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Introduction: Start Here

Introduction: Start Here

The Web! Everyone's talking about it, exploring it, "surfing" it. People research products and services and shop there. Now you want to join the millions of individuals, businesses, and organizations on the Web by getting your business online.

Although I'm sure you're anxious to start learning the hows and whys of putting your business on the Web, take a moment to read this Introduction. In it, I explain the goals, organization, and conventions of the book. Then I tell you a little about me, so you can start thinking of me as your knowledgeable friend in the Web publishing world.

In This Introduction

Putting Your Small Business on the Web

About the Author

Putting Your Small Business on the Web

Watch TV and what do you see? Commercials for e-commerce, Web server solutions, and "dot com" companies. As the public gets more and more familiar with Internet technology, the companies that make technology products and offer technology services are reaching into our living rooms to tell us about them.

For small business owners and managers interested in growing their businesses, these advertisements act as powerful lures, with promises of bigger profits and higher status. These people want to become part of the Web revolution because of what they think it can do for them, based on what they see in the media and hear from consultants looking for work.

Sound familiar? It should. Chances are, you're one of these people.

About this Book

Putting Your Small Business on the Web is a guide to building a Web presence for your business. It explains, in plain English, what the Web can and can't do for your business and how it can be used as an effective marketing tool. It summarizes the costs of building a Web presence and provides a wealth of information about how you can save money with a do-it-yourself approach. If you decide to hire a Web designer, it helps you by explaining how to find the right designer and stay in control of the Web site creation process.

My goal in writing this book is to answer all of the questions my clients have asked throughout the years, and to clear up any misconceptions you may have about the Web as a business tool. Along the way, I provide useful tips and ideas for getting more out of a Web site and saving money.


This book is organized into three parts:

Part I: Overview

The first part of the book provides a lot of basic information about the Internet, including how you can benefit from a Web presence. It also discusses the costs of building and owning a Web site, as well as Web serving options.

Chapter 1: Internet Basics

Chapter 2: What the Web Can-and Can't-Do for You

Chapter 3: What It Costs

Chapter 4: Web Hosting Options

Part II: Building Your Site

The second part of the book covers the nuts and bolts of building a Web site. It starts with content, interface, and design considerations, then provides information about building the site yourself or finding and working with a Web designer.

Chapter 5: Site Content

Chapter 6: Interface Elements & Features

Chapter 7: Site & Page Design

Chapter 8: Saving Money by Doing It Yourself

Chapter 9: Working with a Web Designer

Part III: Going Online

The last part of the book explains what you need to put your Web site online and what to do once it's there. It covers uploading your site to the Web server as well as promoting and maintaining your site.

Chapter 10: Uploading Your Site

Chapter 11: Directing Visitors to Your Site

Chapter 12: Maintaining Your Site


At the very end of the book, you'll find some reference material, including a list of all books and Web sites mentioned within the book. The two appendixes are:

Appendix A: Bibliography

Appendix B: Web Sites & Pages


In addition to plain old text, this book uses a variety of stylistic techniques to communicate special information:


Tips are bits of information that you might find unusually helpful. You can recognize a tip by the Tip icon to its left and the dark, italic type.

Pull quotes are supposed to be plain old text that's important enough to be repeated with fancy formatting like this. But I don't like to repeat myself, so I use pull quotes to stress important things.


Sidebars, which have fancy shading, provide supplemental information. I often use sidebars to tell stories or express extremely strong opinions. If a sidebar is very short, it might squeeze into the left column, but usually they're as wide as this one and positioned at the top or bottom of a page.

New terms, when they appear in text, are highlighted by gray bold type. You can find the term defined in a shaded box on the bottom of one of the two pages in front of you—the page spread.

There are also plenty of numbered figures with captions and a handful of tables.

Food for Thought

At the end of each chapter, you'll find a section called "Food for Thought." This is where you'll find suggestions for thinking about the chapter's topics and applying them to your situation. I highly recommend that you go through these little exercises. They'll really reinforce what's covered in the chapter.

Companion Web Site

Most of my books have companion Web sites, but this book's site is really special—it has its own domain name: smallbusinessonweb.com.

The companion Web site includes a variety of information of interest to readers:

  • A message board, with discussions about chapter contents and "Food for Thought" exercises.

  • A mailing list, for networking with other small business owners and managers.

  • Links to online resources for small business Web publishers.

  • Corrections and clarifications for book contents.

You can visit the book's companion Web site at http://www.smallbusinessonweb.com/. And send your friends—I'm sure they'll get something out of it, too.

Pronouns Shouldn't Come in Pairs

Throughout this book, when I refer to an unspecified person, I use the pronouns he, his, and him instead of he or she, his or her, and him or her. I do this because I think those married pronouns are really distracting, especially when they appear multiple times in a sentence or paragraph.

New Term

An important word or phrase that is defined in a box like this one.

Page Spread

The two facing pages of a book when it is open.

Why the male pronouns? Well, back when I was in college, I had a marketing professor who was a feminist. He always used the female pronouns-she and her-when he spoke. I found that almost as distracting as the married pronouns, so I don't do that either.

Trust me, I'm not trying to alienate my female readers. And I know they'll understand.

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