I didn’t expect to be inspired to write today’s post by seeing an advertisement, but when I saw this ad for a free business website, I was pretty intrigued, so I decided to investigate.
The ads leads to a page where you get options to get your business on the Map (time estimate 10 minutes) or get your business website up and running (time estimate 60 minutes).
Getting on the map looks like a walk-through of how to get your business listed on Google+Local, which I definitely recommend for all businesses, particularly brick & mortar local businesses. You can get a lot of free visibility for your business that way since the local results generally show up just below the Google Ads and above the other natural search results.
The getting your business website appears to be a joint venture between Google and Intuit. They are offering a 3 page website, with a custom domain name and free hosting for the first year.
According to the FAQ after the first year the hosting and domain registration fees are:
After your first year of free service, you’ll automatically be billed $6.99 per month if you registered a domain with Intuit, or $4.99 per month if you did not sign up for a domain. You can cancel these services at any time by logging into your account, navigating to your Account Summary and then clicking the link, “Cancel all services.”
If you don’t yet have a business website, this really does look like a quick and painless way to get online. The only thing I would caution about is taking the time to think about what your future website needs will be. Will you need to add more pages or eCommerce to your site? Will you want a blog? Can this package grow with you?
According to Intuit (again from the FAQ):
This free offer includes a free domain name and hosting for your Intuit website for one year. The free site includes 3 free pages, 25MG of disk space and 5GB of bandwidth (monthly transfer). Email and ecommerce are not included. However, you can purchase additional pages, disk space, email addresses, ecommerce solutions and many other add-ons from Intuit. If you wish to learn more about pricing, please call 1-800-710-1998, dial 5 when prompted and you’ll be connected with a web sales consultant.
If you know you’ll want to expand beyond the 3 page freebie website, ask some questions now about the cost of potential site expansions. Also consider that the template that you use to create the site is probably owned by Intuit, so if you decide you want to change your domain registrar (where your domain name is registered) or change your hosting account will you be able to keep the same look & feel of your site or will you be starting from scratch?
As I said, overall, it looks like a quick and painless way for a small business to get a website up and running in about an hour. Just keep an eye toward the future and make sure to keep your expansion options open.