Iowa is participating in a nationwide program started by Google which partners with several business groups to offer free web development along with related tools and training to small businesses.
The director of the small business development center at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Sue Pitts, says many small companies need some help setting up effective websites. Pitts says when they do have websites, they may not be using them.
“You can have your brother’s sister’s brother put up a page that you never ever look at,” Pitts says,”so I think some people think they have a website but they might not. Or if a business is in existence, they may have had a website six years ago that they haven’t really looked at.”
Pitts says more people are using the web to search for what they need, and then doing business on-line. Pitt says “if you’re not found online you might not be found at all, you might be just passed over.”
She says she walks down the street in her neighborhood after the Yellow Pages are delivered they are in the recycle bins at almost every house. Pitts says many customers make up their minds about what to buy before ever stepping into a storefront. She says the good news for businesses is that it’s getting easier and less expensive to build an effective web presence.
The governor’s office says six out of 10 Iowa small businesses are without a website. Business owners can learn more about the Google program during workshops planned at several locations around the state next month.