Dell has expanded its Small Business 360 website.
Back in January of 2007 I first wrote about Dell Small Business 360 at its launch . The site was bare bones back then. At the time, I wrote that for most business owners, researching products and finding out more about how to use the product they just bought was the main value of the site.
Since then, the Dell Small Business 360 site has continued maturing and improving. The site now has more information in it. It points to more resources and tools for business owners and staff. And it is developing more of a community feel.
Specific features of Dell Small Business 360  now include:
- Dell Learning Center — Dell offers online training courses on topics such as how to build and manage a website. In addition, there are articles about how to choose computer equipment, networks, choosing computer monitors and similar useful topics.
- Dell Tools — Tools include small business solutions, special offers and purchasing advice from the experts.
- More small business articles — You’ll find more information, both by Dell and Dell’s partners.
- Increased community involvement — There’s better integration with the Dell forums and the ability to respond to or leave feedback on certain articles. What I like best is the Small Business Conversations section of the site. It reflects the most user involvement and in my opinion has the most vibrant mix of content.
- Redesigned user interface and information architecture — The site has neat little Ajax preview boxes that help you see what an article is about before you click on it — saving time and avoiding extra clicks. And there are links to bookmarking and sharing sites, such as Delicious, Digg and Twitter.
All in all, some nice improvements.
As Dell continues to expand this site there are 3 additional improvements I would like to see:
User-friendly URLs — shorter, bookmarkable URLs would be an improvement over the typical corporate URLs with long strings of letters and numbers. Rewriting URLs into user-friendly formats really isn’t that hard a technical task to accomplish.
Better navigation — Dell Small Business 360 is actually a section within the Dell corporate website. When you get inside large corporate sites it is very easy for the average user to lose his or her place in the site. Long URLs that fail to signal logically which page you are on only add to the confusion.
More user involvement — There’s a strong trend on the Web today toward user-generated content. In Dell’s case I’d like to see that extend beyond forum postings and canned articles from other big sites. Instead, what about incorporating content from a variety of smaller blogs and RSS feeds into the site? Also, I’d like to see more of the existing articles have a field for leaving comments — not all do. And commenting features could be more prominent, too.
But — don’t just take my word for it. Check out Dell Small Business 360  for yourself. What do you think? Leave a comment below.