Introduction

My fundamental sales strategy is: the best way to sell is to make it easy for people to buy from you.

That philosophy is the reason I got hooked on the Internet. Where else can you make information about your clients’ products and services available for buyers and specifiers anywhere in the world, at precisely the time their checkbook is open and they’re interested in scoping it out?

My background is in publishing, sales and marketing, and recruiting. In 1994 I shifted the primary services of my company from Industrial Marketing to Internet Marketing, with the focus on the Marketing part of Internet Marketing. The World Wide Web, as a medium, allows me to combine and apply many of the best experiences and skills I developed in the worlds of publishing, sales, marketing, and recruiting to the creation and marketing of successful web presences.

I’ve planned and supervised the development of hundreds of web presences. As a onetime independent contractor for the ‘Bible of Industry’, the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, I learned the value of putting complete buying information at the fingertips of buyers and specifiers at precisely the time they were looking to buy. About half of the web sites we’ve developed are in the Manufacturing industry. The next largest groups of sites we’ve developed and marketed are in the Healthcare, Real Estate, Specialty Retail, and Professional Services industries.

This book is meant as a straightforward guide to planning, designing, producing, hosting and marketing your web presence. I’ve attempted to write it from a practical, non-technical, sales and marketing viewpoint. WebForging is meant for small business owners and for sales and marketing managers in SMBs, small to medium-size businesses.

I hope this book conveys an attitude as well as provides a solid ‘how-to’ guide. WebForging is meant to impart not just the strategies and tactics to succeed on the Internet, but to convey as well a positive construct in which to conduct business in general. I hope the approach we take, championing a well-reasoned and intelligent approach to your web presence from the buyers’ point of view – a presence that should be a central facet and reflection of your business – helps the reader build an overarching positive business construct of their own.

Great marketing is great common sense and great common courtesy is my fundamental marketing philosophy. I hope that you find that philosophy imbued in the content ofWebForging.

I read an excellent trade journal column once (I wish I could remember the author, publication and date) about how to judge which business books to read. The columnist suggested opening a book under consideration to any page, at random, and reading a few paragraphs to see if the book made sense at that point. Too many books, the author said, are based on a specialized – if not arcane – jargon, that may be stretched and sometimes convoluted, to make the author’s points and underscore the soundness of their philosophy. If that is the case, he said, the book would make little or no sense without all of the elaborations prior to the paragraphs in question. This columnist suggested that the most useful and practical business books, the ones most likely to stand the test of time, would make sense to anyone who opened them at virtually any spot. WebForging is my best attempt to provide a useful and practical guide to designing, producing, programming, hosting and marketing a successful web presence. Give it a try; open this book up to any spot and read a few paragraphs. Hopefully, you’ll find it readable – without too much jargon.

Given the speed of Internet time, I can’t say whether a few specific tactics in WebForging will hold up for long. I do believe, however, that the strategies and most of the tactics espoused here will hold up, on the whole and over time, because the underlying philosophy – using great common sense and great common courtesy – is timeless.

This book is written in a ‘how-to’ format, with lots of checklists. Chapters provide direct, succinct information to help you with the website item, section or function of your web presence that is at hand. The Table of Contents and the Index are designed to allow you to go straight to the information you want to read or revisit. Subtitles are used liberally to highlight specific lines of thought. As stated earlier, WebForging is written first and foremost for business owners and business marketers. I’ve also written WebForging for more technical staff, including programmers and webmasters, who would like to take a holistic approach, and go the extra mile to imbue their project(s) with great marketing – great common sense and great common courtesy – to help achieve the goals of their organization. I hope the book will help everyone involved in building a web presence do their part – and understand and appreciate others’ roles in developing an effective web presence.

I welcome your questions and suggestions for revised editions, including the online WebForging and a possible CD-ROM version. Please refer your questions, comments and suggestions to our Contact Us form.