Over the past several years, Docstoc has positioned itself as the go-to place for small and medium-sized businesses to find the documents they need to grow. Today, it’s taking a big step toward making it easier to do that, with the launch of a major redesign to improve the way its customers find and access its content.
Docstoc was founded in 2007 — it was one of the original TechCrunch40 companies! — as a repository of user-generated documents for small businesses. A few years ago, however, it began shifting focus and started producing its own professional content, launching a premium subscription service to access those documents.
According to Docstoc CEO Jason Nazar, Docstoc now has more than 20,000 pieces of professional content, including documents, videos, and tutorials that it’s created since then. That’s in addition to more than 20 million pieces of content that have been submitted by the community. It’s also increased its content production plans to create more than 300 new pieces each week.
Having all that content is great, but there was one big problem — on the old Docstoc, it was damn near impossible to find anything. So the Docstoc team set about reworking its entire website and database to connect users with the content that they were looking for.
The new site introduces a number of new features to improve content discovery. For one thing, Docstoc now has Topic Pages, which act as repositories for common types of documents and tutorials that small businesses need to use them. For instance, the Topic Page for “Business Plans” connect users with a number of resources for creating and refining that document. That includes documents that they can use, as well as articles and videos on the topic, and even full video courses to guide small businesses.
The site has also launched a new semantic search engine designed to provide a more refined way of connecting businesses with the documents they need. The new discovery engine is linked on the front page, which should simplify the process of helping business owners find content that is appropriate to them. That’s important, since different companies will have different needs at various stages of their growth.
Docstoc has also refined its regular search engine, bringing in all of its content and providing users with new ways to filter it. The search page allows users to filter by content type, as well as view documents, videos, and courses individually.
With the new design, Docstoc has also refined article, document, and video pages. Once users have found what they need, the site provides a simplified interface for viewing that content.
Finally, Docstoc has introduced the concept of personalized folders in a user’s profile. Nazar says it’s important to note that its folders are not meant to replace cloud storage services like Box or Dropbox. Instead, the folders are meant as a place to save and store documents that users would like to quickly have access to later. So more like bookmarks for relevant content on Docstoc. To get users started, it’s even included some “starter” folders for small businesses just starting out.
The redesign follows on a number of other moves that Docstoc has made to shore up its position in the SMB market, including a major partnership with Microsoft, as well as its launch of license resource License 123 and its recent acquisition of work app recommendation platform BestVendor.