Web & Graphic Design
S&S Diversified can design and implement YOUR web page:|
(Just like this one, or something completely different...)
So You Want to be On The NET . . .(A service to customers (and potential customers) of S&S Diversified)
MISSION and The NET Almost once a day somebody is asking us about web pages, the internet, HTML, modems, or electronic advertising. The explosive growth is downright scary, and the “carpet-bagger” tactics and pricing that self-proclaimed HTML (the programming language of web pages) experts are selling is even scarier. (Thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars is not uncommon for an "expert" web page design.)
The following information will help small company that would like to establish a presence on the World Wide Web, aka "WWW", "Internet", or simply "Net". Note that the Internet is simply a collection of computers all over the world, connected in an organized fashion. It is not owned, maintained, regulated, or supported by any one group, computer, or individual. It is an electronic database of all things; and at this time is very much public domain. The Internet is not a particular "thing" in a particular "place", anymore than telephones, newspapers, or a television. The World Wide Web is a group of computer programs written in a special computer language called "HyperText Markup Language (HTML)" designed to display text and graphics. It is not unlike the conventions used in printing a Newspaper; with columns, headlines, type faces, etc. The internet and its WWW subset is simply a very powerful communication (and advertising!) medium.
Does Internet Advertising work? Anyone who reads or watches television has certainly noticed web sites being shown as an adjunct to more traditional forms of advertising - “See us at www.toyota.com”, for example. However, the effectiveness of such advertising remains to be seen. Although internet advertising is undergoing exponential growth, one has to be concerned with the target audience - and whether that audience is willing to sit down at a computer (and kick off sons/daughters), log in, navigate the net with a program called a browser, search for your site, go to your site, and then become “sold” by the information presented. Granted, the lights, bells, and whistles - which now include speech, music, short movie clips, and graphics - are fascinating. If your product is consumable like sports or movies, or has the lure of sexually oriented material, expect thousands of new customers daily. It remains to be seen (by S&S, anyway) whether a professional, well presented, online catalog is an effective means of generating direct sales for a small technical company, compared to a 1-800 order line, or a nice 4-color brochure.
Fortunately, most of our customers are technical and/or have technical products. This infers that your target audience will be up on technology, and will have easy access to the internet, as well as a “willingness” to explore. If your target audience is non-technical, or does not have any Generation X/Y/Z folks at home to lend a hand, your web page might never be seen, no matter how impressive. We prefer to think of this as a current limitation of the audience, not the internet or your web site. Because of the explosive growth, and the immense money being invested, it makes sense to pursue some form of internet presence now. Even a small web page establishes your company as a technology leader. This lends credibility and convenience to potential customers who use internet, and has no side-effects for those that do not (yet!).
Even if you do not generate direct sales from a web page, having a URL (internet address, e.g. www.toyota.com) on your business cards and traditional advertising places you at the front. At the very least - a web site provides a conduit to send/receive electronic mail - which is rapidly replacing paper mail (aka “snail mail”) as the preferred method of communication. After all, it’s overnight, convenient, and free!
Okay, outline what advantages a web page will have for my business-
Where IS my web page? Can I keep it my own computer? Your web page is simply a computer file, or document, much like a word processor file. A program called a "browser" (you may have heard of Netscape(tm), which is a browser) translates the various commands in your web page file to nicely formatted pictures and text. This file can be stored anywhere, but the computer that hosts a web page much be hooked up to the internet. The hardware, software, and high-speed telephone lines necessary to connect a computer to the internet usually preclude a small company from having a internet hosting computer. The telephone charges alone can cost hundreds of dollars a month.
There are two viable places for the small company to host a web page. The first is to use an online service, such as America Online, to host the page. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to this strategy:
The URL (internet address) of your web site will be something like http://members.aol.com/snsdiver. This is not an obvious or easy thing to remember, compared to a custom domain registration, such as www.ssdiv.com. Furthermore, such hosting arrangements do not lend the most professional appearance to your web site, as America Online is regarded as a personal/home service.
Hosting a page on America Online is free, up to 10 megabytes of information. This size is more than adequate for an effective web page. The only fees necessary is the flat-rate $19.95/month access charge, which allows page hosting plus unlimited use of internet access, email and all other AOL features.
Because of the tremendous number of new customers, the new flat-rate pricing, and the "home" oriented mission of America Online, access to web pages hosted on AOL can be dismally slow to access. This is especially true at peak hours 7pm-midnight. This problem can ruin the appeal of an otherwise fantastic web site. However, for technical customers and educational institutions, who will be accessing your page during the day, the page loading is very acceptable. In addition, if your customers are using a service other than America Online, the delay in accessing your page becomes less obvious.
The second page hosting solution viable for a small business is to contract a firm that specializes in hosting web pages. These companies have huge computers that connect to the internet at all times.
Such firms will host custom domains. While the user is responsible for the cost of obtaining and maintaining a custom domain name (e.g. www.toyota.com), the firm can host your page on their computers with this URL domain name. It will appear to anyone accessing your web page that you are running your very own internet-connected computer web server. Although this is somewhat of a vanity issue, it is becoming increasingly important in terms of name-recognition for corporate identities to be carried through onto the web.
This service is obviously not free. Typical costs range from $20-$50 a month, for a web site host that has a reasonable amount of hits (visits).
Custom domain registration is also not free, and requires an initial fee of $50-100 depending on who does the work, and a yearly maintenance fee of $50. This fee goes to InterNIC, which is an organization that supports the communications backbone of the internet.
Throughput on a web host system should be excellent (this is what you are paying for), and your web site will load faster and support more features than an AOL hosted site. In addition, the ability to support a virtual domain (custom internet address, www.toyota.com) adds the extra measure of professionalism that is not available on AOL service.
How do I make a web page? Is it painful? Creating a web page is not only painless, it is relatively easy. Web pages are written in a language called Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML. These instructions command the browser (the program to access the internet) to make text and pictures appear in certain places, colors, fonts, etc.
Describe the process step-by-step.
Okay, but why S&S Diversified ? Web page creation is not the primary business of S&S Diversified. Realizing that an internet presence is rapidly becoming mandatory, we set out to create a low-cost page to sell our business. What we have discovered is that our new "under construction" web page sells web pages. Unwilling to pay huge web-page developer’s fees, we have spent many late night hours developing useful graphics, sound, speech, and presentation techniques. We are now offering web page creation services at what we feel is a very reasonable price.
We test our web pages on a variety of platforms and browsers. It is essential that any web page be compatible with Netscape, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and AOL’s browser, as well as both PC and MAC computers. This represents the largest cross-section of internet users. Creating a web page incompatible with a specific browser alienates potential customers.
We provide the document you are holding free-of-charge. We hope that you will consider employing us at whatever level to assist in your internet advertising experience. Reach us by voice or fax at (914) 627-5725, or better yet visit our new website at http://www.ssdiv.com. Those without WWW access may still email us at firstname.lastname@example.org