The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and businesses are increasingly relying on online platforms to reach and engage with customers. With the announcement of Google’s shutdown of their website building helpful tools, many local businesses may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to establish a strong online presence.

However, this challenge can also present itself as an opportunity for businesses to rethink their website strategy and create a more streamlined and impactful online presence.

In this article, we will explore the importance of having a one-page local business site and provide practical tips on developing a successful website.

With a professional tone, this article aims to guide businesses through the process of transforming this challenge into an opportunity, and ultimately, establish a strong online presence that sets them apart from the competition and connects them with their target audience. By the end of this article, readers will have a clear understanding of the key elements and necessary steps to take in creating a one-page local business site and how it can benefit their overall business goals.

Frequently Discontinuing

In 2017, I harbored apprehensions when Google ventured into the realm of providing small businesses with free or affordable websites, primarily due to their track record of frequently discontinuing newly launched products.

While it is understandable to discontinue endeavors that have not gained significant reliance, it is an entirely different matter when a substantial number of small-scale local business owners are left in a state of uncertainty. By December 2017, over a million business proprietors were utilizing this service, and recent estimates indicate that the number of worldwide users may have reached a staggering 22 million.

Consequently, the forthcoming termination of this product by Google in March 2024 will undoubtedly affect countless local businesses operating under stringent financial constraints.

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

According to the official announcement, Google will be discontinuing these websites and instead redirecting searchers to your Google Business Profile until June 10. However, beyond that date, individuals seeking your website will be left without any indication of its whereabouts, potentially leading them to erroneously assume that your business has ceased operations.

The implications of your existing customers believing you have ceased to exist are highly detrimental to your business. Therefore, it is imperative that you take prompt action to devise a strategy for replacing your previous Google website.

Today, we will collaboratively explore the most favorable options available to you, presenting five practical tips to assist you in this endeavor.

Tip 1: Bulk up your Google Business Profile and build out your listings elsewhere

A Google Business Profile for a small clothing alterations business.

If you are operating a business affected by the GBP website shutdown, it is understandable that you might not be enthusiastic about dedicating additional time to a Google product. However, it remains crucial to acknowledge that your Google Business Profile holds immense value as one of the primary assets representing your local business, regardless of whether you have a website or not.

Presently, it is of utmost importance to invest considerable effort in thoroughly completing your profile with accurate categories, captivating images, informative videos, engaging Updates posts, frequently asked questions, and more. By doing so, your profile can serve as a substitute for a website, ensuring that potential customers find all the necessary information to make informed decisions about contacting or visiting your business.

Vital to Respond

It is vital to respond to every review you receive, signaling that your business is actively engaged with its customers. Additionally, crafting multiple new Google Updates posts will demonstrate that your business is still operational, supported by recent timestamps indicating its continued existence.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the various fields within your Google Business Profile that you can control, I encourage you to refer to this specific chapter of Moz’s free Essential Local SEO Strategy Guide. The more comprehensive and detailed your listing, the higher the likelihood that potential customers will easily find the information they require, thereby increasing the chances of them reaching out to or visiting your business.

Once you have thoroughly completed as many fields as possible within your GBP, it is advisable to conduct a google search of your most crucial keywords to identify the directories that rank prominently for them.

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

In order to enhance the discoverability of your business during the process of replacing your Google Business Profile website, it is advantageous to be featured on numerous esteemed directories. This amplifies the likelihood of potential customers locating your business.

However, it is crucial to note that directory listings typically undergo a review process before becoming active, thus it is not a quick-fix solution.

Tip 2: Embrace the Hidden Gems forum trend

Screenshot of a number of forum discussions

If your service area includes a local online forum, it is highly recommended that you actively engage with the community on this platform. The recent changes in Google’s Helpful Content update have resulted in an increased visibility of forum-based results in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), especially within the local SERPs.

Prominent industry experts such as Greg Sterling, Mike Blumenthal, and David Mihm have highlighted the significance of established platforms like the Berkeley Parents Network in this context. Similarly, community hubs like the West Seattle Blog’s forum have proven to be valuable resources.

Therefore, it is essential to conduct thorough research to determine if your town or city has a similar forum, and if so, become a regular and supportive participant.

Should Not be Viewed as an Opportunity

It is crucial to note that participating in these forums should not be observe as an opportunity to incessantly promote your business. Instead, focus on actively contributing to discussions and offering valuable assistance to other members.

By doing so, you will establish yourself as a trusted and reliable member within the community. Consequently, when individuals seek recommendations for services such as wedding dress alterations, fence rebuilding, or tree trimming, your genuine and helpful contributions may lead to neighbors recommending your services.

