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You Can Do It! 


Where This Book Is Coming From

How to Use This Book

What This Book Assumes

What's Where in This Book

Part I: Starting Your Own Online Business

Part II: Putting Your Web Site to Work

Part III: Promoting Your Online Business

Part IV: Law, Security, and Accounting

The Starting an Online Business For Dummies Internet Directory, 2nd Edition

Part V: The Part of Tens


Conventions Used in This Book

Icons Used in This Book

We're in It Together

Part I: Starting Your Own Online Business

Chapter 1: Opening Your Own Online Business in Ten Easy Steps

Step 1: Identify a Need

Seeing what's out there

Figuring out what's missing

Step 2: Determine What You Have to Offer

Step 3: Set Your Cyberbusiness Goals

Creating a business plan

Working without a storefront

Step 4: Assemble Your Equipment

Finding a Web host

Getting the hardware you need

Choosing your software

Step 5: Find the Support You Need

Hiring technical consultants

Gathering your team members

Step 6: Build a Web Site

Creating compelling content

Establishing a graphic identity

Step 7: Set Up Systems for Handling Sales

Providing a means for secure transactions

Keeping your books straight

Step 8: Provide Customer Service

Sharing your expertise

Becoming a resource for customers

Becoming an e-mail expert

Step 9: Advertise Your Business

Registering with Internet search services

Reaching the entire Internet

Step 10: Evaluate Your Success and Move On

Taking stock

Updating your data  

Chapter 2: Setting Your Sights on Success

Envisioning Your Online Business

Finding inspiration

Standing out from the crowd

Sizing up commercial Web sites

Types of Online Businesses You Can Start

Selling consumer products

Selling your professional services

Selling information

Selling technology or computer resources

Selling your creative work

One-to-One Marketing Strategies

Get to know your audience

Catch a wave: Grab Web surfers' attention

Promote your expertise

Encourage potential customers to interact

Be a joiner

Find more than one way to sell  

Chapter 3: Your Online Business Equipment List

Hardware and Software Rules to Live By

Easyware (Not Hardware) for Your Business

The right computer for your online business

Safety devices

Multimedia add-ons




Fax equipment

Image capture devices

Internet Connection Options

A second phone line

Beyond modems

Internet and Other Software

Web browser

Web page editor

Taking e-mail a step higher

Discussion group software

FTP software

Image editors

Internet Relay Chat

Internet Phone

Other Business Software

Voice recognition software

Antivirus and troubleshooting software

Backup software

Internet storefront software

Part II: Putting Your Web Site to Work

Chapter 4: Choosing Your Web Host and Design Tools

Finding a Host with the Most

Shopping for a Web Server to Call Home

Using online Web site creation kits

Setting up shop with America Online

Investigating electronic storefront software

Moving into an online mall

Turning to your ISP for Web hosting

Going for the works with a Web hosting service

Choosing a Web Page Editor

For the novice: Use your existing programs

For intermediate needs: User-friendly Web editor

For advanced commerce sites: Programs that do it all  

Chapter 5: Organizing and Designing Your Business Site

Organizing Your Web Site

Establishing Your Store's Identity -- Visually

Choosing your Web page wallpaper

Using special Web typefaces

Copying and using clip art

Adding scanned images

Creating a logo

Using Advanced Web Page Layouts

Setting the tables for your customers

Framing your subject

Turning to a Professional Web Designer  

Chapter 6: Adding Content and Interactivity to Your Site

Give 'Em What They Want!

Get it all out in the open

Make your content scannable

Give something away for free

Make your site searchable

Writing for an Online Business Site

Striking the right tone

Letting others speak for you

Sharing your expertise

Getting Your Customers to Talk Back

Inviting e-mail feedback

Using Web page forms

Providing a guestbook

Gathering 'round the water cooler  

Chapter 7: Marketing to a Worldwide Audience

Speaking Their Language

Minding your Ps and Qs (puns and quips)

Using the right salutations

Making your site multilingual

Using the right terms

Joining the International Trade Brigade

Keeping up with international trade issues

Researching specific trade laws

Exploring free trade zones

Shipping Overseas Goods

Getting Paid in International Trade

Part III: Promoting Your Online Business

Chapter 8: Conducting E-Commerce on Your Site

What Online Customers Want

Tell me how much it costs, now

Show me that I can trust you!

Give me all the information I need!

