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Five last articles
  • Building a Web Store on Shoestring Budget in less than Four Hours

  • Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Effective Web Search with Google's "My Search History" Tool

  • Monday, April 25, 2005
  • Beware of Spyware

  • Thursday, April 7, 2005
  • How to Build a Business Website

  • Tuesday, March 22, 2005
  • Effective use of your online time

  • Saturday, March 5, 2005
    Your Daily Dose of .NET From India

    This is more like a Business Blog. Rusbiz.com is a B2B portal with features that cover a wide range of online business activities. As the CEO of Rusbiz.com, it is my obligation to be in touch with e-business related issues that concern Rusbiz members. I am planning to write about some of these topics over here. I hope that subjects that personally interest me will not go unattended either.
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    How to Build a Business Website Tuesday, March 22, 2005

    How to Build a Business WebsiteA recent report done by Yankee Group, a Boston-based market research company, states that at the end of 2004 around 34 percent of small and medium sized businesses in North America are selling goods and services on the Internet and another 25 percent is planning to do so within next 12 months. Online sales in the United States represented 8.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2004. This figure is increasingly rising. This means, if your company is not paying serious attention to this vital channel of sales and marketing, you are simply missing the boat.

    In its basic form a website is a bundle of pages full of texts, graphics and other electronic files published on the Internet for people to view. How you organize your website depends totally on your online goals. Websites are built for various purposes. You can use a website as a sales point, a marketing channel, a corporate image building tool, a branding channel, an information center, a CRM center, a product launching center, and for number of other reasons. When you plan to build a website, you should base your online strategy keeping in mind two things: your online objectives and your potential audience.


    Information providing sites

    Most of today’s sites fall in this category. The simplest of them are actually mere reflection of offline corporate brochures.

    Promoting company
    The idea behind some of information-driven sites is to give maximum information related to the company. A holding company, for example, may prefer to have a site like this. These sites usually include: company history, company related news, mission statement, profiles of key executives, a good FAQ section, etc. Graphics are used in these sites only to accentuate the text information. However, the sites may include video and FLASH presentation as well.

    Promoting products or services
    A pharmaceutical company to promote its recently launched medicine may develop a website surrounding the product. The sole purpose of this type of sites is to create awareness of specific products or services. 

    Creating brand awareness
    A manufacturing company that sells its products exclusively through distributing channel may develop a website to provide ultimate information on the products and create brand. These sites complement company’s offline promotional efforts and always built in consistence with other commercials.

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    Online sales are done through the e-commerce sites. Main characteristics of an e-commerce site include:

      1. Detail products or services information with pictures and sometimes with multimedia presentations, drawings, charts, etc.
      2. Shopping cart – so that the buyer can select one or several items to purchase.
      3. Payment gateway – so that the buyer can make payments for the products or services purchased.

    Corporate portals

    A Website that offers a broad range of resources and services such as email, forums, company pertinent news & articles, members only area, etc. is generally called a portal. Portals are intended to be the gateway for their respective audience.

    B2B exchange

    Business to Business Exchange is an online platform where buyers and sellers come to communicate, collaborate and make business transactions. The main objective of a B2B Exchange is to create a venue, filled with features that allow members to efficiently conduct business processes through the Internet. A private B2B exchange is a corporate portal with a marketplace. It is designed to provide services to the company’s own buyers, sellers and workforce.


    Before starting to build your website you should first develop a plan in line with your online objectives, target audience and resources. You can write your plan thoroughly as a storyboard. A storyboard is something similar to a flowchart of all the website components you deem necessary. Once you have a clear picture of what you are going to build, sit with your developers and create a technical scope of the project. This is absolutely necessary! In most of the cases your entrepreneurial vision will differ drastically with the way a programmer look into your requirement.

    While working on your scope or even after publishing your website bear in mind the following crucial aspects of effective websites:

    Page loading time
    In the euphoria of having a great slick website, often, we use images that make the pages too heavy. A page which takes just one second to load with T1 speed will need full 55 seconds to load with a 28.8 modem. Web surfers are impatient bunch of click-happy people; they don’t like to wait too long! Make sure you optimize each and every page of your website before launching the site! Otherwise, you will loose a large portion of your would-be visitors for nothing!

    • Look at your pages from a visitor’s prospective. Eliminate all images that are not so important to deliver your messages.
    • Optimize the remaining images with available tools.
    • FLASH images are may be cool, don’t use them just because they are cool. Use them wisely.
    • Host your website in a server with a good bandwidth.

    Your website’s links should be well-defined, persistent, and easily visible. If the site is large with many pages, you must have a site map page. Remember that not all visitors will land to your homepage, in order to keep them browsing through your site make navigation from your main landing pages as easy as possible. Try giving them compelling reasons to do so by using catchy links. Also, make sure that all your links work correctly and take a visitor to right place.

    Webpage consistency
    All your web pages should have one consistent look. This will give your website a professional appearance, and visitors while browsing through your site will always know that they are still on your website.

    Content is the king
    If you want your visitors to return back to your site, regularly add fresh, relevant and quality content to your website. Internet users are information hungry people, feed them with fresh information on a regular basis and you will have good number of loyal visitors to your website.

