There are a lot of different options open to those who want to supplement their income using a home computer. Many people know their computer is a tool capable of making them extra money, but they just don’t have the time or information to get started. Each section of this article will describe how to get started in a different opportunity. The six basic sections will outline methods of varying difficulty, so it is suggested that you first stick with the simpler topics (1 and 2) unless you have a good knowledge of computers, to begin with. Also, some of the options open to you may be limited by the type of computer you have. A minimum system recommendation for each subject follows-
286’s, 386’s- RECOMMENDED USES= Data entry, Contract typing Older machines such as these lacks the power and speed to perform some of the more complicated tasks newer computers can. If you are interested in contract typing or simple data entry, these systems will do just fine. The 386DX can handle many of the programs available today, but you may need to look for older versions meant for DOS or Windows 3.x as opposed to today’s more common Windows 95 format.
486’s,586’s/Pentiums- RECOMMENDED USES= Data Entry, Contract typing, Internet/WEB Advertising, Game Testing, Home Office
Newer machines such as these can perform almost any task you require. Even older 486SX computers are sufficient when used with the appropriate accessories. Perhaps the only limitation in this segment is regarding game testing. Whereas you may not mind waiting a few extra seconds for your slower machine to do a single task such as loading a file or a picture, many of the programs being tested today require a very fast processor to be able to handle the hi-resolution graphics and sound. These programs simply won’t run at all on slower machines with old video cards and insufficient RAM. If you plan on testing games, you will probably need at LEAST a Pentium 75 or its equivalent. Many simpler programs also need to be tested, so don’t count yourself out if you don’t have a newer machine. For all opportunities, you may want to consider upgrading individual components to maximize the usefulness of your current system. Suggestions- at least 8 megs of RAM, 1 meg video card, 14,4k fax/modem, 2X CD ROM, and an inkjet or laser printer.
I. Contract Typing
Contract typing is by far the simplest way to make extra money. There are many people out there who never learned to type. Others are just inefficient at typing or simply don’t have the time. Most colleges and High Schools require final drafts to be typewritten or computer printed. If a person lacks typing skills, a computer, or time, they may find it necessary to hire a contract typist. If you live near any kind of school, you should be able to find people in need of your services. You will need a word processor and a printer. Your customer may want a copy of their paper saved onto a disk, so make sure your word processor can save files in different formats. This is necessary because the computer they will use to read the paper you typed may have a different brand of word processor on it. If you are not familiar with your word processor, read the manual and practise using the different functions before you begin to advertise your services. Follow these steps to maximize your exposure to your potential market.
1. Place an ad in the local paper- This is the first place many people look and it is relatively inexpensive.
2. Read the newspaper classifieds- often people will place ads looking for your service. This is common around the traditional “finals” times of the school year.
3. Put up flyers around your local campus. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions against doing this first.
4. Be sure to advertise in the local campus newspaper. School newspapers tend to be much less costly and much more effective than daily paper.
5. Always pick up any free or low-cost publications in your area. College kids often use these to place ads. Most schools have a good assortment and you could pick them up while you are posting your flyers.
6. Always quote your price in your flyers. Quote your minimum charge (which you should make as low as possible) so that your flyer will stand out from the others. People realize that the actual cost to have an entire report typed out will be much higher, but they like to see a low starting rate.
7. What you charge is entirely up to you. I have seen rates from as low as $10 for a couple of pages, to over $200 for a fully edited report. A good rule for beginners is to undercut the competition by 10%.
8. Stay away from one line ads claiming “home typists needed.” These are usually scams that require you to pay a “registration fee” upfront just to learn about their program.
9. One “home typist” company that has been around for a while can be reached at 1-800-513-4343, extension B-9218.
10. A couple of companies I have seen advertising home typing/data entry/claim processing type work are listed below. They are less familiar to me so it would be best to call their 800 number for more info.
Computer Business Services, Inc. 1-800-343-8014, Ext4692
IAMS 1-800-322-1139, Ext100
NCS 1-800-207-3711 Ext225
Medical Management Software 1-800-759-8419
Medical Recovery Services, Inc. 1-800-700-7089
National Computerized Business Services 1-800-616-6227, Ext 225
II. Data Entry
Data entry is a slightly more complicated version of contract typing. When many people say they are interested in contract typing, they mean data entry. With data entry, you are entering information into a program that will process it, rather than just typing a document. There are many ads in newspapers and magazines claiming they will pay you to do data entry. Some of them are legitimate, and many are not. Usually, some knowledge of a specific program is required to do this kind of work. You may have to purchase a package from your potential employer. This package would include the required program, the manuals for the program, and usually technical support of some kind. The start-up cost for these kinds of programs can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. The pay can be excellent, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to secure work. Your best bet is to personally contact the company you are interested in and figure out how it works beforehand. To ensure you find legitimate work, you should follow these steps-
1. Check the newspaper classifieds and the back of magazines. You will find many opportunities, but be sure to contact each one to verify its legitimacy.
