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Initial Considerations

Do you need a web site?

If you want to grow your business the answer is "yes." There is no better or more cost-effective way to expand your horizons than through a good web site.

The emphasis here is on good. The single most important thing about a web site is content. Without compelling text and graphics, no matter how many people visit initially, they will not return.

On the
Internet
Content is King

We hear daily about one or more much hyped web sites going down in flames. All small businesses are shaky in their first few years. The winners who will emerge are those who distinguish themselves and serve their visitors.

Make sure you have clear goals for your site in mind. Think about its size, the time and money you want to spend on it and the sort of site you want. Consider the audience you want to reach.

Some 5% of all web sites generate 75% of traffic. Big business does and will continue to dominate the Internet. However, I am a firm believer in the Internet being the best place for a small, focused business. Choose your niche carefully and go for it!

Recommended Reading:

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner & Matthew Lyon

Equipment and connecting to the Internet

Of course, you will need a computer, peripherals and software. Fortunately, these are getting cheaper all the time. There are many places to buy equipment, but I personally strongly recommend PCMall (or MacMall if you prefer). I am on my sixth computer and know how to shop. These people are the best.

Get a scanner. They are now quite affordable and you can scan beads directly on them. You might think about a digital camera. They are still expensive, but you will need one (or a regular camera and scanner) for larger items.

Hardware, software and web development are often difficult for beginners and even long-time users have trouble sometimes. Two excellent sources of information are the Virtual Doctor site and the Annoyance Board, where you can read about your problem or post a query about it.

To connect to the web you need to get there. Usually flat rate telephone lines are the cheapest, though cable and other systems are moving in quickly. This applies to the US.

Elsewhere telephones can be very expensive. This has impeded Internet growth, solutions are being found around the globe.

Web Glossary
ISP
Internet Service Provider.
The company that connects you to the Internet.

You connect to the Internet with an ISP and you need an ISP to host your web site (see next page). There are big ones such as AOL, Earthlink, MSN and Juno. There are even free ones. For a list of ISPs in your areas (US only) go here.

Service is a most important consideration when choosing an ISP. Talk to people in your area and see what they recommend. A small, local ISP might be better than one of the giants (free ones are very low in service) and you might get a price break for paying for a year in advance.

Next Page >

Part Two: Getting Your Site

Part Three: Building Your Site

Part Four: Growing Your Site

Part Five: Adding Value and Securing Your Site

Part Six: Updates

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