Google Pulls the Rug Out from Under Local Businesses
Have you heard?
If you have a free Google website that they built for you from your Google Business Profile (GBP), you won’t have it much longer!
Google states on its support website that “Websites made with Google Business Profiles will be turned off soon“.
Yep! Google gave you a free website and now they’re taking it away.
Here’s a screenshot directly from the horse’s mouth.
How Do I Know If My Website Will Be Turned Off?
If you’re not sure if this applies to your website, take a look at your website’s address or URL.
Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait right here for you to come back.
You’ll know that your website will be turned off if your web address ends with .business.site or .negocio.site.
For example, a website with an address like https://mywebsite.business.site would have been built by Google from a GBP. And very soon it will be turned off!
When are free google websites being turned off?
In 2008, Google started offering local business owners a free one-page website that Google built using data from the GBP of the business. The website included information such as the business name, location, phone number, hours, services, images, and other information that had been entered into the GBP by the business owner.
But that’s all coming to an end!
Starting in March 2024, Google is pulling the rug out from under local businesses when they turn off these free websites.
And this is what people will get when they try to access the free website you used to have…
Once your website has been deleted, Google will redirect your traffic to your Google Business Profile.
But Google states that they are only doing this until June 10, 2024. After that, they will no longer redirect any of your traffic.
So where does that leave you if your business has no other website?
Here's What To Do If You Only Have a free google website
You now know that Google is removing their free websites and leaving business owners high and dry. What you need to figure out is how you’re going to transition from this situation.
Here are several options to move forward…
Option 1 – Do nothing.
If you have so much business already that you don’t need a website, or you’re planning on closing shop in the near future, then one option is to do absolutely nothing.
Why this option? You don’t have to do anything so this option may only cost you some lost revenue. Your competitors will gladly pick up the sales you hand off to them.
Cost: Just that potential loss of revenue.
Option 2 – Optimize your GBP.
Make sure your Google Business Profile is optimized because when your website is taken down this may be all that’s left of your online presence.
Why this option? You improve your GBP for people looking for what you offer (you should do this even if you have a great website already). At least if this is your only online presence it’s now up to date.
Cost in time: 1) You’ll need to gather your business information, logo, and any other images that represent your business. 2) It may take you 20-60 minutes to complete this depending on how thorough you are.
Get my free Supercharge Your Google Business Profile With 10 Quick Optimization Tips guide in PDF format.
Option 3 – Build your own website.
There are lots of different options for building websites these days from Weebly to Wix to WordPress (the most popular and most used platform across the web). If you’re creative and tech savvy you’ll have an easier time of it. Just figure out the right web package with the right company, decide on a domain name and get started.
Why this option? You’ll have a website as soon as you can get it done!
Cons: 1) It could take countless hours to build out the website yourself. 2) If you’re not tech savvy, it can be a frustrating process due to the learning curve. 3) You’ll have a website that probably looks like a do-it-yourself website.
Cost: It will cost in the ballpark of $50-$150 to get started depending on the web hosting package you choose, plus the cost of the lost time.
Option 4 – Hire someone with the expertise to get you back up and running quickly.
If you have the means to hire a professional web designer to replace your free one-page Google website, that’s the quickest and easiest way to go.
Pros: 1) You’ll have a beautiful, functional website that will look great on different sized devices. 2) You can stay focused on what you do best in your business which is serving your customers. 3) You’ll have the option to build a more robust website (instead of the one-page site) which is better for being found when people search for what your business offers. 4) You’ll be able to update it yourself if you’d like. 5) When you add up all the time, effort and frustration of building a website yourself, you’ll save more money hiring it done than you’ll invest. 5) If you’re a smart cookie, you’ve probably already guessed that I can help you with this so you don’t even have to spend the time and energy looking for a web designer.
Cost: It may cost $400 – $500 for a one-page website depending on the amount of content you want on the site.
So there you have it; several options to bail yourself out of the situation that Google has put you in.
If you think that Option 4 sounds like the smartest, most efficient, most cost-effective way to go for you, contact me (Margie Bowen) today!