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      February 2022

      How to Create a Website for Free

      When creating your first website, it can be difficult to find an option that fits your budget. If you’re a blogger or a small business owner, you might want to avoid the monthly fees from custom domain names, hosting plans, and fancy website builders.

      Fortunately, it’s possible to build a website for free (or on a very limited budget). Accessible and user-friendly software such as and Google Sites can help you get a functional site up and running while avoiding unwanted costs.

      In this post, we’ll discuss why you might consider creating a free or low-cost website. Then we’ll show you three different methods you can use. Let’s get started!

      Is the Free Website Option Right for You?

      Building a website can be an important first step in growing your online presence. Whether you want to reach new customers or simply start a blog, you can fully customize a website to suit your specific needs.

      Here’s what any website can do for you:

      • Grow your audience
      • Establish your authority
      • Create a community
      • Provide a place to sell products and services
      • Increase your revenue

      Before you get started, it’s important to know about the typical start-up costs to create a website. You’ll usually need to pay for domain name registration and a web hosting plan to get your site online.

      However, it’s also possible to build a website for free. With a free website, you can:

      • Save costs by avoiding monthly and yearly fees
      • Quickly establish an online presence
      • Avoid the need for coding skills or advanced technical knowledge

      Of course, free website builders do come with some limitations as well. For example, you’ll likely have limited control and customization options when you build a free website. This is fine if you want to create something very small, but you run the risk of your site looking generic.

      free website

      Hosting with free website builder tools does come with some downsides. For example, you may not have much control over page loading speeds. Also, you likely won’t be able to use a unique, professional domain name and instead need to opt for a subdomain (e.g.,

      That said, if you need something straightforward, a free website builder might still be a good option for you.

      Let’s dig in a bit further.

      3 Methods for Creating a Free or Low-Cost Website in 2022

      Method 1: Google Sites (Free)

      Google Sites is a free website builder developed by Google. By simply signing in to Google Workspace, anyone can access this tool. It offers easy-to-use customization features that allow you to build a simple website without any coding experience.

      free Google website

      One of the main benefits of Google Sites is that you can easily integrate other Google services into your website. For example, if you need to add a calendar, you can simply embed your Google Calendar.

      You might want to consider using Google Sites if you’re creating a simple personal blog or a static website. Google Sites could also be the best option for featuring a small, temporary project.

      Unfortunately, Google Sites has limited customization options. Since it is a free service, there are few themes available for personalizing your site’s appearance.

      Step 1: Create a New Site

      To create a free website with Google Sites, navigate to the home page and sign in to your Google account. You’ll need to create a new account if you don’t already have one.

      When you access the Google Sites home page, there will be an option to Start a new site:

      create a free Google website with Google Sites

      You can either begin with a blank site or use one of Google’s pre-designed templates. If you click on Template Gallery, you can view templates for personal, small business, and work use:

      create a free website

      Choose the template that suits your needs. Once you’ve selected one, the program will automatically create a new site. In the top-left corner, you can give your website a name.

      Step 2: Pick a Theme

      Now it’s time to choose your website’s theme. Themes are pre-designed styles you can use to determine your site’s overall look and layout. To see your options, navigate to the right-hand side of the customizer and click on Themes:

      create a free website

      There, you’ll find a variety of free themes to choose from. Simply click on one to apply it to your website. After you do that, you’ll see an option to customize your theme’s colors and font style:

      free website builder

      You can pick from the available color options or use the custom color picker.

      Step 3: Customize Your Content

      Finally, you can change how your website looks by adding a unique title, a banner, and some content. When you click on the area you want to edit, you’ll see various options for changing text, headers, and images:

      create a free website

      You can also add pages, such as an about section, contact page, or blog. To create a new page, navigate to Pages, click on the + icon at the bottom, and give your page a title.

      create a free website

      When you’re ready to add content, go to the side menu and find Insert. There, you can add text boxes, images, or content from your Google Drive. You can choose from the pre-designed layouts to organize a cohesive page:

      create a website with Google Sites

      At the bottom of the page, you’ll see options to embed content from other Google apps:

      For example, clicking on Calendar will connect your Google Calendar to your website. You can follow this process to insert documents, maps, and other unique visuals.

      Method 2: (Free or Low-Cost) is one of the most popular site-building platforms. Many people choose to use this platform because it comes with built-in managed hosting. With, you can build a functional website without worrying about any of the technical aspects.

