Here at SBN we are always looking for ways to get small business owners on to the web be it a one man show or a small business with 5-10 people. We have been exploring some services from Google which can provide a small business some way to get their business presence on to the web. Google Sites is such a tool; It is basically FREE for those of you whom are on a budget and need site up and running fairly quickly.

Google Sites

Benefits

Google Sites offers a variety of templates to easily build your site and get it on-line. This service also allows you to make it public or private and it can integrate with Google Docs(http://docs.google.com) to share information across your entire business(meaning you can allow documents to be shared or edited by other people). You can also access all the information from home since the service is cloud based; which means you wont have to worry about your home PC or office PC crashing as all your documents will be stored on-line. It also gives you statistical data on the site’s recent activity.

The site service also allows you to access the Google Web masters tools(http://www.google.com/webmasters/) which gives you access to on-line marketing tools such as Google Ad words and Ad Sense. This can be beneficial for small businesses since it gives them a way to quickly advertise a product or a service.

Site Templates

The service offers tons of customized templates for you to use such as:

These are only a few of the templates which you can use. Google also offers a premier version on the service which allows you access to customize the sites even further. However if you don’t mind using the templates then the free service is just fine until you can get your business off the ground. We think that this service can benefit any starting business as it cuts the cost of having to get web hosting, hired a web designer or buy an office suite. Speaking of office suite this service has an excellent editor tool which behaves very much like your typical word processor and can allow you to quickly add different pages/sections to your site all without having to write any complex code, but if you do require to edit HTML code you can.

You can also use an existing domain for your google sites, which means that you wont have to just use sites.google.com/your company name but you can actually use http://www.yourcompanyname.com

You can take a look at a quick video introduction here: http://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en/overview.html

Here are some screenshots of what the administration tools look like.

Now by no means are we saying that you should not use a good web design agency or web designer/developer not at all. But what we are saying is that when on a tight budget and the need to quickly put your business on the web arises then this is surely the way to go without too much of a hassle. The one thing you will have to do is create a Google account. But by creating one you will also get access to tons of tools that can and will benefit your business.

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