2. Stay away from companies asking for a small fee for information about home computer data entry. Your $20 or $30 will usually get you nothing more than a packet full of more work at home scams. A legitimate company selling a legitimate product will usually charge much more than this.
3. Look for any local small businesses in need of this type of service. They are more prone to falling behind during heavy periods of business. Small businesses often use common, off the shelf programs that you could find at your local computer store. If the company is pleased with your work, they may use you occasionally or constantly, to help keep their business running smoothly.
4. If you are interested in data entry as a secondary or primary source of income, you may wish to visit the following website to gather further information. Also, be sure to check out the contacts listed at the end of section 1(contract typing.)
www.emcsl.com This is a site dealing with electronic medical claims.
Another way to profit from data entry is to offer your service. You could prepare resumes for people using a store-bought program. Your customer gives you the important information and you use your program to create a professional-looking resume. This is very simple, as the program leads you to step by step through the entire process. Very simple, that is, if you have a computer and printer, and many people just entering the job market do not. This is just one example of many services you could provide. A visit to your local software store will show you that there are computer programs that let you do just about anything with professional-looking results. Once you get the hang of it, market your abilities.
III. Game Testing
Being a professional game tester is a job many of us dreamed about having when we were younger. You may not be able to do it for a living, but it could be a profitable hobby. Game testing usually consists of beta-testing an unreleased program. Upon completion of testing, you will either be paid or receive the program for free. Please understand that nobody is going to pay you to play games, you will be testing them. That does not mean you won’t have fun while you’re doing it, it just means there will be certain things you will be required to do. You may be required to keep a logbook in which you will write down any bugs or errors you encounter, and the game programmer may want to ask you your opinion on many aspects of the game. The game may freeze up while you are playing it, or it may even cause your entire system to crash. Usually, problems such as these are weeded out before the beta testing period, but it is your job to find out if any problem, big or small, will affect gameplay in the final version. Of all the games I have tested, there were only a few instances where the bug in the programming caused any major problems such as a system crash. It is common to encounter small errors and playability problems, as that is what you are looking for. If you wish to test games, you will most likely need a newer computer. Minimum requirements will vary, but you will most likely need at least a Pentium with 8-16 megs of RAM, a 16 bit sound card, a 1 or 2 meg video card, and a 2x CD-ROM drive. The best way to find this kind of work is to look in the newspaper. There may be a company in your area that needs local testers. If not, some services can help locate one, for a fee. One such company used to advertise regularly in my area but has not done so recently, so I will not list them as a source. You can also try looking on the internet. Your web search engine should be able to turn up quite a few web pages offering home computer work. A company web page will be able to provide you with more information on their specific programs before you order. A listing of web search engines can be found in the internet/web advertising section.
IV. Internet/Web Advertising
Web pages are the hottest trend in advertising right now. Although it can require fairly new technology (including a newer computer,) anybody can start or advertise a business on the internet. Advertising can be simple, such as posting a classified ad on an online service such as AOL. It can also be complicated, as with starting and maintaining your web page. If you have an online service such as AOL or CompuServe, you can place a classified ad on their service for little or no fee.
TIPS ON ADVERTISING WITH THE MAJOR ONLINE SERVICES
If you are an AOL user, you can reach millions of subscribers by advertising in their free classified section!
To get to the AOL classified section, from the main menu, click on “Marketplace”. Next click on “go to marketplace”, then click on “classifieds”. Now simply choose a section. Once you find the exact place where you would like to place an ad, simply click on “post new message”. You can then enter your “subject”. This is what people will see when browsing through the ads, so enter something that will catch their eye. Next, you enter your text then click “post”. (If you want to see your ad, you must exit that section and come back into it.)
Note: There are so many people using AOL classified advertising, your ad will only last a few days, so you have to replace them frequently.
Tip: AOL limits each ad category to 500 ads. To have your ad appear close to the top of the listing, watch the particular categories that are most appropriate for your ads and make a note of the time of day they reach the limit. If you post your ad as close to the deadline as possible, your ad is more likely
to appear near the top. More people will see the ad this way.
