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Ground Zero; Evaluate Your Web Options; Web Design As We Know It; The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Leveling the Playing Field; Online Marketing; Marketing Communications

Your Office Network, Your Technology Plan & more

Valuable Small Business Sites
The best sites for small business; Starting Up; Business Plans & Funding; Women's Business Resources; Patent & Trademark Issues


Ground Zero
"Take a Crash Course in eCommerce"  |  ZDNet — Behind the eight-ball? Find basic ecommerce information here.

Evaluate Your Web Options
These days, you've got three options for getting online: build a site yourself, hire a professional web developer, or try a low-cost template site. We believe hiring a professional is the best way to go if you're serious about success, but we encourage you to evaluate each option for yourself.

    On Template Sites
  • "eCommerce Tips for 2001"  |  ZDNet — An article showing the pros and cons of template-based sites.
  • "Web Sites Off the Rack"  |  Web Techniques — A great discussion of the realities of template sites, and the value of having a professional handle your web presence.

    On Professional Web Services
  • "Buying Professional Web Development Services"  | — A six-part series on finding the perfect web developer. Worth its weight in gold.

    On Doing It Yourself
  • "Build Your Web Site"  | — A comprehensive guide to doing it yourself, from a site devoted to small business online success.
  • "Level it Ain't"   | — An 11-part series on building your own ecommerce site for $6,500.

Web Design... As We Know It
These articles are written for fellow web professionals, but we think you'll find them illuminating.

  • "So Where Have All The Designers Gone?"  | — The old battle between art and commerce is alive and well online.
  • "Style Vs. Design"  | — The difference between cool-looking graphics and good design.
  •  |  Web site of Jakob Nielsen, foremost expert on Web site usability.
  • on the Web  |  Collection of essays on practical, user-oriented Web site management by Australian columnist David Walker.
  • — The reigning authority on the topic of bad web design, founder Vincent Flanders says we can "learn good design by looking at bad design."

The Good, the Bad & The Ugly
Some of the best (& worst) web design we've ever seen.

    The Bleeding Edge
    You probably don't need it. You may not be able to afford it. But sometimes it's good to have a point of reference when judging Web sites. Here are a couple of the top web designers in the world... and their exquisitve work. You'll need the Flash plug-in to view these sites.
  • — World-class Flash design shop.
  • — Agency site for Hillman Curtis, a leading Flash designer.

    What sites do you go to all the time? What is it that brings you back there again and again? Most likely it's not the Flash intro. It's the content, right? They've got what you're looking for. Here are some Web sites that succeed without the flashy graphics some people say you need. There's a lesson in here somewhere.
  • Internet Movie Database — An incredibly useful, incredibly information-rich site that gets tons of traffic.
  • -- The online magazine that has proven its quality and earned the respect of offline news media.
  • — The design is not-so-hot, but this Pasadena, Calif., online hot-sauce retailer grosses about $25,000 a month — a 40-45% gross profit margin — without spending a penny on advertising. For more information, read our Fast Track article,  2001: Is It Too Late? 

    The Hall of Shame
  • As mucn as we dislike singling out others, there's only one way to truly understand bad web design, and that's to see it with your own eyes. Be careful, your computer may crash while viewing this piece of work.

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Leveling The Playing Field
Don't let your modest marketing budget discourage you. There's plenty of effective things you can do that the big guys habitually overlook.

Online Marketing

Marketing Communications

  • The Cluetrain Manifesto — The Internet is making your market smarter. That means the old ways of communicating with them must change. Here's the bold Web site that made people take notice, and eventually led to the noteworthy book of the same name.

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  • "Build A Network Without Busting the Budget" — Your business may be small now, but you don't want it to stay that way. Here's how to build a network that can grow with you.
  • — Home-grown site by editor and small biz technology consultant Ray Ramon, links to relevant articles and information, free 2nd opinion service, technology ezine, discussion board, and free Small Business Technology Survival Guide.
  • "Why you need a technology plan"  |  Microsoft's bCentral — Create a successful tech strategy for your business, and learn how to find the perfect tech consultant.
  • Joshua Feinberg's Small Biz Tech Talk — Learn how to save money on your small business computer support costs. Register at the site for a free bi-weekly e-zine, "Tips."

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Valuable Small Business Sites

Starting Up

Business Plans & Funding

Women's Business Resources

Patent & Trademark Issues

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