Small Business Websites That Work
Small Business Websites That Work was published in 2001 by Prentice Hall (Pearson) and was my first book with mainstream publisher.
The idea for the book came about because I was seeing a lot of small business owners scrambling to get a website, without really knowing how it would help their business. At the same time, the idea of web usability was still in its infancy, and there were lots of web designers creating impressive looking websites that weren't easy to use, and weren't effective business tools for their owners. This combination of business owners who didn't know what made a good website, and website designers who didn't understand their customers' businesses, was resulting in a lot of ineffective websites, and wasted time and money.
By writing Small Business Websites That Work, I aimed to equip small business owners and web designers with the tools to understand what makes an effective website, and how it can help a small business to find new customers and support existing customers.
Since the book was published, much has changed. The browser wars came and went. Social media has become the main marketing channel for many companies. But when I re-read the book, I was surprised at how much of the advice is still relevant today.
This book is now out of print and the rights have reverted to me. If you are interested in republishing some of the content or an updated edition of the book, please get in touch.
Table of Contents
- Introduction (online in full)
- Getting to know the internet
- Planning your website and creating the content (online in full, PDF)
- Resourcing your website design
- Naming and hosting your website
- What makes a good website?
- Making money through advertising and affiliate programmes
- Selling from your website
- Offering great customer service online
- Promoting your website
- Keeping your website legal and ethical
- Measuring your website's success
- Glossary (online in full)
Reviews of Small Business Websites That Work
"A comprehensive book packed with tried and tested web hints and tips that's a must have for any business - small or large - that needs to get on the Internet. If anyone ever asks me again 'how shall I get my business on the web?', I will point them straight at this book. It's essential reading."
Marcus Austin - Editor, Business 2.0 magazine
"Sean McManus is a talented technical author, with an aptitude for explaining sophisticated concepts in a down-to-earth, helpful manner that has made him a favourite with Internet Magazine's editors and readers alike. The broad scope of this volume, plus its practical outlook and friendly manner will make it a well-thumbed reference on any Web lover's bookshelf, while a constantly updated supplemental online resource will ensure Sean's advice stays fresher for longer."
Dave Wilby, Deputy Editor, Internet Magazine
"With so many impenetrable Internet business books around, it's always a
pleasure to come across one that is refreshingly straight-forward, clearly
written, generously illustrated and extremely comprehensive. Like its
subject matter, this book works."
Robert Dwek, Editor, Marketing Week e-volve
"There are many books that cover much of the same ground as Sean McManus', yet this one stands out from others I've read because firstly it's by an English author - often a novelty in this field - but also because it is easy to read, well organised and practical."
"It covers, quite literally, everything you need to know about the internet prior to setting up your own site. The beauty of it is its readability. While the comprehensive contents pages will steer you to where you want to go, 'Making money through advertising and affiliate programmes' and 'Selling from your website' being two good examples, it's easy to find yourself reading beyond where you meant to stop."
- Business Finance, December 2001
"By steering clear of jargon, it is easily readable by those unused to the web terminology and should make it easier to decide what approach to take."
- Effective Consulting, January/February 2002
"...many small businesses are still hazy about the web and what makes a good website...this always leads to trouble...Sean McManus' book is a down-to-earth guide to the ins and outs of an effective small business website... If you have a client whose knowledge - or rather, lack of it - is causing problems, then consider buying this for them."
- Cre@te Online Magazine, March 2002
"If you are a business looking to expand by using the Internet but are unsure how to make your website a success, Small Business Websites that Work is certainly the book for you... Straightforward and practical, this book provides clear, insightful advice for anyone left confused or disillusioned by the hype that has surrounded the Internet in recent years... This is, in fact, far more than a book about simply getting online. It is also about the ongoing process of developing and marketing your website to drive visitors to it and tackles everything from how to sell products or offer great customer service online, to less obvious issues, such as how to keep your website ethical and legal."
"Flavoured with some useful case studies and chapter summaries, this book doesn't pull any punches... Sean McManus has chanelled his efforts into an information-rich text that clearly debunks the myths about what works on the internet."
- My Business magazine (Australia), September 2002
"This will make a good primer for anybody who wants to make a serious bid in the world of eCommerce within the limited budget of a small enterprise."
- Roy Johnson, Mantex.co.uk, June 2003
Cartoons: Cran & Lerma
The book includes some fabulous cartoons created by Nik Scott that really capture the essence of the Internet around the turn of the millennium. Visit Nik's site and commission cartoons from him at www.nikscott.com.
If you'd like to explore some of the ideas in Small Business Websites That Work, take a look at these articles on my website:
- Is there anybody out there? - Article exploring Seti@home and how the internet community has united to build the world's biggest supercomputer.
- As you like it - Article exploring mass customisation including sites like Iprint.com
- Jakob Nielsen on writing for the web
- Bryan Eisenberg on persuasive copywriting
- Castle Fictoria - dummy content for your first website
- Looking after your domain name - beware of these domain name scams
- Maintaining website quality
- Read how Tesco made its website accessible to the blind
- Speed up your website
- My page of website maintenance tools
- The Customer Service Pocketbook
- Kickbacks for clickbacks: an introduction to affiliate marketing
- Making email newsletters work for you
- Making the headlines: how to get press coverage for your website
- Making your website visitors more loyal
- Tutorial on syndicating your own content