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Small Business Websites That Work

Get Online to Grow Your Company

Small Business Websites That Work by Sean McManus
By Sean McManus

Published by Prentice Hall, 2001
Paperback, 220 pages
ISBN: 0-273-65486-1

It is sometimes said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. However, for a non-technical person to cope with setting up and developing an online business, no knowledge can be even worse! Many small business owners have taken the plunge online and relied on others to provide the 'know-how' with varying degrees of success.

With so many pitfalls awaiting the unwary, creating a successful web business can be a daunting task. Books such as this one, however, can go some way to helping small business owners or managers in larger companies - whose skills lie in other areas - to avoid floundering in uncertainty and technical confusion when briefing suppliers.

This is an easy to read, well organised and practical book. There's a lot of information packed into just over 200 pages, but the book's clear design, the avoidance of technical jargon, and the liberal use of checklists and summaries make it a pleasure to read from start to finish, or to dip into a relevant section.

Within 11 chapters all the main elements of putting a business online are covered, often in quite brief detail, but enough to highlight the key things to think about or be aware of. There's a particularly good chapter on how to offer good customer service, plus useful sections on legal and ethical issues, as well as measuring the success of the website by using tracking software.

Several chapters deal with advertising and marketing. The use of affiliate schemes and advertising offers plenty of tips to help beginners avoid the many pitfalls that can lie in wait. The section on promoting the site includes a good overview of the role that search engines can play and the six pages on the subject contain some solid advice.

This book provides a very good introduction to anyone who wants to have a clearer understanding of how to give an online business a better chance of success. Even those with some experience may benefit from dipping in to the book to read sections that cover an area new to them. Certainly, if you have no idea of the difference between a domain or a host, or are unsure about a virus e-mail compared to a viral one, this book will provide some much-needed enlightenment!

(A longer version of this review originally appeared on Free Pint)

Buy at a discount from Fishpond