GoDaddy and Microsoft are removing some of the biggest barriers to starting up a small business website with Get Online Today, a new service that helps small business owners get up and running in just a few minutes.
Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy's senior vice president of business applications, revealed a startling statistic in an interview with Small Business Computing. Less than half of all small businesses have a website, he said. They are practically invisible to the millions of PC and mobile device users who are searching online for businesses just like theirs.
GoDaddy's data reveals an "amazing disconnect in one sense," said Aldrich. The importance of an official online presence is unquestioned—by businesses and consumers alike—yet many small businesses have yet to take the leap. "Everyone knows what is happening. Small business owners are consumers, too," he said.
Get Online Today: An End to Small Business Excuses
For the most part, entrepreneurs don't mean to neglect such a vital marketing channel as the Internet, said Aldrich. "I'm not a technologist," is a common excuse. Others worry that websites are expensive, complex and time consuming to build and to maintain. Aldrich says "the daily need to run their business" quickly puts an end to any thoughts of venturing onto the Web.
That may have been true in the past, but today small businesses can have a professional, pixel-perfect website in mere minutes. GoDaddy's new Get Online Today service costs just $1 per month for the first year ($11.99 per month after) and includes a user-friendly toolset that can turn even novice PC users into webmasters.
Gone are hours spent wrangling HTML code and configuring email and Web servers. "We take all of that out of the picture," said Aldrich.
Instead, GoDaddy partnered with Microsoft to provide a service that includes a domain name, a website builder and Web hosting. Office 365-powered email, complete with a custom domain (@yourbusinesshere.com), lends a professional touch to email communications.
Having a custom URL is crucial to building a strong brand, said Aldric. Consumers are "nine times more likely to buy from a business that has a custom domain name" versus a generic Web address. In short, that @gmail.com address isn't doing hard-working small business workers any favors.
Microsoft's Active Sync technology, as the name suggests, synchronizes email, calendars and contacts between computers and mobile devices, enabling productivity even when you're away from the office and on the road.
The best part, according to Aldrich, is that even Web novices can complete the entire process of setting up their first websites "from beginning to end in minutes." No more excuses, he urged. "You can find minutes in the day, we know that's possible."
Cookie-cutter websites are also a thing of the past. GoDaddy Web Builder's toolset "makes it really easy to differentiate," said Aldrich. In the few days that Get Online Today has been active, he has been "blown away" by the originality, cleverness and "beautiful website content" from early customers.
As an added perk, GoDaddy and Microsoft include a $50 credit for Bing Ads to help drum up traffic. Should they run into issues, Get Online Today customers are also entitled to 24/7 phone support from GoDaddy.
Ultimately, like the company's recent launch of Get Paid Today, a payments processing offering, Get Online Today is meant to empower small businesses and help them capitalize on the enormous market potential of the Internet with tools and services tailored for them, not to mention their budgets.
"Talk to a small business owner; they know that they should be on the Web," said Aldrich. Get Online Today removes the "friction between the knowing and the doing."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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