When Google comes to town, you can hedge your bets that people are gonna be getting online. Pennsylvania businesses are going to get a bite of that particular Google-y candy bar in April as Google will be arriving to the state in order to help set up small businesses with a free website.
Google developed the new plan, Pennsylvania Get Your Business Online, with local partners in order to boost economic growth in the area by giving Pennsylvania businesses the tools and resources to establish a website, find new customers, and grow their business.
"The perception that getting online is complex, costly and time-consuming has prevented many Pennsylvania small businesses from taking the first step," said Scott Levitan, Director of Small Business Engagement at Google. "This program makes it fast, easy and free for businesses to get online."
Participating businesses will receive one full free year to develop and use their website through the assistance of Google's partner, Intuit. After the first year, should businesses should see any benefit from their new website, they'll be able to keep the website running for $6.99 a month.
In February, Google released a series of videos through the YouTube channel learnwithgoogle that offer tutorials and promotions for small businesses looking to develop a website. A couple of samples can be found below.
"This partnership with Google provides another important set of resources to help Pennsylvania's small businesses start and grow," said Christian Conroy, State Director of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers.
Honestly, me in my first world-centric oblivion, it's easy to forget that there are loads of businesses out there that still haven't transitioned into the digital age. 97% of Americans look online for local products and services and, honestly, as phone books continue to become little more than unasked for doorstops, all business would benefit from at least having a site that offers up the basic info like hours, address, phone number, maybe even a handy Google Maps embed of where the place is. Still, 56% of small businesses in Pennsylvania don't have any kind of online presence, so hopefully this Google plan will keep those mom and pop shops around in this era.