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Your Presence on the Internet

by Duane Bristow
August 5, 1996

What is the Internet?
The Internet is the largest, most democratic, and most widespread publishing medium ever known. About 50 million people from all over the world have access to it and everyone can publish on it if they desire. The number of people with access is doubling about every six to eight months or so.
What is the purpose of the Internet?
Because of its nature, the purpose of the Internet is to provide a widespread and cheap method of distributing information, and communication among people.
What are the numbers?
How many people have access?
Nobody knows, probably about 50 million with many more projected in the future. Probably within five years 50% to 75% of the people in the United States will have access and maybe 15% to 25% of the people in the world.
How many people actually use it regularly?
Maybe 16 million but the percentage of those who have access actually using it will increase greatly.
How much information is out there?
It has been estimated that there are 50 to 80 million pages with maybe 60,000 being added per day.
Can I have a site on the Internet?
Sure. Anybody can. It's simple to have a site on the Internet. What's not simple is to accomplish anything worthwhile with that site. Although many high school kids and even grade schoolers can develop an Internet site and many companies sell that service, very few seem to have any conception of how to use the nature of the Internet to get worthwhile results.
Should I have a site on the Internet?
Yes, if you first understand what you are trying to accomplish, what it is likely to cost you, and what results you can expect. Be aware though that because it is such a new medium; the World Wide Web has only existed since 1993; nobody really knows what to expect in the future. This is one reason that it is important to get a site on the Internet early. For your site to be successful you must have time to get a feel for your particular audience, how to develop your site to attract them, and how to publicize your site to reach them. Also it takes time to get the links and develop the contacts in this Brave New World so that you can accomplish something.
How should I approach it?
What will it cost?
The Discovery Channel spent about $10 million on their site.

Time-Warner spent about $50 million.

I estimate your site will cost about $500 to $1,000 to develop. Your site will cost about $150 per month for Internet space and a minimum amount of maintenance. Monthly maintenance costs will vary depending on how your site is set up.

What results can I expect?
I don't know. In one year my site went from zero visits per day to 100 to 300 visitors per day with each visitor looking at an average of 2 pages. As for business leads, it must be remembered that the nature of my business requires that people who do business with me live in southern Kentucky or northern Tennessee. Almost no one in that area had access to the Internet during most of that first year. Even now there are probably not over 3 to 6 people in Clinton County who use it regularly. That should change dramatically during the next one to two years.

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Last revised August 5, 1996.

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Duane Bristow (72711.1414@compuserve.com)

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