Google, MYOB give SMBs a brief free ride

Google, MYOB give SMBs a brief free ride

Summary: Google and MYOB have joined together in an attempt to get small business online, by offering to create and host a new website for a short time for free.

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Google and MYOB have joined together in an attempt to get small business online, by offering to create and host a new website for a short time for free.

The sites, which are created using information entered into Google and MYOB's Getting Aussie Business Online site, will be simple and as similar in format as people's Facebook pages are, according to Google, just getting the basic information out there.

Businesses can make the sites their own by uploading images and putting in their details, such as address, opening times, product details and other information. They can also connect their sites to social media sites.

The businesses will be able to take advantage of the free site for a year, after which they can either cancel it or pay $5 a month to keep the website.

The companies will register a .com.au domain name for free as well, which expires after two years if not renewed for a cost of $30.

Google is also offering a $75 AdWords voucher for those who want to try advertising.

The websites will be built using MYOB's Atlas and will be hosted in Australia using third-party hosting, according to Google.

The companies are aiming to have 50,000 businesses respond to their free website offer.

"Australians go online first to research local products and services," Google's head of Local Business Claire Hatton said in a statement. "Every day in Australia there are 12,000 Google searches for builders, but fewer than one in four businesses in the construction and trade industry has a website. We want to address this gap by removing common barriers like cost and time to set up a website."

Topics: Google, Enterprise Software, Start-Ups, Enterprise 2.0, SMBs

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

5 comments
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  • Whilst I do agree with the assertion that almost every business needs to be online (far to few are) and that it shouldn’t cost the Earth to do so ... I also feel it prudent to remind business owners that you generally get what you pay for with "free" template business websites.

    It’s a little like saying that you can run your business using an Excel spreadsheet (I did for a year or so as a single-operator myself). Sure you can, but MYOB’s 1 Million plus customers realise that this isn’t the best way to do things either.

    Same thing with the "free" websites being offered here and other places ... They will get your business online just fine but they may not represent your brand/business very well or you may outgrow them quite quickly.

    Don’t be afraid to try the free stuff though ... and if/when it becomes necessary then look for a more professional solution to suit your needs.

    A simple small-business website built by a professional who takes the time to understand your needs often costs somewhere in the $1K to $2K range. That’s a good price to pay for a good branding and marketing tool.

    I had this conversation with MYOB’s Tim Reed and Tony Palmer from C4 a couple of weeks ago on Sky News Business channel’s "Technology Behind Business".

    We all have slightly different points of view but there might be some good ideas in it that are appropriate to your small business, if you have a few minutes to watch the discussion.

    http://www.youtube.com/CreativeIntersection
    ian.exaudi
    • The Google and MYOB initiative is a helpful starter for business newbies and obviously very affordable but is not really an effective solution for serious small business. From my experience in 10 years working with SMBs on e-business strategy and services, they require a wholistic and integrated solution with usually expert support to really make a difference to their business in revenue and cost terms. There are some SMBs that don't want to put in the work and prefer convenient and inexpensive (often me-too) solutions but these generally don't work when you really analyse things. Others try DIY and put in time but results are often poor and represent very bad ROI on time. 80% of my business is evaluating and fixing online strategies and websites that don't deliver anywhere as expected or rather, hoped. I agree with Ian that pre-packaged solutions are not a real solution per se, because the critical success factor is the research and planning (and management) that goes into an online strategy and the enabling measures, not the actual building itself. Hence I disagree with Tim Reed of MYOB who essentially sell software. In my view, you do get what you pay for, any serious small business (with aspirations) not willing to invest at least $5k for a custom-designed competitive-geared website and online marketing strategy, and working with an expert, is not serious at all or likely to see much return. The 'excuse' I hear from many failed-site owners is that they didn't pay much for their site, or their nephew did it in their spare time, so they feel no real loss or responsibility. Though in many cases they have lost real opportunity by not devoting time to do an effective job, not just an easy no-thinking one. I would strongly recommend SMBs review the way they are managing/planning their websites and online engagement and try to do things right from the start, as a lot of knowledge is available to help them here and avoid costly trial and error experiences.
      JohnGoslino
  • I have a query, i would like to sign up for a free google website but have just found out by searching the web name registrations on the internet that my business name [same as in gmail name above] is not available in .com .com.au or .net .au .Therefore if google issues me with a website name it would not be the same as my bussiness name would it or am i missing something here ? or have they got their own special supply of web addresses
    big steve-03ff7
  • Hi Big Steve,

    If that happens you'll be asked to choose another one, according to Google.

    Suzanne
    suzanne.tindal
  • Another great new service to register your business on the web - even if you don't have a website yet, is Bisfind.com.au. It is quick & easy and free to list!
    wpluess