Nicole Duling receives a grand total of three, maybe four, hits a month on the website of her "Love and Tender Care" home health and nursing service in Lakeland. That's not helping her reach her goal of switching from full-time nurse to full-time entrepreneur.
"And it was costing $15 a month," Duling said. "I really need that website to bring in leads."
So Duling showed up at the Tampa Museum of Art on Thursday for a training session from Google on the Internet giant's promotional campaign giving Florida small businesses a year of free Web hosting and software tutorials.
Florida is the 21st state in Google's nationwide tour with the project.
"We estimate 68 percent of businesses in Florida don't even have a website," said Scott Levitan, director of marketing for Google's small-business group. "Getting those small companies online is good for them, but also good for Google, so users can find them when they go looking for somewhere to eat, or a plumber or anything."
Google's project received a tacit endorsement by Gov. Rick Scott, who dropped by the museum to make an appearance at the training.
"As Floridians, we don't brag enough about all the great things about our state," Scott said afterward. "And so the easiest place to do it is online because the world sees you and sees your products."
In part, Google's work aims to differentiate the company among an increasingly large crowd offering essentially the same service: Web hosting.
The Web hosting market includes major technology companies as varied as Apple, Go Daddy, IBM, Dell, Amazon.com, AT&T and Bright House -- plus scores of companies that specialize directly in hosting.
AT&T, for instance, offers intro Web hosting for $5 per month, and a version of Intuit's GoPayment processing with no transaction or monthly fees through Smallbiz.ATT.com.
Verizon's website, Business.Verizon.net, has small-business programs, and discounts with companies such as FedEx and Office Depot, and Verizon has a project in beta phase called WeCommerce to help small companies help each other.
Verizon also hosts periodic webinars for small businesses, including an upcoming event with Brad McCarty, managing editor of The Next Web, who will talk about whether small businesses should rely on Facebook or upstart social media site Google+ to reach more customers.
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