Prophesying Profit in CyberSpace . . .

Written by Philippa Gamse

Business owners can be rushed into creating Web sites, perhaps because "my competition has one", or because "it'srepparttar hot thing right now".

But, as with any aspect of your business, some preliminary thinking will help to maximizerepparttar 134701 return on your investment in this key part of your marketing mix.

Here are seven key issues to consider fromrepparttar 134702 outset:

1. Are your markets online?

Who are your customers, and are they currently usingrepparttar 134703 Internet? Try a customer survey if you don't knowrepparttar 134704 answer to this yet.

Alternatively, there may be new markets that you would like to tap, who are already online.

An excellent Web site for researching Internet demographic information is at:

2. Where is your geographic focus?

Is your operation confined to a local area, or can it have national or even international appeal?

It is not currently possible to restrict display of Web pages within geographic boundaries (e.g. "only Illinois"). So if your business is only local, or you only serverepparttar 134705 U.S., you should state that clearly onrepparttar 134706 site, otherwise you may receive leads and orders that you can't fulfill.

3. What arerepparttar 134707 specific goals of your site?

What outcomes do you want fromrepparttar 134708 visitors to your site? Will you be selling product online, or are you generating leads for a product or service? Do you want visitors to leave their contact details? If so, how will you encourage them to do this? Do you have a newsletter that they can subscribe to, or a competition, or a free offer of some kind?

And don't forget your existing customers. Will your site also be providing ongoing support and education for these clients?

4. How will you engage your visitors?

Remember that your Web site may berepparttar 134709 first and only contact that a prospect has with your business. Make their experience as close as possible to actually speaking with you.

Learning Tools

Written by Paul Siegel

The Internet is a network for learning, not merely a means for disseminating information. During its early days, most activity was oriented towardsrepparttar dissemination of information. But as repparttar 134700 Net developed, greater emphasis was placed on learning. Today we are seeingrepparttar 134701 sprouting of dynamic learning tools. Inrepparttar 134702 future, broadband will allow real video for even better learning.


Atrepparttar 134703 beginning, almost every website offered information of some sort. The information was presented as:

> FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions were ubiquitous. Sometimes these FAQs listed user questions, But mostly, website owners concoctedrepparttar 134704 questions and presentedrepparttar 134705 answers. Fortunately, repparttar 134706 use of FAQs has decreased considerably, except perhaps on product support pages

> CHECK LISTS - Soonrepparttar 134707 lists became more useful. They indicated things to be considered in planning, buying, designing, building, maintaining or doing specific tasks

> PICTURES - Pictures were originally included on some sites as decoration. But more and more they are now used to provide information: officers of a company, sightseeing locations, images of products

> DRAWINGS AND CHARTS - Drawings were used to explain products. Charts were used a great deal byrepparttar 134708 financial community to depict financial events

> ARTICLES - We soon realized that lists and illustrations are not enough. We began to write articles on every aspect of repparttar 134709 Internet and on every aspect ofrepparttar 134710 products and services we were selling. Today we are inrepparttar 134711 "age of articles". They are everywhere


After a few years onrepparttar 134712 Net, more people realized that a website should not present information but enable visitors to learn. They realized that visitor learning isrepparttar 134713 key.

Visitors learned directly fromrepparttar 134714 website or through experts related to or visitingrepparttar 134715 website. Inrepparttar 134716 latter category are:

> EXPERT SITES - A visitor asks a question or presents a problem and an expert replies

> DISCUSSION BOARDS - A continous discussion of issues or problems in a given field

> MAILING LISTS - Similar to Discussion Boards, but executed via email

Discussion boards and mailing lists have an additional virtue: They enablerepparttar 134717 building of a community (deserving of a separate article).

To learn directly fromrepparttar 134718 website, we have used:

> QUIZES - The questions on a given quiz enabledrepparttar 134719 quiz taker to determine aptitude for art or business, to discover whether he needed a product or service, or to assess his status with regards to insurance or investment

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