Whether you're looking for advice for big issues such as buying or a selling a business or something as pragmatic as how to design invoices and other forms, Yahoo! wants to be your one-stop destination on the Web. The company, which also offers a wide range of Web hosting, e-commerce and marketing services, announced yesterday the launch of the Yahoo! Small Business Resource Center.
In addition to providing its own content (Yahoo! claims to have about 1,000 small-business related articles), the portal also offers content from a variety of sources including Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, AllBusiness.com, BuyerZone.com and Nolo.
The Small Business Resource Center organizes content into eight channels: Getting Started, Sales & Marketing, Online Business, Management & HR, Legal, Finance, Office & Technology and Business Tools.
Each channel offers several subcategories. For example, the Online Business channel includes Connectivity & Access, eBay Center, Domains & Web sites and E-commerce. The Sales & Marketing Channel offers subcategories on topics ranging from Paid Search to Public Relations to Customer Service.
"Our customers expressed an explicit need for more content and in an easier-to-use format," said Rich Riley, general manager and vice president of Yahoo Small Business. "It's easy to navigate and easy to search, so they don't have to go to different sites to learn various things."
The Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm, agrees about the benefits having lots of information in one place. "Small business owners wear many hats and often make important decisions quickly," said Steve Hilton, senior analyst, Small & Medium Business Strategies, Yankee Group.
|Yahoo's new Small Business Resource Center has eight content channels that feature both original articles as well as republished material from Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, AllBusiness.com, Nolo and other small business sources.|
The other side of the portal coin is that by attracting small business owners and managers to one location, the Yahoo Small Business Resource Center is also attractive to companies looking to reach small businesses. "It's also a great opportunity for our advertisers," Riley said.
Even before yesterday's launch of the new small business center, Yahoo! claimed to have 3.4 million small business customers, which it says is about three times as many as AOL Small Business and Microsoft Small Business Center.
The one-stop approach goes beyond merely providing information to small businesses. Yahoo! also offers SMBs Web hosting, e-commerce storefronts, online marketing and leading generation, and more.
While Riley wouldn't disclose how many businesses sign up for Yahoo's hosting services each day, he did say the company hosts hundreds of thousands of sites, hosts one of every eight online stores and has seen billions of dollars in transactions across the company's SMB platform.
"Small business owners want to run their business, so they focus on doing what they do, and spending as little time as they can building Web sites. We try to bring those all together. This is not an attempt to move up market," Riley said.
If You Rebuild It, Will They Come?
Yahoo is the second major vendor in the past two weeks to revamp its small business Web site. On Feb. 24, Microsoft rolled out its new and improved Microsoft Small Business Center.
Also, in a move to more aggressively use the Web to reach small businesses, consumer electronics giant Sony last summer quietly launched a new Web site aimed at SMBs. Company executives recently told SmallBusinessComputing that providing information and products directly to small business customers will become a more prominent part of Sony's business plan.
Office supplies provider Staples is also planning an overhaul of its Web site, but is mum on when it will unwrap the new look and feel. The company had planned to launch the site in late February, but put the brakes on that announcement at the last minute and isn't saying when the new site will debut.
ECommerce-Guide.com's Devin Comiskey contributed to this article.
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