Yahoo recently announced a new feature on YahooLocal that provides free Web sites for small businesses — with some limitations. This service lets small businesses quickly and easily establish an online presence and connect with the increasing number of consumers using the Internet to find local products and services.
The free package includes a customizable five-page Web site. An enhanced listing and Web site is available for $9.95 per month and includes the site, a business profile listing that includes detailed information about your business and a reporting feature that lets you keep track of your listing in search results.
There are several limitations to how small businesses can set up their free sites. The page templates are limited to a single design and offer only four colors choices. Also, business names will only show up as a subdirectory of local.yahoo.biz, not its own domain name. Yahoo also displays its advertising banners on each page.
Merchants who want to sell online need to sign up with Yahoo's Merchant Solutions or other e-commerce provider.
"As more and more consumers rely on the Internet for information about their neighborhood — from finding restaurants to plumbers to dry cleaners — local businesses are realizing the value of reaching potential customers online," said Paul Levine, general manager, YahooLocal. "By providing small businesses with free Web sites, we not only help them leverage the Internet, but also add depth and comprehensiveness to our local product for consumers."
With the launch of this new service, Yahoo helps the millions of small businesses not yet online to establish a Web presence by providing a simple interface and template that lets them create a site in minutes. The new Web sites are automatically integrated into YahooLocal, extending businesses' reach to consumers who use search engines to find information about local products and services.
The free service complements other merchant offerings in YahooLocal, including "Free Basic Listings" and "Enhanced Listings." These tools give merchants the ability to add and edit content about their business on Yahoo Local. A small business may extend its Internet presence over time as their online needs grow with other hosting services from YahooSmall Business such as: domain name, e-mail, enhanced Web hosting and e-commerce solutions.
"By bringing together our leadership in essential small business services, our vast consumer reach and our local and search expertise, Yahoo is uniquely able to help small businesses get started and be successful online," said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of YahooSmall Business. "This new service complements our industry leading suite of online services that help small businesses get online, sell online and market online."
Company spokesperson Ed Bryant added, "The general idea is that as consumers transition to using the Internet instead of traditional methods of finding local businesses — like using printed yellow pages to find a plumber or dry cleaner — every small business needs to have an online presence. Yahoo is making it simple, easy and free for local businesses to get online, so that potential customers can more easily find them as they search for products and services they need."
Adapted from ECommerce-Guide.com, part of internet.com's Small Business Channel.
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