I saw Cnet’s headline about MerchantCirlce, “World’s easiest small business Web sites” and had to take a double look. I have not tried MerchantCircle but I have tried HomeStead and Microsoft Offive Live and I konw they are VERY easy to use. However what I like about MerchantCircle is that it’s optimized for LOCAL businesses.
As local search gets more important and people use Yellow Pages less and less, EVERY business must have at least a one page web site – if not more.
Cnet writes Second, the service is designed to make sure that search engines and mapping services find the pages on it. While potential customers of the businesses represented on the site can go to MerchantCircle.com directly, the system’s CEO, Ben Smith, realizes that most people find businesses on Google, so he’s built his system to create pages that Google (and other search engines) will find and rank highly. In this regard, MerchantCircle is a lot like Citysearch, whose local business listings frequently show up at the top of Google search results. MerchantCircle, however, is targeted at smaller communities where online expertise is not common–in other words, the team won’t be marketing to the Bay Area, Seattle, or New York.
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