Tag Archives: small business

Building a safer internet, one secure domain at a time

Do you lock your doors when you're not home or when you’re sleeping at night? Your home protects everything and everyone that lies within it—whether that’s your family, pets or belongings—and a door is the most direct way for a criminal to access your home. Locking your door is the simplest thing you can do to keep safe. Similarly, when you’re browsing the web, there’s one key thing that helps keep you and your information safe and “locked” up.


HTTPS is a certificate that works just like the lock on your front door at home. By “locking” your connection to a website, it helps prevent interception or alteration of content on the site you’re visiting. We want every website to have a lock on it. That’s why Google Registry created safe.page: so you can understand the most direct steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe while browsing the internet.

Visit safe.page to learn how to read a URL (to avoid phishing attacks) and the importance of a secure connection (especially when sharing sensitive info like credit cards and passwords).

Build safely, get rewarded

That’s not all we’re doing to support HTTPS. We're also teaming up with WordPress to make it easy for anyone to build a secure website. They make building secure websites a snap by automatically installing SSL certificates at no cost for domains they host. If HTTPS is locking your online information safely, an SSL certificate acts like the actual lock on the door.


If you’ve been thinking of building a website, now’s a good time to get started: We're running a contest for the best sites created through April 30, 2019. Nine winners will be selected based on their website’s user experience, user interface, originality, design and content clarity. Winners will receive a Pixel 3 phone or equivalent prize and the opportunity to be featured on one of Google Registry's websites (get.page, get.app and get.dev). Entering the competition is simple:

  1. Register your .page, .app or .dev domain. All three extensions are secure by default (registered domains only work with an SSL certificate). You can register your domain through your preferred registrar.
  2. Build your website. You can get started building your site on WordPress.com and save 25 percent using the promo code SAFE_A24F at checkout. (The offer is valid until April 30, 2019.) Websites created in other ways on .app, .page and .dev are also eligible for the contest.
  3. Learn more about the contest rules here, including eligibility restrictions, prize details and entry deadlines. Submit your website to the contest at safe.page.

That’s it! Regardless of whether you create your own secure website, we encourage everyone to visit safe.page to learn the fundamentals of keeping your information safe. Good luck and thanks for doing your part to build a safer internet!

How to use the new Offers view on your Business Profile

From discounts to deals, everyone loves a good offer. Whether they’re shopping at a favorite clothing boutique or trying a local coffee shop for the first time, an offer can attract people to businesses. To help people find these promotions, we’re making offers more prominent on Business Profiles on Google. The new layout introduces a dedicated space for business owners to feature their most recent offers—making a quick decision for their potential customers even easier.

offerscarousel

For businesses, adding an offer is easy. When creating a post in the Google My Business App, you’ll see an option to categorize it as an offer. From there, you can tailor the details to your specific needs. An offer can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing a list of choices.

offerspost

With this update, we want to make it easier for people to make decisions about where they want to go and simpler for businesses to attract customers. Sign up for Google My Business on the web or download the app on Google Play or the App Store.

How my passion for ice cream became “More Than A Business”

Editor’s Note: This Friday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. We’re commemorating the day early by hearing from Natasha Case, Founder & CEO Of Coolhaus from Los Angeles, California. She’s sharing her story of how her business idea grew from one Google Search to a product that’s sold in thousands of stores across the U.S. Check out the stories of other women around the world who have built #MoreThanABusiness here.

Ice cream has always been a lifelong passion of mine, and when I went to architecture school, I thought I could use food to make architecture more fun. I knew I was onto something when my friends were devouring my crazy ice cream concoctions—ginger cookies and chocolate wasabi ice cream, anyone? My partner, Freya Estreller, and I decided to do a Google search ("hipster ice cream truck") to see if anything like my ice cream experiments was already out there. Nothing popped up. After we did that search, we saw an opportunity to take a leap of faith and turn my hobby into an actual business. In 2008, we converted an old postal truck into an ice cream truck, brought it to a music festival—and Coolhaus was born.