Enabling Credit Card Purchases

Setting up a merchant account

Finding a secure server

Verifying credit card data

Processing the orders

Online Payment Systems

Shopping cart software



Other payment options

Fulfilling Your Online Orders

Provide links to shipping services

Present shipping options clearly  

Chapter 9: Service with a Virtual Smile

Customer Service = Information

Sticking to the FAQs

Starting an online newsletter

Helping Customers Talk Back to You

Using advanced e-mail techniques

Creating simple Web page forms

Turning Customers into Members

Putting the "person" into personal service

Creating a discussion area on your site

Starting an alt discussion group

Creating a Web discussion area with FrontPage  

Chapter 10: Market, Technical, and Business Research

Finding Out What Your Customers Want

"Online" Means More Than "On the Web"

Mining for FTP treasures

Using Telnet to search library card catalogs

Gopher: No-frills information on the Internet

Proprietary online database services

Becoming an Online Power Searcher

Web search engines

Internet subject catalogs

Virtual reference resources

Keeping up with the news

Finding Statistics and Business Resources

Show me the money

Who's shopping online?

General Internet and Web statistics

Researching Computer and Tech Topics

Finding help with hardware glitches

Overcoming networking dilemmas  

Chapter 11: Advertising and Publicity

Developing a Marketing Strategy

Building a brand

Blanketing versus targeting

Using Free Publicity Strategies

Getting listed in the Yahoo! index

Getting listed with search services

Embedding keywords in your pages

Starting a newsletter

Joining newsgroups and mailing lists

Keeping an online "little black book"

Pssst . . . can we link?

Striking up a business partnership

Holding a contest

Placing banner ads


Part IV: Law, Security, and Accounting

Chapter 12: Security for Your Commerce Site

Basic Business Safety Strategies

Protecting your home-office privacy

Watching out for icebergs

Providing Public-Key Security for Your Business

How public-key/private-key encryption works

Obtaining your own certificate

Keeping Your Sensitive Content Secure

Using personal encryption software

Encrypting your e-mail messages

Picking a good password

Protecting content with authentication  

Chapter 13: Keeping It All Legal

Trade Names and Trademarks

Researching a trademark

Protecting your trade name

Copyright Management

What's protected by copyright

How to protect your copyright

Licensing and Other Restrictions

Knowing about local fees or restrictions

Keeping up with trade restrictions

Determining the Legal Form of Your Business

Sole proprietorship



Steering Clear of Legal Trouble

Be wary of multilevel marketing

Be aware of risks with adult content

Know about acceptable use policies

Pay your state sales taxes  

Chapter 14: Online Business Accounting Tools

Basic Accounting Practices

Choosing an accounting method

Knowing what records to keep

Understanding the Ps and Qs of P&Ls

Accounting Software for Your Business

The big commercial programs

Shareware programs for the budget-conscious

Finding accounting help online

Small Business Tax Concerns

Federal and state taxes

Deducing your business deductions

Using online tax resources

The Starting an Online Business For Dummies Internet Directory, 2nd Edition Accounting Software

Advertising Your Site on the Web


Business Resources on the Web


Developing Compelling Content

Domain Names

E-Commerce Service Providers

Fax Services


Free Business Web Sites

Free E-Mail Accounts

Free Forms Online

Free Internet Access

Free Phone Service

Free Web Page Tools

Glossaries, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


HTML and Link-Checking Tools316

Legal Resources316

Online Schedulers317

Online Storage Space318

Search Engines320

Small Business Associations321

Tutorials and Online Classes322

Web Authoring Tools323

Web and Business Publications Online325

Web Design326

Web Graphics327

Web Graphics Tools328

Web Marketing330

Web Statistics and Demographics331

Part V: The Part of Tens

Chapter 15: Ten Ways to Boost Your Online Business

Think Positive!

Get Your Ducks in a Row Before You Start

Make It Easy on Your Customers

Give Something Away for Free!

Keep Your Web Site Fresh and New

Master the Art of Effective E-Mail

Reaching Out through Newsgroups, Mailing Lists, and Offline Media

Get Your Business Listed in All the Right Places

Make Sure You Address for Success

Be Patient, Be Committed, and Don't Give Up  

Chapter 16: Ten Online Commerce Pitfalls to Avoid

Not Having a Business Strategy

Not Having a Marketing Plan

Pushing Products or Services People Don't Need

Overdesigning Your Web Pages

Making Too Many Links to Other Sites

Typos, Boo-Boos, and Broken Images -- Oh My!

Trying to Do It All Yourself

Spamming or Flaming

Providing Slow Customer Service

Letting Your Business Sell Itself  


Chapter 17: Ten Online Business Secrets

You Can Interpret Your Log Files

Web and Business Publications Online

You Can Keep Track of Your Referrers

You Can Create Your Own Animations

You Can Make Easy Money as an Affiliate

Dynamic Pages Don't Get Indexed

Be Careful with Your Customers' Information

Some Domain Names Aren't Regulated

Chat Events Can Promote Your Business

You Can Become an FTP Resource

If You Go X-Rated, Do It Right

Appendix: About the CD System Requirements

Using the CD

Using the CD with Microsoft Windows

Installing the CD with a Macintosh

Using the directory links

What's on the CD

Getting your site online

Taking care of business

If You Have Problems (Of the CD Kind)