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Doing Business on the Internet

­Stan Gelber

Is it worthwhile to put your business on the Internet? The answer depends on several factors:
    1. Do you have a product or service that can be sold over the Internet?
    2. Will you want to provide electronic fund transfers?
    3. Do you want to setup your own server?
    4.Can you afford to wait 6 months to a year for return on investment?
    5. What is your competition?

If you want to play with creating your own web site, AOL or Compuserve is a good place to start. They provide all the software without charge for creating your own web pages but it is usually for personal pages rather than professional pages. In addition, they usually provide a form (menu items), that you would fill out by entering values. This type of Web page creation would not normally include the more exotic commands that are available in HTML.

The good thing is that you can do it without cost on AOL, Compuserve, and many ISPs. The bad thing is that you will not get much exposure from the various search sites such as AltaVista because you will not have your own domain name such as "". To get this you need to find a name that s not used and register it with Network Solutions in Reston VA. That will cost you $50.00 a year.

Additionally, I don't think AOL, MSN, Compuserve, GENIE, or PRODIGY will register a domain name for you. My provider
Netcom has a web site that you can go to for registering a domain name but they also want to host your Web page. That will cost you somewhere around $25.00 to $75.00 per month depending on your needs (it cost $25.00 to set up). With over 3,700 ISP providers out there I would feel safe in saying that most of them will be more than happy to help you get a domain name and host/put up your web site.

As to the software needed to create Web pages, buy yourself a book called "teach yourself HTML 3.2 in 24 hours", you can find it at Barnes and Noble or B.Dalton bookstores. Also, search the Internet for HTML editors as there are many available that you can try before you buy. Try Tucows or Cnet and perform a search using the keyword "HTML editors".

Once you get the hang of HTML, you can use any word processor since Word, Word Perfect, and many others support it.

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