The latest update from the tech giant, Google, has sent ripples across the online business community. As of March 1, 2024, Google will stop hosting any websites created through its Google Business Profile platform. Google used to also act as a website builder for small businesses, but they stopped adding new sites to their hosting service a while ago. With this update, they’re eliminating the program entirely. There will be a short grace period until June 10, 2024, during which these sites will redirect to your Google Business Profile. After those three months, however, a visit to your website will lead to a 404 “Page Not Found” error. 

The soon-to-be deprecated feature was launched back in 2017. It was a handy website builder for small businesses, based on the information housed in your Business Profiles. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Google cites low engagement as the primary reason for sunsetting this feature.

The Challenge of Hosting Changes

The rollout of this decision has been problematic for two main reasons. First, this three-month grace period simply isn’t long enough. Google itself has said that best practice is to make redirects available for at least a full year. Second, this decision, if implemented globally, will impact more than 3 million websites, causing a rush on other hosting platforms and potentially overwhelming some. 

This abrupt change can be hard to manage, especially when it feels like the rug has been pulled from under you. The redirect offers a temporary solution, but let’s face it – it’s likely to leave some small businesses struggling. Your online presence deserves more from a hosting platform than a ‘page not found’ tag.

When this change goes into effect on March 1st, 2024, visitors will be redirected from the original Google Business Profile website to the regular Business Profiles. The idea is to encourage a smooth, if short, transition and allow businesses to find a new hosting platform. 

The Road Ahead: Thriving Throughout These Changes

While Google is sunsetting this feature, a Google spokesperson recently emphasized their dedication to supporting the growth and prosperity of small businesses. Despite this change, small business owners will still have access to their Business Profiles, ad landing pages (for those without a dedicated website), and various resources will remain available to connect with potential customers online.

For your reference, Google has provided a comprehensive document to help explain the process. Domains ending with [business].site will have to say goodbye in March from the Google Business Profile website

Exploring Your Web Hosting Options

What’s next for the more than 3 million websites that may be impacted by this shift? The recommendation is clear: update your Google Business Profile to direct visitors to a new website. A rush for reliable web hosting services is on the horizon, and businesses worldwide will be gearing up for the change.

If your business has been caught in this wave, don’t worry. At beMarketing, transitioning and navigating change is our forte. We have over a decade of experience helping businesses build, manage, and host websites. Let’s navigate this change together – contact us today to learn more about our website design and development services. We’ll turn this mountain into a molehill, ensuring what starts as a challenge becomes an opportunity for growth.