Central.ly, which comes courtesy of San Francisco founders Chris Bennett, Arrel Gray and Edward Robertshaw, does target businesses, but there’s no reason why a designer, photographer, or anyone who has an online profile, can’t make use of the free service.
Central.ly has total ease of use going for it, with its WYSIWYG editor which shows you the changes as you make them. The first step when setting up your profile is to enter your basic information – name, introduction, and upload your logo.
Next, you can select a background image that Central.ly provides, or upload one of your own. Be sure to choose something that doesn’t distract from your text and logo.
Next comes what Central.ly calls Apps. Any online profile that you have that is worth sharing goes here. Central.ly gives you pretty, shiny buttons for Twitter, Facebook, your RSS feed, Yelp, Flickr and much much more. Some interesting and unique options include ‘Friends’ which allows you to share links to someone else’s site who you want to promote, a way for users to signup for your Mailchimp mailing list, and even a link to your eBay store.
Like on about.me, clicking on any given app will open it up in a window in Central.ly rather than redirecting you to that page. It is also worth mentioning that the email address you sign up with is the email address that is used in the contact button. While you can’t edit this in the Apps section, you can go into your profile and change your email address if necessary.
You are given a choice of four different layouts, and a bunch of different fonts for each section.
Lastly, you can play around with the colors on your profile.
For a professional business or service, you probably would prefer to use your own domain name on a page like this. While you could use this method to get the job done yourself, for $9 a month, Central.ly gives you an easy way to do just that without any html or design knowledge whatsoever.
While Central.ly does offer basic visitor stats, they don’t really compare to about.me’s detailed statistics. With Central.ly you will at least know when someone visits your profile, as well as any click-through information.
Which service do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.