Unlike AOL, Compuserve charges a small fee for their classified ads. The benefit is that you don’t need to repost as frequently. Here’s how to place an ad on CompuServe. From the main menu, click on the green traffic light at the top of the screen. A box will appear with “go” at the top of it. Next, type in” classifieds”, click on “OK” then click “access classifieds”. Next, choose an area and click submit. Then click on a subject. Now you enter your name and state and your subject line. Next, you choose how many weeks you want your ad to run. Type in your ad text and click post. It usually takes 24 hours for your ad to show up.
Tip: The cut-off time for posting ads is 4:30 A.M. eastern time. The ads placed right after 4:30 A.M. have the best chance of being near the top. Of course, you know the importance of this. How many times have you read much further than the first 25 or so messages?
Prodigy’s classified advertising section is also not free, although the charges are very reasonable.
Here’s how to get to the classifieds in Prodigy. From the main menu, click “Go to” then type in “classifieds” then click “OK”. Next click “read, place, extend ads” then click “place ads”. Next, choose a category and your off and running. Ads run for one, two or three months at a time.
Tip: As far as the listings go, they are a little different from AOL and CompuServe. As you’ll see it is done alphabetically. Don’t bother trying the old “AAA heading trick”, since they won’t let it slide. Look at it this way, at least you won’t have to get up at 4:30 AM!
TIPS ON WEB ADVERTISING
Because internet/web advertising can be very cost-effective, yet is confusing to many people, I have added portions of text from another publication I offer, the “WEBuSTART Business Creator.” Because the packet you are reading now was created to help you get started in some basic opportunities, it will only deal with some of the aspects of web advertising. If after reading this section you feel that starting your own web-based business is the way to go, I highly recommend you give the WEBuSTART packet a try. It contains details on every aspect of starting a web page and/or web business: licensing and regulations; registering a business name; start-up materials and costs; taxes; designing and publishing your page; service providers and rates; promoting your website; marketing strategies; receiving and filling orders; accepting checks and credit cards, and much more. Ordering instructions are on the last page of this packet.
You’ve always said to yourself, “When am I going to stop working for someone else? When am I going to make all my hard work pay off for me, instead of someone else?” The explosion of the internet population through the mid-1990s has levelled the playing field forever! It is now possible for the “little guy” to step up and make the big money!
The following information has been organized in a manner that will assist you through the process of building a successful website as smoothly as possible.
WHY DO YOU NEED A WEBSITE ANYWAY? (found in section 1 of WEBuSTART)
There’s no doubt about it – the WORLD WIDE WEB is the “hottest” place to be on the Internet today. The experts tell us that right now over 30 million people have access to the stunning graphics and text “the Web” offers — and that number is growing by nearly 1 million per month.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? But is it for you? Should you or your company be making a move to establish a presence on the WORLD WIDE WEB?
That depends. A lot of variables affect your decision. And, many of those same variables will determine how much your “getting on the Web” project will cost.
(1)CONSIDER THESE 8 QUESTIONS?
1. Whom do you expect to look at your Web site?
* general public
* potential new customers
* current business clients
2. What do you want your Web site to be?
* a catalogue
* a hard-hitting, all-out sales/promotional effort
* a newsletter
* a home page with a low key presentation of your
company and products/services
For example, if you want to do a catalogue, here are some things which will affect costs:
* Do you now have a printed catalogue?
* Do you want to duplicate it online?
* how many pages is it?
* Is it text and photos or graphics?
* What proportion text vs. graphics?
* Is the text currently on the computer?
* If not, how will the text be prepared?
* Are the graphics currently on the computer?
* If not, do you already have good quality photos/artwork, or will in-house or outside preparation be necessary?
3. How much do you want to put on your Web site; that is, how many pages?
Pages are a little different on the Web, but you might think of it this way:
If you were to nicely layout a colourful magazine page with what you want to present, including both text and graphics, how many 8.5 x 11 pages would it take? And, in those pages, how many photographs, logos, or other graphical elements do you have?
4. As a person looks at your Web site, what do you want him/her to do?
Immediately place an order? How? By mail, phone, online?
Will you need a “secure” system?
* Read your newsletter, look at your art gallery,
utilize your parts catalogue, etc.
* Call or write for more detailed information and/or specifications.
* Remember your company for future purchasing decisions.
5. How much of the project do YOU want to do, and how much CAN you do, either yourself or in-house?
Do you have enough computer and modem to handle loading and maintenance? Can you write clean HTML with working anchors and embedded graphics? Do you want to learn or do you just want to take care of your current business, and leave the details to someone else?
6. How often will you want to make changes/updates on your Web pages (maintenance)?
* Price or specification updates
* How often does the newsletter come out?
