Businesses have pooled resources in order to give those businesses that cannot afford to, or otherwise don’t know how, the chance to get themselves an online presence for free.

You can just go to the GBBO website, register and get your own domain name and web-site without spending a penny. You will have to pay to keep it running after two years, but by then you’ll know if it’s worth it or not.

GBBOis a joint initiative by Google, Enterprise UK, BT, e-skills UK and many other partners to help small businesses create their first website and help them understand the opportunities offered by the Internet”.

Now, don’t expect an all singing all dancing huge website with all the bells and whistles. It’ll be a bit basic at first. But for those with no web presence or unsure of what’s involved it could be a good first step.

Conversely, if the business owner does not manage their own site properly or use techniques like search engine optimisation (SEO), it could have a negative effect on the perception of the business owner.

Then there is the small task of keeping it current as people do not stay long on stale web-sites. Also, apart from recognisable branding, the two things that drive people to a site are presentation and content. Good content attracts visitors via the search engines and presentation will help keep them there (I include usability within the concept of presentation). From there a brand is born.

But with a bit of application and thought a small business could end up generating orders nationally or even internationally. Especially if they are in a niche, specialist area of business.

So, if you are a small business that has toyed with the idea of getting a web-site but it seemed too daunting, go check it out or phone 0800 500 3123. After all, it is free!

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