In the event that your community does not possess a dedicated forum, it is worth exploring if there is a relevant subreddit on Reddit for your region.

Two Primary Purposes

Engaging with the local community through online forums serves two primary purposes for your local business. Firstly, it fosters a stronger connection with the community, positioning you as a reliable source for specific services when your neighbors are in need.

Secondly, it increases the likelihood of your forum threads being featured in Google’s local search results, as the search engine optimization strives to offer fresh content based on real user experiences rather than artificial intelligence-generated content.

However, it is still essential to have a website that can direct interested individuals to more information about your services. Therefore, let us proceed to tip 3.

Tip 3: Re-build a basic website elsewhere

SERP results for the keyword 'free website builder'

I would like to emphasize that I am not endorsing the quality of any of these alternative solutions to replace your former GBP site. I am simply providing a list of cost-effective website solutions for your research and consideration. Within this concise list, I hope you can find a suitable solution that aligns with your budget.

  • Canva: Canva allows you to build a one-page website for free, although you will need to allocate funds for your own domain name. Their visual design tools are highly commendable and I frequently utilize them.

However, it is important to note that their website SEO guidance may be simplistic. Disregard any claims suggesting that a one-page website will automatically secure a top position in search results, as Canva suggests. SEO is a complex process with no guarantees. When dealing with budget constraints, it is crucial to set realistic expectations, regardless of what website builder platforms may assert.

  • and This well-established solution offers a range of plans from free to enterprise-level. The key distinction between the two versions of WordPress is that provides built-in hosting, while enables you to develop a site using the software and host it elsewhere.

WordPress may be a suitable choice if you are confident in the success and growth of your business. As your business expands, this platform allows for the development of a more sophisticated online presence and is known for its SEO-friendliness.

Requires a Higher Level

However, it should be noted that WordPress generally requires a higher level of technical proficiency compared to other website builder options.

  • Squarespace: If you require a completely free option at present, Squarespace offers a one-year free trial. However, it is important to budget for their fees once the trial period concludes. Squarespace provides a diverse selection of website templates to choose from.
  • Wix: Similar to Squarespace, Wix allows you to build a site for free and provides a free domain for one year. Subsequently, you will need to select one of their paid plans.
  • Weebly: Weebly offers a free plan for one of their websites, but you will need to purchase your own domain unless you opt for a Weebly subdomain.
  • Whitespark: In response to the GBP site shutdown, Whitespark has introduced a one-page website solution priced at $1 per month.
  • Lastly, numerous hosting companies offer “free” or affordable website builder programs if you acquire your domain or domain/hosting from them.

Exercise Caution

It is important to exercise caution when encountering claims that using a particular product will guarantee your website’s top SEO ranking in search engines. Such assertions are often misleading and should be approached with skepticism.

Additionally, it is crucial to approach “best of” lists with discernment. Companies featured in these lists may have paid for their inclusion, or the lists themselves may have been generated by AI without sufficient factual basis.

If possible, it is advisable to connect with fellow business professionals in your local community and inquire about their experiences with website platforms. Gathering insights on what they appreciate or dislike about their chosen platforms can be highly beneficial.

In the event that you do not have a network of entrepreneurs within your immediate vicinity, it is worth investigating whether there is a local business association in your area. Engaging with such groups could provide you with valuable support during this time.

Tip 4: Map out the basics you need to include on your new 1-page website.

After carefully selecting a replacement for your 1-page Google Business Profile site, it is crucial to dedicate time to meticulously plan and organize the content that should be incorporated into your new webpage. It is imperative to acknowledge that a 1-page website may not provide the most optimal SEO opportunities.

Nevertheless, let us utilize our resources intelligently and make the best out of the situation.

Remarkably, a single page has the potential to accommodate a plethora of invaluable information. Although the ultimate objective is to expand your website beyond a single page, which can be achieved when your business permits and allocates sufficient time and resources for its development, we can commence by presenting a mockup of a local business site that effectively incorporates 11 essential elements.

The primary intention behind this design is to captivate visitors and convert them into loyal customers.

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

Essential Components for a One-Page Website Mockup:

1. Design a simplistic yet impactful logo using a suitable design program.

2. Utilize the page header as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), incorporating the name of your city or service region. For example, our fictional local business specializes in wedding dress alterations in Willow Creek, California.

3. Create a comprehensive contact area on the page, including your full business name, address (if applicable), phone number, and operating hours. If you prefer not to disclose your home address for a home-based business, simply mention the city and state, but ensure your phone number is prominently exhibit.