* Limited time pricing or special promotions
* Do you currently have an e-mail account?
7. What’s your time frame; that is, how soon do you want your site “up and running?”
Now, you may not be able to answer all these questions — in fact, you may have some of your own that need answering before you go much further. However, just by thinking about them, you should be ready to discuss your project with almost any provider of WORLDWIDE WEB creation and production services.
BUT, it is certainly possible to do it all yourself. Getting on the Web is not rocket science. if you have the time to allow for a steep learning curve, and if you have the right equipment, you can find almost all the tools you need right on the Web.
SO…YOU DON’T WANT TO “do it yourself”. . .
8. How much will it cost?
Projects can run from as little as a few hundred dollars to several thousand. As a reasonable expectation, you can easily put $500.00 into even the simplest project.
Here’s an example: the hourly rates (for outside consultants) seem to be in the $40 – $90 range for
“programming”, and Web sites can range from one to hundreds of pages. Currently, no formula establishes how many hours will be needed and what price to charge.
A basic site with 20 pages, audio, video, backgrounds, frames, tables, auditing and forms management would take probably at least 75 – 100 hours to develop, design, load, test and debug — assuming that the contents of the pages are already on disk in a text format. The math is easy to do: a site like this could run from $3,000 to $7,000
And then, what about graphics? These are separate product and are priced that way. Scans of existing photos and artwork are not expensive, but original graphics can be.
MAINTAINING YOUR WEBSITE
Okay, now you have your site up and running. It still has to be maintained. Who is going to do that, and at what price”?
You will likely encounter additional fees if you do not already have a Web site (or if you have only a personal account, and want to upgrade to a commercial site):
1. Set-up fee — almost always, your Internet Service
Provider (ISP) charges a one-time fee to cover the
original server programming of your site — $25 to $250 —
2. Monthly fees — usually from $20 to $250 — even more
for large commercial sites. And, some may levy additional
usage fees if your site generates traffic above a
monthly allotment (usually the allotments are generous —
depending on what you have to offer, you may not run up
additional charges). Some sites are “free” but access may
be too restrictive to be of value to you.
And, if you do not already have an e-mail account, you can
anticipate monthly fees of $10 and up, depending on the
type of your account, as well as a set-up fee in some
(2) TWENTY-ONE REASONS TO HAVE A WEB PRESENCE ON THE INTERNET
1. To Answer Frequently Asked questions
Whoever answers the phones in your organization can tell you, their time is usually spent answering the same questions over and over again. These are the questions customers and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a WEB page and you will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and freed up some time for that harried phone operator.
2. To Create a 24 Hour Service
If you’ve ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know the hassle. We’re not all on the same schedule. Business is worldwide but your office hours aren’t. Trying to reach Asia or Europe is even more frustrating. But Web pages serve the client, customer and partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. It can customize information to match needs and collect important information.
3. To Establish An Image
Approximately 40 million people worldwide have access to the World Wide Web (WEB). No matter what your business is, you can’t ignore 40 million-plus people. To be a part of the online community and show that you are interested in serving them, you need to be on the WEB for them. You know your competitors will.
4. To Heighten Public Interest
You won’t get Newsweek magazine to write up your local store opening, but you might get them to write up your Web Page address. Even if Newsweek would write about your local store opening, you wouldn’t benefit from someone in a distant city reading about it, unless of course, they were coming to your town sometime soon. With Web page information, anybody anywhere who can access the Web and hears about you is a potential visitor to your Web site and a potential customer for your information there.
5. To Help Others by Sharing Information
Have you always intended to share information with others but somehow never got around to it? Now is your chance to play catch up. You possess knowledge of how to do something that you can easily share with others. What goes around comes around!
6. To Make Business Information Available
What is basic business information? Think of the Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of payment do you take? Where are you located at? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you have instant communication. What is today’s special? Today’s interest rate? Next week’s sale information? If you could keep your customer informed of every reason why they should do business with you, don’t you think you could do more business? You can on the WEB.
7. To Make Changing Information Available Quickly
Sometimes, information changes before it gets off the press. Now you have a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer’s bill. You can even attach your web page to a database that customizes what has been captured by the web page, to a database you can change as many times in a day as you need. No printed piece can match that flexibility. With a Web page, you can ask for feedback and get it instantaneously with no extra costs. An instant e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while it’s fresh in your customers’ mind, without the cost and lack of response of business reply mail.
