An Introduction to building an online business with Adobe Business Catalyst

It was in December of 2001 when attained profitability. Between 2002 and 2003, eBay grew by acquiring PayPal for $1.5 billion, and posted its first annual profit. Clearly, the turn of the 21st century was the beginning of the age of online business. Indeed, the following decade saw the creation of numerous different online tools for websites, all of which promised to ensure your online success. Among the best online tools that small-scale business owners should consider is Adobe Business Catalyst (BC).

Adobe Business Catalyst Overview

BC is one of the most powerful yet affordable online tools for building and managing your very own business website. For as low as $10.37 per month, this piece of software as a service (SaaS) gives you access to its extensive array of features which enables you to build and run your business website like a professional web designer. Key features include:

  • Flexible content management system (CMS)
  • Ready to go e-Commerce capacity
  • Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) or database 
  • Powerful reporting and analytics suite
  • Targeted email marketing functions 
  • Blogs and varied other web apps

It’s no surprise that many successful business websites are built with BC, knowing how valuable an all in one platform can be to build and manage your very own online business website. Many more continue to be built in increasing numbers every year.

Brief History of Adobe Business Catalyst

The eponymous heroes behind the BC company, which was founded in 2004 by Australian entrepreneurs Adam Broadway and Bardia Housman. Right from the start, it was obvious that BC wasn’t going to be like any other SaaS’s or online web platforms that came before it. They carried out some novel business practices that enabled the company to achieve global success.

Take for example the company’s business model. It allowed for much leeway in how users may utilise the hosted service. BC users may resell the platform as part of the company’s Partner Program. When you sign up for the service, you’ll automatically be enrolled in this program, giving you access to the company’s “all-in-one solution” for running your very own online business.

Apart from featuring unique and varied tools that enable the user to perform specific tasks that will help you manage and grow an online business (e.g., manage your clients’ sites and pitch to customers), this suite of online tools enables you to receive a free site for your very own Web agency, 10 percent of the commissions for all the subscription fees your clients pay to the company, and a variety of tools for automating and streamlining your own online business.

Live training was also provided. In many instances, paid “partners” were able to rebrand the platform as their own. All of these pluses put together enabled users to carve their own paths toward success from the comfort of their homes with surprising ease.

In 2007, the company created the GoodBarry retail brand and offered BC under it to do-it-yourself (DIY) business owners. The new customers found BC surprisingly easy to use, remarkably intuitive, versatile, and effective, so the company’s move was a resounding success. In fact, the company gained so much positive attention for doing so that in 2008, it was able to open its first international office in San Francisco, California, which is nicknamed Silicon Valley for being home to several of the largest tech corporations in the world (e.g., Google, Apple Inc., Facebook, Intel, and Netflix).

In October 2008, San Jose City-based multinational computer software company Adobe Systems Incorporated acquired BC. Adobe released no official word on why or for how much it paid for BC, though it’s anyone's guess how many millions based on other industry purchases being made around the same time. Adobe initially hardly made any changes to the BC software, including its pricing, the partner agreements pertaining to it, the team, and the platform or SaaS itself remained largely unchanged. Adobe did eventually close down GoodBarry to “focus on the Web professional market,” causing the original company to stop its “retail” operations and start selling subscriptions to its software, through its partner and reseller network.

Adobe’s decisions to phase out GoodBarry and focus on the Web professional market had no adverse effect on BC. In fact, in April 2010, Adobe announced and opened not less than three data centers for its operations, one in the state of Virginia, one in Dublin, Ireland; and one in Sydney, Australia. These data centers provided power distribution paths for stability, multiple active power distribution paths to help prevent downtime during blackouts, redundant components for fault tolerance, high connectivity and power for the machines the company utilised, and higher network speeds and lower latency by being connected to the Internet via Tier 1 networks, or having peering arrangements with Tier 1 networks, assuring BC users continuous premium service.

What Adobe Business Catalyst has in store for Small Business Users

Adobe has made more changes to Business Catalyst (BC) in recent years, ensuring customers that there’s many more things they can expect to enjoy from this fast growing platform:

  1. In May 2012, Adobe included base Business Catalyst hosting as part of the Creative Cloud platform, making it even easier to build and manage a website with BC.
  2. Early in 2013, Adobe made multiple consecutive updates to BC that made it easier for users to control features pertaining to online search, like controlling metadata and URL structure, enhancing the SEO capacity of the piece of SaaS itself.
  3. In September of 2013, Adobe made an update to BC that enhanced its spam prevention capability.
  4. All of the websites running on any of BC’s data centers have been migrating to Amazon’s 3rd party hosting solution service, making the BC system itself more reliable and scalable, enabling Adobe to focus more on developing it than addressing technical infrastructure challenges.
  5. Adobe is planning to make BC’s admin interface customisable by giving outsider Web developers outsider access to it. The partners may modify the CMS, build applications, and leverage new features, APIs, and tools to create more powerful applications. They will also be able to buy APPS in a marketplace and launch them to their customers websites, giving them unprecedented control over their BC-built business websites.
  6. In 2015 there have been a number of interesting updates including a new rendering engine, more practical module tags - making it easier to setup content for pages, Liquid Markup Language support providing more access to the backend and greater control of the system, and new admin editor that makes on page CMS updates a breeze.

Are you looking at your website and wondering is this working for my small business?

Like many small business owners and startup companies understanding your choices and options for a website can be very complex. Choosing a platform that can be managed by a layman is really the key and that’s what Adobe Business Catalyst has done. You’ll still require the assistance and support of a competent design and development team to get the most out of an online business. Once the platform is configured to meet your design and functional needs you’ll be able to take it from there.

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About the Author



About Adam Mole

Adam is the proprietor of start up BPO company Transeo and has been working with offshore and outsourcing services for more than 20 years. Adam is passionate about small business. He likes to write about his experiences in sales and startup business ventures. In his spare time you'll find him on one of Sydney's south coast beaches surfing and smiling. Email Adam at and follow Adam on Twitter @adam_transeo.


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