In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any local business. With the recent closure of Google’s website builder, many small businesses are left wondering how to create an effective one-page website.

While having a website may seem daunting, it is essential for attracting new customers and maintaining a competitive edge.

In this article, we will provide expert tips on how to build an effective one-page local business website after the Google website closure.

From design and content to search engine optimization, we will guide you through the SEO features and essential elements of a successful website to ensure your business thrives online. With the right approach and tools, you can create a professional, user-friendly one-page website that will showcase your products and services, establish credibility, and ultimately drive sales.

Let’s dive into the world of website building and discover how to make your business stand out in the crowded online market.

The Realm of Providing Complimentary Or Affordable Websites

In 2017, my apprehension emerged when Google ventured into the realm of providing complimentary or affordable websites for small businesses. This concern stemmed from the well-documented tendency of the brand to frequently discontinue the products they introduce.

While it is acceptable to terminate an experiment that holds no substantial reliance, it is wholly different to abandon a vast number of the most vulnerable local business owners. By December 2017, over 1 million business owners had embraced this service, and recent estimates suggest that the user count has escalated to a staggering 22 million worldwide.

Consequently, the impending shutdown of this product by Google in March 2024 will significantly impact countless local enterprises grappling with limited financial resources. This development implies that numerous small businesses, operating on incredibly tight budgets, will find themselves in a state of uncertainty and disadvantage.

Google announces it is shutting down websites made with Google Business Profiles in March of 2024.

According to the official announcement, Google intends to close down these websites and redirect users to your Google Business Profile until June 10th. However, beyond this date, potential customers seeking your website will encounter an absence of information, leading them to potentially misinterpret the situation as a closure of your company.

The implications of customers perceiving your nonexistence can be immensely detrimental to your business. Therefore, it is imperative that swift action is taken to formulate a comprehensive strategy to replace your previous Google website.

Today, we shall collaboratively explore the most advantageous alternatives available to you, presenting five practical recommendations for your consideration.

Tip 1: Enhance the content of your Google Business Profile and expand your presence across various digital directories.

A Google Business Profile for a small clothing alterations business.

If you are currently managing a business affected by the GBP website shutdown, it is understandable that you may have reservations about dedicating more time to a Google product. However, it is crucial to recognize that your Google Business Profile remains one of the most valuable and prominent assets for your local business, regardless of whether you have a website.

Now is an opportune moment to invest considerable effort into meticulously completing your listing with accurate categories, images, videos, Updates posts, FAQs, and other relevant information. By doing so, your Google Business Profile can serve as a substitute for a website, providing potential customers with essential details.

Promptly Respond

It is essential to promptly respond to every review received, signaling that your business is active and attentive. Additionally, crafting multiple Google Updates posts will demonstrate that your business is operational and up-to-date.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the various fields within your Google Business Profile that can be controlled, I recommend referring to this section of Moz’s free Essential Local SEO Strategy Guide. The more comprehensive your listing, the higher the likelihood of potential customers finding the necessary information to make an informed decision about contacting or visiting your business.

Once you have filled out as many fields as possible in your GBP, it would be wise to conduct a search for your most significant keywords and observe the directories that appear prominently for them. This exercise will enable you to identify relevant directories where you should consider optimizing your business presence.

A screenshot of Google's organic results for the search "restaurants ukiah" brings up directories like Yelp, YellowPages, TripAdvisor and Open Table.

By ensuring your presence on a diverse range of reputable directories, you can enhance the likelihood of prospective customers discovering your business as you strive to restore your Google Business Profile website. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that the activation of business listings or directory listings generally entails a certain processing time, thereby precluding any immediate miraculous resolutions.

Tip 2: Wholeheartedly embrace the emerging phenomenon of the Hidden Gems forum trend.

Screenshot of a number of forum discussions

Now is an opportune time to actively engage with the local forum of the community you serve. The recent introduction of Google’s Helpful Content update has led to an increase in forum-based results, including those appearing in the local search engine results pages (SERPs).

According to Near Media, Google’s decision to prioritize forums and social content aims to provide users with more information from real individuals possessing personal expertise, insights, or firsthand knowledge. This approach also serves as a preemptive measure by Google to combat the impending crisis in AI-generated content and lower quality material, such as spam or lead-generation content, which fails to meet users’ needs.

Prominent industry experts like Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal, and David Mihm have highlighted established platforms like the Berkeley Parents Network as well as community hubs like the West Seattle Blog’s forum. I encourage you to research whether your town or city hosts a similar forum and actively participate in its discussions.

Active Participation Does Not Involve

However, it is crucial to note that active participation does not involve incessantly promoting your business, as this could irritate your neighbors and potential customers. Instead, focus on contributing to conversations and offering assistance to others, thereby building a reputation for trustworthiness and community spirit.

By doing so, when someone seeks recommendations for services such as wedding dress alterations, fence rebuilding, or tree trimming, you can respond from a place of genuine sharing rather than engaging in aggressive sales tactics. Additionally, if you establish a positive rapport within the community, you may find that neighbors start recommending your services.

