Microsoft's free Facebook-importing web site builder

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This is part of Microsoft's push to get your online advertising money - they're eager enough to also throw in a basic hosted web site for free, it seems. I'd be curious if any of our readers have spotted such a site for real, or used it in anger. You do have to click through a number of 'no thanks' prompts to sign up for an ad campaign, but this does seem to be a valid way to get a simple web presence.

From Microsoft:

According to the Small Business Association, more than 36% of small businesses do not have a website. This is a problem given a recent study that shows that 80% of customers will research a company online before visiting or making a purchase with them. Without a website, a small business is at risk of losing these potential customers.

With Digital Marketing Center's new website creation service, we hope to remove the barriers of cost and lack of time by providing a free and simple solution small businesses can leverage to get started with a website. Now, small businesses can save time by importing their website information from a Facebook page or an existing advertising campaign. We’ll take care of formatting the layout of their page, so no expertise is required! Digital Marketing Center’s new website creation service will enable small businesses to expand their digital marketing efforts, allowing them to grow their business.

Begin by signing up for a Digital Marketing Center account. When asked to provide a website during your advertising campaign creation, select the option: I don't have a website. Help me build one for free. At this point, you'll only need to decide your website URL and will be able to continue with your campaign creation. After sign-up, you can begin creating your website.

If you choose to onboard to Digital Marketing Center without an advertising campaign, you can still create your website by onboarding through our social media management option. After sign-up, start creating your website by clicking My website near the upper right corner of Digital Marketing Center:

Once you’re in the My website page, you’ll have two options for setting up your website:

  1. Import information from your business's Facebook page.
  2. Build it yourself quickly and easily using website components.

We’ll pre-populate your website with components based on information from your Facebook page or advertising campaign. In addition, you’ll be able to customize these components or add any of the following to your website:

  • Headline and description
  • Customer action button (Call now, Send email, Get quote, etc.)
  • Cover image
  • Business summary
  • Social posts
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Business contact information
  • Social links

Once you’re satisfied with your website, simply click Publish at the top right corner to make your site live! You’ll be able to share this website with your customers and use it in advertising campaigns.

Sample website built with Digital Marketing Center's new website builder.

One wonder what the catch is and what bandwidth limits are present - I'm guessing that if you rack up significant incoming bandwidth and don't have a paid-up ad campaign then you might start to get probing emails!! Interesting though.

You can sign up for Digital Marketing Center here if you're interested in playing with this. 

Source / Credit: Microsoft