      Here are some of the other benefits to using

      • Easy to use and maintain
      • Beginner-friendly
      • Free and secure
      • Scalable

      Although started as a blogging platform, you can now use it to create online stores, promote your business, or showcase a personal portfolio. Ultimately, you should consider this option if you’re looking for extra features, security, and support without having to purchase hosting. doesn’t cost anything to use, but the free plan only offers up to 3GB of storage space. If you’re planning to feature many photos and videos on your website, you might have to purchase a subscription.

      Additionally, places advertisements on your website. You won’t be able to control this content or where it’s placed. As with Google Sites, you’ll also need to pay extra if you want a custom domain name.

      Step 1: Create an Account

      If you choose to build your site, navigate to the home page and click on Start your website. Then enter your email, username, and password:

      create a free WordPress website

      Next, you’ll be prompted to choose a domain name. You can purchase a domain, which typically costs around $10 per year. However, you can avoid this fee by clicking on start with a free site.

      If you choose that option, “wordpress” will be in your URL. Your site’s domain will look something like this:

      Step 2: Pick a Theme

      When you choose a website theme, it’s important to find one that maximizes functionality and aligns with your target audience. Fortunately, has many pre-designed themes to choose from.

      To find a theme, go to your website’s dashboard. Then navigate to Appearance > Themes. Next to the search bar, click on Free to only view no-cost themes:

      free wordpress website

      When you find a theme you like, click on it and select Activate this design. Then hit the Activate button on the following popup.

      WordPress also offers options to customize your theme. To find this tool, go to Appearance > Customize:

      create a free website

      The options you find here will depend on your chosen theme. You may be able to add a background image, alter fonts, change the color scheme, and so on.

      Step 3: Add Content to Your Website

      Finally, you’ll want to add some content to your website. By going to Pages > Add New, you can add new sections. You might want to create an About page, a Contact page, a page for your blog posts, and so on:

      create a web page

      If you’re building a blog, you can navigate to Posts > Add New. There, you can start creating insightful content to build a dedicated audience:

      free WordPress website

      For your first blog post, it’s best to keep your ideal visitors in mind. You can also insert images and write short paragraphs to keep readers engaged. Finally, consider using SEO tools to make it more likely your content will rank highly in search engines.

      When a new page or post is ready, hit Publish. It will then be live for visitors to see!

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      Method 3: Self-Hosted WordPress (Low Cost)

      There are actually two versions of the WordPress platform: and As we’ve seen, is a simple hosted website builder. or ‘self-hosted WordPress’ refers to the open-source platform that you can download and use to build any type of website you like. offers many advanced features and resources. Especially for business owners who need a functional online store or a site with complex functionality, free website builders such as might not provide enough customization or security.

      To solve this problem, we’d recommend creating a website with This option won’t be completely free, as you’ll need to purchase a domain and a hosting plan. However, it can still be very cost-effective, and it’s an excellent way to achieve better security and performance on a budget.

      Step 1: Choose a Hosting Plan

      To get started, you’ll need a hosting plan. There are many options out there, some of which are quite expensive. Fortunately, shared hosting plans are very affordable and should give you everything you need to get a starter website up and running.

      Here at DreamHost, we offer shared hosting starting at just $1.99 per month:

      cheap website hosting

      When you choose this plan, you get access to one-click WordPress installation, a free domain, and fast loading speeds. Plus, thanks to automated backups and free privacy protection, you can make sure your website is secure.

      Once you choose a hosting plan, you’ll need to register your site’s domain. In the search bar, enter your domain followed by the TLD (the extension at the end, such as .com or .org):

      register a domain name

      If your chosen domain is available, you can add it to your cart. If it’s already taken, you’ll see a list of alternative options you can pick from.

      Then you can complete the checkout process. When they’re presented, be sure to check the Pre-Install WordPress and WP Website Builder options.

      Step 2: Access WP Website Builder and Choose a Theme

      After you’ve purchased a DreamHost plan, you can access the WP Website Builder. This handy tool comes with over 200 starter sites that you can use as a foundation for your website. Even without coding experience, you can create your own unique-looking website in minutes:

      how to create a website for free

      To access your WordPress site and WP Website Builder, check your email for login information. Then log in to the WP Website Builder setup wizard. There, you can choose from the available WordPress themes.

