Local businesses that currently do not have an internet website have a chance to get one next week when Cape Coral celebrates National Small Business Week by hosting a Google website development seminar.
It is estimated that 97 percent of online consumers look to the web for local products and services, but 68 percent of businesses in Florida do not have an internet presence.
"More consumers today are searching online for information about businesses and they are using the technology on their smartphones, tablets and iPads," said Mayor Marni Sawicki, the driving force behind the seminar. "This is an opportunity to help Cape Coral's small businesses get their services and product information online and visible to a growing number of potential customers."
Spiro & Associates is providing the training on the Google website setup. The session runs 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 14, in the City Council Chambers.
"We don't know who or how many might show up," said Economic Development director Dana Brunett. "You could hear from 10 and 100 would show up, but if only 10 show up and get help then we've succeeded."
To sweeten the deal, 10 businesses that attend the seminar and set up a website will be selected to have their second year costs for hosting services and domain name fee ($87.87 each) reimbursed by the city's Economic Development office.
Additionally, the first 100 businesses that renew their domain name and service agreement with Google for a second year will be reimbursed by EDO for the $15.99 domain fee.
"That's a maximum of $2,500 in incentives to local businesses," said city spokesperson Connie Barron. "The city has not participated in this program before, but the mayor was the one who reached out to the Chamber and put this together."
Businesses do not have to preregister for the seminar, just show up for the session. The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, Florida Small Business Development Center and Goodwill Industries are helping spread the word about the seminar to local businesses not currently on the web.
Sawicki was introduced to the Google website program while attending a recent Mayor's Conference.
"I don't know about you, but I haven't used the Yellow Pages in years," said Brunett. "I just hop on the web and Google what I want local information on. Its an important aspect of business today. It's the way of the world nowadays."
Brunett's office is charged with bringing new businesses to the Cape and making sure businesses stay healthy and successful, and this is one way for a small business to get a web presence inexpensively.
"It's an important part of what we do, said Brunett. "Part of our job is to help businesses grow and succeed. Google is a part of that and it's cheap."
"Our local small businesses are vital to our Cape Coral economy and creating a website to establish a presence on the web does not have to be complicated and expensive," said Sawicki. "That is why we partnered with the Chamber, SBDC, Goodwill and Spiro to offer an opportunity to show our small business community how the Google website development process works and answer questions."