Turn on/off Facebook comment notifications

fb-notificationsWhen you comment on someone’s Facebook post, the comments following yours get emailed to you. Don’t want these email notifications? Follow these steps:

  1. Go to the post on Facebook (click the link in the email notification)
  2. Click the grey arrow in the top right corner of the post
  3. Click “Turn Off Notifications”

Similarly, if you want to receive an email anytime someone comments on a post (but you haven’t commented on it yet), follow the same steps but select “Turn On Notifications”. This is handy if you want to follow a thread but don’t want to comment on it.

Schedule Gmail messages for the future

Writing an email at 12am but don’t want it sent until a reasonable hour? Boomerang is a free plugin for Gmail that allows you to schedule messages to be sent in the future. It can also remind you to follow-up on the email after a set amount of time.

  • Install the browser plugin
  • Open Gmail and write your message.
  • Click the “Send Later” button and schedule your email.
  • If you want a follow-up reminder, check the “Boomerang this” box and choose when you want to be reminded.

Track links in your email signature

linkDo you have links to your website, newsletter or social media in your email signature? Ever wonder how many people are clicking on those links? Here are two free services you can use to start tracking those clicks. Just create a special link using the services below, and then use that new link in your email signature.

  1. Google Analytics + Google URL Building: If you use Google Analytics already, you can create custom URLs that can be easily tracked. Just set up your custom link in Google’s URL builder tool. Then in Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources > Campaigns and you’ll see any traffic for your custom links.
  2. Bit.ly: If you don’t use Google Analytics, you can create a custom URL using the Bitly link shortening service. They will give you stats for all of the links you create and save in your account.

Gmail templates

Do you find yourself typing certain types of email messages over and over? Gmail Labs has a feature that lets you quickly send out common messages using templates you create.

Go to Settings > Labs and search for Canned Responses. Enable the feature and click Save Changes.

Compose a new email message you want to use in the future, click on the More Options arrow next to the Trash button, and go to Canned Responses > New Canned Response. Type in a title for your message and click OK. (You can close the compose window and delete the draft message you just created.)

In the future, create a new email draft, click on Canned Responses and choose the template you created. Your template will be inserted into your draft and you can edit it or just send away!

If you’d like to edit your template, insert the Canned Response into a new email draft as described above, then select your template name under Canned Responses > Save. This will overwrite your previous template.

Hide/show Gmail Labels

If you use a lot of labels in Gmail, the list in the left column can get quite long. There is a simple way to show only your most frequently used ones: underneath your list of labels on the left, click on “More”. You can click and drag any label from above the line to below it, or vice versa.

Another way to manage your labels is to go to Settings (the gear label in the upper right corner) and then click on Labels. From here you can click Show/Hide to choose which labels will be visible in your list.

Sharing photos and files

Attaching photos or other files to an email isn’t always the best way to share them. Here are several free services that allow you to upload files and quickly share a link to them. This is especially handy for sharing on IM or social media.

Dropbox: Already have an account? Just drop any file into your public folder and right-click to get a link to share it with anyone.

Dropmark: Sign up for a free account and share collections of photos, videos, music or links. It has a really simple drag and drop interface.

TinyPic: Upload images or videos and get a link to share or send via email.

Imgur: Upload an image (or whole gallery) and get a link to share.

Filtering your Gmail

Filters, like Labels allow you to organize your Gmail. You can set up rules that will automatically categorize or file messages depending on custom criteria you specify. For example, maybe you want emails from your Mom to be labeled “Family”, or you want emails sent from your boss to go directly in the Trash.

In Gmail’s search box, click on the drop-down arrow on the right. First find the messages you want to label or file: Type in a name or email address in the From box, and/or a word in the Subject box (i.e. Receipt, Itinerary). Then click on the “Create filter with this search” link. Now choose what you want to do with the messages you’ve specified. You have choices such as: Archive the message, Star it, Apply a label, Delete it, etc. Chose some actions and click “Create Filter”. If you want to apply this action to the matching conversations Gmail just found (see your Inbox), check that box first.

You can also set up email filters with:
Apple Mail
Thunderbird
Outlook
Yahoo

Gmail labels

If you use Gmail and don’t use labels, you must start immediately. Labels are a way of organizing your emails so you can quickly find what you’re looking for. For example, you may have labels for Trips, Receipts, Invites, Coupons, etc. And unlike folders (in most other mail clients), you can use multiple labels per email.

To label an email, open the message and click on the label icon (next to More, it looks like a tag). Choose an existing label, or type in a new one. Your labels will appear in the left column, and if you click on one you’ll see all the messages with that label.

Labels appear next to the subject of your emails in your inbox. If you want to change the color of your labels, click on the color box next to the labels in the left column and choose a different color.

Start an email newsletter

Interested in sending out your own email newsletter? If you want something basic and free, try TinyLetter. Just choose a username, sign people up, and you can easily send letters to your whole list at once.

If you’d like something with more bells and whistles (design templates, reporting, A/B split testing) try Mailchimp. It’s easy to use and free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Contact me if you need help with custom designed templates.

If you’d like to see a Mailchimp newsletter in action, sign up for mine!

Discussion Groups

Do you send regular emails to a group of people, like family members, business colleagues, or social groups? You can use a discussion groups service to create a single email address that will reach everyone in the group, so you don’t have to type them all in every time. Once you’ve set up a group online and added members, any member can use the group address to send emails to the whole group. The emails are archived on the web so you can view them and search their contents at any time. Both Google and Yahoo provide this service at no cost.