Google has been very aggressively promoting mobile website development for enterprises and small businesses. The company launched the howtogomo.com portal last year and has been doing a series of webinars on going mobile. Google has also made having a mobile optimized site or landing page part of its ad quality ranking factors.
Now it’s offering free mobile sites to small businesses for a year. The “DIY” offer is through a partnership with DudaMobile, which enables merchants to build a mobile site very quickly based on a series of templates.
DudaMobile’s existing basic program is free but there are premium and pro versions that cost money. The major differences between the basic DudaMobile hosting plan (free) and the premium ($9 per month) plan is the use of your own domain and the presence of ads on the free version.
After the Google-subsidized year is up presumably you’d pay the $9 per year premium fee if you continued with DudaMobile. It’s also interesting to note that Google has its own free mobile site builder, which the company is not using for this promotion.
Beyond DudaMobile there are a growing number of new mobile site and app-builder startups targeting small businesses. They include AppExpress, AppStack and ShoutEm. AppStack in particular enables a mobile site/app to be created using just a business phone number and has an elegant tie-in with AdWords, which automates AdWords campaign creation.
Postscript: Google felt that it was important to point out that its mobile site builder creates mobile sites “from scratch,” whereas DudaMobile is a “converter” and uses an existing business website, simply making it more mobile friendly. For those small businesses with sites it’s going to be quite a bit easier to work with DudaMobile’s tool.
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