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Google offers California small businesses free websites

March 01, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • Google launches a program called "California Get Your Business Online" that offers small businesses in the Golden State the opportunity to get a free customizable website.
Google launches a program called "California Get Your Business Online"… (Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty…)

Hey, small businesses of California, Google wants to help you build a website.

On Thursday the company launched a program called "California Get Your Business Online" that offers small businesses in the Golden State the opportunity to get a free customizable website, as well as access to in-person training on how to build a successful online business.

Google will spring for the domain name and provide free Web hosting for the first year, then businesses will pay $2 monthly for the domain name and $4.99 monthly for Web hosting.

Not a bad deal.

Google has already rolled out similar programs in other states around the country including North Carolina, Michigan and Georgia, but Google said California is by far the biggest market to have access to the program.

"There is a perception that getting online is hard, that it's expensive and time consuming," said Scott Levitan, Google's director of small business engagement, in a statement. "As a company with roots in California, we want to make it fast, easy and free for any business in the state to get online."

Small businesses in California can go to the California Get Your Business Online website to sign up for the free service. Once they get there, they'll be able to create a URL and choose a website template they can customize as much or as little as they like.

In mid-March Google will host some free training seminars to help business owners learn not only how to build their website, but also secure the domain name, connect with customers, and even venture into micro targeted advertising.

The seminars will be held March 12 and 13 at Siren Studios in West Hollywood. Other seminars will take place in Irvine (March 14), Bakersfield (March 15) and Sacramento (March 16).

According to Google, 97% of Americans turn to the Web for local products and services, but only 38% of small businesses in California are online.

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