8. To Network
A lot of business is simply nothing more than making connections with other people. Every smart business person knows, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know. Passing out your business card is part of every good meeting and every business person can tell more than one story about how a chance meeting turned into a big deal. Well, what if you could pass out your business card to thousands, maybe millions of potential clients and partners, saying this is what I do and if you are ever in need of my services, this is how you can reach me. You can, 24 hours a day, inexpensively and simply, on the WEB.
9. To Open International Markets
You may not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems in all your potential international markets, but with a Web page, you can open up a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the company across the street. Before you go onto the Web, you should decide how you want to handle the international business that will come your way, because your postings are certain to bring international opportunities your way, whether it is part of your plan or not. Another added benefit; if your company has offices overseas, they can access the home offices information for the price of a local phone call.
10. To Promote Your Business
Many people think that this is the number 1 thing to do with the World Wide Web. We can’t agree with them enough. Do you consider the telephone the best place to sell things? How about Television, Print or Radio? All viable media and the most common ways to advertise today. But they are all restricted by their inherent limitations. The gives you a combination of the very best of the other media. A dedicated website provides you with the targeted marketing of telephone sales, the impact and retention of print, the widespread accessibility and multimedia capabilities of television, and the “homey”, personal feeling of radio. You probably consider the telephone a tool that allows you to communicate with your customer, which in turn helps you sell things. Well, that’s how we think you should consider the WEB. The technology is different, of course, but before people decide to become customers, they want to know about you, what you do and what you can do for them. Which you can do easily and inexpensively on the WEB. Once you have done that, chances are you can make them a customer. The rules are the same, only the media is different.
11. To Reach A Highly Desirable Demographic Market
The demographic of the WEB user is probably the highest mass-market demographic available. Usually college-educated or being college educated, making a high salary or soon to make a high salary, it’s no wonder that Wired magazine, the magazine of choice to the Internet community, has no problem getting high-end marketer’s an advertising and advertising dollars.
12. To Reach The Education and Youth Market
If your market is education, consider that most universities already offer Internet access to their students and most K-12’s will be on the Internet within the next few years. Books, athletic shoes, study courses, youth fashion and anything else that would want to reach these overlapping markets needs to be on the Web. Even with the coming of the commercial online services and their somewhat older populations, there will be nothing but growth in the percentage of the under 25 market that will be online.
13. To Reach The Media
Every kind of business needs the exposure that the media can bring, but what if your business is reaching the media, as a newsier, a publicist or a public policy group. The media is the most wired profession today since their main product is information and they can get it more quickly, cheaply and easily online. Online press kits are becoming more and more common since they work with the digital environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited and output on tight deadlines. All these can be made available on a Web page.
14. To Reach The Specialized Market
Sell fish tanks, art reproductions, flying lessons? You may think that the Internet is not a good place to be. Well, think again. The Internet isn’t just computer science students anymore. With the soon-to-be 100 million and growing users of the WEB, even the most narrowly defined interest group will be represented in large numbers. Since the Web has several very good search programs, your interest group will be able to find you. Or your competitors.
15. To Release Time Sensitive Materials
What if your materials need to be released no earlier than midnight? The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much-anticipated film, the merger news? Well, you sent out the materials to the press with “The-do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time” statement and hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at midnight or any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs, bios, etc. released at the same time. Imagine the anticipation of “All materials will be made available on our Web site at 12:01 AM”. The scoop goes to those that wait for the information to be posted, not the one who releases your information early.
16. To Serve Your Customers
Making business information available is one of the most important ways to serve your customers. But if your passion is serving the customer, you’ll find even more ways to use WEB technology. How about making forms available to pre-qualify for loans, or have your staff search that classic jazz record your customer is looking for, without tying up your staff on the phone to take down the information? Allow your customer to punch in sizes and check it against a database that tells him what colour of the jacket is available in your store? All this can be done, simply and quickly, on the WEB.
17. To Serve Your Local Market
We’ve talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about your neighbourhood? There are probably enough local customers with Web access to make it worth your while to consider Web marketing. A local restaurant even takes lunch orders through the Internet! But no matter where you are if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.
18. To Stay In Contact With Salespeople
Your employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that information is, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the WEB. A quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most detailed information, without long-distance phone bills and tying up the staff at the home office.
19. To Test Market New Services and Products
Tied into the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new product. Advertising, advertising,
advertising, PR and advertising. Expensive, expensive, expensive. Once you have been on the Web and know what to expect from those who are seeing your page, they are the least expensive market for you to reach. They will also let you know what they think of your product faster, easier and much less expensively than any other market you may reach. For the cost of a page or two of Web programming, you can have a crystal ball into where to position your product or service in the marketplace. Amazing.