In the event that your community does not have a dedicated forum, consider exploring regional subreddits on Reddit as an alternative option.

This endeavor serves two primary purposes for your local business. Firstly, it allows you to forge stronger connections with your community, positioning yourself as the go-to authority for a particular service when neighbors require it.

Secondly, there is a potential for Google to feature some of your forum threads in local search results, as they strive to prioritize real experiences over AI-generated content.

However, it is important to note that having a website remains crucial for directing interested parties. Therefore, we will now proceed to discuss tip 3.

Tip 3: Transfer the foundation of your website to an alternative domain

SERP results for the keyword 'free website builder'

Please allow me to clarify that I am not endorsing the quality of any of the alternatives mentioned below as replacements for your former GBP site. My intention is solely to provide you with a list of free or affordable website solutions for your thorough research and consideration.

I trust that within this concise selection, you will be able to find a suitable solution that aligns with your budgetary constraints.

Canva – Canva offers the option to create a one-page website for free, although you will need to allocate resources for your own domain name. Their visual design tools are commendable and frequently utilized by myself.

Approach Their SEO Advice

However, it is essential to approach their SEO advice with caution, as their website resource may oversimplify the matter. Disregard any claims, such as Canva’s assertion of attaining top search results with a one-page website, as the realm of SEO is considerably more intricate, with no assured outcomes.

In times of financial constraints, it is imperative to manage expectations realistically, irrespective of assurances made by website builder platforms. and – This well-established solution offers a range of plans from complimentary to enterprise-level. The primary distinction lies in sites having built-in hosting, whereas employs the software to develop a site hosted elsewhere.

WordPress may be a prudent choice if you possess confidence in the future success and growth of your business. As you expand, this platform permits the development of a more sophisticated online presence and is considered one of the more SEO-friendly options.

Requires A Greater Degree

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that WordPress generally requires a greater degree of technical proficiency compared to other website builder offerings.

Squarespace – Should you require a completely cost-free option at present, Squarespace offers a one-year free trial; however, you will need to allocate funds for their fees once the year concludes. They provide an assortment of website templates for your selection.

Wix – Similar to Squarespace, Wix enables you to construct a site free of charge and includes a complimentary domain for one year. Subsequently, you will need to subscribe to one of their plans.

Weebly – Weebly offers a free plan for one of their websites; however, you will need to cover the expenses for your own domain, unless you opt for a Weebly subdomain.

Whitespark has recently introduced a one-page website solution priced at $1 per month in response to the GBP site shutdown.

Lastly, numerous hosting companies offer “free” or affordable website builder programs, contingent upon payment for the domain or domain/hosting services.

Exercise Caution

It is crucial to exercise caution when encountering any assertions that utilizing a particular product will guarantee top rankings in search engines. Such claims are deceptive and misleading. Additionally, it is advisable to approach “best of” lists with discernment.

The companies featured in these lists may have paid for their inclusion, or the lists themselves may have been generated haphazardly by artificial intelligence, lacking a solid foundation in reality.

Whenever possible, consider reaching out to fellow business professionals in your local community to gather insights on the platforms they employ for their websites, as well as their likes and dislikes regarding these platforms. If you are not currently connected with fellow entrepreneurs in your area, conduct research to determine if there is a local business association in your community.

Seeking support from such associations can prove immensely beneficial in your current circumstances.

Tip 4: Strategize the fundamental elements imperative for the incorporation on your nascent single-page website.

After selecting an alternative solution to replace your Google Business Profile site, it is essential to meticulously outline the entirety of content that needs to be incorporated into your new page. It must be acknowledged that a one-page website may not be the most advantageous choice as it restricts your search engine optimization prospects.

However, let us employ our resources intelligently and make the best use of the available options.

Remarkably, a substantial amount of valuable information can be accommodated on a single page. While it is advisable to expand your website beyond a single page as your business progresses and resources permit, we begin with a model of a single-page local business site that encompasses eleven pivotal components meticulously crafted to transform visitors into loyal customers.

An example of a one-page website for an clothing alteration business.

Guide to Creating an Effective One-Page Website Mockup:

Begin by designing a concise and visually appealing logo using a suitable responsive design program. Aim for simplicity to ensure easy recognition.

Utilize the header section of your webpage to highlight your unique selling proposition (USP), incorporating the name of your city or service region. As an example, our hypothetical local business focuses on providing top-notch wedding dress alterations in Willow Creek, California.

Devote a prominent section of the page to a comprehensive contact area that includes your business name, business address (if applicable), phone number, and business hours of operation or the operating hours. In case your business operates from a home-based setup and sharing your physical address is not preferred, ensure to at least mention the city and state.

Do not neglect to provide a contact form or the contact number for potential customers!

