Preview: Intuit Biz Sites Beta

Intuit Biz Sites Beta

In November 2007, Intuit acquired Homestead for a reported $170 million.

Almost 3 years of development later, Intuit is quietly launching the beta version of what is now called Intuit Biz Sites.

Before we do a full review, we thought we’d give you a quick run-through of what to expect.

Intuit Biz Sites Beta Start Here

When we click on Start Here on this screen, Intuit presents us with a few questions that we are asked to fill out and, based on the answers (and, as it turns out, our IP address – the service is limited to just a handful of countries right now), you’re given access to the actual login page.

Intuit’s new take on the website builder is … a wizard, of sort.

After registration, we are asked to provide information about our business, contact details and some additional information that would help people find our business.

Intuit Biz Sites Your Info

As we’ll see later, the information we fill out here, is used by Intuit to automatically create content for our pages.

Next up is the template editor. A bar along the top gives us access to various options for Foreground, Background, Header and Contact info.

Intuit Biz Sites Template Editor

Then, we get to our Website Manager. On this page we can create, edit, delete and publish pages on our site, and we have access to the Template Editor, Address Editor and an Info Editor where we can edit the information about ourselves.

Intuit Biz Site Website Manager

New pages are added by clicking on the Add a new page button. Intuit Biz Sites offers all of 5 types of pages, as shown in the following screenshot.

Intuit Biz Sites New Page

The layout for each page is fixed and consists of 1 block of text, 1 call to action that is either in the sidebar or along the bottom of the page and, on some pages, an additional photo.

Intuit Biz Sites New Homepage

Standard text is automatically generated for each content block, where our information is inserted in the text. It’s kind of like mail-merge for websites.

A simple text editor — which uses the open source CKEditor — lets us edit any content.

And that is it. No plugins, no widgets, no applications, no business tools like newsletters, forms, and so on. At least not in the current beta.

After spending $170 million to buy Homestead, and then another 3 years on development, one might have expected a litte more from the new Intuit beta.

The current look and feel in many ways reminds us of Drupalgardens (see our review here), minus most of the features.

No prices have been announced for the new service, but Intuit’s current Small Business product is priced between $4.99 and $49.99 a month, if that is any indication.

Drupalgardens (similar look and feel, plus all the features) starts at a monthly rate of free, with standard packages topping out at $39.95.

It will be interesting to see how Intuit is going to position this product in the small business website builder market that seems to be getting more and more crowded by the day.

To end this preview on a positive note: the new beta appears to work in all browsers, unlike its predecessor which was limited to Firefox only.

If you have tried the Intuit Biz Sites beta, we’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

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