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Google’s Website Builder Shutdown: What Now for Small Businesses?

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In the vast, unpredictable wilderness that is the internet, we’ve just bumped into an “Oops, road closed ahead” sign, courtesy of Google.

That’s right, folks—Google’s website builder, tied to their Google My Business platform, has punched its one-way ticket to the digital afterlife, and it’s taking the humble online abodes of millions of small business owners with it. Google is shutting down their website builder.

Before you consider flipping the sign on your business door to “Closed because the internet is broken,” let’s pause and take a deep, calming breath.

The fact of the matter is, while Google’s adios to its website builder might feel like an unexpected rain on your digital parade, it could very well end up being the best thing to happen to your online presence since someone decided to put avocados on toast.

What is (or was) Google’s website builder?

Imagine you walked into a store called “Make Your Own Website.”

In the first aisle, you’d find Google’s website builder, not surrounded by a halo of light or anything, but it’s still eye-catching because it’s labeled “free,” “simple,” and “perfect for beginners.” It was pretty much the equivalent of a pre-fab home. No frills, no fuss—just the basics to get you settled on the web.

Google’s website builder was tethered to the Google My Business service, which is like your business’ flashy name tag on Google’s vast map.

The idea was simple: give small businesses an easy way to create a straightforward website without needing to know how to code. You could add photos, create some basic pages, and fill in your info like a digital business card.

Handy, right?

In essence, Google’s website builder was the online equivalent of that trusty old hammer in your toolbox—nothing fancy, but it did the job when you needed to hang a ‘Welcome’ sign for your customers in the virtual world.

Why is Google shutting down its website builder?

Why does Google do anything?

Google is so infamous for killing loved and heavily-used products that there is an entire website dedicated to keeping tracking of them, the Google Graveyard.

The big G hasn’t given us a detailed saga about why they’re retiring their website builder, and they likely never will. It’s just Google being Google.

The immediate impacts on small business owners

The Google website builder retirement party is less of a party and more of an, “Okay, everyone out of the pool!” situation. For small business owners, the immediate effects of this shutdown are about as welcome as a surprise visit from the tax inspector.

First off, let’s talk visibility. Your Google-built site going the way of the dodo means your digital “Open for Business” sign is effectively yanked out of the ground.

Then there’s the issue of sales and customer engagement. For many small shops, their website is where the cash register rings and the chit-chat happens. This isn’t just about losing a page on the web; it’s about losing opportunities to connect and sell. And for small businesses, fewer sales equals more grey hairs.

Plus, let’s not ignore the scramble effect. It’s like when your favorite reality show gets canceled. You’re left scrambling for a replacement to fill that void. Except, this isn’t about filling your Thursday night; it’s about filling the void in your online strategy, and that takes a little more than just flipping channels.

The Google website builder shutdown takes the “net” out of “internet” for small businesses—a net that was catching leads, sales, and interactions.

Now it’s time to weave a new one, and pronto.

What should you do next?

Now that Google’s pulled the virtual rug out from under your online-footing, it’s action time.

No need to morph into a superhero, but a cape might help you feel more confident as you tackle the following steps:

1) Don’t panic

Repeat after me: “Deep breaths.” Panic is the enemy of progress. By staying calm, you’ll navigate these digital waters like a seasoned captain.

2) Secure your website content

First things first, download all your website data, content, images—everything.

Sucky thing is, this may be a very manual process of copying, pasting and right-clicking. Google doesn’t seem to have any clear instructions on the ability to download your website data.

3) Explore your alternatives

It’s time to go shopping for a new website builder.

There’s a market out there bustling with platforms offering all sorts of features from drag-and-drop building to e-commerce engines. Google suggests options like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.

4) Consider professional web design services

If all this sounds akin to learning a new language by next Tuesday, maybe you’re ready to call in the pros.

Sure, it’s a bit of an investment, but it’s like trading in your old flip phone for a smartphone. A professional web designer can construct a customized, wow-factor website, and you get to avoid the tech-induced heartburn.

Remember, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day. Replacing your website is a process, but it’s also an opportunity—a chance to invigorate your online presence, to dust off the virtual shelves, and perhaps to make a grand re-entrance on the digital stage.

So don your cape, set your eyes on the horizon, and let’s turn this Google goodbye into a hello-new-opportunities moment.

The silver lining: Why this might be good news

A giant personification of Google is kicking everyone out of the swimming pool, just as they were having a good time.

