Some good news for Indian small businesses who have always wanted to create a web presence for their business but never really found the right time or resources of doing the same.
Google India and Hostgator have joined hands to get Indian businesses online through their India Get Your Business Onlineprogram. The program offers free domain name registrations (.in TLD only) for one year and allows small businesses to launch their website, powered by Hostgator web hosting.
Google has also launched a website at Indiagetonline.in with tips, tools and resources for Indian small businesses so that they can create their websites for free and attract more customers.
Although majority of consumers look online for local products and services, small businesses do not have a website or online presence. This makes them invisible to many potential customers. India Get Your Business Online provides companies with a free website and online tools so that they can run their businesses efficiently. says Google.
To get started, head over to the Indiagetonline.in website, click the get Startedlink and complete the domain registration process. You will mandatorily need your PAN card, which acts as a national identity proof that you are an Indian citizen.
Some points to consider before you rush in and register a domain name:
- Only 1 domain registration is possible for every unique PAN card. You can not register dozens of .in domains with different email addresses.
- Your free .in domain will be managed by Hostgator.
- At this moment, you cannot use existing domains with the program. To be precise, you can not claim the 1 year free web hosting without registering a domain in the first place.
- After 1 year, you have to pay for the domain renewal fee and the web hosting fees for the coming year. You can certainly move your website to a different hosting provider anytime you may please.
- Free tech support from Hostgator support team will be provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is indeed a win-win situation for small businesses, Google and Hostgator. Small business owners who are clueless of all the technical details involved behind launching and maintaining a website, will get a solid platform for launching their own customized website. As a result of the Buzz, Hostgator will get tons of customers and there is a high chance that a fraction of them will convert as paid ones after the 1 year time span retires.
Google on the other hand, might crack a good deal by converting free Google Apps users to the paid edition of Google Apps for businesses. Not to forget Google Adwords, which is a one of the proven ways to promote an online business towards a targeted audience.
The Online Potential of SMB’s In Indian Market
India is a huge market for small businesses but there are two major problems in the promotion and prosperity of their online presence.
The first problem is directly related with Internet penetration and reach. Using the internetis not a second naturefor most Indian customers who want to buy something. The crowdstill hesitates to buy something online but thanks to online shopping portals e.g Flipkart, Letsbuy and eBay, the situation is improving.
The second problem is lack of proper knowledge, technical expertise and the drive within business owners. Out of 8 million small/medium businesses, only about 5% have a website. Most of these business owners largely depend on local customers and never explore options outside the window.
I know a couple of good garment producers close to my location who don’t have any web presence at all. It is not that people don’t Google for their business. They do, but due to the lack of conversions, SMB’s are hesitant on taking the plunge and raise awareness about their business in the market.
Why would anyone from Germany be interested in buying Indian garments?says the owner of a garment factory.
Well not from Germany but people in your city are Googling for garment names, brands and they badly want to buy the latest designs
Is it? Well, then it makes sense to advertise in newspapers and billboard banners.
All right, but then the customers have to travel a hundred kilometers and buy the product themselves. You can accept the payments through your shopping cart website and courier him the product within a week. You reach a national audience in just a few mouse clicks. Makes sense, right?
That would cost us a thousand dollars to create the website in the first place. We have to hire someone to manage the website, staff people, buy computers, set up an office…it’s so cumbersome. Besides that, we are not sure whether it would click or not
Thanks to Google, small business owners now have the option to test a dry run and see if online presence helps. Here are a couple of success stories already: