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THE CUTTING EDGE: SMALL OFFICE / HOME OFFICE

Lessons My Web Site Taught Me

June 16, 1997

We asked some small-business people who have successfully launched Web sites what they would have done differently if they knew what they know now. Here's what they said:

"At first, our customers could only pay online. When we finally included additional payment options via fax, 800 number and postal mail, our sales increased nearly 100%. . . . I cringe when I think of all the sales we must have lost in the beginning."

--Debra Shatford, president, Focused Presence, publishers of ComFind

(http://www.comfind.com)

***

"Do not assume anything about how your customer will read or understand what's on your pages. . . . Be assured someone will misinterpret something."

--Art Munson, president, Cassette House

(http://www.tape.com)

***

"Before you launch your site, make sure you have materials prepared to send to people who make inquiries over the Web."

--David H. Baum, attorney

(http://www.adoptlaw.com)

***

"I would have gotten my vanity domain name immediately."

--Paul D. Supnik, attorney

(http://www.supnik.com)

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"We would have made sure that we had our own access to the site to make instant changes to inventory. Having to rely on a site designer made us too dependent. Also, choose your domain name carefully. We actually get hate e-mail because we are not a porno site."

--Monica Lopez, co-founder, Hot Hot Hot

(http://www.hothothot.com)

***

"Be sure to warn your Internet service provider if you are executing a marketing plan that could bring instant, heavy traffic. The most boneheaded thing we did was launch a major marketing initiative and not alert our host. We brought their whole system down."

--Tony Levitan, co-founder, Greet Street

(http://www.greetst.com)

***

"We learned early on that virtual malls aren't the only place 'Webbers' shop and that promotion points traffic to your site, not location. If the Web mall isn't well promoted or if its directory is poor, your site might be too 'off-road' for most Web traffic.

--Rhonda Karayan, CEO and president, NaturElle Cosmetics Corp.

(http://www.naturalbeauty.com)

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