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1&1 MyBusiness Site review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £12
per month inc VAT

MyBusiness Site can construct a professional-looking website for very little money and effort

If you run a small business but don’t yet have a website, you could be missing out on thousands, or even millions, of customers, simply because they don’t know you exist.

For many businesses, the need to hire an expensive web designer or learn how to create a website is a huge obstacle. 1&1’s MyBusiness Site aims to change all that.

You don’t install MyBusiness Site on your computer. Instead, it’s a web-based interface through which you create your site. The price includes unlimited web space and traffic, email addresses, technical support and a domain name.

The beauty of MyBusiness Site is that it creates the initial website for you, and the pages look slick and contemporary. You start by entering your company information during the sign-up process and choosing your industry sector from a list of around 100. The software uses this information to fill the website with appropriate text for your business. You can choose a domain name (which can include a or .com ending, among others) and your preferred email address.

You can view the auto-generated site just a minute or two after clicking the Order button, and you’re likely to be impressed. For example, if you choose Garage Service & Repairs, your site will contain stock images of mechanics repairing cars, along with more abstract photos of parts such as a disc brake. You’ll also see the details you entered at the start – your address and opening times – along with well-written, albeit generic, information about your business. There’s even an interactive Google map of your location and an enquiry form that sends queries to the email address you specified.

If you don’t like the template, you can click the small login button, type your password into the box and you’re straight into editing mode. There are many templates to choose from, none of which is cheesy. The most impressive feature is the way you can click on any page element and edit it. Click on a paragraph of text, for example, and you can edit it as easily as you can in Word. It’s a good idea to edit or rewrite all the text on the site, as there’s nothing to stop competing businesses signing up for MyBusiness Site, and customers are sure to be put off if they realise you’ve simply used a template without changing it.

Editing the navigation bar is just as easy: click on it and you can reorder the menu items, delete them or add new ones. Adding a new one creates a new page, to which you can navigate and start adding elements. As well as text, you can add photo galleries, embed YouTube videos and insert images, tables, file download links, forms, Flash movies, extra Google maps and RSS feeds. Sliders let you adjust the height of the main banner and the alignment and scale of the image. Adding your company logo is as simple as hitting the Choose file… button and then positioning and scaling it to your liking.

Although it’s possible to edit the HTML and add widgets this way, there’s no need to do this. We can’t see many people wanting to, either, as the only reason to choose a package like this is to avoid any coding. The service allows you to add page descriptions and meta tags for search engines, and you can change the page title that appears in the browser’s top bar.

MyBusiness Site is considerably slicker than the similar Mr Site Takeaway Website Pro, but currently there’s no way to sell products from your site. Mr Site allows you to add a shopping cart and accept funds via PayPal, but 1&1 isn’t planning to add a similar facility until the end of 2009 at the earliest. It will cost more, too, while Mr Site costs only £8 per month including VAT. MyBusiness Site allows novices to create slick websites, but we’re not sure who will want to pay £144 a year for a static site. Mr Site Pro imposes more limits, but it provides an integrated shop and costs less. We really like MyBusiness Site, but we can’t give it a higher score until 1&1 adds online shopping facilities.

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