Roanoke, VA - Getting online is vital for small businesses to grow.
Sometimes people find the thought of building a website too daunting, too time consuming or just too expensive.
Now Google is out on the road promoting a new service they think will take the stress out of getting your business online.
After 23 years of selling specialty jewelry... many of those years during the early years of the internet, Angeline Powell decided it was time to learn how to do it herself in hopes of helping that business grow its success.
"I don't really advertise so I thought, "Hell... I need to do that. I've been in business 23 years and I don't really advertise," said Powell.
She isn't alone... dozens of small business owners packed into the Taubman Museum of Art to get free lessons on how to get a free website up and running - plus other tips on how to successfully use the world wide web to help build success.
"A lot of businesses think it might be expensive or difficult or time consuming. If you're prepared and some people here today will get their business online in 60 to 90 minutes," said Google Marketing Specialist, Soo Young Kim.
The program, called "Get Your Business Online", is nationwide but is in Roanoke on invitation by 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte.
"It doesn't matter if it's a service you are providing locally or whether it's a product you can sell anywhere in the world; either way your business is going to grow if you figure out how to do it online and do it right," said Goodlatte.
Experts say that an overwhelming number of customers use the internet as an initial way to research purchases which likely translates into a lot of lost business for businesses that haven't made the leap.
While Google's offer does include the free website... that perk lasts for the first year only after which businesses will be asked to pony up 108-dollars a year for the service every year after.