      Step 3: Customize Your WordPress Website

      After selecting a theme, you can continue to customize your website as needed. If you don’t like your theme’s default look or layout, you can navigate to Appearance > Customize and edit its details.

      One of the many benefits of using WordPress is the ability to install plugins. You can find thousands of free plugins – extensions that add new features and functionality to your site.

      To see what’s available, go to Plugins > Add New. On this page, you can look through the list of popular plugins or search for a specific solution you need:

      free WordPress plugins

      After that, you can also add new pages and content to make your website unique. For example, creating an About page can be a great way to make sure visitors remember and return to your site.

      Get Started On Your New Website Today

      Although creating a website is an important step in building an online presence, it can be expensive. Fortunately, you can avoid high monthly costs by using a free or low-cost platform.

      To review, here are three methods you can use to set up a free or low-cost website:

      1. Google Sites: This simple, easy-to-use website builder can be perfect for creating static personal websites.
      2. This is one of the most popular website builders and is great for small blogs and portfolios.
      3. Self-Hosted WordPress: If you’re willing to invest in a low-cost hosting plan, you can build your site with the software available from, which offers far more customization and control.

      Sometimes, free website builders don’t offer enough features or security. At DreamHost, our shared hosting plans offer an affordable step up. They come with a free WP Website Builder for fast and cost-effective website creation. Your website can have automatic backups, free privacy protection, and unlimited bandwidth.

      Low-Cost Shared Hosting, Accessible to Everyone

      We make sure your website is fast, secure and always running. Plans start at $1.99/mo.

      shared hosting

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      How to Fix the 503 Error in WordPress

      Server errors can be incredibly frustrating, primarily because it isn’t always clear what’s causing the problem or how you can fix it. The 503 Service Unavailable Error generally means that your server has run out of resources. However, why this is occurring may vary.

      For the most part, a 503 Service Unavailable Error happens because WordPress uses too much memory or because your hosting service is experiencing unanticipated issues. As such, the problem can be resolved by either reducing the amount of memory your site is using or upgrading the resources available on your hosting account.

      This article will look at the 503 Service Unavailable Error, why it occurs, and what problems it can cause. Then we’ll walk through how to troubleshoot and fix it. Let’s get started!

      What Causes the 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress

      It’s important to note that this isn’t a WordPress-specific error. It may occur before WordPress has even had the opportunity to start running.

      A 503 Service Unavailable Error typically means your web server ran out of the resources it needs to display your website. This can be frustrating because the error message is extremely vague and doesn’t convey the source of the issue.

      Like an application on your computer, a website requires a certain amount of resources to run. For example, it needs memory, processing power, and hard drive space. This is true no matter what type of hosting you have.

      With that in mind, here are some common causes of this error:

      • Your WordPress site is consuming an unusual amount of resources because a plugin or theme may be operating incorrectly. This is because each plugin that you run demands additional resources.
      • You’re experiencing unusually high volumes of dynamic traffic on your website. If many people are visiting your site at once, your resources are being consumed much faster than they ordinarily would be. The good news is that you can avoid slow loading times and prepare yourself for higher traffic levels in advance.
      • Your web server could be experiencing difficulties of its own. If your web hosting service recently upgraded its software, for instance, your site might not be properly configured or optimized. As a result, your web host might need to restart one or more server processes before you are able to see performance improvements.

      Regardless of the root cause, the 503 Service Unavailable Error is not something that you can ignore. Unless it’s a host-level problem, the error won’t resolve itself, and it will likely create significant issues for your site and visitors.

      Why the 503 Service Unavailable Error Can Cause Problems for Your Site

      When a server-side issue like a 503 Service Unavailable Error pops up, it can be hard to know what you’re dealing with. Every circumstance is different. For example, sometimes, the site might work intermittently. On other occasions, specific pages may go down (the most resource-intensive ones), or your site may stop working entirely for a longer period.

      Here are a few problems that a 503 error may cause for your business:

      • Your visitors will not be able to view your site.
      • Search engines won’t be able to read (and therefore rank) your site.
      • Your site’s utilities (such as security scanning) won’t run properly or at their scheduled times.

      Overall, a 503 Service Unavailable Error makes it difficult for both you and your visitors to use your site. Fortunately, it’s an error that can be easy to fix.

      How to Fix the 503 Service Unavailable Error in WordPress (4 Methods)

      The harsh reality is that all sites will go down occasionally, if only for maintenance. Therefore, it is suggested that you check with your hosting service for any known downtime reports or maintenance windows before you start troubleshooting any 503 Service Unavailable Errors that you may be seeing.

