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The company that created and produces SmallBusiness.com (Hammock Inc.) has provided a wide range of customer media and content services to major brands and organizations in several business verticals for 24 years. In addition to serving its users, the properties and channels of SmallBusiness.com serve as a working laboratory and portfolio of the services, strategy, development and management of branded media for marketers who serve small business customers.
If you are a corporate marketer who would like to discuss your small business marketing media and content needs, you can start by visiting this brief introduction to the SmallBusiness.com Content Studio.
First, read our editorial guidelines. Then, read the following:
On SmallBusiness.com, we help users gain insight with two types of content: (1) “Chronological Content” and (2) “Contextual Content”
Chronological content is the type of information that flows past us all day, every day. It’s the information that heads our way whenever an editor, broadcaster, blogger or tweeter decides it’s time to hit the publish or send button. Our chronological content–news posts, lists and all sorts of information we discover and share from across the web–can be found by clicking on the navigation tab “Latest” on the top of this or any page. We also feed such content through other channels like Twitter (@SmallBusiness), (RSS and via The Best of SmallBusiness.com Weekly, our weekly update of all the things that flowed past you, but you missed during the week.
Contextual content is the type of on-demand content organized and structured to be helpful at the exact time a user needs it, not when its creator decides to release it. While we have a pretty cool search box on every page (click on the magnifying glass icon), that’s not what we mean when we say “organized.”
We have several ways for you to access our Contextual Content:
Search: The search box is that box at the top, right of every screen. Google powers it so it works pretty well.
Topics: Click on the word Topics on the navigation bar and you’ll be whisked to a magic page we call “the visual map of SmallBusiness.com.”
Guides: Instead of a machine sorting of content by categories or keywords, Guides are hand-curated with content organized into topics and sequence. Guides range from how-tos to tutorials to backgrounders.
The SmallBusiness.com WIKI: We started work on the SmallBusiness.com WIKI in 2005 and it now includes over 29,000 articles, how-tos, definitions and guides related to an ever-growing array of small business-related topics. It uses the same software as Wikipedia and the content you’ll find there is open-source.
SmallBusiness.com is owned and operated by Hammock Inc. (Hammock.com), a small business based in Nashville, Tenn., that develops and manages a wide array of media and content services for corporate and association clients nationwide. Some of those clients have been huge associations of small business owners (NFIB, for example) and large companies who serve small business customers (OfficeMax, for example). To learn more about Hammock, check out our awesome “About” page at Hammock.com.
All of the cool things you see on the site have been developed by Hammock staff in addition to elves located around the globe. While we are committed to serving the users of SmallBusiness.com, the project is also a laboratory for us to try out technology and approaches that we believe may benefit our clients when applied to their companies.
In addition to Rex Hammock, John Lavey, COO of Hammock, is the other helper/authority figure on the SmallBusiness.com team.
(Updated by Rex Hammock, March 31, 2015) I registered the domain name, SmallBusiness.com, in May 1995. As noted elsewhere on this page, the company now called Hammock Inc. (but people still call us Hammock Publishing) has worked with clients who market products and services to small business owners and managers since the days of Compuserve.
From 1999-2001, a small team from Hammock joined a group of talented developers and online community managers to spin-off from Hammock, a startup called SmallBusiness.com featuring advice from any small business owner, including many people who are today’s best-known small business bloggers and influencers. That community grew to more than 100,000 registered members, with advice contributed by thousands of them. But the company called SmallBusiness.com did not weather the “dot.com bust” and was closed in 2001. However, the content created by that small business community served as the DNA content used to create an early version of what is today the SmallBusiness.com Wiki (SmallBusiness.com/WIKI) in 2005, a user-created resource with close to 30,000 pages of information today.
Fast-forward from 2005 to 2013. During the summer of 2013, a team from Hammock began adding contextual content to SmallBusiness.com. (For a definition of “contextual content,” look under the drop-down section called, “What Kinds of Content are Featured on SmallBusiness.com?)
We decided to design this new part of SmallBusiness.com first for people who use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It looks nice on a laptop or desktop screen, but it’s designed for an iPhone first. That’s the reason that most of the content is bite-sized.
Since then, we’ve experimented with different types and styles of content. We’re still learning. We hope it shows that we enjoy learning.
SmallBusiness.com is not a startup. But it’s still new. And what you see here is very new. We launched this look and approach in October 2013. We viewed 2014 as a shakedown cruise during which we are figuring out many things you can see, and many you don’t. In April, 2015, we freshened up some of the ways the site is organized and managed and continued our strategy of learning–and sharing–a day-at-a-time.