Andrew: I’m really excited about the new site. I think it makes all of our content more engaging and accessible and really shows that we’re committed to making Google Gooru the number one resource for everything related to Google Apps. We have the team, the expertise and now we have a beautiful site to really make Gooru the must-use resource for Google Apps.
In terms of the actual design of the site, we’ve made it completely responsive. If you’re on a mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop, you’ll have the same beautiful and seamless experience. We also introduced a new “mega menu,” which should make navigating the site a bit easier. Information is organized into three main categories: Migrate, everything you need to know about moving to Google, Adopt, the standard Gooru tutorials, and Enhance, tips for expert Google Apps users.
And finally, we’ve taken advantage of a lot of the new Google+ integration features. Since most of our social activity already happens on Google+, implementing Google+ commenting was a no brainer and it allows readers to easily transition from Plus to the site. Contributor information is also pulled from individual Google+ profiles, so readers can follow that contributor directly from googlegooru.com.
Gail: Can you tell me more about the contributor program?
Andrew: A few months ago we decided to start a contributor program. While I may be the Gooru, and our team is incredibly familiar with the platform, we certainly don’t know it all when it comes to Google Apps. The contributor program allows us to bring in content from experts in the Google Apps community. Contributors have very different expertise and backgrounds – some are Apps Script experts, others are wizards with Google Sites. We have teachers, Google Apps admins, resellers and software vendors all contributing content to make Gooru a true community forum.
While contributed content has been a part of Gooru for a few months now, the redesigned site really brings our community of contributors front and center. As I mentioned, each contributor will have their Google+ profile card displayed on individual pages and top contributors will be highlighted on every page of the site. This is done in an effort to get more and more people from the community involved. We’re always accepting new contributed content, anyone interested can apply at googlegooru.com/contribute.
Gail: What resources does the site provide for people or companies looking to ‘go Google?’
Andrew: We know not every organization out there has ‘gone Google’ (though that is our eventual goal), so we’ve provided a ton of documentation to help companies migrate to Google Apps. That documentation includes benefits of moving to Google, migration guides and even a place to find outside help. Our Google Apps Reseller Directory is a completely interactive and easy to use index of Google Apps resellers from different regions, with different expertise, serving different customer sizes.
The directory allows users to search both by name and location, through an interactive map, and notes whether or not a reseller is Premier, SMB or Enterprise, if they’re a Gooru contributor and more.
**To use the directory, navigate to click Reseller Directory + Map under the Migrate > Get Outside Help menu option.
Gail: Have you personally seen Google Gooru impact an organization?
Andrew: Definitely! Gooru is being used by thousands of companies on Apps to help train both IT admins and end users. Whether someone is just getting familiar with Google or they’re experts, Gooru has something for everyone. We actually spoke to Stumptown Coffee earlier this year who’s using Gooru to train its users specifically on Drive, Google+ and Sites. It’s nice to see that Gooru is really helping the community and hopefully the site will be even more beneficial with these latest new updates.
Gail: What’s the best part about working on Gooru?
Andrew: It’s always exciting when someone finds the site for the first time and they don’t really know much about Apps. Overtime, as we continue to interact and they explore more of the site, they get more and more comfortable with and knowledgeable about Google. Interacting in person is definitely the highlight though. At Google I/O this year the entire team was humbled when we realized how many people there were using Gooru on a regular basis.
Gail: Where do you see Google Gooru in the future?
Andrew: The site is completely centered around Google. We completely believe in the platform and know its user base will continue to expand, so Gooru will expand with it. We aim to be the “one stop shop” for everything related to Google Apps and the new site, with its fast growing contributor program and Reseller Directory plus our thousands of followers will help to get us there.