      Your web host’s servers may be down due to a planned service outage or an unplanned emergency. In that situation, all you’ll need to do is wait until your server is back up and properly configured. Then, if the server begins working again and your site is still down, you can attempt to manually reboot your service to see if that resolves the issue.

      Should that not work, you may need to start troubleshooting yourself. Here are some useful strategies you can try.

      1. Turn Off Your Plugins

      All plugins modify the way that a WordPress site works. Some of them only affect a few elements of a single page, while other plugins dramatically alter your entire site’s functionality.

      When it comes to plugins, you might be facing one of two problems. First, you may have recently installed a new plugin that utilizes too many of your server’s resources. Alternatively, you could have too many plugins running overall, and the newest plugin just so happens to be the one that has tipped the scales.

      The bottom line is if you’ve recently installed a new plugin, you may need to deactivate it. To do this, you can go to your WordPress dashboard.

      WordPress plugins page

      Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. Then click on Deactivate next to the plugins that you suspect may have caused the issue. After that, try checking your site again to see if that has cleared the 503 error.

      Of course, there’s a good chance that you might not be able to log in to your WordPress admin area because of the 503 error. If that’s the case, you’ll need to try an alternative method.

      What you’ll need to do is access your site via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). First, download and open an SFTP program such as FileZilla.


      Next, connect to your WordPress site using your hosting service’s login information:

      FileZilla FTP Connection

      Then, click on the wp-content directory, and find the plugins folder.


      Rather than outright deleting the plugins, it is suggested that you try renaming the directory itself. Finally, refresh your site to see if doing all of this has made a difference.

      If removing or renaming your plugins doesn’t change anything, they probably aren’t what is causing this issue. You will need to activate your plugins through the WordPress admin page or by renaming the directory back to ‘plugins’ in your SFTP client.

      It is important to note that regardless of the outcome of these tests, you should always take care when managing your plugins. Ideally, you should only have as many as you strictly need.

      Unfortunately, a large number of third-party themes will come with a number of plugins to support both their design and functionality. You should be mindful of this when choosing a new look for your site.

      Common culprits of the 503 Service Unavailable Error are high-resource plugins for security and malware protection. These tend to use a ton of resources because they are constantly scanning the files on your server. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. On the contrary, they are often quite essential.

      2. Change Your Theme

      If you’re still experiencing issues with your site, your theme may be at fault, as it radically changes the way your site functions. Themes are often powerful enough to turn a plain blogging site into a full-blown news magazine.

      Since a theme can make such dramatic changes to how a website functions, it can also greatly increase the site’s resource consumption. To determine whether your theme is what’s causing the error, you can revert back to a default core WordPress theme, such as Twenty Twenty-Two.

      WordPress Twenty Twemty-Two theme

      WordPress releases a new default theme almost every year. These themes tend to be a stripped-down design that showcases current WordPress features. They also end up being less resource-intensive than most other themes.

      To change your theme to one of these options, navigate to the WordPress dashboard. Then go into Appearance > Themes to select and activate your preferred theme.

      If you no longer get the 503 error after completing this test, then you’ve discovered the problem. Third-party themes can consume too many resources because of custom code or recent updates that weren’t properly configured. You can resolve this issue by permanently switching your theme.

      As with plugins, you can also remove a WordPress theme through SFTP if you can’t access your dashboard. You will simply need to navigate to the /[domain]/wp-content/themes directory and delete the theme you want to remove. You can also rename the theme if you wish to save it for later.

      3. Reinstall WordPress

      If turning off your plugins and resetting your theme doesn’t work, you may need to reinstall WordPress. Typically, you will only need to resort to this option if a file in WordPress core has become modified (which it should never be) or corrupted.

      If this is the case, you don’t have to worry about losing your data. WordPress stores your uploaded files on the server, and the rest of your information is safely housed in your site’s database. Therefore, you can reinstall WordPress core files specifically to try and resolve your issue.

      Still, you may want to back up your files with your host before making any major changes. Every hosting service has its own backup tools. You’ll want to create a current backup or snapshot of your hosting account that you can restore later to ensure that you don’t lose any of your content or images.

      The easiest way to reinstall WordPress is through the dashboard. Go to WordPress > Dashboard > Updates. Then click on Re-install Version 5.9 (or whatever version happen to be running):

      WordPress 5.9 update

      WordPress will reinstall itself on its own. Once it’s done, refresh your site and see if that’s made a difference.

