Microsoft yesterday (Wednesday) launched a new system designed to allow small businesses to create a website for themselves. The system is very reminiscent of some of the features of the Israeli Wix, which also provides a similar service.
Microsoft's initiative is intended for small businesses that do not have a website, however unlike Wicks it is initially intended only for American users. But if the tool gains popularity, there is no doubt that its availability will also be extended to users around the world.
To get to the user system, you need to sign up for Microsoft's advertising and marketing service, the Digital Marketing Center, and there sign up for an advertising account. Although the system tries to get the user to pay for an advertising bill, it is certainly possible to make the registration for free and without entering a credit card as it seems at first. Next the user needs to enter an address of the business in the US - but there is no physical control over the location of the address. You can definitely write down a generic address and use it.
The site is set up in two methods - first the user connects to the Facebook page of his business and the system attracts the data, information and media (photos, logos and videos) that are published on it. Another option is to create the site from scratch and enter the data you want to see on the site.
The system is also able to offer you the content and wording that can suit any part of the site based on the type of business or your social media pages. At the end of the process the system gives you a web address with a .biz.site extension. Of course, you can create a website that is also suitable for viewing in a computer browser as well as a smartphone.
Microsoft's initiative is interesting in terms of timing. According to data published by the American Small Business Association, about 36% of small businesses do not own a website. According to the company, this is a problem, since most potential customers (about 80%) check online businesses before purchasing. On the other hand, quite a few small businesses today are content with social media pages. Microsoft has identified the trend and allows you to connect to the site you created Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and of course LinkedIn.
Free website creation systems are not lacking today. Weeks is one, but there are also WordPress-based systems, Google's and other services. But Microsoft's system is easy to use even for those who do not know how to use web editing tools. Extracting information from social media makes setting up a site very easy and does not require starting to create content from scratch. On the other hand, this is a system that produces a very basic website. It is not clear, for example, whether it is possible to connect a digital store or embed one on the site. It is also clear that the format of the site cannot be transferred to another platform, and in conclusion it is important to emphasize that the site created is only static. It does not include the option to add videos for example.
However, this is an important initiative. The Corona epidemic has caused quite a bit of commercial activity to go digital and the ability to quickly and easily set up a website can help quite a few entrepreneurs get started. Microsoft has started pushing towards the small business market which is usually not of interest to the big technology companies. So far only Facebook has started offering various initiatives to small businesses, through Marketplace for example or Instagram’s virtual store service.
Yesterday, Microsoft also introduced a number of cloud computing services designed for different sectors of activity - among other things, it introduced for the first time a cloud service intended for non-profit organizations. It is very possible that this initiative will be expanded to include small businesses and thus we will see more additional services designed for them that the company will launch.