Google launches free websites for US small businesses

With so much headline space being devoted to Google+ in recent weeks - and Google itself admitting that its new social networking product isn’t ready for businesses just yet - business users may have been feeling a bit unloved by the company of late. But while Google+ may not be the best home for businesses right now, a new Google initiative renews the company’s commitment to driving growth in small businesses through online opportunities.

The first of a series of “Get Your Business Online” sites launched yesterday in Texas and will be the model for a range of sites that will soon sweep across the United States. TexasGetOnline.com offers an easy three-step sign-up process for small businesses in Texas that provides them with a simple three-page website including hosting and a domain name, and is free for a year. After that, you can hold onto the domain for $2 a month and hosting will set you back $4.99 a month – or you can choose to cancel instead. Email-only support is only offered free of charge for 30 days.

The initiative also provides a website builder tool as well as a free business listing on Google Places, and $75 of credit to use on Google AdWords. Serial entrepreneurs with multiple businesses will be pleased to hear that they can sign up each of their companies for the deal.

Google points out that some 51% of small businesses in Texas still don’t have any kind of online presence (whether in the form of a dedicated website or through social networking services), and that the Get Your Business Online service aims to debunk the perception that getting online is too difficult or expensive to be worth the bother.

Amy Chang, Director of Product Management at Google pointed out that most small business owners already understand the value of the internet as consumers and that by helping them to easily and quickly get their businesses online, they can tap into the “huge opportunity to find new customers, increase sales and grow their businesses.”

With the initiative set to spread to other American states in the months ahead (indeed, Google has already registered dozens of domains in preparation for this roll-out), this will no doubt generate additional business relationships for its new Groupon-style daily deals service, Google Offers (currently in beta).

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15 Comments

Lachlan said,
They did this in canada a few months ago.. its not a bad idea.. but i never finished my site

I'm not surprised. When they did it in the UK last year, they had to abandon the original tool set as it was so poorly done.

I don't think it should be "get your business online" it should be more like "fu*K your business uponline before its even started" if google really wanted to help a business they'd provide real hosting with real support and proper ftp options so at least when the business owners find out they can't make websites, they could hire someone who has at an idea.

They're really just trapping company domain names into their system. In the UK the same service was such a pain to move the domain name from, it was next to impossible.

g0dlike said,
I'm sick of this "US only" bull****. The world does not orbit around US... wake up!

Where is google headquarters located?...

g0dlike said,
I'm sick of this "US only" bull****. The world does not orbit around US... wake up!

And Texas, of all states....

I'm rather surprised they got that information about Texas. I guess it's somewhat true. Many people come to Texas for entrepreneural opportunities and tech isn't often the first thing that comes in mind.

My mother owns a nail salon, and they do mostly OK or below average. They don't have a website at all. The best we ever tried was double checking it was findable on Google and Bing Maps, and an attempt at best establishing details of the business on Bing Local and Google Local.

Maybe it is true that Texas would be a prime spot for Google to launch this.

It should be noted it's more like a yearly trial, rather than just 'free'. After the year ends, nothing appears to be free. Not that the costs Google is asking for is outrageous.

Cool, now they can have access to your database information directly.

Do people not consider how accumulation of information by a company that freely admits that all the data they host is not encrypted from their own eyes makes the CIA look like a lemonade stand?

Why on earth are people so willing to give Google access to all their private information. Even if you are just a casual average person, if you Gmail someone about buying stocks or express interest in products or trends, they data mine this information and use it to not just for advertising, but to follow trends for financial gain. Why give a company the ability to make money off of the collective shifts in society, and literally just hand them any information they want.

If 50 small businesses are really excited about a new 'product' and email or order or let people order it from them, Google has the ability to see this 'spike' with a simple SQL query, and invest in the product in many ways.

Until Google officially puts a lock on the data/information they hold, and demonstrates the safeguards and encryption locks in place that keep them from using it in any way, as Microsoft has done, there is no reason any person or company should be enticed to use their products and hand them free infromation.

Information = power/money

Google is the world's leader in this right now, and if they are not willing to keep it private from 'themselves' it is very dangerous to the entire globe's economies and political systems. And as they publically admit, even one bad 'employee' could wield this power themselves outside of Google's intent or policies.

Danger, Danger, Danger...

And this is a piece of trash too.

Oh BTW, they are going to start charging for hosting in April 2012 I believe. I helped my mother promptly move her business site off that mess onto her domain host.

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