      If you can’t access your WordPress dashboard, you can also manually reinstall WordPress via SFTP. First, you’ll need to download WordPress directly from

      Then, unpack the .zip file for 

      Next, open FileZilla or another SFTP solution and make sure it’s connected to your WordPress site. Upload your freshly downloaded WordPress files to your WordPress directory.

      Your new WordPress files should completely replace everything in the old WordPress directory. In general, it’s a good idea to check your site’s performance after every major change.

      4. Upgrade Your Hosting Service

      Finally, if none of the previous steps worked, it may be time to accept that your site has outgrown your hosting plan’s capabilities. It might be time to look into managed WordPress hosting.

      WordPress hosting

      This may also be true if you find that a non-negotiable theme or plugin is causing the issue. With better hosting and more resources, you can still use the plugins and themes you initially wanted. Hopefully, you’ll also encounter fewer 503 errors moving forward.

      WordPress hosting can provide you with some of the following services:

      • Built-in caching. This means the server stores a snapshot of your website, so it doesn’t have to constantly serve dynamic content to your visitors. The better the caching is, the fewer resources your site should consume.
      • High-performance resources. The more powerful the server is, the more resources your site will have. A strong server will have fast processing, plenty of memory, and enough hard drive space for your site and its files.
      • WordPress-specific support. A hosting service made for WordPress will be tailored to and optimized for its unique needs.
      • Managed services. A managed hosting service will monitor many maintenance elements of your website for you, from backups to site speed tests. You may even get support to help you work through 503 Service Unavailable Errors.
      • WordPress migration. You’ll usually need to transfer your files and import your database to the new provider to switch hosts. Therefore, a web hosting service that provides hands-on support for WordPress migration is ideal.

      If you’re tired of receiving regular errors, upgrading your web hosting may be the answer to your problems. Additionally, you’ll be able to benefit from a whole suite of convenient features.

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      How to Fix Other Common WordPress Errors

      Want to learn how to fix other technical issues on your WordPress website? We’ve put together several guides to help you troubleshoot some of the most common WordPress errors:

      Check out our WordPress Tutorials section if you’re looking for tips and best practices for running a WordPress site. A collection of expert-written guides, it’s designed to help you navigate the WordPress dashboard like a pro.

      Error Resolved

      The 503 Service Unavailable Error can be frustrating to deal with, but troubleshooting it is pretty straightforward. This error occurs when your site consumes too many resources for the server to handle.

      If you encounter this problem, you can try the following strategies to fix it:

      1. Turn off your plugins.
      2. Change your theme.
      3. Reinstall WordPress.
      4. Upgrade your hosting account.

      Sometimes your WordPress site just needs more power. Our DreamPress Managed WordPress Hosting accounts have everything you need to launch a high-traffic website. Contact us today to learn more about our WordPress migration services and hosting plans.

      Get More with DreamPress

      DreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!

      Managed WordPress Hosting - DreamPress

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      Generate More Leads with a Strong Google Business Profile

      Attracting new customers online is not always an easy task. Finding your audience and ranking higher in search results can be more complicated than you expect. However, with organic search driving 53% of web traffic, maximizing your online presence is crucial if you want to grow your business.

      While there are many steps you can take, creating a strong Google Business Profile is one easy way to boost your digital visibility. A fully-optimized listing can help you reach potential clients, scale your business, and generate more quality leads.

      This post will discuss what a Google Business Profile is and how an optimized business listing can benefit your web presence. Then we’ll describe five of the tool’s newest features and how they can fuel lead generation. Let’s get started!

      What is a Google Business Profile?

      A Google Business Profile is an online tool that allows you to take charge of how your company appears on Google. This platform was formerly known as Google My Business (GMB), but in 2021 Google announced that it was updating GMB and rebranding.

      This change is still in progress. Overall, it aims to simplify profile management and make Google Business listings more accessible for small businesses. However, Google Business Profile still helps all business owners to create an online presence and connect with customers:

      The Google Business Profile website.

      A Google Business Profile allows you to list the name and location of your company on Google Maps and Search. These listings can display further relevant information, such as your hours of operation, phone number, and website. The top Business Profile listings appear when a user types a query into Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Shopping.

