Startup Makes Websites Easy For Small Business

There are still tons of small businesses that don't have an adequate web presence. Finally, there's a solution for them.
Reporter, GigaOM
December 16, 2011

It's more than a decade into the new millennium, and there are still countless small businesses that don't have an adequate presence on the Internet. And with an increasing number of potential consumers turning to the Web (fueled by review sites, like Yelp) to gain information about their surroundings, the lack of a Web page can corner the nondigital businesses of Main Street into relative obscurity. How are you supposed to be able to find the best Chinese restaurant in your neighborhood when there's a good chance it's not even searchable on Google?

Enter OnePager, a New York City-based startup that provides a simple drag-and-drop program to create a website that looks professionally developed. OnePager co-founder and designer Matthew Moore explains that the main goal of the team, whose members largely came from small-business families, was to provide a tool for businesses that otherwise didn't have the resources to create and maintain a full-blown website.

"We got a lot of requests from small business owners and people who didn't really have the budget to work with us," Moore explains. "They wanted to have a nice website created for themselves, so we got to thinking about doing a product."

The objective of the website can be found in its name: It provides easy, one-page websites for small businesses to fill out their hours, provide information for social media, and even invite fans to sign up for a newsletter. All of this construction is done through the company's modular content blocks, which can be organized into single- or double-column layouts. The result is a straightforward yet customizable page-builder that offers the brass tacks of the company's business.

"We originally chose this direction to not focus on a particular vertical, like photographers or restaurants," Moore says. "We wanted to have the biggest market possible."

Moore says that the company has been relatively successful since its formal launch in August of this year, with 20,000 websites created by a variety of businesses. While the site offers full customization, users are naturally drawn to the OnePager templates, which are designed by Moore and other members of the design team. Still, he says, it's difficult to entice businesses who have been surviving without the draw of a digital footprint.

"It's such a fragmented part of the economy, and you can do anything from Google AdWords to local advertising, so that's a challenge to get out there and get in front of people," Moore explains. "Small business owners are so busy and so preoccupied."

Moore says that because the tool caters to nearly every kind of small business out there, the next phase of OnePager brings some challenges. There have been talks of expansion into menu offerings and e-commerce, but the open-ended nature of the company means that there are plenty of tailored features on the table.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between small businesses and technology that can help them better achieve their business goals and make it affordable and easy to understand," Moore says. "We're just trying to keep learning what people want."

Do you know of a business interested in helping small business? Let us know in the comments below.

Reporter, GigaOM