4. Select the most compelling photo that effectively communicates your business’s story and showcase it on the page. If your business heavily relies on visuals, consider incorporating a slideshow with thumbnail images or embedding a video if available.

Concisely Describe

5. Craft the first paragraph of the main body text to concisely describe your business’s offerings and location using clear and succinct sentences. While additional text can be included below, make sure this initial paragraph captures the attention of busy visitors.

6. If your business has a physical location, incorporate an embedded map displaying your exact whereabouts. For service-based businesses like tree trimmers or plumbers, indicate your service area on the google map.

7. Compile a comprehensive list of your services, even if they have been introduce in the main body text. Label this section as “services.” If your business focuses on selling goods, highlight your most popular items in this area.

Significantly Enhances your Business’s Credibility

8. Whenever possible, feature reviews or testimonials from satisfied customers. This significantly enhances your business’s credibility since 89% of consumers trust customer feedback more than self-promotion from brands.

9. Include links to all your social media platforms and review platforms, enabling customers to connect with you and learn more about your business through customer experiences.

10. Incorporate any additional contact information, such as your text number, email address, fax number, or any other relevant details. Ensure that every possible means of contacting your business is clearly express, as this one-page website aims to generate leads.

11. Never publish a page without a clear Call-to-Action (CTA). Prompt visitors to reach out to you by prominently displaying a bold and compelling CTA, encouraging them to contact you and avail of your problem-solving expertise.

Functions As An Online Representation

A single-page website functions as an online representation of a business, akin to a digital brochure. As evident, our adeptness in condensing substantial and compelling information into a limited space is exemplary.

I highly urge you to surpass the confines of the presented mockup. The length of a one-page site can be extended to any desired extent, and the more text, imagery, videos, and diverse media you incorporate, the more impactful it becomes. However, it is advisable to prioritize your unique selling proposition, contact details, credibility, and product/service information at the forefront, enabling visitors to swiftly comprehend and choose your business.

5. Consider whether social media can replace having a website

An Instagram account of a small local bakery business.

With the advent of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to operate their small businesses solely through social media without the need for a dedicated website. I have personally witnessed individuals successfully earn a modest income by engaging in various activities like baking bread, dog walking, and selling crafts within their local communities, all through their social profiles.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge the inherent risk associated with relying solely on third-party platforms. As you are currently experiencing, placing your business’s presence in the hands of a company like Google can lead to unexpected consequences, such as the sudden withdrawal of support for Google Business Profiles (GBP) websites.

Remain Dissatisfied

This vulnerability extends to other social platforms as well. Many Instagram users, for instance, remain dissatisfied with the recent changes made to prioritize reels, as it has significantly impacted their traffic and earnings.

When you depend on a third party, a substantial portion of your destiny lies beyond your control, presenting a formidable challenge. I have extensively discussed the advantages of owning rather than renting customer journeys, as I firmly believe that businesses should strive for maximum control over customer experiences and their ultimate trajectory.

Therefore, while it is possible to establish a thriving business through a robust social following, it is essential to recognize that all your efforts can be wear away by a single update or modification. Nonetheless, your social profiles can undoubtedly serve as a temporary solution while you explore alternative avenues for creating your dedicated website.

A word of encouragement

It is imperative to always bear in mind the existence of the real-world society that predates the prevalence of social media, particularly the internet in general.

If you have the opportunity to launch an offline campaign aiming to encourage your current clientele to promote your services through word-of-mouth to their local acquaintances and family, it can prove to be one of the most influential measures in diminishing your troublesome reliance on major online entities that capriciously alter their regulations, thereby affecting your life.

Throughout my extensive experience operating my own web design and SEO agency, I predominantly relied on referrals. The recent closure of GBP sites serves as a valuable lesson for us all, underscoring the inherent instability of the online realm and reaffirming the significance of the offline reality for local business owners and their customers.

I sincerely apologize if Google’s decision has adversely impacted your small business. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that you possess the ability to discover alternative avenues to pursue your professional aspirations.

I extend my best wishes to you as you embark on establishing a new online hub for your business, while simultaneously fostering a devoted customer base within your local community.

In Conclusion

While Google’s decision to shut down their website builder may have caused initial challenges for local businesses, it has also presented an opportunity for them to revamp their online presence. By developing a one-page local business site, businesses can not only adapt to the changing digital landscape, but also showcase their unique offerings and engage with their customers in a more personal and effective way.

With the right tools and strategies, this challenge can be change into an opportunity for growth and success. As always, staying current and flexible in the ever-evolving world of technology is essential for businesses to thrive.

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