New SBA website to build online community

Thursday - 1/13/2011, 4:01pm EST

Joe Zepecki, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Communications, SBA

Click to hear the interview.

Download mp3

The redesigned Small Business Administration website reflects the changing ways that people get information. People now want and expect easier access to information and the ability to engage with others online.

Looking at the old SBA website, Joe Zepecki, deputy assistant administrator for communications at the SBA, said, "We were a great repository of information but it was a ton of information."

People are increasingly frustrated if they cannot find information quickly and easily.

"If we can't find it through a Google or Yahoo search that takes us right to the page (or) we don't get the answer to our question in a couple of minutes, we lose interest, we throw up our arms and walk away," Zepecki said.

The new site, launched on Dec. 21, took into consideration that people found the website not through the homepage but through online searches or third party referral websites, Zepecki said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER. In fact, since the new site launched, three out of five people who have come from the site have not reached it through the homepage, he said.

The new site will also add content from other agencies, not just SBA. At the end of January, sba.gov will incorporate content from business.gov, a governmentwide site that was a one-stop shop for business owners.

"It turns out there's a ton of great content on business.gov that wasn't being seen as many eyeballs because, as a federal agency, SBA was getting more traffic," Zepecki said.

Sba.gov will be a platform for online interaction already happening on business.gov, which has about 50,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses participating in discussions and forums.

"If we can facilitate that communication between those folks, we've done a good job, even if we haven't been the ones to provide that information," Zepecki said.