In the typical “Promote, Launch, Abandon” cycle that is prevalent in the tech world, Google is shutting down its once incredibly convenient auto-generated websites. These websites will stop working on March 1, 2024 and will only redirect to a Google Business Profile listing until June 10, 2024. After that, anyone who tries to go to that listing will get a dead page – a “page not found” error.
For those unaware, Google could generate simple single-page websites using only the information already provided by businesses in their Google Business Profiles. For small businesses with little additional information to post online, these free websites were all they needed to tick the mandatory box of simply having an online presence. Dry cleaners and mall kiosks don’t need elaborate online storefronts and these auto-generated pages made it even more convenient for businesses to list themselves online. Without them, businesses will have to resort to Wix, Square Space, or some other website building property.
Some small business owners will start paying for website hosting but it is highly likely that most of these mom and pop shops using auto-generated websites will simply not have one at all. Businesses used Google Business Profile websites because it was so effortless. When there is the added friction of learning how web hosting works, learning how to design pages, and then also paying for it, many of these businesses simply won’t bother.