Best Encapsulates

Select an impactful image that best encapsulates the essence of your business and showcases your offerings. If your business has a visually captivating element, consider incorporating a slideshow with thumbnails to display multiple images.

Alternatively, embedding a video can also be an effective option, provided you have one available.

Craft the first paragraph of your main body text to concisely describe the range of services your business offers and its exact business location. Keep the sentences clear and succinct, catering to visitors who are short on time. While additional text can be included below, make sure the initial paragraph creates a lasting impression.

If your business has a physical location, embed a map on the webpage indicating its precise whereabouts. For service-oriented businesses like tree trimmers or plumbers, clearly delineate your service area on the map.

Compile a comprehensive list of all your services, even if they have been introduce in the main body text. Label this section as “services”. In the case of individual product-based businesses, showcase your most popular items within this area.

Significantly Enhance The Credibility

Whenever possible, feature reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers. Such endorsements significantly enhance the credibility of your business, as 89% of consumers place greater trust in customer feedback than brand statements.

Include links to all relevant social media platforms and review websites where customers can connect with your business and explore feedback from others. This enables potential customers to gain further insight into the quality of your offerings.

Incorporate any additional contact information that may be relevant, such as your text number, email address, fax number, or any alternative means of communication. Ensuring you have covered all possible avenues for customer contact is crucial, as this one-page website is intended to drive leads.

Never omit a clear call to action (CTA) when publishing your webpage. Encourage visitors to contact you by prominently displaying a bold CTA, emphasizing the opportunity for you to address their needs directly.

A single-page website serves as an effective online marketing tool, resembling a digital brochure for your business. Its compact nature allows for the incorporation of a considerable amount of compelling and actionable information.

I strongly advise you to surpass the limitations of the mockup I have provided. The length of a one-page website can be extended to your preference, and the inclusion of abundant text, captivating visuals, engaging videos, and other multimedia elements will bolster its impact.

However, it is crucial to prioritize the placement of your primary Unique Selling Proposition (USP), contact details, credentials, and product/service information at the top of the page, enabling visitors to swiftly comprehend and select your business.

5. Examine the potential of social media as a substitute for maintaining a dedicated website.

An Instagram account of a small local bakery business.

Thanks to the advent of prominent digital platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, it has become feasible to establish and operate a small business solely through social media channels, without the need for extensive investments in website development and hosting. This remarkable phenomenon has empowered numerous aspiring entrepreneurs to earn a respectable livelihood by engaging in activities such as bread baking, dog walking, and craft selling within their local communities, relying solely on their social profiles as a means of connection.

Nonetheless, while this approach may hold promise for your own endeavors, it is accompanied by a significant risk. Presently, you find yourself grappling with the consequences of building your online presence on a third-party platform, only to have the metaphorical rug abruptly pulled out from beneath you.

The recent discontinuation of Google Business Profile (GBP) websites serves as a stark reminder that such unforeseen circumstances can arise on any social platform. In fact, countless Instagram users continue to voice their dissatisfaction over the platform’s alteration to prioritize reels, as it has directly affected the amount of traffic and revenue they generate.

Whenever you lease digital space from a third-party entity, a considerable portion of your fate lies outside your direct control, placing you in a challenging predicament. Over the years, I have extensively discussed the contrasting merits of renting versus owning customer journeys, perpetually advocating for businesses to retain maximum authority over their customer experiences and destinies.

Imperative To Recognize

In light of this perspective, it is imperative to recognize that while you may successfully amass a substantial social following to sustain your siteless business, your efforts can be swiftly undone by a single update or adjustment. However, it is worth noting that your social profiles can serve as a valuable interim solution while you diligently explore alternative avenues for establishing your own website.

In conclusion, while the allure of running a business exclusively through social media is undeniable, it is crucial to appreciate the inherent vulnerabilities associated with relying solely on third-party platforms. By acknowledging these risks and actively considering the creation of a personal website, you can ensure greater control over your entrepreneurial journey and safeguard against the uncertainties that may arise in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

A Sincere Note of Motivation

It is crucial to always remember the existence of the real-world society that predates the emergence of social media and the internet at large. In this context, it may prove immensely powerful for you to initiate an offline campaign that encourages your current clientele to recommend your services through personal communication with their local acquaintances and family members.

By doing so, you will be taking a significant stride towards reducing your reliance on major online entities who continually alter their policies, often causing disruptions in both your personal and professional life.

Having personally operated my own web design and SEO agency for an extended period, primarily relying on referrals, I understand the profound impact the recent shutdown of certain web platforms has had on all of us. It serves as a valuable lesson, underscoring the inherent instability of the online realm, thereby reaffirming the indispensable significance of offline reality to local business proprietors and their clientele.

I deeply regret any adverse effects that Google’s decision may have had on your small enterprise. Nevertheless, I am confident that you possess the capability to explore novel avenues in order to pursue your professional aspirations.

I extend my best wishes to you in establishing a new online presence for your business and cultivating a devoted customer base within your immediate community.

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