20. To Use Electronic Mail (E-Mail)
Your company can be on the leading edge of an evolving technology that allows you to communicate with your clients, prospects, etc. Via E-mail broadcasts and other services, you could transmit messages and advertisements to thousands and thousands of individuals and companies with the push of a button.
21. To Utilize Pictures, Photos, Sound and Film Files
What if your widget is great, but people would love it if they could see it in action? The album is great but with no airplay, nobody knows that it sounds great? A picture is worth a thousand words, but you don’t have space for a thousand words? The WEB allows you to add sound, pictures and short movie files to your company’s info if that will serve your potential customers. No brochure will do that.
SO… YOU WANT TO CREATE YOUR WEB PAGE! (found in section 3 of WEBuSTART)
Someday creating your website will evolve into simply obtaining a website creator program that will work similarly to current word processors. You will simply point and click to create the artwork, logos, etc. and type in the text and then save it. This is occurring rapidly with Adobe’s Pagemill for the Macintosh, but for right now it is still challenging to accomplish this feat…. at least for the first time!
The information in the first paragraph was written in March 1996 and was true! Recently however Angelfire Communications has developed the “HOME PAGE CREATOR”, one of the world’s easiest FREE online homepage! It takes a fill-in-the-blanks approach for Headlines, Text, Hypertext Links, Choice of Colors. This will create a very basic home page for you that you can get started within about 1-2 hours. You can easily build multi-page sites and add graphics with their “edit home page” command option. The great part is that your new home page resides on Angelfire’s Web Server….for FREE! Another candidate for one of the world’s easiest FREE online homepage comes from Tripod. “TRIPOD HOME PAGE BUILDER”, offers services to both the Novice and Advanced Developer. For the Novice you don’t need to know a thing about HTML, just point and click your way through creating your very own Web Page. It includes text, graphics, backgrounds, and hypertext links to your favourite sites. The advanced developer (probably no advanced developer is even reading this…but someday you too may be advancing in your development), will be delighted to know that they may use all of their HTML knowledge to create more complex websites.
Magazine articles, books, internet service providers, etc. all make it sound so easy. “All you gotta do is” put this disk into your computer and press a few keys and presto your on-line. The closest this comes to being true is with the major online services such as America Online (AOL). The installation is fairly simple, as far as the software goes, but the hardware can be quite a different story.
The new computers being sold today by the mass marketers such as CompUSA and Computer City are all packaged to be plugged into a phone line. If you take this route you will have the easiest time as the system is already configured with a modem. Following the instructions from AOL will normally allow you to get online in less than 15 minutes.
HOME PAGE CREATOR……………… http://angelfire.com
TRIPOD HOME PAGE BUILDER… http://www.tripod.com
Now that you are on, what do you do? Start by getting to the World Wide Web (WWW) option of whatever online service you’re on. Use their Web Searching Programs (sometimes called WEB Search
Engines), to find links to WEB sites on information that interests you. Type in the SUBJECT, CATEGORY, WORDS OR PHRASES that you want to be found and press enter. When you see the information that you want to browse then point and click on the underlined portion and presto you are zoomed across the internet to retrieve what you asked for!
Find out what you’re competitors are doing. Browse their websites, save the information that you feel would help you create your website. When you find something you like make sure you save their web address by creating a “bookmark” in your browser program. This will allow you to get back there very easy the next time without going through a Search Engine.
Alta Vista………….. http://www.altavista.digital.com
Infoseek Ultra…… http://ultra.infoseek.com/
WEB PAGE DESIGN
If you have done a lot of browsing, then web page design is much easier. You have seen those sites that you like and have saved information about them so that you can incorporate them into your website. WebWorker has put together a guide to designing your web pages which includes our TOP 10 web features you may want to consider.
TOP 10 WEB PAGE DESIGN FEATURES
1. Define Yourself
2. Design a Professional, Pleasing and Practical … Home Page
3. Be Interactive
4. Provide Information
5. Test Your Offerings
6. Integrate Your Messages
7. Make Ordering Easy
8. Form Relationships
9. Get the Word Out…Off-line
10. Personal Touch
1. Define Yourself
Because of the growing number of businesses that are getting on the Internet, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish your company online. Consider developing a different logo…even a
different company name….for your Internet presence. The name and logo should be clear, concise and instantly convey who you are and what you do. Your storefront should be consistent with the overall theme of your business. A tag line, or identifying phrase, may help accomplish this. Also, put your home page and e-Mail addresses on everything possible, including traditional promotional materials such as brochures, press releases and print advertisements. Your customers can’t buy your products and services on the Internet if they don’t know where to find you.
