Creating a website for small businesses is still a huge challenge.
Most small businesses don’t have the technical expertise or time to create and maintain their websites.
While social media platforms such as Facebook, Google my business account, Twitter etc have made it easier for businesses to create their online presence, Google study suggests people are still looking to visit websites of the businesses from those social listings.
And with 60% of small businesses without any official website, as suggested by Google research, it clearly seems to be a big problem for small businesses. Google is extending its business services to help solve this problem for small businesses.
The website builder tool is simply called Website and is now available directly on the Google My Business dashboard.
The website builder lets small businesses easily create a simple one-page business website using their existing business details from their Google listing.
Although the customisation options for the website are very limited as of now, it’s one of the easiest ways to get a website for local businesses.
The best part is that the website is synced with the Google My Business listing allowing businesses to keep their website updated with any changes to their listing.
Let’s learn how to create a free website for your business using the tool and explore some of the important features of the website builder tool by Google.
Steps to Create Free Website with Google My Business
As the tool is part of Google My Business, it’s essential that you have added your business to the platform. Adding your business is really easy and only takes a few simple steps.
If you have your business listed on Google already, you can also claim the business to have rights to manage it on the Google My Business platform. Check out this FAQ Resources page of Google My Business if you don’t have access to your business listing already.
Website and Insights are some of the major features of Google My Business platform. Insights about how your Google listing brings you business had been available for a while and now the platform offers another useful tool for small businesses.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to create a free website using the Google My Business website tool.
If you have multiple locations added to Google My Business, click on the Dashboard Icon for the business that you need to create a website.
This is what the dashboard of your Google My Business listing should look like.
Step 2. Click on the Website menu item in your right sidebar of the Google My Business account.
Step 3: You will see an introduction screen with brief information about My Business Website. Click on Get Started to begin the process.
Step 4: Google will start creating your website and you will see the animated progress bar for the process. Wait for the process to finish.
Step 5: Once the process is complete, Google will show you a welcome screen for your site. Click on the tick icon to get started. — Information regarding the sync of your website with the Google My Business platform is also displayed.
Step 6: Google will now walk you through the customisation process of your website. The first suggestion is to select the theme for your website. Click on the Pick a Theme icon.
Step 7: You can now select a theme that you like for your website. Theme decides the general design such as colours and fonts for your website. — Google lets you choose from the selection of 10 different themes with different colour styles and fonts to match your business.
Step 8: You will now be prompted to upload Photos for your Business. Your existing photos on Google My Business will also be used.
Step 9: Google will now show you the Publish button so that you can publish your website when you are ready.
Step 10: You will need to configure a few settings such as your Site Address and Site language before you can publish your website.
Step 11: Click on Publish Now and you will be asked to select the Website address for your free website. The address will be in the format of yourbusinessname.business.site.
Click Next once you are happy with the name. — You will also see an option to select and confirm that this will be your website address on Google Maps and Google Search.
Step 12: Once your domain address is confirmed, you will see a success notification for your website. Click on View Site to see your new Website.
Congratulations on your new free website from Google My Business!
Now that you have your free website, learn more about how to edit and optimise the website.
Optimise Your Free Website with Google My Business
Although limited, Google My Business provides you with the necessary basic options to optimise your free website.
You should have seen most of the options while going through the initial setup process but feel free to click on Edit Website and go back to these options that you can edit to further optimise your website.
Edit your Business Website
Go to Website from the menu of your business dashboard on Google My Business. You can see the icon elements on the left side panel that can be edited as per your business needs.
Few edits that you can make to your free Google website include;
- Make changes to design by selecting a theme
- Choose the right primary button for your business
- Edit the text on your website
- Upload more business photos
- Change settings such as Site address and site language
- Add links to other sites, such as for ordering, reservations, or other social media presence
Change your Design with Suitable Theme
The theme changes the design and looks of your website. Make sure to choose a theme that closely matches your business branding such as colours.
The theme also changes the fonts on your website, so make sure you like the fonts that you see in the Headline and Description sections.
Upload High-Quality Business Photos
Make sure you upload high-quality relevant photos of your business on the page. You can click on Add Photos under the photos section to upload more photos in the section.
The cover photo on the website is especially important as it will be shown to your customers on Google listings. Click on Change Cover Photo under your website preview to select a cover photo that represents your business.
You can add other photos in the photos and menu section to show more about your business.
Choose Appropriate Call to Action — Primary Button
When you click edit, you have an option to choose from a list of primary buttons. Choose the appropriate button that makes sense for your business.
For example, if your business provides services, you can choose the “Get Quote” button which will let your website visitors fill in their name, phone number, email, and message in a contact form, which is then emailed to you or other listing owners and managers.
There’re several primary buttons you can choose from the list to match your business. Here’s a list of the main action buttons and what they do.
- Get directions: To show directions to your business location on Google Maps.
- Call now: Lets your visitors call your business
- View menu: Assign any link for the button
- Find table: Useful for restaurants that can link to their table booking service
- Place order: Add links to your store or ordering pages
- Make appointment: Add a link to your appointment booking page
- Message us (SMS): Allows users to send you a SMS message to your phone number. Make sure that the number is a mobile phone that can receive SMS messages.
- Message us (WhatsApp): Allows users to send WhatsApp message to your mobile phone number. You will need WhatsApp activated for the mobile number.
- Get quote: Opens up a contact form with details that will be forwarded to your email.
You can choose a button and see how it looks in the preview panel of your site.
Use a Custom Domain for Google Site
If you don’t like the sub-domain .business.site, you can easily buy a custom domain for your Google site.
Google My Business help guide has examples for few domain registrars to help you redirect your existing domain name.
- When logged in, Click Manage under Domains Section.
- Choose “Add Website” and select “Connect to an Existing Site”.
- Choose “Forward to Any Site” and enter the URL of your Google My Business website (yourwebsite.business.site).
- When logged in, click “Domains” from the Menu, and then click “My Domains”.
- Click on the domain that you want to redirect.
- Click on the “Host Records” or select “Host Records” from the drop-down list.
- Choose “URL redirect” and forward the hostname to your Google My Business website.
You can always contact your domain registrar to ask them to redirect your domain to your Google My Business websiteURL. They should help you or at least provide you with instructions on how to redirect your domain name.
More Features in Website Tool of Google My Business?
The Website tool with Google My Business is a new product and I am sure Google will keep updating with more new features.
The website feature closely aligns with Google’s strategy of helping small business succeed on the web and we should soon see more updates as more small businesses make use of it.
I will continue listing more features of Website by Google My Business on this page once they become available.
What is your favourite feature and what do you like most about the free website? What new features would you like to see in the future updates?