By Aimee Chanthadavong

As retailers face the fear of being left behind in this fast-developing digital world, Google and MYOB have come up with a simple solution, launching a nationwide initiative to give small businesses a free website that is easy to setup and maintain.

As part of the Getting Aussie Business Online campaign, 50,000 Australian businesses have the chance to setup their own free website using the MYOB Atlas website creation tool here.

Google Australia head of local business Claire Hatton said that research by Google has revealed that two thirds of Australians are going online to look for a local business and businesses need to take action now so they can be found.

“It’s a nationwide campaign from Google and MYOB bringing at least 50,000 Aussie businesses online. Getting Aussie Business Online is about taking away the barriers for small business; it’s uncomplicated, it doesn’t take much time – in fact it takes just 15 minutes to get a website up,” she said.

“Today in Australia having a website is as important as having a phone.

“We know this because Australians are turning to the internet as the first place for information about local businesses and services.”

Hatton described local businesses as “quiet celebrities of the web”, highlighting that two out of three businesses are invisible to the two thirds of Australians that are searching for them online.

To get started, businesses must enter their ABN, a phone number, and a few details about their business such as street address, preferred contact method, and opening hours. The website is then available immediately. The Getting Aussie Business Online offer also includes a free domain for two years and resources to help businesses add information and features to their website over time.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said creating a website through the Getting Aussie Business Online campaign will break down the barriers faced by businesses including their fear of technology, time and cost.

“Today is the day that we’re going to help Australian businesses step forward from not just being great businesses but to being great digital businesses,” he said.

“We believe this movement and this initiative solves those three problems.

After the first year, businesses can choose to pay $5 per month on a pay-as-you-go basis to maintain their website using MYOB Atlas. Websites can be cancelled at any time. The domain is free for the first two years, after which businesses can expect to pay $30 to renew for two years.