WebSite101.com Interview with a web novice!
November 29, 1999
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' WEBSITE101: READING LIST
Reaching Great Minds Online
November 29, 1999 Issue #21
Mike Valentine, Editor, learn@website101.com

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By subscription only Welcome to the November 29, 1999 issue

"WEBSITE101: READING LIST".

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IN THIS ISSUE
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=> New: Rate our Ezine!
=> Sponsor Ad: The Ezine Marketing Machine!
=> Feature article: Interview with the Web Novice
=> HOT TIP!
=> Our Guest Column: Get Serious by Bob Osgoodby
=> New Feature: Questions from subscribers
=> Classifieds
=> Subscribe/Unsubscribe information

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Interview with the Web Novice

Due to a sprained wrist, I had to ask my wife to type this
newsletter for me. Ouch. That hurt almost worse than the
wrist. You see, my wife is a technophobe. She hates or
distrusts all things technological and modern. So you know
I had to hear a lot of guff before she would agree to
participate.

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share with
my readers the inner workings of the anti-web mind, so in
exchange for innumerable future favors (uh-oh!) she agreed
to be interviewed.

Mike: Why did you decide to develop a website for your new
business?

Nancy: Because you're my husband and you have to do it for
free. Seriously, although I don't like computers (I'm not
even sure how to send e-mail!), I realize that everyone is
starting to expect businesses to have a webpage. I'm afraid
I'll look amateurish if I don't have one.

Mike: What do you see as the first step in that process?

Nancy: I'm not sure. You'll have to guide me on that. I
don't know what's possible, what's not... I'll count on you
for that. As for the content, I'm working on a business plan
and think most of the important info will come from that.

Mike: It's the same as starting any business, anywhere. You
need your business plan, letterhead, business cards, checking
account, business license, phone number, fax, and now, your
website. THEN, the best thing you can do is present a rough
sketch of your website and its content to your web designer.
Essentially you are establishing a virtual identity for the
business you have planned.

What's your biggest concern in all this?

Nancy: I've heard you talk about how important it is to keep
up with your website: to respond to e-mail, update info fre-
quently, and keep giving viewers something new (like a news-
letter!) Since I don't like computers, it seems burdensome to
think I have to do all this. And I know it has to be promoted
to be effective.

Mike: I like to compare a website to a telephone, as far as
responsibilities go: If you have a website and don't respond
to your e-mail, that's the same as placing an ad in the phone
book and refusing to answer the phone when it rings. Further,
you need to stay in contact with your customers. It's
too easy for them to go elsewhere. I get postcard reminders
from my dentist, vet and eyedoctor, and a birthday card from my
insurance broker. By sending e-mails, you can have the same
impact, without the cost of printing and postage.

Are you willing to create a regular newsletter and keep your
website updated?

Nancy: Reluctantly, yes. I want my business to succeed.
I can't imagine starting a business nowadays without having a
website. You hear "something or other dot com" on most of the
ads playing on the radio. Lucky for me, I married a webmaster,
and he owes me lots of future unspecified favors, so I think I
know who will be writing my newsletter and answering e-mail.

Mike: Next time, I'll type through the pain.



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- - - - - - HOT TIP! - - - - - -



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Internet Tip of the Week
by Bob Osgoodby

Get Serious

If someone is serious about doing business on the web, the very
least they should have is their own web site and E-mail address.
Free web sites and affiliate pages which you have no control
over, simply don't cut the mustard when trying to do business on
the web.

While free E-mail accounts can be used for tracking purposes,
they should only be used when someone is replying to an ad, and
not the primary method of contact.

It costs $70 to register your domain name with the Internic, and
this is good for two years. Go to www.networksolutions.com and
see if your name is available. You then need to find a web host.
You can get web space for about 55 cents a day with a lot of
bells and whistles available.

One of those bells and whistles which is an absolute must, is a
secure page where you can accept online checks and credit cards.
In our case, we added online checks first. Our business doubled
with this addition. We then added credit cards and it doubled
again. You of course have to have the "back-end" software to
process the checks and credit cards.

Why would there be such an increase? If someone has to mail you
a check or money order, there is a "cooling off" period and you
might never get the sale. The ability to immediately order from
the web and pay online, takes advantage of "impulse" buying and
eliminates that "cooling off" period.

Now you have your own domain name, have a good product or service
for sale and can honor online payments, but you have no sales -
nada, nothing, zilch. So what is your next step? Obviously to
have sales, you have to have customers.

As I'm writing this, I recalled this morning, when I took my
golden retriever "Bear", for his daily constitutional walk on the
beach. Looking out over the water, I could see a number of "head
boats" out in the ocean. A "head boat" is slang for a boat that
charges by the head to go fishing. They were too far away to
read the names on the side of the boat.

Your web site is like one of those "head boats", but there are
millions of them out there. In order for people to fish from
your boat, you have to let them know you are there. You have to
take every opportunity available to advertise your site. While
there are many ways to do this, your best bet is to advertise so
as to target your market.

Yes, you can send out bulk E-mail (which is frowned on by the
internet community, and can wind up hurting you more than
helping) or place banner ads on every possible site that will
accept you. This is referred to as the "scatter gun" approach.
You hope that one of ads will hit a potential customer.

Like any advertising program, it takes time to develop. Probably
the best place to start, is with ads in "Online Publications".
Face it - people who receive online publications have asked to
receive them. They are interested in the area covered by the
publication. If your product or service is a fit, they are a
natural target for your ads.

In order for you to do business on the web, you have to "Get
Serious" and treat it like a business. Anything less is called
a "hobby".

-----

Bob publishes the free weekly "Your Business" Newsletter
Visit his Web Site at http://adv-marketing.com/business to
subscribe and place a Free Ad for your business.


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READER QUESTIONS

Mike,

How can I do a search on a search engine that gives relevant
results? I get lists a mile long and *none* of them turn out
to be what I am interested in after all.

Jim
--------@whidbey.net

Answer:

First off - You can't believe how common this question is
from new internet users. Search engines are supposed to make
it easy for us to find information we need and instead
seem to waste a lot of our valuable time. Here's a simple
way to cut down your search time dramatically! Use Google!

Google is a search engine that searches *all* of the search
engines! You can find it at http://www.google.com . Now that
you're using an excellent search engine, you'll get far more
relevant results. But is that all there is to it? Nope, but
the next technique is even easier.

Use more words in your search query! I'll tell you something
that many people do that gives poor results. They believe that
they can only type in the number of characters that fit in the
search box! WRONG!!!! You can type a short story into the text
box in most search engines if you like!

Just because there is only space to type thirty characters
in that text box, people believe that they need to stop there.
NOT!!

I want to know prices on a new Ford Truck. If you type just
"Ford trucks" into the search box, it will turn up *millions*
of results for you. If you get more detailed by typing in
"2000 Ford pickup XLT Lariat Flareside 4.6 litre price" then
you will get far fewer results and they will be much better
results for you. Don't use words like "and, with, by, it..."
because they are not relevant! Don't worry about commas or
other obscure "advanced" search techniques for eggheads. Use
words that are critical to your topic and lots of them!

Give it a try!


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Copyright 1999 Mike Valentine

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