Alright, I know it’s looking a bit like a cloudy day on your digital street, but every cloud has a silver lining.

Opportunity for a website facelift

Your Google website builder site was cozy, sure, but it probably lacked some pizzazz.

This is your chance to spring for a makeover, and not just any makeover—we’re talking the queue-the-dramatic-reveal-music type. New platforms offer slick designs, better functionality, and features that your old site could only dream of while it quietly hummed along.

Access to better features and technology

With the right new builder or design service, you can snag some fancy features like responsive design (essential so your site looks good on phones and tablets, too), improved e-commerce tools (because who doesn’t want to make selling easier?), and sharper SEO capabilities (so customers can find you without needing a map and a compass).

SEO advantages with a revamped website

Modern website builders come with SEO tools that practically do a tap dance for Google’s search algorithms. Getting your site up the ranks could become easier than convincing a kid to eat candy.

So, while Google might be throwing in the towel on their website builder, you’re about to throw out the red carpet for a glitzy new online presence.

Professional web design: Is it worth the investment?

So, the Google website builder farewell tour has got you mulling over whether to dive into another DIY website adventure, or to finally open the wallet and bring in the professionals.

It’s the classic ‘do-it-yourself or pay-a-pro‘ conundrum. Let’s deconstruct this.

The payoff of going pro

Opting for a professional web design service is like swapping out your backyard BBQ for a five-star chef. Sure, your grilled cheese sandwiches are decent, but a pro can lay down a gourmet feast.

A professional web designer brings a fusion of creativity, technical know-how, and industry insights that can transform your site from a digital nap spot to the hottest spot online.

The benefits of paying for a professional touch

  1. Aesthetics and functionality combined: Pros can balance the chic with the geek. They make your site look good and work smoothly, so it’s a pleasure to visit and use—not just an online brochure that’s pretty to look at.
  2. Customization: You’re not just another template when you go with a pro. Your site gets a custom wardrobe tailored to fit your brand’s personality, needs, and goals.
  3. Time and sanity savings: Let’s face it, your time is valuable, and fiddling with website widgets could use up buckets of it. A designer takes the tech troubles off your plate, leaving you to run the business.
  4. SEO built in: Pros know how to tickle Google’s fancy with SEO best practices baked right into your site’s design from the get-go—no additional flavoring needed.
  5. Support after launch: A good web designer won’t leave you hanging after the launch. They provide website management and support, which is like having tech support on speed dial.

What to look for in a web design service

  • A portfolio that makes you go “Wow!”
  • Positive testimonials from past clients.
  • Transparency in pricing (no mysterious ‘additional fees’ lurking).
  • An understanding of your industry.
  • A clear process for design and feedback.
  • Ongoing support options.

The investment side of things

Yes, hiring a pro is a cost, but it’s an investment with potential ROI in spades.

Your website is often the first impression for customers; a stellar one can lead to more trust, more sales, and more happy dance moments.

Whether or not professional web design is worth the investment depends on how you value your online presence.

For those who view it as paramount, it might just be the best check you’ll write this year. And for those who are still a little hesitant, just remember that in the land of the internet, a well-designed website is the king of the castle.

In conclusion

An illustration depicting the Google logo going down with the Titanic.

As the sun sets on Google’s website builder, and the inhabitants of the internet ready their violins to play a somber tune, let’s flip the script.

This isn’t an end; it’s a beginningyour very own digital rebirth.

To all you small business owners out there, standing at the edge of Tomorrowland without a website, hear this: opportunity is knocking.

With the right moves, you’re not just getting a new website; you’re stepping up your online game. Think of the shutdown as a sign to innovate, upgrade, and outshine your competition in ways you haven’t even imagined yet.

It’s true—navigating the web’s vast expanse for a new home can be daunting, much like choosing the perfect avocado (you know, not too mushy, not too hard). But whether you decide to go the route of another user-friendly website builder or invest in a shiny, tailor-made site from a professional, the silver lining is gleaming with possibilities.

Don’t let your business become a ghost in the machine. Embrace the change, ride the wave, and you just might find yourself thanking Google for giving you the nudge you needed.

Because when one tab closes, a better one opens—usually with fewer ads and faster loading times. 🫡

Picture of Patrick Antinozzi

Patrick Antinozzi

This post was written by an organic being with the help of AI. Pretty wild that I have to disclaim that, eh? I'm just trying to provide value. It's not always the prettiest or the most succinct.

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