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The Internet Is Here and It's Not Going Away

June 17, 1996|KAREN KAPLAN

If you've been hoping the hype surrounding the Internet would blow over before you'd really have to learn how to use it, forget it. People in all types of career categories need to know how to use this tool in order to get ahead--starting now.

"Over the last five or six years, we've been hearing about the information revolution," said Craig Miles, director of development for, an Internet consulting firm in Claremont. "All of a sudden it sneaked up on us, and now it's here."

The Internet global computer network--and the multimedia portion known as the World Wide Web--is proving to be an indispensable tool in the business world. Its wide-ranging uses ensure that it is more than just a passing fad.

For example, the Internet is emerging as an important marketing tool. By setting up home pages on the Web, companies can make product information available 24 hours a day without the expense of printing, mailing or staffing customer service lines. By keeping track of the items visitors read, they can conduct low-cost market research. The ability to communicate by electronic mail and distribute newsletters and software over the computer network is also drawing companies--and their workers--into cyberspace. The benefits can be magnified for small businesses, which often must work harder to make their budgets go further.

All of which explains why 89% of companies in a recent survey of 500 firms conducted by Network World, a weekly computer industry news magazine, said they have or will implement an Internet strategy.

Putting your business on the Web no longer has to be an expensive proposition, Miles says. With off-the-shelf software such as Microsoft's FrontPage or Adobe's PageMill, creating a Web site is about as easy as using a word processor. Most software programs are available for $100 to $150, and there's a plethora of books with tips for designing an effective site.

Once the pages are ready, you'll need to find a computer with enough storage space to "host" your site. The most cost-effective solution is to rent space from an Internet company, such as an access provider. Ten megabytes of storage space--capable of storing roughly 700 pages of data, including graphics and other multimedia elements--rent for about $100 a month.

The surest way to direct traffic to a new Web site is to register (for free) with a search engine, a program that helps users find information on the vast network. There are about 250 search engines, but a few--Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos and Yahoo--are so popular that they alone can reach the majority of Internet users. Including the site's Web address in all corporate literature and advertisements will also raise its profile.

For professional guidance, turn to (you guessed it) the Internet. Visit a search engine such as,, or and use the keywords "Internet consultant" to get a lengthy list of names to start with.

Karen Kaplan is a Times correspondent who covers technology and careers. She can be reached via e-mail at

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