Yahoo's offer of free Web sites for small businesses aims to expand those businesses' presence across the search engine's properties.
With today's announcement, Yahoo also wants to expand Internet capabilities to the more than 50 percent of the 20 million U.S. small businesses without a Web site.
“We are not only helping them leverage the Internet, but also adding depth and comprehensiveness to our local product for consumers,” said Paul Levine, general manager of Yahoo Local.
The second objective is to improve Yahoo's Web site, said Rich Riley, vice president and general manager of Yahoo Small Business. Yahoo adds the service to its Yahoo Local and Yahoo Small Business sites. Small businesses get five Web pages for free, choose from different templates, then use a Site Wizard to guide them through creating a site. The site then is automatically integrated into the company's Yahoo Local listing.
Complementing Yahoo Local's Free Basic Listings and Enhanced Listings programs for businesses, the new program lets businesses add and edit content about their business.
“A small business may extend its Internet presence over time as their online needs grow with … services from Yahoo Small Business, such as domain name, e-mail, enhanced Web hosting and e-commerce solutions,” according to Yahoo.
Yahoo will promote the free Web site program with “aggressive” print advertising, Riley said, along with leveraging space on its front page, the Small Business page and other pages across its network.