Every small businesses should have a Web site, right? But if you run your own business, how do you create a site in the time you have between dealing with customers and fretting over your accounts payable? There are decent small-business site-building tools from a few companies, including Yahoo and Interland (now Web.com), and there's also well-established player Homestead, which has just updated its small-business site builder. I think it's worth checking out.
Using the company's new Lite SiteBuilder tool, I created a five-page site for my business--journalism--in literally 10 minutes. For a 10-minute site, it looks quite good. It was especially easy to create because Homestead has several templates for journalists, as well as more than a hundred other categories, from Animal Breeding to Vegetarian Restaurant, each with several good layout options. The editing system is AJAX-based and runs within a browser (unlike Homestead's previous site-building tool, which requires a download). For my site, all I had to do was point it to a picture of myself on my PC and enter in some text. It was also very easy to get the site to display my blog, which I host elsewhere, simply by giving the design tool the coordinates of my blog's RSS feed. The site building and hosting service (with custom domain name included) runs from $10 to $50 a month, depending on options and extras.
Also new is Homestead's search engine marketing service, Searchlight. It'll place ads for you on the major search engines and guarantee you qualified traffic at about $1.50 a click. It's a hefty markup on what you would pay if you went direct to the engines, but if you don't have the time to become a SEM expert, you may find it a fair trade.