Coolhaus now distributes to over 7,500 grocery stores, has three storefronts and operates 10 mobile ice cream trucks and carts in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. It’s been a rewarding, challenging and delicious journey. Along the way, people have asked us countless questions about how we built and expanded our business. For us, the answer has always been following the guidance of mentors and partners. You can learn from other female entrepreneurs, whether they're further along in their business journey or just getting started. It's common—almost natural—for us to overthink or feel as if we have to prove something before we ask for a mentor or partner. Have the courage to ask; the worst will be a "no," but the upside is so much greater than that.

Now that we have more than 10 years of experience, we’re passionate about being on the other side as mentors to other female entrepreneurs. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way:

  1. Fail forward. You're going to fail, so make the most out of how you do that. When you need to cut cords on an idea, do it with efficiency and don't drag it along.
  2. We talk a lot about minimum viable product—meaning that sometimes, an idea just needs to get put out there to see how it will do. Focus on building, measuring and learning.
  3. Inexperience is not an obstacle. When you realize the status quo are not hard truths, you start to take risks that you didn't realize you were taking.

We’re thriving in an important moment of time where there’s a real energy of women helping and supporting each other. We’re proud not only of the business we’ve built, but also of the opportunity to lead by example. We want other women to take their crazy ideas from a Google search to an actual business, too.

Hello, .dev!

Posted by Ben Fried, VP, CIO, & Chief Domains Enthusiast

Developers, designers, writers and architects: you built the web. You make it possible for the billions of people online today to do what they do. Have you ever tried to register your preferred domain name, only to find out it's not available? Today, Google Registry is announcing .dev, a brand new top-level domain (TLD) that's dedicated to developers and technology. We hope .dev will be a new home for you to build your communities, learn the latest tech and showcase your projects—all with a perfect domain name.

Check out what some companies, both big and small, are doing on .dev:

  • Want to build a website? Both GitHub.dev and grow.dev have you covered.
  • Trying to create more inclusive products? Visit accessibility.dev for digital accessibility solutions.
  • Learn about Slack's helpful tools, libraries, and SDKs at slack.dev.
  • Connect with Women Who Code at women.dev.
  • Who doesn't want to do more with their time? Jetbrains.dev offers software solutions that make developers more productive.
  • Want to brush up on your skills (or learn new ones)? Check out Codecademy.dev.
  • Learn how to build apps on the Salesforce platform at crm.dev.
  • Interested in learning how to increase the agility and productivity of your data team? Visit dataops.dev.
  • Want to build & deploy serverless apps on a global cloud network? You can do that with Cloudflare at workers.dev.
  • Get a sneak peek of what's running under the hood of the Niantic Real World Platform at ar.dev.

Like our recent launches for .app and .page, this new domain will be secure by default because it requires HTTPS to connect to all .dev websites. This protects people who visit your site against ad malware and tracking injection by internet service providers, and from spying when using open WiFi networks. With every .dev website that's launched, you help move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future.

Starting today at 8:00 a.m. PT and through February 28, .dev domains are available to register as part of our Early Access Program, where you can secure your desired domains for an additional fee. The fee decreases according to a daily schedule. Beginning on February 28, .dev domains will be available at a base annual price through your registrar of choice. To find out pricing from our participating partners, visit get.dev.

Google has already started using .dev for some of our own projects, like web.dev and opensource.dev. Visit get.dev to see what companies like Mozilla, Netflix, Glitch, Stripe, JetBrains and more are doing on .dev and get your own domain through one of our registrar partners. We look forward to seeing what you create on .dev!

Hello, .dev!

Developers, designers, writers and architects: you built the web. You make it possible for the billions of people online today to do what they do. Have you ever tried to register your preferred domain name, only to find out it's not available? Today, Google Registry is announcing .dev, a brand new top-level domain (TLD) that's dedicated to developers and technology. We hope .dev will be a new home for you to build your communities, learn the latest tech and showcase your projects—all with a perfect domain name.

