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Are You Thinking About Your Own Web Site?

By Mauricio Velásquez

President, Diversity Training Group

When I was asked to write about my perspective concerning the Internet, I thought, "Who me?" I find any resistance to the Internet surprising given the sheer growth, scope, and breadth of the world wide web. You are not even in the game if your prospective clients do not know you exist or cannot find you. Your web page provides the compelling reason to hire you and should help you close the sale and differentiate your firm from your competition.

A value-driven, goodwill-oriented web page will always attract prospective clients. Just placing an advertisement on the web will elicit and solicit the standard "turn the page" response. The following are just a few of my recommendations. When carefully laid out, a web page can reap significant benefits for a consultant. I should know, I have won a great deal of business through my Internet contacts alone.

WEB PAGE TIPS

Provide useful information, tools, checklists, articles, reading lists, quotes - add value
Keep it simple - no complex graphics - people are impatient and don't wait to view/print
Surround yourself with people brighter than yourself concerning web development
Make sure people can find you - list with all of the web engines and list servers
Help people unselfishly and they will reward you and your company
Check your web page regularly and reply to all messages
Have products, services for all of your customers

EMERGING MARKET

Consider the following statistics from a recently released study by Commerce Net and Nielsen Media (http://www.commerce.net/resources/work/pilot/nielsen_96/exec.html). This study found that as of March 1996, 24 percent of the population had Internet access - an increase of 50 percent in just six months. I wish my mutual funds performed this well. Most forecasts suggest growth of Internet access by adults will continue at that rate or better. One recent report found 97 percent of college students already have some kind of Internet access. Remember, not all students are full-time students. Many work part-time and go to school part-time and, therefore, represent prospective client companies.

More users will continue to attract more content and more content will attract more users. It is a wonderful cycle. According to WebCrawler, one of the many "spiders" crawling around the Internet to create searchable databases, the Internet is home to more than 145,000 web servers - the computers that house the web sites. That compares with just under 70,000 at the end of 1995 (see GVU's WWW User Survey for detailed statistics and trends).

At the end of September, nearly 612,000 domain names had been recorded, up 38 percent from 14 months earlier. Alta Vista, the largest database of web pages, now contains over 30 million web pages and tracks more than 14,000 newsgroups. We are also seeing significant advancements in technology from Microsoft, Netscape (my choice) and others regarding speed and compression but I will let more technical people handle the description of these developments.

Don't worry about how you are going to develop your web page; worry more about not being on the Internet and finding your competition (who never worried) flourishing because they were never challenged.

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