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Entrepreneur Arianna O’Dell couldn’t stop wondering why no one else had thought of it before: An About.me website generator for small businesses.
So she decided to build out that idea with co-founder Ludo Antonov, and a few weeks later, JustAbout.co is sending out its first batches of beta invitations (you can get yours below, but we’re making you read all the way to the bottom).
“All business owners are stressed and always have a lot on their plate. The last worry many establishments need is the hassle of creating a complicated website or social pretense,” said O’Dell (no relation to the author) in a recent email exchange.
JustAbout makes it easy to create a stunning, one-page representation of your business that gives visitors a visual and textual overview of what you do. You can also link to places where people can get more information, such as a Facebook page, a Google Places map, a phone number, an email address or even an existing company website.
“There are so many businesses today that have yet to establish a web pretense simply because they think it’s too hard or too expensive to be online,” said O’Dell. “We don’t think this should be the case.”
There are scores, possibly hundreds, of tools for small business owners to create and manage their own websites, but few combine the two winning propositions of consumer-focused tools like About.me or Flavors.me: 1) Dead-simple ease of use and 2) a laser focus on beautiful and modern design. Aside from JustAbout, we also stumbled upon Onepager and Central.ly, both free site-builders for businesses.
But the JustAbout team says their product is better because it gives businesses more ways to connect with existing content online. For example, restaurants can link their JustAbout pages to their pages on Yelp, FoodSpotting and many other food-oriented sites. Lawyers can link to Avvo accounts; photographers can link to Flickr, DeviantArt and Picassa; real estate agents can hook their JustAbout pages up with their Zillow accounts.
For the tech-challenged, JustAbout is as simple as picking a good photo and typing in a description. For those with enough knowledge to be dangerous, there’s also HTML editing and social media integrations available.
The idea for JustAbout was prototyped last month during a hackathon. Since making the prototype in 24 hours, O’Dell and Antonov have spent the past month filing away at the rough edges: squashing bugs, adding features and generally getting the product ready for today’s launch.
Within the next few weeks, JustAbout will also launch premium upgrades. For a fee, business users will be able to get custom domains and more. “We’re still playing around with what should be an upgrade and what should be freemium,” O’Dell wrote.
If you’d like to give it a shot yourself, use the invite code #VBEATBOSS, and don’t say we never gave you anything.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
Chime in here, and we’ll share the results