Check out what some companies, both big and small, are doing on .dev:

  • Want to build a website? Both GitHub.dev and grow.dev have you covered.
  • Trying to create more inclusive products? Visit accessibility.dev for digital accessibility solutions.
  • Learn about Slack’s helpful tools, libraries, and SDKs at slack.dev.
  • Connect with Women Who Code at women.dev.
  • Who doesn’t want to do more with their time? Jetbrains.dev offers software solutions that make developers more productive.
  • Want to brush up on your skills (or learn new ones)? Check out Codecademy.dev.
  • Learn how to build apps on the Salesforce platform at crm.dev.
  • Interested in learning how to increase the agility and productivity of your data team? Visit dataops.dev.
  • Want to build & deploy serverless apps on a global cloud network? You can do that with Cloudflare at workers.dev.
  • Get a sneak peek of what’s running under the hood of the Niantic Real World Platform at ar.dev.

Like our recent launches for .app and .page, this new domain will be secure by default because it requires HTTPS to connect to all .dev websites. This protects people who visit your site against ad malware and tracking injection by internet service providers, and from spying when using open WiFi networks. With every .dev website that’s launched, you help move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future.

Starting today at 8:00 a.m. PT and through February 28, .dev domains are available to register as part of our Early Access Program, where you can secure your desired domains for an additional fee. The fee decreases according to a daily schedule. Beginning on February 28, .dev domains will be available at a base annual price through your registrar of choice. To find out pricing from our participating partners, visit get.dev.

Google has already started using .dev for some of our own projects, like web.dev and opensource.dev. Visit get.dev to see what companies like Mozilla, Netflix, Glitch, Stripe, JetBrains and more are doing on .dev and get your own domain through one of our registrar partners. We look forward to seeing what you create on .dev!

New features for service area businesses on Google My Business

Let’s say you’ve started your own business. The office you’ve leased is a 22 by 14 foot sprinter van. Every day, you find a new challenge in a new location across the areas you serve. You might be a plumber or an electrician or a landscaper, but above all you’re a business owner. We've recently made a few updates to Google My Business, so you can now share your service areas and information about your business via Google Maps and Search—so you can get found and tap into the many people searching for businesses like yours everyday.

servicecopy

For business owners signing up for the first time, we’ll guide you through the setup process with prompts for your local service area business. The process kicks off with the question: “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?" If the answer is no, you’re routed down the path tailored specifically for service-area businesses. This path lets you add the various areas you cover instead of a static address, which helps potential customers who find your business profile on Google know you serve their area.

Service areas are different from business to business. To help present the most accurate information to customers, you can configure your service area by adding the specific postal codes or cities you cover. Taking into account the changes every business goes through, these settings can be adjusted as needed—so there’s no need to worry about being locked into any specific area.

If you’re an existing Google My Business user, you can already edit your business information from the Google My Business dashboard. You’ll notice that the “service area” and “storefront address” can now be edited separately—if an address isn’t applicable to your business, you can easily clear it.

With this update, we hope to better connect you with potential customers in your service areas so consumers get the services they need and you find new (and hopefully returning!) customers.  Sign up for Google My Business online or download the app on Google Play or the App Store.

Catching the eye with seasonal ads

Reading time: 4 minutes

Seasonal campaigns go beyond the holidays - Cyber Monday, Mother’s Day, and Small Business Saturday are also a huge part of the retail year. They’re less about targeting seasons, and more about finding moments with a common appeal in your client’s industry.

Brands need to be present in these moments, ready to greet panic-driven deal hunters with the perfect solution. So we sat down with Shopify’s CMO Hana Abaza on the Google Partners Podcast to get her top tips for seasonal campaigns that drive sales.


Find your season

Every business has an element of seasonality; times when interest piques and traffic spikes. All you need to do is identify them! Robust Google Analytics reports are a great place to start. Export your data onto a spreadsheet, and with some clever formatting, trends will start to light up like fireworks on New Year's Eve. 

