Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the October 2, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
In Print! What to Know About the ‘Net
Mark Feffer knows the ‘Net. Writing online content
since the mid 1980s, when he worked for Dow Jones, he founded Trenton-based
multi-media publishing company Tramp Steamer Media in 1997.
On Thursday, October 3, at 3 p.m., Feffer speaks on "Ten Steps
to an Effective Website" at a Trenton Small Business Week event
at Thomas Edison State College. Free. Call 609-394-1325. (See Business
Meetings, page 14, for listings of more events in conjunction with
Small Business week.)
Feffer’s company, with a client roster that includes AT&T, Charles
Schwab, Factiva, Merrill Lynch, Hewlett Packard, and Dow Jones, is
launching a new enterprise, a how-to newsletter called Small Business
Web Update. The company already has a few issues under its belt, and
is now spreading the word about this tool for small business.
Large corporations have whole departments devoted to optimizing the
power of the Internet. Small companies don’t, and Feffer, whose company
has done a great deal of consulting, finds they have lots of questions.
"The whole point of the newsletter," he says, "is to educate
readers so when they talk to a developer or a consultant, they know
what they’re talking about."
A surprise is that the newsletter, which is published monthly and
costs $95 a year, is a print publication. The reason? "There are
a whole lot more people who don’t like getting E-mail than do like
getting E-mail," says Feffer. He circulated a survey, and found
there were a number of people who would subscribe to a newsletter
on the Internet if it were in print, but not if it were delivered
over the Internet.
Many companies, he believes, use Internet newsletters for their own
purposes, business generation mostly, without considering what their
audience wants. His audience is telling him it wants paper, so paper
is what it is getting, although back copies of the newsletter are
available online at www.trampsteamer.com And an E-mail option will
be added soon.
Small business owners, nose to the grindstone more often than not,
have little time to figure out how to establish an Internet presence,
sell on the Internet, or use the medium as a reference tool. Yet most
of them have a nagging sense that they should be on of top Internet
developments. Small Business Web Update exists to fill the gap.
The question Feffer hears most often from small business is: How much
should my website cost? Here are answers to that and other ‘Net-based
at least what they spent on their last piece of print collateral,"
says Feffer of a ‘Net spending rule of thumb. "If you spent $10,000
for a four-color brochure, you shouldn’t be content with a $1,000
While just a few years ago, there was a definite tendency to look
around the dinner table for a web designer, Feffer is seeing less
of this. "Now that the web is mainstream, people are treating
it as a business tool," he says.
That does not mean, however, that a website needs to cost a fortune.
Companies seeking only to put their hours, specialties, and contact
information online might need to spend only a fraction of $10,000
— maybe just $1,000 — for a nice-looking, functional site.
check out a company is the Internet. It has become the first impression.
Even a simple site requires professional design, organization, and
content. Few small business owners have the expertise to pull this
off, and all will spend a good deal of time trying. This time, in
almost all cases, would be better spent on the company’s core business.
see his portfolio, ask for references, and check them. A developer
who balks at providing references is raising a red flag.
or re-design — begins, the business owner needs to think through
just exactly what he needs his website to do. The process is not unlike
building a house, says Feffer. A clear idea of what the site needs
to do results in a speedy, efficient build. A muddled idea leads to
delays, cost over-runs, and possibly a tear down situation.
but, says Feffer, "nobody knows your business as well as you do."
Don’t let a web developer bully or rush you. Don’t let him talk you
into something that feels wrong.
Corrections or additions?
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