Featured Google offers free tools for small business

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djbaxter

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5 new ways to connect with your customers on Google
by Peter Chane, Product Director, Google My Business
January 5, 2018

Last year, we introduced five new ways to build an eye-catching online presence that shows customers what your business is all about. And the best part? They’re all free.

1. Create a free website in minutes
According to internal Google research, business listings with a website get 25-35% more clicks. And building your site doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. You can create a simple mobile-ready site for your business in less than 10 minutes with our automated website builder. Check out how Vince from Village Tailor in New York used his new website to bring in more customers.

2. Post about events, promotions, and more right on Google
It’s now easy to share Posts that show up when people find your business on Search and Maps. According to Ipsos research, 50 percent people look for promotions or discounts online, so it’s important to share offers, upcoming events, your latest news and more with potential customers right when they find your business.

3. Connect with your customers by answering their questions directly
As a business owner, you have the most reliable answers to your customers’ questions. With Questions and Answers, it’s easy to add frequently asked questions to your listing, answer questions from potential customers, and highlight top responses, so that people can get the most important info about your business right away.

4. Update your business listing without leaving Search
People trust businesses with current and relevant info online, and according to internal Google research, complete Google listings get seven times more clicks. Keep your listing updated with our easy-to-access business dashboard. Simply type your business name on Google Search, and you can complete your listing, share photos and posts related to your business, respond to reviews, and see how many views you’re getting.

5. Start messaging with your customers from Google
Customers don’t always have time to call when they want to reach out to your business. With messaging, people can text your business directly through your listing on Search. Your phone number remains private, so you and your customers can communicate safely, quickly, and easily. (Available in the US, Brazil, Canada and India).

You can use these simple features with your Google listing to stand out and attract new customers online. Get started today.
 

djbaxter

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This is an awesome tip! But how does it compare with Wordpress, Wix and Squarespace?
It doesn't compare with WordPress. But neither does Wix or Squarespace.

The "quick and dirty" site builders are a way to quickly create an internet presence and that's a good thing for small business. Not being anywhere on the net these days makes it very difficult for new potential customers to find you. That's where anyone with a smart phone will go to search for a business like yours.

But WordPress is of course far more robust and can be customized and optimized pretty much any way you want it. There is a bit of a learning curve, though, and most people will likely need some professional assistance in the beginning to get it to do what you want it to do.
 
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I would advise against basing yourself on Google for these kind of things. These services are of poor quality and they are designed to benefit Google, not you. That's why they are free (also because they suck).

Any service which ends up being any good will eventually become paid, like it happened now with G Maps and has been happening with FB reach.
 

djbaxter

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I would advise against basing yourself on Google for these kind of things. These services are of poor quality and they are designed to benefit Google, not you. That's why they are free (also because they suck).
That really is not true. A GMB presence is not only very helpful but essential for small businesses in Local Search, with or without an independent website. It is a great way to increase the visibility of your business in Local Search and if you don't yet have a website it's really the only way to get any Local Search Visibility.

Any service which ends up being any good will eventually become paid, like it happened now with G Maps and has been happening with FB reach.
Also not true. I have been using some Google services (e.g., Google Bookmarks) for years - it's a great product and it's always been free.

You really need to rein in your cynicism. Just because something is a free service doesn't mean it has no value. This forum is a free service, as ome example.
 
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I did not say you should not use said services. I said, basing your business on them (or building your business around them) is a bad idea. None of those services gives something which you can't get otherwise in bigger and better format.

Also believe me i know a lot about free products and services. Been using Linux for many years and most of the programs i use and like are free. BUT Google is no FSF. "Free" from Google and FB means you are the product.

Personally i am uncomfortable with that.
 

VirtualGlobalPhone

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Inva , I get where you come from, but that doesn't mean all have to come from there. Let me explain .....

We have to really understand the meaning of FREE. In today's world what you see as TOOLS as products or services is valued in terms of once willingness to spend TIME.

Human being or Robots (AI) have not developed to FREE the time one spends on.

We see things , that saves or spends or earns time by using the FREE or PAID that's all the game.
 
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Coming from a business that offers free business tools, I can't help but reply on the recent discussion. I think it's kinda unfair to assume that just because a service is free, there's something negative in it for customers. In my case, for example, we provide free business tools like ERP, web builder, and online messenger. We don't charge for sign-ups, no "pricing kicks in once business is good" kind of scheme. We earn through our jobs/business marketplace that connects businesses to other businesses and potential employees. We have a generous free online storage, but has options to get more for a small charge.

These are some legit ways free service providers earn, and that doesn't take anything away from the fact that we provide good tools and services that businesses can use totally free.

For me, I think offering service upgrades is totally fair, especially if businesses used the "free tier" and were able to grow and succeed from that. To illustrate this better, imagine a business with <20 employees. They used a free tool ever since they started, and were able to grow and now have 50+ employees. Now that their needs are bigger, shouldn't it be fair to upgrade to a paid tier that can accommodate the needs of a company their size? That's not even our business model, but I clearly understand where these service providers are coming from.

As for the "It's Google, they make a lot of money already" or "It's Google, so you're probably the product," you're always free to research and choose better, cheaper alternatives.
 
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