Analytics also helps you uncover biases that may be hiding behind “failed” campaigns. For example, if you pumped a lot of your budget into targeting Valentine’s Day last year without success, it would be easy to write the day off as a ‘bad fit’ for your brand. Take a fresh look at the data, carry out an honest review, and you may find that small tweaks are all that’s needed to turn things around next year. 


Spot your opportunity

You’ve identified the seasons that matter to your business, now make sure your marketing budget is ready to handle the increased workload. Use Google Trends to spot search trends across each region you’re targeting, then compare that to search volume data in Google Ads to find keywords that fit your offering. 

In the build-up of individual events, Consumer Barometer can help you better understand how to reach your audience at the right time, with the right message. Different events bring up different emotions, so keeping track of consumer trends is a great way to make sure your ads strike an emotional chord with your audience. 


Create separate campaigns

It’s important that you measure success without the noise of other, non-seasonal campaigns. This helps you identify nuances in each season, and optimize next year’s campaigns with those insights in mind. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with copy. Products like Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) can help you test different messages with very little effort. All you need to do is enter multiple headlines and descriptions about your products, and Google Ads will test different combinations to identify the best fit for your audience. 


Don’t miss last-minute shoppers

There’s been a 120% increase in “same-day delivery” searches since 20151. For urgent searches, 74% of shoppers say that when they’re searching on mobile, they look for the most relevant information, regardless of the company or brand2. As a result, the retailer that provides the most seamless experience wins. 

Season-specific promotion extensions help your ads stand out on Google’s results pages, and spotlight special promotions you may be running for the event. Highlighting services like same-day delivery, last-minute sales, or gift-wrapping may be all it takes to tip customers in your direction. 

Great seasonal campaigns are all about planning. Arm yourself with industry trends, plan your marketing budget with those trends in mind, and remember to tap into your consumer’s emotions with ads that resonate. With the right tools, a detailed content plan, and thorough research, you’ll be setting yourself up for seasonal success. 

Watch the video below and tune in to the Google Partners Podcast for more actionable tips and insights for seasonal success. 


1 How to reach today’s impatient shoppers - whether they’re shopping online, by voice, or in store, Think With Google, May 2018 
2 How to reach today’s impatient shoppers - whether they’re shopping online, by voice, or in store, Think With Google, May 2018

Help your business stand out this holiday season with visuals from Small Thanks

Thanksgiving is Thursday, and you know what that means: once the turkey and pumpkin pie are gone, the holiday shopping season officially begins. Businesses of all sizes will be trying to get the attention of shoppers. Lucky for you, research shows that 61% of shoppers are open to buying from new retailers during the holiday season. Help your business get noticed  by checking out the newly launched social post styles from Small Thanks, our hub for free marketing materials featuring information about your business and reviews from your customers.  

When it comes to discovering new stores, online reviews have become today’s word of mouth. You can turn your customers into advocates by showcasing your business’s real Google reviews with new seasonal posts from Small Thanks. Share these on your social media channels and as posts on your Business Profile on Google, so they’ll be seen by potential customers in Google Search and Maps.

It’s important to grab the attention of shoppers online, even if you’re a local business. Last holiday season, 78% of shoppers who visited a store turned to online search first. Show those potential customers that you meet their needs by sharing a social post from Small Thanks that highlights your business's unique attributes—such as gift wrapping services or a kid-friendly environment. That way, you'll be on their radar when they're ready to shop.

And if you’re looking for even more ways to add some flair to your social media, check out the new #SmallThanks GIPHY stickers. However your business chooses to get the word out this season, we hope these new visuals give you a few more options to reach holiday shoppers.

Say hello to the new Google My Business app, and say hello to your next customer

I come from a family of small business owners. My grandfather was an inventor and serial entrepreneur who, among many other things, built a successful machine tool company in Clarksville, Arkansas. My father then ran the Galloway Lumber Company in the same town back in the 40s and 50s. He was a charismatic man who built strong relationships with his customers—he knew almost everybody in town and could rely on those trustworthy relationships to keep the business running. As my team built the new Google My Business app, I kept business owners like him in mind and focused on connecting them with their customers. We’re proud to have built an easy-to-use, free tool that helps small business owners reach more people online and connect with their customers through Google, so they can grow their business and spend more of their time doing what they do best—running it.


