People seeking small business information aren’t all wide-eyed startup novices, so The Wall Street Journal Online has revamped its StartupJournal.com section to serve a broader business audience and better optimize it for search engines. The renamed “Entrepreneur” channel will be sponsored by longtime StartupJournal.com advertiser MasterCard for the coming year, along with computer maker Dell, which will run display ads throughout the section.
A welcome screen promoting the channel launch and MasterCard’s sponsorship will appear on the WSJ.com homepage for a week starting today. The goal for MasterCard is to push its financing and small business planning services to entrepreneurs. The publisher also plans to promote the new section on affiliated sites such as its digital media-centric AllThingsD site and in the print version of The Wall Street Journal.
An expandable banner for MasterCard will run across the Entrepreneur section for the next two weeks. And for the coming year, a Wall Street Journal Online and MasterCard co-branded “Business Center” microsite featuring small business tools and offers from the financial services advertiser will be linkable from a tab throughout the Entrepreneur channel.
Dell will also run display ads in the section, and according to Wall Street Journal Online Director of Public Relations Christine Mohan, pre-roll video and weekly podcast ads will also be available.
The free section, which has resided on the site in its StartupJournal.com form since 1999, has been extended in its new iteration to cover topics appropriate for small business owners in all phases of operation, from planning to financing to expansion. Sub-sections deal with financing, technology, franchising and “Building Awareness.” The channel also offers tools for developing a business plan or finding local business help.
“It’s going to have a wider appeal,” said Mohan, noting both a broader array of readers and advertisers may be drawn to the new section. “It’s following companies or would-be entrepreneurs throughout all the stages,” she added.
The transition, which moves the content area within a newer publishing structure, will also facilitate search engine optimization and other backend publishing needs, said Mohan. The move reflects a general shift the publisher is making to reposition properties such as its CareerJournal and RealEstateJournal under the WSJ.com site umbrella. “We’ve had these sites kind of off on their own,” explained Mohan.
Wall Street Journal Online placed its Autos section within the new integrated structure earlier this year, and expects to do the same with its CareerJournal.com and RealEstateJournal.com sites by early next year.
Databases featuring business and franchise sale listings, also offered on the StartupJournal.com site, appear in the new section. The Wall Street Journal’s classified sales team sells tile ads that run in the “Franchises for Sale” and “Business Opportunities” listings areas. Also new to the section is an online community called “Raise Capital,” operated in conjunction with RaiseCapital.com, a new Wall Street Journal Online partner. The service allows entrepreneurs to present business ideas and funding needs to potential investors.
The publisher has stiff competition in the small business content category. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Yahoo Small Business garnered 1.6 million unique visitors in July and AOL Small Business drew 1.2 million, while StartupJournal.com fell below the measurement firm’s cutoff of 345,000 uniques. Other sites in the category such as Inc.com and BusinessWeek.com’s Small Biz section also attracted fewer than 345,000 unique visitors in July.
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