Yahoo beefs up small business resource site

Yahoo has revamped the information resources section of its small business site, hoping to attract more online services business.

Yahoo has revamped the information resources section of its small business site, increasing the section's content tenfold, redesigning the layout and adding search functionality, according to a Yahoo executive.

The expanded and improved section, called Yahoo Small Business Resource Center, will be launched this week and can be accessed at http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/resources, said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business.

The resource center will feature about 1,000 articles on topics such as legal issues, starting a business, sales and marketing, e-commerce and finances. The content comes from Yahoo and from a variety of partners, such as Entrepreneur.com and Nolo.

Yahoo has focused in recent years on its small business services, such as Web site hosting, domain name sales, e-mail and e-commerce, but not so much on content, an oversight the company hopes to address with Wednesday's launch of the resource center.

"We want to be the essential provider of services and content to small businesses. We've been very focused on services these past few years, but we've had a very limited amount of content for small businesses to date," Riley said. "There's a lot of demand from small businesses for content. It's a real market need."

By attracting more small business visitors to the resource center with the expanded content and new design, Yahoo also hopes to draw more advertisers that want to target small businesses, Riley said. There were about 23 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2002, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Web site.

By beefing up the content, Yahoo is making its small business site a very valuable resource and taking an important step in providing a comprehensive set of tools and information for these companies, said Greg Sterling, an analyst with The Kelsey Group. "This move is consistent with Yahoo's mission to provide an all-encompassing solution for small businesses," he said.

Only about 37 percent of U.S.-based small businesses have Web sites, so there is considerable room for growth in this market, Sterling said. The increased traffic to the Yahoo Small Business Resource Center is bound to yield a steady stream of new clients for Yahoo's small business online services, such as hosting and e-commerce, he said.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service

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