    If you already have a website make sure you optimize your website from user’s point of view. According to Gartner, a market research company, even a minor investment in improving the usability of a company website will yield an annual return of 10 to 20 per cent. It increases brand awareness, leads to higher user adoption rates and possibly more transactions per user. Average order size starts to rise and the site generates more return visits from customers.


    Website Performance Tool and Web Page Speed Analysis:

    Check your web pages for bad links:

    Webmaster resources:

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    Effective use of your online time Saturday, March 5, 2005

    Effective use of your online timeThe Internet is increasingly becoming a major time killer for many of us. Involuntarily, we started to spend more time online than we really can afford. Here is how it goes: you were sitting at work, you needed to find some crucial information to finish that project at hand, you went on the Internet to look for the information, you run a web search or started browsing through web directory, and suddenly you noticed something that seems very interesting, it could be a banner ad, a link, just a piece of information, or some related ideas that came up that instant and required immediate attention. You clicked on the link to check it out thinking this wont take too long. This link took you to another seemingly more interesting page. Before you knew it, you started to ramble through the Internet aimlessly wasting your precious work time.

    Then, of course, there is this sports news that you must read, stock portfolio that you must check constantly, vacation place you need to choose for your next holidays, the list goes on and on, and what about those emails? Sounds familiar! You are not alone! Most of the Internet users are in the same boat.

    If you feel trapped and frustrated with your handling of the time spent online, you need to stand back, take a break, and look into the problem from a different perspective. Actually, what you need is more than a break; you need a balanced approach to your Internet activities. In order to understand where you online time goes, the first thing you should do is log everything that you do on the Internet for several days.

    Log your online activities

    If you scrupulously write down everything you do on the Internet for a day, you will, truly, be amazed to see how much time you waste on unnecessary things like reading spam, browsing through inconsequential websites, etc.

    By thoroughly analyzing your online activities with the help of the logs you make, you will be able to pinpoint and resolve the problems online activities that are unproductive and time wasters. The idea is to stay focused and do the things that you ought to do and stay out of impulsive moves.

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    To do lists

    Like your daily life, you should make a To Do list of the things you need to do on the Internet. First, make a list of all the tasks that you have to do online including routine activities like checking emails, etc. A generic activity such as working with your emails should be broken down into small tasks answering to a specific email, making an online order for office supplies, etc. Add every single job related to the Internet to this list. Once you created the list, sort it according to the priority. This becomes your master list of online tasks. Select the tasks you are planning to do in a day. Transfer those tasks to a separate list.

    Make sure this list is precise and not too long, so that you can finish most of the tasks from the list - at least the ones with high priority within the chosen day. Armed with this list you will be able to tackle the problem of productive use of your online time with confidence.

    Many major portals have free personal information management programs that you can be used to create daily schedules and to do lists.

    Yahoo PIM: http://calendar.yahoo.com

    MSN PIM: http://www.hotmail.com

    If you rather use a desktop PIM, here is one that you can download from the Internet for free: http://www.essentialpim.com

    Organizing your computer files

    As recently as last year, in order to keep your computer files accessible you needed to properly categorize the folders, save the files in the right folders, and up-to-date them regularly. Even with all these troubles, you still used to have problems in finding files when you most needed them, wasting precious work time. Thanks to the desktop search programs, finding a file on your computer, certainly, became painlessly easy.

    Although, you still should try to maintain computer files organized; you no longer have to waste valuable time on finding them. All you have to do is download one of the available desktop search utilities and let it index your computer.

    A search tool can help you find any file on your computer, whether is an email or a DOC file, just like an Internet search. You only need to know one word, which you may encounter in that file in order to use the tool.

    Google Desktop Search Tool:
    Find information on your computer as fast as you do with the help of Google search.

    MSN Desktop Search Tool:
    MSN desktop search utility comes along with a toolbar that you can download from

    Yahoo Desktop Search Tool:
    Still at beta stage, its a very comprehensive desktop search program.

    Copernic Desktop Search Program:
    This one came out long before the search engine heavyweights figured out the need for getting your computer files at your fingertips and still one of the best.
    Free download: http://www.copernic.com

    Organizing links of important websites

    While browsing through the Internet often, you come across sites that you would like to visit again. All browsers have the options to add the page you are viewing to a list of favorite links, commonly known as Bookmark. If you want to bring substantial efficiency to your browsing skill, you should create folders according to your interest and add links you intend to visit again to those folders. On the Internet Explorer you create a bookmark using the icon Favorites, and on Firefox Bookmarks. You should keep those folders organized for easier access to required links.

    Another good option is to use Amazons Meta Search Engine A9.com. Once you install the A9.com tool bar, all your web browsing history gets saved. A9.com uses this information to recommend you new sites, alert you to new search results, and notifies you when the last time you visited a page. When you make a query, A9.com searches through you own history, diary, and bookmarks.

    A9.com has a neat feature called diary. It allows you to keep notes on any web page you visit. You will see the notes, whenever you revisit that page. Its a very handy tool for avid Internet users.

    Another great thing about A9.com is your bookmarks reside on A9 servers. This allows you to access them from any computer you use.

    A9.com search results are essentially supplied by Google.
    You can download and install A9.com from the page: http://toolbar.a9.com/

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