Your Google Website Is About To Go Way
As a business owner, there are times when you need someone to wave a red flag in your face. This may be one of those times.
If your business website is built with the tools that came with your Google Business Profile, your website is about to go away.
Google plans to shut down websites linked to Business Profiles starting in March, so businesses need to prepare now to avoid major disruptions. The tech giant is redirecting users from these sites to Business Profiles instead, so companies relying on them for their web presence need an alternate option. We explain what’s changing, why it matters, and how to ensure customers can still access your website.
Spoiler alert: We recommend WordPress as your new platform.
In an email statement, Google said “Due to low engagement, we are winding down websites made with Business Profiles.” These templated sites were automatically generated using information from Business Profiles. And on March 1st this year, Google will start turning them off.
Visitors to affected sites will get redirected to the associated Business Profile. But only until June 10th. After that, they’ll face “page not found” errors. Impacted domains are the business.site and negocio.site ones created through Business Profiles. So if your site URL contains either subdomain, you’ll lose that web presence when Google pulls the plug.
Why It Matters
While it won’t change Business Profiles themselves (your Google Business Profile is safe!), these websites vanishing does remove a simple web presence option for companies. For those relying entirely on those auto-generated pages for their online existence, it’s especially significant. Once the redirects stop on June 10th, so will all customer visits.
Losing your website can severely disrupt potential sales, marketing efforts like SEO, and more. So Google wants Business Profile users to set up alternate sites before that happens. Otherwise, they risk broken links, lost authority, reductions in traffic and leads, and overall impacts to their digital presence.
Is This A Big Deal?
Honestly, not really.
If anything, it’s a kick in the seat of the pants to motivate business owners to move into a DIY platform or upgrade their site to WordPress.
Either way, it’s a wake-up call to move into a better website platform.
How To Prepare
To ensure no gaps in your web access when those sites go dark, Google has a clear recommendation:
“To continue having a website for your business, you can create websites with different domains, such as WordPress, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Shopify, etc.”
Migrating to a new platform lets companies keep offering their own sites to visitors, preventing any outages. And while Google lists multiple options, we believe WordPress is the best alternative for most businesses.
With Squarespace, you’ll need to invest quite a bit of time designing your new site yourself. Honestly, our digital marketing agency gets a lot of calls from people with Squarespace websites asking for help.
We cannot, in good faith, recommend GoDaddy websites. We won’t take on clients for SEO when they have GoDaddy websites because they just don’t tend to rank well. Call us snobs, but we like to win for our clients.
Why We (Strongly) Suggest WordPress
As an open-source content management system, WordPress offers unique benefits over other website builders. Given that nearly half of all websites online today are built in WordPress, it’s the 900-pound gorilla of platforms.
Here are our other favorite reasons:
Proprietary tools like Squarespace and Wix provide templates for easy site creation. But that also locks users into preset designs and structures. Plus, if they want to change the rules, you have two choices- accept those changes or leave.
With WordPress, you control site architecture. So you can add functionality as needed, for a truly custom solution tailored to your business.
While convenient for some uses, template sites have limited capabilities. WordPress however supports advanced features like user logins, member forums, multimedia galleries, calendars, contact forms, SEO optimization, analytics integrations, dynamic content loading, payment gateways, access restrictions, and more. There’s even a library of 50,000+ plugins offering every function imaginable.
That’s just it. If you can imagine it, you can build it with WordPress.
No Vendor Lock-In
Being open source, WordPress lets users freely move their sites and data between hosts. Close alternatives often employ proprietary frameworks trapping you on their platform. Migrating your site requires entirely rebuilding the site elsewhere. With WordPress, you’re never restricted.
Currently powering over 40% of all sites globally, WordPress also runs industry leaders like BBC America, Bloomberg, Facebook, and more. Its widespread use demonstrates enormous scalability from small sites up to enterprise-grade solutions. Equally at home on cheap shared hosting or backends like Google Cloud and AWS.
Unlike templated competitors, every WordPress site starts from scratch unless you explicitly choose a theme. And with thousands of free/paid themes available, sites still launch quickly. But without constraints on potential customization down the line. You dictate paths, layouts, styles, elements, and functionality.
Nerds Everywhere Know WordPress
When was the last time you found a Drupal or a Joomla expert? Exactly! They still exist, but you would have no problem finding someone to help you with a WordPress site. There are no shortages of people familiar with designing or developing in that platform.
New WordPress versions roll out multiple times per year, continuously improving speed, capabilities, and security. Due to its open ecosystem, developers worldwide create new features, benefits, and opportunities far faster than any closed competitor could match internally. So choosing WordPress means keeping up with the latest best practices and trends included automatically through updates.
Make It Loud Web Design Can Help
As you prepare for Google’s website shutdown, moving to WordPress may sound like a daunting process, especially if you don’t have a technical background. The good news is you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. The web design experts at Make It Loud are here to help!
Contact us today and let’s talk about your business needs. Not only can we help you with professional, affordable website design, but we can assist you with all your digital marketing needs.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.