By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
But on Monday morning the mom and pop business got its own website thanks to Google’s Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program held at Café Commerce at the main San Antonio Public Library.
“This will help our business tremendously,” said Kevin Sekula with Harold’s Art and Framing. “In addition to framing, we offer art supplies and we’re hoping to offer both online.”
During the morning sessions, Sekula also learned about keywords and how to drive traffic to his newly established website. His company was one of about 100 registered to attend the free event.U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-Texas) also attended the event and joked he promised Google breakfast tacos and margaritas to lure the program to San Antonio.
Hurd also said he recently found a great coffee shop in Castroville by searching online. But he didn’t know it existed before they listed their business on the Google map. Another business in Texas increased its sales by 250 percent after establishing an online presence and joining the Google map, he said. Half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product is created from small businesses and two-thirds of the nation’s new jobs come from small businesses, Hurd said.
“It’s great being able to bring you some tools and put them into ya’ll’s hands so you can continue to be the engines of our economy,” Hurd said.
While 97 percent of Internet users search online for products and services, half of all Texas’ small businesses do not have a website or online presence, according to Google. The Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map program is a nationwide program Google has been running for the last three years, said Patrick Lenihan, Google spokesman. Google also partnered with StartLogic to provide a website to all of the businesses for free with a customized domain name and webhosting for one year, he said. Google set up the site GYBO.com to help small businesses get their business online.Maria Williams, owner of Majestic Events by Maria, founded in 2009, attended the event to gain knowledge about increasing her company’s web presence online.
“I can do a wonderful event for you but as far as updating my website, it’s very difficult for me,” Williams said. She has also hired people to help her with the website, but that didn’t work out well. So she decided to attend the workshop to learn how to do Search Engine Optimization, Google Analytics and more on her own. She put her business on Google’s map during the event.
“It’s going to help bring more people to my business and increase my business,” Williams said. “I think it’s a great program. It’s going to help put a lot of small businesses in San Antonio online.”