      All businesses that have a physical location or come in contact with customers can create a listing. Unfortunately, online-only businesses don’t currently qualify. However, if you meet the minimum requirements, it is completely free to create and maintain a listing. This makes it one of the great tools for small businesses with minimal marketing budgets.

      After you sign up for your Business Profile, you can edit it to provide essential information and media in the knowledge panel. This is an automatically-generated information box that appears on Google when you conduct a search. A fully-optimized Google Business Profile will typically look similar to this:

      Google knowledge panel with Hula Bay Club Business Profile.

      Google Business Profiles’ extensive features help advertise your business and find more customers online. You can also save time and energy by providing important details ahead of time. For instance, if you post your business hours, you’ll likely reduce customer questions about what hours you’ve available.

      When creating your listing, it’s wise to include as much information as possible. That way, you’re answering customer questions before they arise.

      We highly recommend including all the basics, plus anything else that makes your business stand out. You can also provide information for special attributes, such as accessibility, activities, and dining options:

      King of the Coop restaurant’s Google Business Profile.

      Furthermore, you can upload photos and videos of your business’s location, products, and services. There is also a feature that allows you to accept orders, quotes, and bookings directly from your listing.

      Your profile is also a place to interact with potential customers. They can use the Ask a question button or leave reviews about their experiences. The instant messaging feature even lets you chat directly with users to quickly answer questions and assist with any concerns directly from your account. However, you will need to enable this feature before you can use it.

      How a Google Business Profile Works

      Generate More Leads with a Google Business Profile

      A Google Business Profile improves local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business. If your listing is fully-optimized, your business is more likely to appear when customers make a related search using Google Maps, Google Search, or Google Shopping. That alone can generate plenty of new leads.

      Since Google holds most of the search engine market share, it’s extremely likely that potential customers will see your Google Business Profile when they search for products and services. For listed businesses, Google’s search rankings are determined by relevance, distance, and quality. Therefore, ensuring that your listing includes the correct business name, location, and phone number is critical. You might also want to encourage customer testimonials in the review section.

      Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people shop. Many consumers now plan ahead and conduct a Google search to ensure that products are available before leaving their houses. In fact, the number of “Available near me” searches has grown by more than 100% since 2020.

      Google Business Profiles appear in the “3-pack” area of local search results. This is comprised of the three business listings Google displays when a user conducts a “near me” or “near [location]” search:

      Local 3-pack for “restaurants in Tampa” search.

      If your listing is optimized for your Google Business location and you have solid reviews, the 3-pack feature can send leads your way. In fact, customers are 70% more likely to visit a business and 50% more likely to consider purchasing from it if it has a complete Business Profile.

      5 New Google Business Profile Listing Features for 2022

      Along with general improvements, the updated Google Business Profile account offers several new features. Google should continue rolling out more developments over the coming year. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at some of the latest updates.

      1. Simplified Profile Management

      One of the most prominent characteristics of the new Google Business Profile is the way it is managed. Previously, most Google My Business listings had to be created and maintained through your account or the GMB mobile app.

      The new Google Business Profile is designed with local businesses in mind. Now, you can verify, edit, and manage your business profile directly in Google Search and Google Maps. Simply search for your company’s name, and you will see an option to claim and verify your Business Profile.

      This new feature makes it easier to get your business on Google. Once your profile is verified, you will be able to edit your details by clicking on Edit your business information. From this page, you can list important information, such as your address and business hours. You will also see options for uploading photos and responding to customer reviews.

      This simplified management option can also help you edit your profile faster. Since an updated profile signals to Google that your listing is more relevant, you can more easily improve your SEO and improve your chances of appearing in Google local 3-pack.

      Moving forward, the website for Google My Business will be renamed Business Profile Manager, and its primary use will be for larger businesses with multiple profiles. Google My Business profile management will be available through Search and Maps. Google also plans to retire the Google My Business app in order to streamline account management.

      2. Customer Engagement Options

      The new Google Business Profile includes additional ways to engage with customers. Business owners have always had the ability to message customers and respond to reviews through GMB listings.

      Now, Google has created a call history feature for businesses in the U.S. and Canada. This will allow you to see a list of calls you’ve initiated, answered, or missed, right from your Google account.

      You will also be able to send and receive messages directly from Search (with read receipts). As a result, customers will have a more direct way to reach you. With this tool, you may be able to provide a better customer service experience and convert more prospective visitors into customers.

      3. Opportunities to Display Your Inventory

      If your business sells products, the new in-stock feature is a great way to display your inventory and advertise to potential customers. This filter allows shoppers to see specific items that are in stock at nearby stores. When users see that products are available, they’ll be more likely to visit your store and make a purchase.

      In order to take advantage of this new feature, you’ll need to sign up for Pointy. This is a free tool that connects to your point of sale system and automatically updates your inventory. Pointy uploads a product’s title, image, and description directly to Google, by simply scanning the barcode:

      The Pointy inventory tool.

      To do this, navigate to your Google Business Profile listing, click on Edit Profile, and then select Products from the drop-down menu. You can either add products with Pointy or upload products manually with Pointy’s Product Editor:

      Adding products to Google with Pointy.

      Automatic product uploads work best with items that have standard barcodes. If you sell products with non-standard barcodes, adding them manually is likely the best option.

      4. Promotional Opportunities with Performance Planner

      You can also connect your Business Profile account with Google Ads to take advantage of the new Performance Planner. This tool enables you to create advertising plans and illustrates how campaigns affect your key metrics and performance.

      Performance Planner analyzes billions of queries each day and simulates relevant ad auctions to collect data and create forecasts. You can manage your budget, see campaign forecasts, explore possible outcomes, and gauge seasonal opportunities directly from the Performance Planner:

      The Performance Planner analytics tool.

      Once you connect your Business Profile to your Google Ads account, you can use your inventory to create local search campaigns that display your ads in search results. These ads include images and product descriptions based on your inventory. This can help you easily generate leads by putting your relevant product ads in front of more prospective customers.

      5. Expanded Attributes

      When creating or updating your listing, you’ll want to complete all applicable profile attributes to be sure potential customers understand your business. Attributes are personalized descriptors and identifiers that show what your company offers.

      Attributes can vary depending on your Google Business categories. The most common attributes include Accessibility, Amenities, Payments, and Service Options. For example, if your business location is wheelchair-accessible, you can update your Accessibility attribute so customers will be aware.

      The Health & Safety attribute is a relatively new option that was added due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows you to share important details, such as your mask guidelines and whether you have a temperature check policy in place.

      There is also a category titled From The Business, which allows you to share more about your leadership. In this section, you can highlight additional unique details about your company. For instance, if your business is women-led, veteran-led, or black-owned, you might want to include that information here.

      Customers can then conduct a Google Search for a specific attribute. For example, when a potential customer searches “black-owned restaurant near me,” they will only see results with this attribute:

      A search for businesses with a specific attribute.

      Adding all applicable attributes to your Google Business Profile can optimize your listing and influence your local SEO. It can also help potential customers narrow down their search results, making it easier for them to choose your business.

      How to Get Started with a Google Business Profile

      Getting started with Google Business is straightforward. However, Google has several guidelines you must follow to avoid getting suspended.

      First, you’ll want to sign in to the Google Business Profile Manager and search for your business on Google or in the Google Maps app. If you do not immediately see your company, you can select “Add Your Business” to Google.

      You will then be prompted to verify your business using your real physical address. Physical businesses will receive a postcard by mail, while service-area businesses can verify their details through email. Once your business is approved, you can edit the listing to add your details and important information.

      Like building a website, setting up a Google Business Profile can be somewhat challenging for beginners. Fortunately, you can hire industry experts to create and optimize your listing. Doing this will ensure that your profile is properly managed, so you can focus on running your business.

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      An Important Marketing Tool

      Attracting leads to your brick-and-mortar location can be difficult. Therefore, maximizing your online presence should be critical to your overall marketing strategy.

      The new Google Business Profile can organically promote your products or services. Let’s recap the five newest features that can help you generate leads:

      1. Streamlined profile management: A new, simplified way to create and modify your profile directly in Google Search and Maps
      2. Customer engagement: Enhanced user interaction with direct messaging through Search, read receipts, and a call history feature
      3. Real-time inventory: An in-stock feature to display your local inventory
      4. Performance Planner: To help you use Google Ads for enhanced ad campaigns
      5. Expanded attributes: Further tell your business’s story, and share its health and safety standards

      Are you looking for additional ways to grow your online business? Learn more about DreamHost’s SEO Pro Services and explore our extensive marketing and local business support solutions. If you need help setting up your Google Business Profile, you can always chat with an expert or schedule a free consultation for advice and guidance!

      Now get out there, and get your business on Google!

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