FREE GOOGLE MY BUSINESS WEBSITE BUILDER
Should you build a free Google My Business Website?
Google My Business Websites are on the rise, and the question is- Should you build one? Google officially launched its Website Builder within Google My Business to help small businesses easily create websites, especially for those who don’t yet own their own website.
According to a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13, 2017:
One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website, but we know that getting a website can still be a challenge for a lot of small business owners around the world: too complex, too expensive, too time consuming. Millions of small businesses (60% of small businesses globally) don’t yet have a website. It is a free tool that allows small business owners to create a simple, striking website in just a few minutes. It’s easy, and you can create and edit your new website from your computer or your phone!
First, let’s look back at how free website builders have been discussed as being counterintuitive to your online marketing goals. We’ve discussed the many reasons before why you should never use a free website builder.
- Rented, Not Owned
- Limited Pages, Limited Data
- Poor Analytics
- Poor First Impressions
- Design Quality
- Mobile Friendly
- Responsive Programming
- No Branding
- No Support
And so on. So what’s different here?
What makes a Google My Business website so special?
Well, let’s begin with the obvious. It’s provided by Google. Every day, Google is providing new ways to improve their search engine results. With as fast as new websites are being added to the crazy-fast digital highways of the internet, Google needs you to provide as many breadcrumbs as possible to find their way back to you. This Google My Business Website is another one of those crumbs.
Unlike the other free website builders, this is a page designed to enhance your search engine optimization efforts. It is crazy simple to set it up, and offers direct opportunity to get your optimized content listed with the world’s most popular search engine.
The Test Drive
We were excited to give the new Google My Business website designer a shot when it was released in 2017. As a website design company, we’ve rolled with a number of Google’s design interface changes and were curious what to expect from the experience. It took just a few minutes to get going and with a little copy+paste action from our actual website, the new page was ready!
It was so easy, there’s no reason NOT to do it!
We’d all love it if our clients and customers direct-dialed our website when they needed to reference our information. But the reality is that Google is most likely the first source of your business information for your audience. Whenever you update your contact information, operational hours or location, your Google My Business website is automatically updated for you. Bam, your information is streamlined along the first points of reference by those searching for you.
Website Design Costs
IT’S A FREE WEBSITE DESIGNER! That part is totally true. There are no costs to design the website or future costs for hosting the website. However, if you would like a custom domain (such as www.YourAmazingCompany.com), you will have to purchase a domain through Google domains at a minimal cost.
If you already have a website design you’re marketing with, you won’t need another custom domain and can use the Google provided URL to promote the page. But if this is your only website for the time being and you want to market this page, we strongly recommend a custom URL that is memorable for your audience. It’s worth the cost.
Website Builder Features
- Free Website Builder- It’s Free!
- Custom Domains Available.
- Responsive Website Designs
- Mobile-Friendly, yay.
- Automatic Content Updates
- Manage from Mobile
- Market with Google AdWords
Note that you need to have a verified listing on Google My Business to use the website builder. If you don’t have a Google My Business Profile yet, or need assistance with managing your online presence, contact us today for your free consultation.
How to Build a Website with Google My Business
First, add your business profile and get verified, if you haven’t already.
Next, you’ll be prompted to start your free website with Google.
Once you’ve entered Google’s Website Builder, there are four easy steps from here until your finished website:
- Theme: Each theme has a different heading font style and color combination to help customize the website design closest to your company’s brand identity. We went with the Nouveau theme for our page.
2. Edit- This is where you get to share the fun details! Be concise and direct with your audience. Aligning your digital marketing and SEO with Google’s best practices is always your best bet for traffic. Include a bulleted summary of who you are or what you do. This is your elevator pitch, and the clock is ticking.
3. Photos- This is the fun part! Make your website look as beautiful as your best images by uploading graphics that speak to your brand and service. Show off your latest projects and share an update team photo. This is the visual connection from your audience into who you are. Lacking on imagery that speaks for you? We’re happy to help you with an afforable onsite photo shoot with our photographer or custom graphic designs to enhance your brand.
4- Settings- Here’s a few more opportunities for your online marketing efforts.
- Your Site Address: You can take what Google suggests, or write your own GMB website address. You can customize the GMB url, but this will not give you a custom domain. (See next step)
- Buy Domain: Now THIS is the plave you can purchase www.YourAmazingCompany.com to advertize your new Google My Business website with.
- Publish Website: Encouraging words, aren’t they? Yes, it was that simple, my friend. We’re almost there.
- Site Language: Set your website’s default language for your target audience.
- Promote with AdWords: Marketing Strategists a callYour website is ready to market and Google has amazing Pay-Per-Click options to help you. Haven’t built a Google Ad Campaign before? Give our to ask about our PPC Management.
- Contact Details: The rest of the information, including your operational hours and contact info, is already populated from your Google My Business Profile. How handy!
Thoughts from Your Local Website Designer
How well does this website builder hold up to SEO best practices? We have a few thoughts:
- Easy to use.
- Nice, clean design.
- Optimized Images.
- Linkable Content.
- Includes Google Map.
- Includes Business Hours.
- Keyword Suggestions for Headers Available.
- Page Analytics let us know who has been here.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
If this were your main website, we have a number of concerns.
- Single-page structure. One page is pretty limiting for providing content and encouraging a viewer to explore. The bounce-rate for these pages are likely very high (not a good thing).
- Call-to-Actions opportunities are lacking. Typical website designs offer multiple chances to encourage your visitor to engage with your website, which simply isn’t an option with this builder.
- Lacks Social Media sharing buttons. This is a bummer. Social media can play a big role in SEO, connecting you to your target audience through their favorite internet channels- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
- SEO Opportunities: This website builder doesn’t allow for structured data markup, alt text for images, custom page titles or meta descriptions. If that was a bunch of jargon to you, that’s okay. We can help. If you understood what we’re saying, you know how limiting that is for your SEO efforts.
However, if this is (which we hope) a step toward boosting your SEO for your current website, those negatives really don’t apply. Free SEO is Free SEO, especially when it’s this simple and effective. So, should a small business owner build a website with Google My Business Website Builder? In short, yes.
While we wouldn’t recommend it as a stand-alone website for most small businesses, we do recommend it as an SEO booster. In our opinion, every small business deserves to own their own website which is why we’re designed with a per-minute billing system to provide website designs on any budget.
Your Website is the Car. The Internet is the Highway. And SEO is the Fuel.™
The vehicle you drive online matters. While the Google My Business website builder is a fantastic SEO tool to boost your optimized content online, it may not be enough for your small business. Still not sure? Call 612.444.2211 for a no-obligation consultation about your online presence.
VantagePoint Marketing- Anoka, Minnesota