2. Design a Professional, Pleasing and Practical…Home Page
Design a home page that is graphically pleasing, well-organized and that will show up clearly, even on older computers. But remember: That intricate, three-dimensional image at the heart of your home page may be impressive, but not everyone has the patience to wait three or four minutes for it to download to their computer. Still, home pages should be colourful, offer plenty of options and be easy to use. Online customers don’t see you; they see your home page. Consider hiring a professional designer to make your Internet presentation as sharp as those of the big corporations. Also, as with traditional storefronts, you can establish as many locations as your budget will allow.
3. Be Interactive
Your home page should allow users to obtain more information by clicking buttons and sending e-Mail messages directly to you. They’ll respond better to your message without the strong-arm
tactics often used in traditional advertising mediums. Internet users are generally well-educated. They don’t want to be told what to buy…they want to find out for themselves. And remember that inquiries should be handled promptly and completely…there’s nothing like a slow response to undermine the cutting-edge, high-tech image you’re trying to create.
4. Provide Information
Online marketing requires a completely different mindset than print or broadcast mediums, especially given the fact that the highly educated pool of Internet users shy away from pushy, blatant advertising messages. While you have virtually unlimited space to get your message across, you are also expected to put little, if any, pressure on your readers in providing that message. Confine direct advertisements to bulletin boards designed specifically for that purpose. Then, on your home page, consider conducting surveys and providing the results, compiling listings of useful resources or publishing a newsletter or magazine with practical industry information.
5. Test Your Offerings
Online services give you the ability to test a product or service offering before finalizing it. Software publishers, for example, offer scaled-down versions of their programs as shareware. Users can download these free programs and try them out before purchasing the full version. You can also peruse newsgroups for your particular industry to gain insight into what customers want and need.
6. Integrate Your Messages
While each marketing medium… online or traditional… requires a specialized approach, your message should be consistent throughout. Again, remember to incorporate your logo, typeface, tag line, colours, graphics and e-mail address into everything you put out. And don’t confine your message to the Internet. It may be an effective means of marketing, but it should not be your only one. Not everyone is online.
7. Make Ordering Easy
Once you’ve hooked a customer on your product or service, give him or her an instant way to order. Include an order form on your home page that is clear and simple…some users get scared off by overly complicated or detailed forms. and remember to include an alternate means of purchasing the product. Despite the spread of secure lines of communication, many Internet surfers are still wary of sending their credit card number over the Net.
8. Form Relationships
You can save money by forming marketing relationships with businesses that complement your own. This will allow you to pool your resources in developing a home page. And you can cut your costs in half by evenly sharing the expenses.
9. Get the Word Out…Off-line
Advertise in magazines that are widely read by Internet users, and always include your home page and e-mail addresses. Contribute articles or opinion columns to magazines covering your industry, as well as those that deal with online services…and reprint those articles. You can highlight this publishing success on your home page and give readers a way to order reprints online.
10. Personal Touch
Online services may allow you to reach far more customers than is possible through traditional means, but they bring with them the challenge of personalizing your communications. Use human language, as if you are speaking to each customer individually. Give them a way to contact you directly, through the Internet or by phone, fax or mail. And always respond promptly to customer service inquiries. It’s just as easy for customers to order from another provider, so don’t give them a reason to go elsewhere.
PUBLISHING your WEB PAGES
This means uploading them to an Internet Server and registering your information with as many Search Engines as possible. This step begins to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you have gotten this far and you are still with one of the major online services such as AOL, you need to ask yourself what your plans are. If you are only interested in publishing your page then AOL is probably just fine for you. AOL offers you the ability to publish your home page. However, if you are planning
to have a larger presence for your company business then you must find another Internet Service Provider (ISP) or a Web Server Provider(WSP).
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS
(ISP’s other than major online services such as AOL)
ISP’s are popping up everywhere. Your choices are to find a local ISP or a national ISP that provides local telephone access. It is imperative that you choose one that only requires a local phone call to connect. Otherwise, the long-distance phone charges will be very large.
You can find very competitive rates among the ISP’s ranging from $10-$20/mo. with one-time set-up fees of $0-$50. Don’t pay more than that for a personal account. These rates are available both locally and nationally. If you want a business website then you probably would require a “domain” account which can run anywhere from $25-$250/mo with $50-$200 set-up fees, depending upon your space and speed requirements. If your site generates traffic above a monthly allotment, additional usage fees may be charged(usually the allotments are generous…depending on what you have to offer, you may not run up additional charges). And, if you do not already have an e-Mail account, you can anticipate monthly fees of $10 and up, depending on the type of your account, as well as a set-up fee in some cases.
