Small Business Brief, which has been home to the latest small business marketing news since early 2004, re-launched Wednesday with a new look and format. The new look incorporates the familiar puppy logo that’s been in use for a couple years. The new format is one that’s very much in vogue right now, and one that I assume many readers are familiar with: story submission and voting, the format Digg made popular.
It’s a pretty dramatic change for a site that has been low-tech in its design, and has generally used the Small Business Ideas forum as its main community hub.
Here’s what Small Business Brief looked like earlier:
And as of this week’s re-launch, here’s what it looks like now:
Search marketers who are reading this will likely recognize many of the current contributors to the new Small Business Brief, and may be tempted to say the site is “another Sphinn.”
I think that would be a mistake.
Small Business Brief isn’t strictly about search marketing; it’s about general small business marketing and how to start and operate a successful small business. Although the current content is heavy on the search side (disclaimer: I was one of several invited to test and seed the site), this should change over time as the readership of Small Business Brief and the Small Business Ideas Forum adopts the site.
Jennifer Laycock, editor of Search Engine Guide and co-coordinator of the new Small Business Brief (with owner Robert Clough), answered a couple quick questions about the re-launch:
1) What was the motivation for overhauling Small Business Brief?
We’d been talking about taking Small Business Brief in a new direction for awhile now. It started as a content aggregation site, similar to the way Search Engine Guide got started. Linda Riley, the editor, has always done a fantastic job of picking up some of the best small business related news over the past few years, but we were looking to build more of a community around the site.
Our forums were a start, but as Small Business Brief and the forums continued to grow, it became clear we needed a way to integrate the news and discussion more closely. We’d been reading up on Pligg and exploring our options for a while and mid-summer we decided to just go for it.
2) There are a lot of these “vote on the story” sites popping up. What’s different about Small Business Brief?
The thing I’ve loved about the progression of “vote on the story” sites over the past year or two is the niche focus that has come about. Sites like Digg and Netscape had grown so popular it was almost impossible to get anything on the front page. Really, they became about flavor of the moment news rather than news that was relevant to any one topic.
The explosion of niche social news sites like Hugg, Sphinn and sk*rt have done a fantastic job of helping provide a more focused atmosphere for sharing and discussing news. Small Business Brief aims to address that niche for small businesses. Our network of sites has always worked hard to provide a focus on making things relevant for small business owners. Re-launching Small Business Brief as a social news site fit perfectly with those goals.
3) Any other changes or new developments we should watch from Search Engine Guide headquarters?
Anyone who knows me knows I always have something up my sleeve. Regular readers to Search Engine Guide may have noticed I posted a little less than usual in August and September. That’s certainly not because I’ve been taking time off, it’s more because Robert and I have been working like mad on some things behind the scenes.
Can’t tell you quite yet, but we’ve got at least two other projects we’re working on right now besides Small Business Brief. I’ll have news for readers in another month or so, but for now, let’s just say we continue to work on things that will help make life easier for the small business owner and the small business marketer.