The world has changed a lot since Galloway Lumber Company first opened its doors for business, and now more and more people start online to look for places to eat, visit and shop. Every month, Google connects people to businesses nearby more than 9 billion times, including over 1 billion phone calls and 3 billion direction requests to stores. When we built the Google My Business app, we wanted to make it easier for small businesses like you to take advantage of that opportunity, and turn those searchers into your customers.


Let’s look at how one small business, Khamsa, gets new customers with the app, and read on for details about what’s new:   

Turn searchers into customers with the new Google My Business app
  • A simple, free way to stand out on Google with a great Business Profile:  With a press of the new Post button in the app, you can upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to your Business Profile on Google. You can also manage your business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch your edits appear seamlessly across Search and Maps.

  • Your customers on Google—all in one place:When people find you on Google, they can connect with you in a number of ways—by messaging you, following you, booking your services, or leaving a review—right from your Business Profile. You’ll be able to see all of these customers on Google in one place from the app’s new Customers tab.  From here, you can easily respond to customer reviews and post offers to your followers to keep them coming back in the door, and soon you’ll be able to respond to messages right from the app. And because Google My Business is always on the clock, we’ll be sure to notify you when you get a new customer connection.

  • Keep track of the results that matter: See how many people are finding and connecting with you from your Business Profile on Google. We’ve put your profile results front-and-center on the home screen so you’re always in the know.

People are searching for your business on Google. Turn those searchers into customers with the new, free Google My Business app. Available for download in Google Play or the App Store today.


A veteran-led business strengthening hearts and minds

Editor’s Note: Next week is National Veterans Small Business Week, a chance to celebrate veterans-turned-small business owners, like Suzie Mills, Air Force Veteran and founder of Honest Soul Yoga. Read on about her journey to become a small business owner and how Grow with Google is making it easy to find veteran-led businesses. You can learn more about our Grow with Google resources for veterans on our site.


My grandmother served during WWII and when I was growing up she told me stories about how proud she was to be in the military. I wanted to follow in her footsteps and serve my country, too, so I joined the Air Force Reserves in 2004. My unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and the experience took a toll on my nervous system. I eventually found yoga, which gave me the tools I needed to process and move through stressful feelings in a healthier way. When I finished my service obligation in 2012, I wanted to share the healing power of yoga with other members of the military, and create a place that had a strong sense of community.


When I opened Honest Soul Yoga, I quickly realized that a clear, accurate and attractive online location listing for our business was imperative. Quite simply, it’s how people show up at our door. So I turned to Google for help. Products like Google Ads and Google My Business connect me with people who are looking for yoga studios in my area. Before using Google tools we had a phone at the front desk, but it rarely rang. Now, we get several calls an hour! Every call is an opportunity to get a new member through our doors.


Being a veteran-owned business is a big part of Honest Soul Yoga’s identity. We understand the challenges of frequently moving to new cities, being away from family, or having family away for extended periods of time. We appreciate those sacrifices and try to provide a place to connect with the community and meet new people. The addition of the Veteran-Led attribute to our Business Profile on Google makes it easier for potential customers to see that we’re military-friendly.


We’ve always had big plans for this small business, and we’re grateful for our growth, which includes our second location that opened last month and our third location opening before the new year. Over half of our employees are veterans and military spouses and we’ve been offering weekly yoga classes at Fort Belvoir for military families for more than three years. We aim to give back to the military community any way we can.


I’m proud that Honest Soul Yoga became the kind of community that I sought when I left the military—a place where veterans and military families really feel like they belong. Many other veteran-led businesses have the power to bring people together in this way, too. It’s now easier to find veteran-led businesses across the U.S. with this map, created by Grow with Google.

Veteran-Led SmallThanks

If you’re a veteran-led business, you can also make it easier to let the world know by adding the Veteran-Led attribute to your profile on Google and visiting SmallThanksto create free customized assets to share on social media.