Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 27, 2014

BUSINESS: Google offering free online help to firms.

Niagara Gazette — Niagara County officials and business promoters are teaming up with Google to get more small businesses online.

Representatives from the city, the USA Niagara Chamber, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. and the Niagara County Community College Small Business Development Center held an informational meeting Thursday at the Conference and Events Center Niagara Falls to explain ways small businesses can benefit from a well-planned web presence as part of Google's "Get Your Business Online" week.

Mayor Paul Dyster, who gave the opening remarks for the session, had just come from a talk with second-graders at the Henry J. Kalfas Magnet School.

During his chat with the grade-schoolers, Dyster said he learned that most of them knew what Google is and how to use the search engine, highlighting the importance for any company trying to draw more business.

"A website is where small businesses make or fail to make a strong first impression," Dyster said.

Dyster said more than half of New York state businesses operate without a website, despite the many advantages the Internet can offer.

"Businesses with an online presence grow twice as fast as those without a website," Dyster said. "That means more revenue, more jobs, more commerce."

Kory Schuler, the director of government affairs for Niagara USA Chamber, said that an online presence is particularly important in a tourism town like Niagara Falls, as many visitors rely on search engines to find goods and services during their trips.

"If you don't have an online presence, it's very hard for people outside of the community to reach you," Schuler said. "We all know that these businesses and these mom-and-pop sole proprietorships exist, but we need to bring those dollars in from outside the region."

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