Google Helps Small Business Owners Get Online

Now more than ever, having some form of digital presence is a necessity, especially if you’re a small business owner. Having a website makes you look more professional and opens you up to a world of prospective customers.

“You’re basically invisible without a website,” commented David Greenberg, a Brooklyn cabinet maker who’s been in business for 18 years, but never thought he needed a website until now.

Mr. Greenberg was one of more than 200 people who attended Google and Intuit’s New York Get Your Business Online program, a show Google is taking to all 50 states to help small-business owners build websites and get a year of free Web hosting.

“97 percent of Internet users look online for local products,” said Karen Mills, a Small Business Administration leader who spoke at the event. 58 percent of small businesses in the United States don’t have websites, according to Google.

One reason is the perception that a website is time consuming and expensive. Google’s workshop set out to disprove this notion by showing users how to build their own sites. Owners chose website designs from 2,000 existing templates, selected domain names and got their sites up and running on the spot. They learned to do updates and how to use tools to understand traffic patterns to their sites.

“It [may look] like Mount Everest, but it’s just a hill,” said Scott Levitan, Google’s director of small business engagement.

This week, Google is running the workshops in all five boroughs, with cooperation from borough chambers of commerce and local economic development organizations.

“When we reach a point where every business is online, it’s good for us.”