In a bid to burnish its online profile, the Small Business Administration has redesigned its website, packing the new home page with quick links to services, information and Web 2.0 bells and whistles.
One of the main attractions of the redesign is SBA Direct, an interactive tool that businesses can use to filter information on the agency's site by criteria such as geography and industry, aiming to help visitors quickly navigate to the most relevant information.
"Our focus was to make sure that when anyone comes here, you find what you're looking for as quickly as possible, whether that's information about SBA loans, government contracting programs, our free counselors in every state, how to partner with SBA or anything else," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said of the new site.
The redesign comes amid an ongoing campaign across the government to revamp the department and agency websites in response to an open government directive President Obama issued on his first full day in office. In the time since, the Office of Management and Budget has directed all departments and major agencies to submit their plans for bringing more information online and boosting their Web presence to engage with the public.
For the SBA, a principal aim of its redesign was to help businesses cut through the clutter with the personalized filtering options, a new search engine and a more intuitive organization.
"While the SBA website has traditionally been an information-rich site, we wanted to make it easier for small business owners to navigate," Mills said. "With the launch of the new SBA.gov, we have reached a significant milestone in how the agency has evolved in using interactive Web tools, social media and blogs to engage with, and better meet the needs of small business owners."
The SBA has layered in an array of social applications to its site, including links to its pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. "We're putting out news and information to our friends and followers daily," the agency said in a video describing the new site.
The redesigned SBA.gov also features an official blog, an interactive map for business owners to find services in their area and an RSS feed delivering agency updates.
The site also integrates data from Business.gov, an online hub for the government's business-oriented services and information.
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