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7 Navigation Improvements to Business.gov

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7 Navigation Improvements to Business.gov

By StuartR
Published: April 23, 2010

Did you notice that we updated that Navigation bar on the right hand side of Business.gov? We spent a lot of time researching and testing the best way to organize all of the information and resources on the site. We have just finished Phase 1 which you can see live on Business.gov today. We hope to finish Phase 2 by the end of April which will fine tune and polish the various elements.

Our number one goal is to provide high quality information to small business owners as easily as possible. Nevertheless, there is no one best way to organize and present the 800+ pages on Business.gov. Believe it or not, there were several lively discussions among the Business.gov team regarding the best way to categorize the information. Below are some of the highlights, improvements and rationale behind the changes that we made.

More Powerful Grouping

There are nine categories in the new navigation bar, a few of which are new. We categorize the information based on feedback we receive from our visitors. You may have been asked to give us feedback via the ACSI Customer Feedback survey. We review those surveys every week to determine what is the most important information for which visitors are looking. Consistently, visitors tell us that they are looking for more information about Starting, Registering and Financing their business which are the first three categories that you will see in the new navigation.

Visitors also ask about ways to run their business better, how to stay compliant and what opportunities exist for expanding their business. Consequently, we regrouped many of our resources into three new categories: Run a Business, Business Law and Business Opportunities. Run a Business includes information about the various facets of managing day to day responsibilities including insurance, marketing and taxes. Business Law is the home for information such as tax, labor and environmental laws. It also includes several legal guides. Business Opportunities provides resources for franchising, exporting and doing business with the government.

Find Your Business Type & Industry

We then grouped together information specific to the business owners, their industries and their location, according to how our users see themselves and the work they do. Some prefer to qualify themselves first: woman owner or veteran owner. Others prefer to qualify their business first: home-based or self-employed. Still others describe themselves as business owners in a specific industry such as construction or automotive.

Because business owners can be described in so many different ways we decided to offer as many reasonable options as possible. Instead of constraining visitors to one way of defining their business, we grouped together all pages specific to owners and their businesses into the Business Types & Industries category. So, if you are a veteran who is self-employed and runs a construction business, you will find pages that address each of those qualifications in this new category.

Finally, much of the information that business owners need is found at the state and local level instead of at the federal level. Consequently, we provide the State & Local category for visitors who need information and resources relevant to their location. Each State page has resources for starting, registering, financing, and managing a business, as well as information on filing taxes, incorporating, and complying with the laws and regulations in your area.

To further clarify how we organize the information we include the titles of the most popular sub-pages underneath each category title. Hopefully, that will you give a good sense of the kinds of topics that the category covers.

Find What You Need

Amidst all of this reorganization we did little updating to three key elements: Search, Community, and our Social Media buttons. As you may know, our award-winning Search tools provide easy access the most relevant, cross-government websites as well as information about financing, licenses and permits specific to your business. When you enter keywords into the Search box, in the upper right hand corner, our customized Google-powered search engine scours thousands of URLs and returns only high-caliber results relevant to your keywords.

Additionally, clicking the Search button without filling in the box will lead you to the financing and the licensing search tools. You may notice that w;ve added a feature on this page where you can Suggest a Site to be included on Business.gov. If you know of a key government website or loan program that we do-t list, please let us know.

Get What You Want, Where You Want It

As always, we continue to encourage business owners to get involved with our Community- just click the Our Community button. I's an incredible opportunity to find answers specific to your business, share your expertise, get updates on ever-changing regulations and contribute to the development of Business.gov. What better way to keep on top of the business landscape!

If you prefer to receive updates via email, our Email Updates delivery system provides information on topics that you select. We send out bulletins every week on issues such as small business taxes, insurance, or self-employment. You can also get information that pertains to your State only. All you need is an email address and you can cancel at any time.

Finally, you do't have to come to us to get up-to-date information. By clicking any of the social media buttons, you can have information from Business.gov delivered to the platform of your choice. We send out several key notifications every day on Twitter and Facebook; we provide government videos from various agencies on our YouTube channel; and we have three Google gadgets that you can place on your own website.

As always, we continually develop Business.gov. If you have questions or suggestions, please comment here or give feedback on our Give Feedback About Business.gov discussion forum. Does that help?

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