The good news is that this is a highly competitive area and prices will likely come down or at least stabilize. AT&T began nationwide services providing unlimited internet access for $19.95/mo in
March 1996. Keep your eyes open for new and better offerings in your local community. I have seen local providers at $10-$15 per month for unlimited access.
Two ISP’s that we have personally used:
…… AaAaNet.com/yvv.com offers a national ISP account for $10/month unlimited access (800) 637-8720
…… Earthlink offers a national ISP account for $19.95/month unlimited access (800) 395-8425 http://www.earthlink.net
WEB SERVER PROVIDERS (WSP)
Web Server Providers offer you a place where your Web Pages can reside. They serve them to the world upon request. You should have access to upload your pages and make changes as necessary, from your computer. It is possible to have a Web presence on a WSP and not even have a computer! The WSP’s will usually handle creating and changing your Web site for you (for a price of course).
WSP’s have monthly prices that are as low as $5/mo if you let them do all of your web page creation (again for a price ranging from $30/hr to $100/hr). Don’t pay more than $15/mo for 5 megabytes of space. WSP’s that we are working with:
Highway Technologies offers a 25meg, virtual domain web hosting for $24.95/mo, 5 POP e-mail accounts, 10 autoresponders, unlimited e-mail addresses.
Web address at http://www.hway.net
V. Bulk E-Mail Information
Bulk E-Mailing or “spamming” has become a major form of internet advertising. E-mail is the electronic form of mail used on the internet and services such as AOL. Bulk e-mailing usually refers to sending your “letter” to thousands of people at once. Spamming usually refers to sending your “letter” to thousands or millions of people, with little or no regard as to who the recipients are. Both are forms of unsolicited e-mail, and many consider them the same. As of the writing of this, it is not illegal to send unsolicited e-mail. The current laws prohibiting unsolicited faxing do not pertain to e-mail. Because spamming is not illegal, however, does not mean it is polite or accepted by the internet community. The reason this practice is not dying off, however, is because it works. There may only be 1 in 1,000 people that respond to these type of ads, but if a person sends out millions of e-mails, they get thousands of orders. At this rate, if each order brings a $30.00 profit, and an individual sends out 100,000 e-mails (a typical nights mailing for many people. A company could send many times this amount,) he has made $3000, in one night! This is just an example, as response rates can be much lower. They can also be much higher. By targeting your e-mailing list, instead of blasting out thousands in all directions, you can increase sales and nearly eliminate complaints. Many people on the internet and online services don’t mind getting unsolicited e-mail, especially when you have taken the time to make sure it is something they will be interested in. Some people ask to be added to e-mailing lists. This “targeted” form of mailing is gaining respect, but “spammers” and their desire for quantity, not quality, are doing their best to give all of unsolicited e-mailing a bad name. If you would be interested in learning more about mass e-mail and how you could market your product to thousands of interested buyers, send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to-
P.O. Box 2188
La Mesa, Ca 91943-2188
If you have a computer with a modem, and full access to the internet, you already have everything you need to send a mass e-mail. I will send you information about setting up your system to take advantage of E-Mail marketing.
I hope you found this publication informative. If you do not feel that it provided you with a good source of information regarding home computer opportunities, there is a thirty-day money-back guarantee. Simply return the entire packet for a full refund (minus S+H charges) to the same address you ordered from within 30 days of purchase. M.E.C. , P.O. Box 2188, La Mesa, Ca 91943-2188
Please see the next page for the
“WEBuSTART BUSINESS CREATOR”
“WEBuSTART BUSINESS CREATOR”
Please print out this form to order. You may also write it out by hand but be sure to include all the information. If you received this packet in paper form, you may simply tear out this page, fill it out, and mail it.
P.O. Box 2188
La Mesa, Ca. 91943-2188
[ ] Yes, I would like to get started. Please rush me the “WEBuSTART BUSINESS CREATOR” so that I may be a part of the web-based business explosion. Enclosed is a check or money order for $12.95. Upon receipt of my payment, I will be sent the WEBuSTART packet along with five free web-related reports and a list containing 10 of the hottest current web business ideas. Please allow 7-10 business days for checks to clear.
I prefer to have the WEBuSTART BUSINESS CREATOR sent as-
1. [ ] An E-Mail with an attached file (.txt document) Only chose this option if you are comfortable working with attached files.
2. [ ] A 3.5” diskette mailed to my home address This disk contains text (.txt), Word for Windows, and WordPerfect 5.x for Windows files.